Mary Scott

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person Interviewed: Mary Scott

DeValls Bluff or Biscoe


"I said if ever I seed you agin I'd show you dis here scar on my head.

See here [a puffed-out, black, rusty, not quite round place, where no

hair grew]. Dat dar what my young mistress put on me when I was a chile.

Dock Hardy hired me. He was rich and married a pore gal. It went to her

head. He was good to me. She was mean. She had him whoop me a time or

two for nothin'. They had two little babies, I stayed round wid. I loved

em. I churned, brought in all the wood mighty near, brought bout all the

water from the spring. Master Dock be coming horseback from Franklin,

Tennessee. I knowed bout time I take the babies to meet him. He'd wait

at a big stump we could climb on his horse, take the baby in front and

us up behind him, and put us off on the back piazza at the house. I

wrapped up the churn and quit. She ax me what I quit churnin' for. I say

the butter come. She say it ain't had time. I say it ready to take up

anyhow. She got so mad she throwed a stick of stove wood, hit me on

my head. I run out crying, the blood streamin' down. I started to the

spring, come back and got the water bucket. I got me some water and

brought back a fresh bucket full. I washed my head in cool water where

it was bleedin'. It bled all way back. She say, 'Where you been?' I say

I been to the spring, brought some cool water to the babies. I give em

some I told her. When I got water I always give them some. She took the

bucket, made me go wid her, poured the water out in the path under a

shade tree, and made me take 'nother bucketful home. I thought she was

so mean; I didn't know what she was doing that about. Got to the house

she put me on a clean chemisette. I slipped off down to the feed house,

lay down, my head on the cotton seeds, and went to sleep.

"When Master Dock come he woke me up, wanted to know why I didn't meet

him. He seen that blood. Went on to the house. He ask her what done my

head that way. She say, 'She went to the spring, fell down, spilled the

water, and hurt it on a rock.' I told him that wasn't so--not so! I told

him all bout it. He told her she ought to be 'shamed treat good little

nigger chap mean. He was so sorry for me. She didn't care. They had been

goin' to old missis house every week. It was three weeks 'fo she would

go. I got to see my mama, 'fo she died.

"Old Mistress Emily was a doctor woman. Dock told her, 'Mama, Scrubbs

jumps and screams bout a hour late every evening wid her head.' When it

got late it hurt and I screamed and jump up and down. Mistress Emily

come got me in her arms, put me to sleep. When I woke up Dock and Kitty

gone home with the babies. I cried bout being from the babies; I loved

em, never been away from em 'fo. She got three maggots and says,

'Scrubbs, see what I got out your little head.' Mama had died then. She

say, 'Your mama would want me to keep you here wid me.' She kept me till

it healed up. Them maggots big as a sage broom straw. We swept the floor

wid sage straw tied together then. Mistress Emily kept me a month with

her and doctored my head every day. I slept on a pallet and on a little

bed she had in the room. When I went back to Kitty's she wasn't as mean

to me as she been--but mean nough then.

"My mama named Amy Hardy. She had five boys, three girls. She died with

a young baby. I reckon they had different papas. I was my papa's only

chile. They all said that. Bout a month after I went to Dock and

Kitty's, it was surrender. He (the little Negro girl's father) come,

stayed all night, and took me wid him to live. Dock wanted me to stay; I

love Dock and the children. Every year till a few years ago my head get

sore and run. We tried all kinds medicine on it. Don't know what cured


"The week 'fo I left there I had a task to make a cut of thread every

night, a reel. When I heard papa was coming to git me, I put cotton bats

under the reels and kivered em up. Good thing papa got me--Kitty would

killed me when she went to spin next week. She been so mean why I done

that way.

"They never sold any of our set but some on the place was sold. The

mothers grieve and grieve over their children bein' sold. Some white

folks let their slaves have preachin', some wouldn't. We had a bush

arbor and set on big logs. Children set round on the ground. 'Fo freedom

I never went to preachin'. I kept Kitty's babies so she went. Mothers

didn't see their children much after they was sold.

"Fo freedom they would turn a wash pot upside-down at the door and have

singin' and prayer meetin'. The pot would take up the noise. They done

that when they danced too. I don't know how they found out the iron pot

would take up the noise. They had plenty of em settin' round in them

days. Somebody found it out and passed it on."

Mary Raines Mary Scott facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail