Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ahnentafel - #5 Mattie Irene Hendrix

My grandmother Mattie Irene Hendrix was born on 13 June 1897 to Warren David Hendricks and Lucinda Jane Gooch in Gaddistown, Union County, Georgia, near modern-day Suches.  Mattie was the next-to-youngest of 9 surviving children and in fact, her oldest sister married the same year she was born. She and her sister Maude always claimed that they were not given middle names at birth, with the expectation that when they married they would use Hendrix as their middle name.  Both of them chose to adopt a middle name anyway. The spelling of the family name was definitely in flux at this time, which is really obvious when you look at their college yearbooks, and see it spelled differently on the same page. 

Very little is known about her early years.  Her father ran a farm and took pride in being a somewhat stern taskmaster.  There was no high school in the area, but there was apparently a small country school that the children used to get the basics. Certainly Mattie and her siblings could all read and write, which was not a given for the area.   As they got older, several of the children, including Allen Luther, Vianna, Mattie and Maude, went to North Georgia Agricultural College (later North Georgia College, then North Georgia College State University, now University of North Georgia).   The college had a preparatory program specifically designed for local students who did not have other access to secondary education.  Mattie did the full preparatory program, then went on to get her domestic science certificate, which qualified her as a graduating senior in 1914.   All three of the girls played basketball while at the school.  According to the yearbook, Mattie "plays for all it's worth at guard's position.  Her speed is a feature in every game, and she plays the ball splendidly.." Mattie later used to tell her grandchildren that she was one of the first women in Georgia to play basketball in shorts (bloomers) rather than a skirt, something she was proud of.

Shortly after graduating, Mattie began working as a teacher in Emanuel County, Georgia, possibly as a home demonstration agent.  In newspaper reports, she is just noted as a teacher, while the census
has her as a U.S. vocational teacher.  Her photo of her first car, shown here, was labeled as "home demonstration agent".  She was the 1921 Attendance officer for education in Emanuel County and  heavily involved in literacy programs for the county, as well as demonstrating at the county fair and joining the Camp Fire girls on a camping trip.   She was also active with the county Georgia University alumnae association, attending their meetings.

Mattie married Charles Gordon Garner on 10 December 1921 in Swainsboro.  Apparently at the time this meant that she could not continue in her job, so this was the end of her professional career.  She and Gordon lived first in Lyons, Toombs County, where their first two sons Charles Gordon,Jr and Warren Hendrix were born.  About 1931 they moved to
Athens, where James Arthur and Robert Edward joined the family.   After her father died in 1940, Mattie and Gordon purchased his property in Gaddistown, Georgia. In the late 40s, she moved back there with Jim and Bobby.  Gordon joined them after his retirement.

Left a widow in 1955, Mattie continued to run the farm for many years, until finally selling the property in the late 60s.  She lived for some time after that with her sons in Kansas, Georgia and Oklahoma.  She died in 1975 in Oklahoma City, having been living at the time with her son Warren in Cordell, Oklahoma. She and Gordon are both buried at Mt Pleasant Church #2 (the Hill Church) cemetery in Suches, GA.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy seeing those wonderful photos of Georgia families, thanks!