"Millie" or "Ma"

In the book, "Santo Tomas" (1946) by Frederic H. Stevens, Millie is listed as "Millie Brown Sanders".

The following are best guesses: Millie was born in or near Marshall, Harrison County, Texas about 1893. Marshall is a small town near the Louisiana boarder. Her mother was a Negro and her father was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian. Millie married a man who was also part Indian. He was in the U.S. Army and Millie went with him to the Philippines before the start of WW II. Seems like they were divorced before the start of the War. Millie ran a boarding house in Manila at "Number 12 Nebraska Ermita -- run by an American lady. Southern cooking." After liberation in 1945, Millie returned to Marshall, Texas, but left before 1948 to get medical treatment at McCornack General Hospital. She was hospitalized for about 1 year. After that she lived "in a dank, unheated shack behind 625 Winona Avenue (most likely in Pasadena, CA) and attended "St. Andrew's church. The church has helped her, and last Christmas (1947?) she received a rosary blessed by the Pope."

March 28, 2007

I checked my census records and I find Millie Brown on the 1900 Harrison County Census as a black female born 1893 age 6 years living with her grandparents Israel and Phena Lane. Phena was born in Mississippi and both her parents were born there. Israel was born in Alabama and both parents were born there. Millie Brown was born in Texas. Israel and Parthenia Lane are listed on the 1880 Census for Harrison County age 35 and 45 respectively with one daughter, Delpha age 13. The Lanes would have been slaves according to their age. I'll keep looking.

Signed - a researcher in Harrison County Texas.

And here's some additional information from another researcher:

Millie B. Sanders was born on 3 September 1892 (census records are often l year off) in Texas and died in Los Angeles on 29 April 1961. She was in Washington, D. C. as a married roomer living with her widowed aunt, an 83-year old black woman Emily Lee in 1920 and was a roomer in Washington in 1930 (her husband was probably at his army base for the census).

November 4, 2006

Ma Saunders had a certain grandeur that is unmistakable, even in that faded and outlined picture, which comes from a copy of a photo taken from microfilm, which I obtained with great difficulty. It's all that seems to exist.

Now if you took Marian Anderson and mixed her with Ethel Barrymore—they were of that period—you might get some idea of what Mildred Sanders was like (she pronounced it Sawn-ders). She sang in a deep contralto voice of very good quality and I think "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" would be closest to her spirit. She also sang snatches of opera and sang: "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" as we worked together in the camp kitchen. She was supposed to be removed to Los Banos but ultimately remained at Santo Tomás. I have no leads about her husband. They seem to have been divorced for some years before the war, I do seem to recall hearing that he led a military band.

Robin Prising

If you would like to share any information about Millie Sanders
or would like to be added to my POW/Internee e-mail distribution list,
please let me, Tom Moore, know.

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