"Stacked Bricks"

Nettie Young1928

Souls Grown Deep

Souls Grown Deep
Atlanta, United States

Nettie Young made this quilt when she was just 11 years old, using a pile of strips of cloth her mother gave her.

"I was raised up in a place they called Young’s, the old Young plantation. My daddy’s father had been a slave named Irby but was sold to the Pettways, so my daddy was named Pettway, same as all the others owned by the Pettways. Daddy had lived down in the Bend. When he got grown he was free from the Pettway ownership and could go where he wanted to go, and he went up to the Young plantation to work. He farmed up there—you called it sharecropping, what he did. Later on, he got where he could rent the land, but that wasn’t much better.

"I grew up in the renting time. Then when I got married we did some rent farming from the Wilkinsons. They had bought all the land around up there. Then we moved down to this house in 1945. Old Man Wilkinson had bought this house in a auction and wanted my husband, Clint Young, to live in it. We was living up in Wilkinson’s pasture in a common wooden shack, and this house was a whole improvement. So, Old Man Wilkinson sold it to us for $4,000, higher than the cost was supposed to be, thinking we’d fall behind and he could take it back. But we was able to keep up the payments, and later on, the government, the FHA, give us the loan, so we was able to get the house and keep the house ever since.

"I started working quilts when I was a child. My mother would have me sit with her, and I was watching her and putting scraps together, doing like she was doing. She’d drop those scraps at her feet, and I’d be picking them up. My mama looked at that thing and told me I did good. I felt good, like I had done a big job. I always loved sewing. I made all my children’s clothes. Didn’t need a pattern. Same with quilts. If I seen a dress or a quilt or something I liked, I can make it. I just draw it out the way I want it. In the quilting bee time, I started using patterns, but I shouldn’t have did it. It broke the ideas I had in my head. I should have stayed with my own ideas. I kept making quilts all the way up to last year. I still got the feeling every now and then to sew, but I just don’t have the mind to do it now. My hands are good, but I ain’t quite got the spirit—not like before, when I’m always ready, day and night. Age got me."


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