After meeting Mattie Bratcher, you might say her middle name should be 'Versatile.' Mattie was the 1st born child of the young Daniel's couple in Grand Saline, TX. She was the eldest in the family of 7 girls and 6 boys raised in Grand Saline; the home of the famous Morton Salt Company.

As Mattie matured, she decided to take up the profession of teaching in her late teens. She taught 1st through 6th grade in a small country school in East Texas. During that time she began seeing a local widowed veterinarian, Nathaniel Bratcher. Nathaniel and Mattie met through Mattie's grandmother, who helped take care of Dr. Bratcher's son. At the age of 18, Mattie married Dr. Bratcher. They had a small home wedding in Grand Saline in September of 1919.

Mattie continued teaching, but stopped shortly after marrying because her husband wanted her to stay home more. The happy couple soon expanded to a family of 4 with the addition of their 1st child Marie and later a son, Stan.

Even with her time consuming duties as a mother of 2, Mattie remained very active with many hobbies and household duties. She was well known for the beautiful hats she made. She was an excellent seamstress and a great cook. She even upholstered furniture, rode horses, butchered hogs and shingled houses. There seemed to be nothing she could not do. She was a faithful member of the Church of Christ church and taught Sunday school for many years. Her love for yardwork and gardening lasted well into her 90's.

Mattie also worked as a Practical Nurse and took on private cases. She later worked as a nurse at the Terrell State Hospital for a short period of time. During World War II Mattie moved on to a new employer, the Chance Vaught Company. This was a British flight training school based in Terrell, TX. Mattie repaired the canvas airplanes that were used there. After her husband passed away in 1950, she relocated with the Vaught Company in Dallas, TX. where she continued to repair the airplanes they manufactured. She remained in Dallas for the next 27 years. Still maintaining her title as 'Jack of All Trades', the last job she held was as an elevator operator for the courthouse in Dallas.

Mattie left Dallas and moved to El Paso and stayed for 8 years then moved on to Altus, OK. for another 8. After her stay in Altus, she moved to Lubbock.

Mattie has no lack of family that loves her. Her heart of gold, 'take action' attitude and versatile nature has won her many admirers. One is Bob Mills, who she took into her family and raised when he was a young man. Mills wrote this poem in honor of Mattie on the occasion of her 100th birthday:

Memories of "Ma B"

I'll remember you.
I can't recall the first sound that I heard...or word
so long ago.

But I'll remember you.
I can't recall the eyes I first could see, see me;
How could I know?

I don't recall my childhood very well
and if I could...I couldn't tell.

But I'll remember you.
When I left a broken home, and tears
of those childhood years;
You took me in.

And I'll remember you.

Her daughter, Marie fondly recalls a few humorous stories that demonstrated Bratcher's 'take action' outlook on life. Marie recalls that some years after her father died, her mother began to see a gentleman socially. He started to wear a neck tie that Mattie did not like. She asked the gentleman not wear it anymore, but he decided to ignore her request. When he wore it again, Mattie promptly cut the tie from his neck with a pair of scissors. Alas! No more ugly neck tie. Marie chuckled when she remembered someone asking her brother Stan, who is a minister, how he turned out so good. He stated "I was more afraid of my mother than the police."

Mattie Bratcher is the matriarch of a family that includes 2 loving children, 4 grand children and 9 great grand children. She currently fills her days with family visits, a good game of bingo and socializing with other nursing home residents.


Marie, Stan and Mattie on Stan's graduation day from college.


Mattie with daughter, Marie and son, Stan and wife, celebrating Mattie's 100th birthday.


Mattie looking beautiful in her western gear.


Mattie showing off her new St. Patty's Day hat.