Photo: David Raccuglia, 2000

Rachel Carey George

Gee's Bend, Alabama
1908 -

Daughter of Reverend William Carey, minister of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, the main congregation in Gee's Bend, Rachel Carey George is also a member of the extended family of Delia Bennett, her mother's sister. Rachel's daughter, Annie Mae Carey, describes her mother's background.

She's ninety-four and was born in Mitchell Hill, Alabama. Her father was William Carey and her mother was Mariah Pettway Carey. She has one daughter, three granddaughters, and one grandson. She's a woman with a lot of wisdom, a God-fearing woman. She worked doing everything—cut wood, chop wood, plow, fix a wall, care for her cows—until she was about ninety years old. She was the strong woman in the family. She liked to farm, fish, sing, cook, build houses, and she loved her quilting. She had plenty of quilts and liked to make quilts all the time.

Her husband died in 1975, and she moved back over here. Her first husband was John Mosely. Then she divorced him and married Arthur George "till death do them part." I don't know much about her first husband. She had to do all the work. It was sometimes black dark, and she had to take the mule out and plow all the corn, all the cotton, all that. He was running the only thing he knew how—his mouth. He wanted to move to Mobile, and she told him she don't leave her farm for nobody. He left and didn't come back. She did everything.

My mama's second husband was pretty good. He worked with her, and they made a good farm. They had plenty cows, hogs, and mules. But she did a lot of the work, and he took the money. She had to work and then stop and do the cooking and everything. He got sick and had a heart attack or something. I don't know too much about him, but he was smart.

My mama worked until she was about ninety and her mind kind of slowed down. She didn't want to slow down. She even tried to climb trees until we stopped her. And she kept on quilting.