The Mississippi Moments Decades Series continues counting down to the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2021. Today we dip into an interview conducted in August of 1973. Mrs. Mary Lillian Peters (Ogden) Whitten graduated from Mississippi Normal College (USM) with a degree in Music Education in 1923. She has many fond and entertaining memories of college life in those early days, but in this episode, we focus on her life growing up on a farm in Noxubee County.
1973 – Mary Whitten of Macon, Mississippi was born on her family’s farm in 1904. She remembers selling vegetables and dairy products to the local agricultural high school for extra income. Farm life in Mississippi during the early 20th Century required hard work and self-sufficiency. Whitten recalls hunting wild honey and hickory nuts and smoking meat in winter.
After Whitten’s father died in 1915, the entire family worked to keep their dairy farm going. She describes rounding up the cows for milking and washing clothes in a nearby spring. Part of Whitten’s responsibilities included churning cream and clabber into butter and buttermilk. She recounts feeling heartbroken once after accidentally spilling the contents of the churn.