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Biographical Information Mary Starks was born the first of ten children on January 26,and reared in the Chestnut Grove neighborhood of Esmont. She tells of how her paternal great grandparents, along with other freed slaves from Campbell County, were given land settlements all along the James River, and how her great grandmother's brother was sold away from her in Richmond.
Her paternal grandmother, a midwife who used her horse and buggy to travel to clients, lived with the family, and Starks recalls how her grandmother told her "the facts of life. Mary Starks babysat her siblings and cared for the home, and throughout her life tended to ill relatives. She married the man she fell in love with at the early age of fifteen, in order to get away from the strict surveillance of her father. Starks recounts daily chores, the teachers at her school in Chestnut Grove, trips to Scottsville, various health care resources, and other aspects to her life growing up in the Esmont area.
She discusses at length her perceptions of racial segregation and her many positive social relationships with white people from her youth into the present day. The goal of the project is to chronicle the life of African-Americans in the Charlottesville, Virginia area during the period of segregation.
As part of this project we have conducted a series of interviews with current residents of the Charlottesville area who were alive during that period. The project has also incorporated oral interviews conducted by other Charlottesville institutions which cover the appropriate subject area. Notes About Our Transcription The transcripts represent what was said in the interview to the best of our ability. It is possible that some words, particularly names, have been misspelled.
Where we did not feel sure of spellings we have indicated this by the use of the term 'phonetically' in parentheses following the word in question. Places where words were unclear are noted by 'inaudible'. Brackets have been used to indicate additions made to the text upon review by the interviewee. We have made no attempt to correct mistakes in grammar. Oral History. This is Sarah Lawrence.
It's May 24, and I am at the home of Mrs. Vercal Starks, the daughter-in-law of Mrs. Mary Starks who I'm interviewing today. Eric, E. That's the way we spell it. Some people try to spell it different. Oh okay, Eric. All right. Can you state for the record what your full name is please?
My full name? I always use the "G". Mary G. Well, my grandmother on my father's side was Amanda Scrubbs Gray. And her husband was Ned Gray. But that's been a long time and I don't remember nothing about him. Do you remember where they were born? Were you ever told? No, I don't know where my mother's mother was born. And my grandfather neither. But my [grand]mother's mother was named Patsy. Patsy Brown Wells. No, I don't remember where they were born.
But they must have been born. They was - well, let me see. It was in Albemarle County but they came down from Campbell County, the slaves. Um, were they, so they were raised in Esmont and you Sex dating in Esmont up in Esmont as well? Did you ever hear stories about them being in slavery? Did they talk to you about that? Yes, my grandma told me they all came down from Campbell County and they Sex dating in Esmont around like down from Lynchburg all the way down the James River.
We were sold down here. She was sold and some of the towns that she in, in Albemarle County, and her brother was sent on down towards Richmond. She has a brother named Garrett Scrubbs. Well, her mother was named Annie Scrubbs but I don't know no more than that. I don't know whether she was still living or - I imagine she was still living at that time, with the children.
What Sex dating in Esmont did they tell their grandchildren, tell you about slavery? Okay we're back. My question was what else did your grandparents tell you, if anything, and all the grandchildren, about slavery? Well see by me being the oldest - we lived with our grandmother, our grandmother lived with my mother.
And my father, he worked, after he came out of the service, he went back on the railroad. He worked there. For forty-four years. He had to go a lot in them days because it was hard to make money to take care of your children. And that's the one, I told you, was named Amanda Scrubbs Gray. But I never seen her husband. But she was telling us how hard they Sex dating in Esmont to work and what they had to do.
How they used to have to take care of the big farms, whatever they were on. And see when they came down from Lynchburg, each slave mostly around had a settlement, from all the way down the river. Whoever was down there. Let me see, I was just there. You know, who - there were slaves on the - whoever the name, the slaves they were on, I mean their Misters Mistresses? Yeah the women had to farm too. And then, around here, in this settlement, a lot of older people - I don't know who they were - my grandma told me I just don't remember - all the misters and them had all gave them all a piece of land something.
All through these woods you can't see right, little huts and things and the really great big rocks for the flue and stuff. Ah, oh so they're uh, if you walk through the woods you can still come across some of that? And then see, they come, like I told you, from Lynchburg, and went all the way down to Richmond somewhere she said.
That's where our brother was sold at. My grandma's. And then, on my momma's side, her grandmother was a mistress inaudible.
And I can't think of what her. She was mistress of their home but she was working at the plantation. I can't think, I can't think of what her, what the people's name was where she was working for. Well maybe you'll come, come up with it and then we can get back to that. Well, she was the maid, she was the nurse, she was the seamstress. Okay, that's what I was getting at. Your great-grandmother was all these things. Seamstress, nurse, and, wow. Well that's wonderful. That's why we're getting it all here today.
I'm going to get to your life as a little girl in Esmont.
You talked about your grandmother living with you. So, well why don't we start with how many brothers and sisters you had.
And their names. My oldest brother's name was Alexander. My second brother was Howard V. My third brother was Albert G. And my two younger brothers, Willie and Donald. Yeah, I'm going to tell you now. I was the oldest girl for seven years. And then it was my sister, her name was Elois. You see that's something that some people don't pronounce it like that. And she had a twin, and his name was James, but he passed. So, where did you fit in? Were there three older brothers? And then the next boy next to me was named Alexander. Howard, Albert, and then next to Albert was a girl named Elois.
And then the brother next to her was named Willie. And then next, the baby boy, was Donald.
And the next girl was. And the other was named Marva. And the twin to Elois was named James. Okay, got it. So, what was the age difference between you and Marva? How old I were? I got married when I was fifteen years old. So, That's quite a span. So your mom was pretty busy with raising the children? She worked like I told you, on plant- that was the plantation, didn't call it plantation. She went to work for the Hancocks two days a week, up in Howardsville.Sex dating in Esmont
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