Mattie Fritz

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Mattie Fritz, Clarendon, Arkansas

Age: 79

"I was born at Duncan, Arkansas. Mother died when I was a baby. Old

slavery black 'Mammy' raised me. I called her 'Mammy'. My father was

born in the State of Mississippi. He got loose there at 'mancipation.

His master Jack Oates got killed in battle. They brung him home and

buried him in the garden. Down close to Duncan on the place. I played in

the yard wid Mr. Jack Oates, Jr. when we was little fellars. Father's

master in Tennessee was Bill Tyler. My uncle went back to Tennessee to

them. His name was Tyler Oates. Mr. Jack Gates, Sr. used to pat me and

call me his little nigger. We thought the world and all of our white

folks. We sure did. Some of 'em 'round 'bout Helena they say now. Mr.

Jack, Jr., he had two boys and he was a widower.

"My own dear mother was Jane. My father called hisself Bill Tyler. My

stepmother was Liddy. The woman what raised me was 'Mammy' all I ever

knowed. But her name was Luckadoo.

"Mr. Tyler got killed. Pa had to stay on take care of his mistress. He

got sold. Then she died. Then mother died. Jack Oates went to my father

and brung him to Mississippi, then to Arkansas.

"Master Jack Tyler hid out. The Yankees come at night and caught him

there and shot him. His wife lived about two more years. She grieved

about him. They took everything and searched the house. My pa was hid

under the house. They rumbled down in the cellar and pretty nigh seen

him once. He was a little bit er black fellar scroughed back in the

dark. All what saved him he wore a black sorter coat. They couldn't see

him so good. Way he said they would took him to wait on them and be in

the fights too. Them Yankees took Massa Jack Tyler off and sont him back

in a while. She had him buried in the garden. She didn't know it was


"'Mammy' was a slavery woman. She was sold first time from a neighbor

man to a neighbor man. He was an old man. She ploughed and rolled logs.

Then she was sold to Master Luckadoo close to Holly Grove. They named

her Eloise, and she was a farm woman. She was so good to me. She was a

worker and never took time to tell me about old times. She said Luckadoo

never whooped her. A storm come and blowed a limb down killed her

granddaughter and broke my leg. The same storm killed their mule. She

raised a orphan boy too. She died from the change of life but she was

old, gray headed. Since I'm older I think she had a tumor. 'Cause she

was old when she took me on.

"I gets ten dollars from the Welfare. I ain't goiner say nothin' for 'em

nor nothin' agin 'em. They's betwix' and between no 'count and good.

"Times too fast. I can't keep up wid them. 'Betwix' and between the fat

and the lean.' Some do very well I reckon."

Mattie Fannen Mattie Gilmore facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail