Nettie Jane Kennedy
The youngest child of Patrick and Indiana Bendolph, Nettie Jane married Hargrove Kennedy; he was named for Hargrove Van de Graaff, the owner of the Gee's Bend estate, and worked for him as a young man.
My mama and daddy was Indiana Bendolph and Patrick Bendolph. I believe there was 'bout sixteen children. When I was growing up I didn't enjoy doing nothing. I didn't work in the fields none when I was a little girl. I was the youngest one, and they always left me under the tree to watch the cows. Didn't bother me. I wasn't big enough to work. When I got bigger I worked in the fields a little bit, hoed cotton and corn and things. Wasn't nothing else in the field to do. That was a long time ago. I don't remember too much. Hot sun.
I was married when I was twenty. This man right here, Hargrove Kennedy. Ain't going to be nary another'n. To me, he is a good man. I don't know how he is to others. We been married sixty-four years. Our first house wasn't hardly fittin' to live in. It made out of logs, dirt. I liked it alright 'cause I didn't know no better. It was a two-room house.
We farmed in the swamp, down there where the water at, down by the river. Farmed cotton, corn, peas, pinders (what you call peanuts), millet for syrup, and raised cows and hogs. We worked the old man called Van de Graaff land. We rented the land. Come out bad. Sometimes we couldn't even hardly pay. If you didn't have it, you just didn't have it. Nearly 'bout all the time you couldn't hardly clear.
Mama started me out making quilts. I done it with my sister three years older than me. Her name was Indiana, same as Mama. Mama and Indiana and me was the ones making quilts. Papa used to buy what they call quilt rolls for Mama to make quilts out of. It was scrap cloth. All sort of mixed-up stuff. We used old clothes sometime, if they wore out but was still fittin' to put in a quilt.