Remembering Mattie Wiggs Carlyle of Millen, Georgia

A tribute to an extraordinary life

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Life and Legacy

Mattie Wiggs Carlyle, an African American, was born and lived her entire life in Millen, Georgia. Millen, a close-knit town with a population of around 3,430 in 2009, was a place where everybody knew each other, especially at the time of her passing.

Starting in 1966, Mattie worked for many years as part of the maintenance staff at Burgess Landrum High School. Following the school's integration, it was renamed Jenkins County Elementary School, where she continued her employment. She eventually retired from her position, securing a pension for her years of dedicated service. She was widely recognized in Millen and well-known among many in Jenkins County. She maintained relationships with most of her family members, although some never visited during the time when Jedlickica Carlyle, also known as Lee Carlyle, and Vensentay Carlyle, known as Vince, lived with her in Millen, GA.

She served as the guardian for Lee Carlyle and Vince Carlyle until they eventually left the home. Vince departed following his high school graduation to enlist in the Air Force. Meanwhile, Lee left Millen, Georgia, during her 11th grade to live with her mother, Celestine Hurst. After completing high school, she enlisted in the Army. Mattie was deeply protective of the grandchildren she raised, consistently assuring them that they would always have a place to stay in her home after her passing, and urging them not to let anyone take away the home where they grew up.

The children of Mattie who are still living include Celestine Hurst from Baltimore, Maryland; Kirby Carlyle, residing in Millen, Georgia; and Bobby Swain Carlyle, who lives in Hephzibah, Georgia. Mattie enjoyed regular visits to her sister Pearly Mae in Savannah, Georgia, every month, and she visited her other sister, Lessie Mae Carter, in Millen, Georgia, on a weekly basis.

I fondly remember visiting as a child and playing with cousins my age. Additionally, every week, we would go to my Uncle Lazarus Carlyle's house every Saturday for dinner. My grandmother would bring groceries, and his wife would cook. She made it a point to visit all of her children regularly. Some family members would gather at her house for holiday dinners. She had a fondness for chewing gum. She routinely cashed her checks at the Regions Bank in Millen. Notably, she always maintained a P.O. Box, number 793, with a key to the Millen, Georgia, Post Office. Interestingly, her son Kirby Carlyle still uses the same P.O. Box 793 and has a key to it.

She frequently traveled to Waynesboro, GA, Statesboro, GA, and Savannah, GA. She also made a significant trip to Los Angeles, California, when her brother Norman Wiggs passed away, to manage his estate and ensure it was appropriately distributed among her three sisters.


Mattie Carlyle


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