Mattie Brown

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Mattie Brown. Helena. Arkansas

Age: 75

"I heard mother say time and ag'in I was a year and two months old the

year of the surrender. I was born in Montgomery, Alabama. Mother was a

milker and a house woman. Father died when I was a baby. Mother never

married. There was three of us to raise. I'm the youngest.

"Sister was the regular little nurse girl for mother's mistress. I don't

recollect her name. The baby was sickly and fretful. My sister set and

rocked that baby all night long in a homemade cradle. Mother said she'd

nod and go on. Mother thought she was too young to have to do that way.

Mother stole her away the first year of the Civil War and let her go

with some acquaintances of hers. They was colored folks. Mother said she

had good owners. They was so good it didn't seem like slavery. The

plantation belong to the woman. He was a preacher. He rode a circuit and

was gone. They had a colored overseer or foreman like. She wanted a

overseer just to be said she had one but he never agreed to it. He was a

good man.

"Mother said over in sight on a joining farm the overseers whooped

somebody every day and more than that sometimes. She said some of the

white men overseers was cruel.

"Mother quilted for people and washed and ironed to raise us. After

freedom mother sent for my sister. I don't recollect this but mother

said when she heard of freedom she took me in her arms and left. The

first I can recollect she was cooking for soldiers at the camps at

Montgomery, Alabama. They had several cooks. We lived in our own house

and mother washed and ironed for them some too. They paid her well for

her work.

"I recollect some of the good eating. We had big white rice and big soda

crackers and the best meat I ever et. It was pickled pork. It was

preserved in brine and shipped to the soldiers in hogheads (barrels). We

lived there till mother died and I can recollect that much. When mother

died we had a hard time. I look back now and don't see how we made it

through. We washed and ironed mostly and had a mighty little bit to eat

and nearly nothing to wear. It was hard times for us three children. I

was the baby child. My brother hired out when he could. We stuck

together till we all married off."

Mattie Aldridge Hazen Arkansas Interviewed By Irene Robertson Mattie Curtis facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail