Mildred was born in 1907 in Big Lake, Mississippi County, Arkansas, which is near present day Leachville. In 1910, she lived with her parents and baby sister in Black Oak Township in Craighead County, Arkansas. Mildred had a serious fall as a young child when she fainted and hit her head on a sewing machine cabinet. She developed epilepsy. She burned her hand severely during one seizure and used paraffin treatments to heal the burn.
In 1920, the family consisting of Mildred's parents and 5 children was located in Buffalo Township in Craighead County. In contrast to the census enumeration stating she attended school during 1920 at the age of 13, according to family members, she quit school in grade 3 to stay home and help with the children who called her ‘Big Sis.’ Mildred's mother was involved in a circuit ministry and was gone a great deal. She also worked in a shirt factory in Kennett, Dunklin Co., MO, but did not do well because of the pressure to complete so many items quickly.
Martha, Mildred’s baby sister, said that Mildred, who was a slight woman, didn’t help in the hay fields. That was her sister Wilma’s job. Wilma also did the family sewing. The sisters were anxious to get away from their father who worked them hard. Mildred married her beau of 6 weeks, Lindell Scott Johnson on 19 March 1926 with her father’s permission. The couple's first child, Junior, died during childbirth in December of 1927.
In 1930, Mildred and Lindell lived in Dunklin County, Missouri with their baby daughter. Lindell worked as an auto mechanic. During the flapper days of 1932 Mildred had long hair, and her brother-in-law Lemuell Johnson wrote that “if she bobs her hair...I will help Lindell paddle her when I come home.” The family relocated to Dyer County, Tennessee around this time.
In 1940, Mildred and her husband lived in Dyersburg, Dyer County, Tennessee with their five children. One more child was to follow.
In Mildred’s adult years, the childhood injury continued to bother her. The burned hand and arm atrophied and the doctors considered amputation. Mildred was healed in a church service when a visiting minister stopped the sermon and said someone in the congregation needed healing. Family members recall that she could use her arm after that.
Mildred also had an attack of appendicitis and the family could not afford the surgery. The only option was for Lindell to sell his pickup. At that time, the family's only income came from the wood Lindell found in the bottom lands and hauled to town to sell for firewood. Mildred declined surgery and followed a routine of strict bedrest with ice packs to her abdomen and only water to drink for many days. After her recovery, she never drank water after, only coke or iced coffee. Mildred’s sister [Pike-5655|Martha Pike]] recalled that Mildred considered the coke “medicine” and wouldn’t share it.
Martha also said that when the Pikes lived in Monette, Craighead Co., AR, and the Johnson family in Dyersburg, Dyer Co., TN, Mildred “always knew we were coming. She would tell Lindell - Dad and family will be here soon. Within 30 minutes we arrived. We did not tell her we were coming.” The only time Martha ever remembered surprising Mildred with a visit was when the Johnson family lived in the Ferguson school house in the country. Martha and Wilma hitched a ride to Dyersburg, were dropped off at the highway, and walked up the lane. Martha also reported that Mildred “liked to pinch you, and it hurt.” Family members reported that she “washed on Monday, ironed on Tuesday, cleaned on Wednesday, defrosted the fridge on Thursday, shopped on Friday (she had a standing cab appointment), cooked on Saturday and church on Sunday.”
Mildred’s granddaughter Connie Davis remembers her as a small, cheerful woman, always busy in the kitchen. A typical breakfast was biscuits and sausage with sausage gravy. She also baked cornbread, fried fish in cornmeal and drank a lot of coke. She wore high-heeled lace up shoes and cotton stockings and print dresses.
Mildred passed away on 17 March 1985 after a lengthy illness and is buried at Dyer County Memorial Gardens.
Father and mother confirmed
"DNA Match" for Letia (Johnson) Simpson (Ancestry.com : accessed 15 February 2022), estimated relationship 1C-2C, genealogical relationship 1C1R, Kay (Williams) Wilson, sharing 346 cM across 17 segments (longest segment 36 cM), MRCA Malcolm Argul Pike and Martha Edna (Greer) Pike.
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