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Mattie Fritz

From: More Arkansas

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."

Next: Charlie Gadson

Previous: Aunt Mittie Freeman

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