Minnie Miller

Lynn's Interview with Aunt Minnie
Interview with Minnie Dorsey
May, 1989
Aunt Minnie was born June 8, 1911 to Jay LaFayette Miller ( April 18,1858 - May 26, 1944) and Martha Eveline King Miller (May 14, 1867 - April 6, 1942). She was the 12th child in a family of 6 girls and 6 boys. 
Her father was 53 when she was born and her mother was 44. They lived in a frame house with living room parlour, kitchen, and dining room.. Mom and Dad slept on bed in living room with a black leather davenport and black leather chairs.
Wink and Web slept on a folding bed in the dining room. Two beds were in another room. A red floral Axminister Rug was on the floor. They turned the porch into another room when Web was sick with encephalitis. He had 2 brain surgeries. One surgery was at St. Luke’s where he was a patient for for 7 1/2 weeks. 
Aunt Minnie attended King School, a 2 room school house with grades 1 -4 in one room and grades 5-8 in the other room. School was heated with wood burning stove. The children walked 1 1/4 mile to school. She took her lunch to school in a syrup bucket. Louise Gross was her teacher and Dr. John Hickman also taught school there. Aunt Minnie was 2 years old when Aunt Maude married John Hickman.
The town of Des Arc was 4 miles from the farm. Family members went into town to get the mail, to buy flour, sugar, and coffee. Her Mother sold milk and butter in town. On a day of shopping she might buy 15cents worth of material. One summer she worked for her sister Ethel Miller Lewis and her husband Fred Lewis. Aunt Minnie took care of their 6 kids, washed clothes, and cooked. To wash clothes a fire had to be built outside to heat the water in a big black iron kettle. She was paid 2 percale dresses at the end of the summer. In winter the clothes would freeze dry on the line.
At age 13 Aunt Minnie would go help Moms with new babies. Sometimes Aunt Minnie would care for her nieces and nephews while Grandma Ethel and Grandpa Fred went to town by wagon. They would be gone for over half a day.
17 people rode in the wagon to church with the neighbors.
Uncle Posey’s house was the original fireplace and chimney, and house. Uncle Posey has the original land plus lots more.
The Miller farm raised turkeys, chickens, and corn. Martha King Miller had no cookbooks nor recipes. She baked biscuits, cornbread, and bread. Jay Miller was excellent gardener and grew many vegetables which his wife canned. One time Aunt Minnie remembers canning 80 quarts of apples one summer over a wood burning stove. Until 1942 they had no electricity.
A spring house kept milk, butter, and dressed cicken cool. Cream was skimmed off the milk and made into butter stored in crock. During a storm, they would run to spring house through the lightning to rescue the food because they knew the water might rise.
In 1927 at age 16 Aunt Minnie left the farm and moved to St. Louis where she lived with her sister Edith and her husband Elmer Lovelace.
Aunt Minnie worked at Broadway and Washington at the Woolworth’s Store for $10.00 a week. From her earnings she paid Edith $5.00, spent $1.00 for transportation, and sent $1.00 home to her parents faithfully.
Later she worked as cook for other families and lived with the family. She said it was quite a trick to keep the food warm and at the right temperature for serving. That is when she learned to heat the plates. The family fell on harder times and let the other servants go, but they kept Aunt Minnie because they liked her cooking!
She stated that Uncle Dunn Hildebrand lived on Castor River and had rifle from Civil War. He was older than Jay Miller, her father.
Lisa Dorsey has heirloom china doll that belonged to Aunt Minnie when she was 3 or 4 years old. Aunt Maude gave Minnie a china Easter egg one Easter; Aunt Minnie remembers finding it hidden in the flowers.