Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mandie Jones Wheat a Midwife in Amite, Louisiana

Mandy Jones Wheat
Mandie Jones Wheat was born in St. Helena Parish on December 15, 1892 to Joe Jones and Lizzie Banks. Mandie, a midwife delivered thousands of babies in Tangipahoa and St. Helena Parishes. She delivered black, white and Italian babies throughout the community. People in the community also called her D'Mandie because she put the letter "D" before all of her words.

She was also known as a herbalist that helped heal many black folks during a time when black folks couldn't go to hospital and clinics because of segregation. Sometime the white physicians would call upon her services to make medicine for their patients.

She met and married a man named Bass Wheat,  according to the 1920 United States Census, there were five children: Willie Gordon, Cala Wheat, J.B. Wheat, Lizzie Wheat, Mary and Ruby Wheat.
The home of Mandy Jones Wheat

Her grandson Michael Daniel recalled the days  she would prepare to deliver babies and some of the natural herbs she would go out into the woods and gather to heal the sick. I remembered Mother Mandie from Gordon Chapel Church of God in Christ in Amite, LA., She would sit in a chair that was just for her in the front of the church.  I remember her wearing all white in church and using a walking cane. Boy! you better not get caught chewing gum in Church. One day I was chewing gum and I walked past her and she hooked me with that cane and gave me a good talking too. Mother Mandie was a very sweet and kind lady.

She was also a farmer who planted every vegetable and fruit you can imagine. She shared her vegetables from her farm with others in the community.

June 8, 1928 Diploma of Mandie Wheat
I know she cured my youngest brother Michael who use to have terrible asthma attacks as a child, my mother took him to see Mother Mandie for a natural cure. To this very day my brother doesn't suffer from those asthma attacks. I was delighted her grandson got in contact with me to share photographs and oral history with me about his grandmother. We should never forget pioneers like Mandie Wheat. Many people who were delivered by her are still alive today in Tangipahoa and St. Helena Parishes.

One of her grandsons Eugene Edwards said that his grandmother would walk for miles in the cold when it time to deliver a baby when she didn't take the wagon and mule. Folks back didn't have money to pay her, so they paid her with laying hens, sacks of potatoes, and livestock just like they did the doctors during this time and era. Mandie also graduated as a hairdresser in 1928. The community of Amite, Louisiana should never forget the amazing African American woman.