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Liza Moore Tanner

From: Arkansas

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: Liza Moore Tanner, Helena, Arkansas
Age: 79

"I was born in north Georgia. It was not fer from Rome. We belong to
Master Belton Moore and Miss Jane Moore. They had a big family, some
grandchildren old as their own. That was my job playing wid the
children. My parents' name Rob Moore and Pilfy Calley. She lived five
miles from Belton Moore's house. She was hired out over at Moore's the
way she and papa met up. I know now I was hired out too. I run after
them children a long time it seemed like to me. I loved them and they
cried after me. I get so tired I'd slip off and go up in the loft and
soon be asleep. I learned to climb a ladder that very way. It was nailed
up straight against the side of the wall. They'd ask me where I been.
They never did whoop me fer that. I tell 'em I been asleep. I drapped
off 'sleep. I was so tired. Papa helped with the young calves and the
feeding and in the field too. Mama was a fast hand in the field. They
called her a little guinea woman. She could outdo me when I was grown
and she was getting old. She washed fer the Calley's. All I remember
they was a old man and woman. Mama lived in the office at their house.
He let her ride a horse to Moore's to work. I rode home wid her many a
time. She rode a side saddle. I rode sideways too. She used a battling
stick long as she lived when she washed.

"Papa died two years after the surrender in Atlanta, Georgia. The
Moore's moved there and he went along. He left mama at Master Calley's
and I was still kept at the old home place. Aunt Jilly kept me and my
two oldest sisters. Her name was Jilly Calley. I seen mama right often.
They fetched papa back to see us a few times and then he died. We all
went to Atlanta where he was buried. Mama lived to be purty nigh a
hundred years old. She had fourteen children. I had two sisters and
eight half-brothers and three half-sisters. Some died so young they
never was named. My stepfather was mean to her and beat her, caused some
of their deaths. She was a midwife in her later years. She made us a
living till I married. She was gone with Dr. Harrison a lot. He'd come
take her off and bring her home in the buggy. I married and immigrated
to Dell, Arkansas. We lived there a year and went to Memphis. Mama come
there and died at my house. She got blind. Had to lead her about. My
steppapa went off and never come back. He got drunk whenever he could
get to it. We hunted him and asked about him. I think he went off with
other women. We heard he did.

"Freedom--I heard Miss Jane say when she was packing up to go to
Atlanta, 'I will get a nurse there. They will make her go to school.' I
thought she was talking about me. I wanted to go. I loved the children.
I got to go to school in the country a right smart. I can read and
write. Me and my two sisters all was in the same class. It seemed
strange then. We had a colored man teacher, Mr. Jacobin. It was easier
for me to learn than my sisters. They are both dead now.

"I got three living children--one here and two in Memphis. After I got
my hip broke I live about with them so they can wait on me.

"I don't know about this new way of living. My daughter in Memphis
raising her little girl by a book. She don't learn her as much manners
as children used to know. She got it from the white lady she works for.
It tells how to do your child. Times done changed too much to suit my
way of knowing. 'The Old Time Religion' is the only good pattern fer
raising a family. Mighty little of that now."

Next: Fannie Tatum

Previous: Mary Tabon

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