One of Gee's Bend's foremost artistic lineages consists of several Carson sisters—Aolar C. Mosely, Louella C. Pettway, and Virginia C. Pettway among them—and their extended families, including Virginia's daughter, Linda P. Pettway, and Linda's daughters, Gloria Hoppins and Lucy L. Witherspoon.
My mother say I was born down there in one of them old houses made out of poles and planks, them you had to get straw and mud put down in the cracks. My mother was Virginia; she was a Carson. My daddy was named Willie Pettway. We moved into another one of them old pole houses. We stayed in them until the government built them government houses. We went to the fields, hoed, picked cotton. I loved doing that. Yes sir. I picked two hundred pounds some days. I have done that. I milked cows. I liked to milk cows, but we had some old fighting cows, kicked the buckets over. I feed hogs, and Mama make us go to quilting, too, and I liked to do that. When I was young, I liked doing it all. I stayed in the fields until I was about in my forties. My husband, Richard, stopped farming then, went to work over at Bloedell. Me and Richard had nine children in all. Seven lived to grow up. Two daughters still live around here, Lucy Witherspoon and Gloria Hoppins. I used to love to quilt, and kept doing that until year before last. I supposed to start back but hadn't done it yet.
Mama used to stay quilting, but all of them gone now. She died in childbirth, only forty-something.
I loved to make my own patterns. I just get the cloth, cut the pieces, lay it out on the bed. I be knowing how I'm be putting them together. I could make a "Nine Patch," or "Grandmama's Dream," "Grandmama's Choice"—all that easy stuff—but I don't do that. Most of my quilts are the "Housetop" kind. I start in the middle. Make the middle piece; strip the sides, top, bottom; keep going 'round the sides. I be knowing where I'm going.