Arlonzia Pettway (b. 1923) tells of her mother, Missouri Pettway.
My mama said she start working on the farm with her parents when she was twelve. When she was about eighteen, she married my daddy, Nathaniel Pettway. They birthed twelve children. I’m their third child. I can remember her piecing up quilts out of old pants legs and shirt sleeves, and any old thing she could find. Times was hard back then when I was real small. I remember her tearing up a old overcoat to make a quilt out.
When I was a little girl, too little to sew, I used to thread needles for her. She couldn’t see too good and she say, "Tear the shirt sleeves and tails and pants legs," and I would pick out all the blue pieces and stack them together, and pick out the tan pieces and stack them together, and the dark pieces. I get all the colors arranged for her in stacks so she could just reach for what she wanted in a chair in front of her. She would start about nine in the morning making the quilt, and by four in the evening she was through piecing it. She would not start quilting until she had made about ten tops.
She worked two years in the field after she was married, and then Daddy made her stay home and take care of children. That’s when she started piecing quilts all through the summer, and she would farm a garden around the house, but she wouldn't go to the swamp and work those fields.