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Maria Frances Crawford Scott

Maria Frances Crawford Scott was born in Oxford, Ohio, 1826. She died in Atlanta, Georgia, August 22, 1923.

When she was three years old her mother died of Puerperal fever, following the birth of her second child, Phebe. At the age of six, Maria's father, having remarried, her aunt, Harriet Hall, unmarried at the time, took her with her to live in West Lebanon, Indiana.

They accompanied a couple, who made the journey in a covered wagon. It took them six weeks to make the trip. When the weather was fair they traveled during the day and camped out in the open at night. If the weather was rainy or cold they stopped at Taverns, where the accommodations were primitive and crude. On retiring at night the only privacy they had in these Taverns was behind the curtains of the rough "Four Poster" beds, where they undressed at night and dressed in the morning. Most of the food they had during the journey was cooked over a fire made by the roadside, near some farm house where they could get water, milk, vegetables and eggs. Small towns in western Indiana in those days were little more than a winding roadway cut through the woods, a string of dingy houses on either side, a narrow pathway between the houses and the road. Every town had a Tavern, a church, a post office, a general store, a pharmacy and a saloon. The buildings were all of rude frame or log construction. The rooms of homes were small, ceilings low and the furniture was scanty and plain. There were no stoves. Cooking was done before an open fireplace, bread cooked on boards, meats roasted on large spits and all soup and water heated in pots and kettles hung on a crane, which swung back and forth at will. Around these small settlements were farms, where the owners lived on what their land and stock brought them.

After arriving in West Lebanon, Indiana, they became members of Maria's Uncle Hugh Hall's household, where she grew to womanhood in the usual primitive atmosphere, which pervaded the country in western Indiana in 1832. Her two uncles, brothers of her Aunt Harriet, who had urged her to come west were Daniel Dutton Hall, physician, and Hugh Colbraith Hall, Circuit Rider. She lived at the home of the latter until she was fourteen years old. This uncle's wife was an invalid and spent much of her time in bed, requiring constant attention. Maria's Aunt Harriet, fearing that her niece would soon become a drudge in this brother's family and wishing to make a home for Maria, as well as herself, consented to marry John Irving, well known Pioneer and great hunter. A picturesque figure throughout all Indiana, Maria lived with them until she was nineteen. She never went to school, though at one time she taught. Her Aunt took the place of mother, teacher and friend, as the relationship between them was very close. Her Aunt was evidently a woman of education and rare refinement. She made an effort to establish a little school for the benefit of neighboring children, but was not successful as the people were too coarse and indifferent to appreciate such an innovation. However, she did bring up Maria in the strictest possible manner. The child was taught to care for her teeth, her hair and body as well as her mind. When a little tot her hair was braided, carefully passed through an opening in her Sun Bonnet and then firmly tied with a ribbon in order that she could not take off the bonnet when exposed to the sun's rays. Later, she was obliged to wear a mask when riding to protect her complexion. She carried these ideas all through life and at ninety-seven she used plenty of cold creme before retiring. Her manners and speech were not neglected. No crossing of legs, talking in presence of grown-ups, etc. etc. And so this child was brought up over a hundred years ago. But Maria became a very efficient young woman. She was taught to spin, to sew, make butter and milk the cows. She also saw how, at certain times, hogs were slaughtered, lard was tried out and soap was made. When she was about seventeen she met a Miss Ruth Buel, who became her best loved friend and confidant. Naturally, to the casual observer, Maria was a demure and somewhat retiring young person, while Ruth was most vivacious, full of life and spirit, a great flirt and very popular with the men. She was of old French stock, who came up the Mississippi river from New Orleans in the early days and settled in western Indiana.

Ruth, later, married Joseph McDonald, United States senator from Indiana. They were, at one time, considered the handsomest couple in Washington. Until they left Richmond in 1869 the Scotts and the McDonalds of Indianapolis were intimate friends. They visited back and forth. Ruth and Maria were as close as sisters. Later, Ruth's second son married Maria's oldest daughter, Jessie.

Maria, who at heart, was not so demure as her modest manner indicated was carried away by Ruth's charm, beauty and sparkling wit and humor, for which she was noted by all who knew her. Ruth's house was in Attica, Indiana, a short distance from Lebanon. During one of her visits to Ruth, Maria met the "Tall Blond and Handsome" Virginian, Clement Scott.

It was at a "Camp Meeting" that she first saw him. He was standing beside a long table laden with food, eating watermelon with white kid gloves on, and as the juice of the succulent fruit, insisted on dripping from his fingers, he was having a regular battle with his handkerchief, trying to arrest the liquid before it fell to his coat and fancy waistcoat. He was dressed in a puce colored suit, usual stock at his throat, and he wore a high, beige colored, silk hat. [Grandmother Scott told me Grandfather Scott had on gloves because he had spotted tar and grease on his hands from his buggy. - JSM]

Ruth introduced him to Maria. He informed ''Miss Crawford" that he had been living in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with an uncle, Daniel Reid, who had married his aunt, Letitia Scott in Virginia. [This Daniel Reid was the father of Dan Reid in Richmond. - A.V.S.J] Maria was decidedly awed by the elegance and good looks of the young stranger -- his manner and dress so different from other men she had met. Although she saw him many times afterwards at various entertainments, dances at the Tavern, a Thanksgiving dinner, at "Corn Huskings", etc., she regarded him as Ruth's particular friend. She was, therefore, quite surprised, when, on their return from an "Apple Paring" and Clement took her hand to assist her in alighting from the sleigh, to feel a piece of paper slip from his hand to hers.

After a hasty good night, she fled excitedly to the houses but not before the quick eye of Ruth had spied the white missive pass from the hand of Clement to that of her dearest friend. She pursued Maria upstairs, where there were no locks on the doors, then downstairs they both came running out into the garden, where, in a small vine covered little house, at the rear of the property, Maria thought she could at last, find privacy. In she rushed and bolted the door, took the bit of paper from her pocket and in the bright moonlight, she could see that it was a note addressed to her.

In the meantime, Ruth, determined to find out what was in that note, came kicking at the door, demanding entrance. The door was at last opened but Ruth saw nothing. It was not until late that night after Ruth was asleep, that Maria crept from her bed, drew the scrap of paper from it's hiding place and with nervous trembling fingers, tore open the envelope Clement had given her. By the light of a tallow candles, and with wide opened eyes, she read the note, the contents of which, were to influence her future life.

The courtship was of short duration. They were married by Maria's uncle, who was minister as well as doctor in the Christian Church, called Campbellites, at that time. This same uncle immersed her when she was sixteen. The young couple were married without a ring, as was the custom. The date of the marriage was January 10, 1845. The ceremony took place in the morning and the bride's gown was of simple, white muslin. For the wedding journey she wore a wine colored merino dress, a long gray cloak and a small gray bonnet. They left in a buggy, stopping over night in Covington, Indiana. The following day they went to Terre Haute. Here, her husband took Maria to a millinery shop, where he bought her a pretty black velvet bonnet, trimmed with a long, white ostrich plume and a pink rose next to her face. Then he took her to a fashionable dressmaker and ordered a handsome "African Satin" dress. It was made with a deep flounce (goods changeable), pointed waist, deep lace collar and flowing sleeves with lace from elbow to wrist. Maria's hair was jet black, her eyes were violet blue and her complexion fair and clear. Other purchases were made to complete the wardrobe Clement thought appropriate for his wife. After the clothes were finished, they continued their journey in the buggy and finally arrived at Vincennes, Indiana, going to a hotel kept by John C. Clark, who had a lovely wife and two beautiful daughters about the same age as Maria - they were like three girls together.

Before going to a ball, Lavina and Nancy Clark would come in to Maria's room to have her draw their corset strings, as tight lacing was in vogue at that time.

The Clarks had a fine library, which Maria enjoyed when Clement was away. They remained with the Clarks for one year, after which time they went to housekeeping in a small frame house. Here, their first child, William Clement Scott, Jr. was born in 1846. After living here another year they went to a hotel called "The Dole House" situated about nine miles from Terre Haute. In this hotel, April 7, 1848, their second child, Frank Hall, was born. When he was three months old, they moved to Richmond, Indiana, traveling by stage and canal boat.

Their first home in Richmond was on North Pearl Street (now 5th) opposite the old Methodist church at top of hill. Later they moved to South Pearl Street, near the present site of the Catholic church. In this house their daughter, Jessie, was born - July, 1850.

The Elders and the Finleys were their neighbors. Mr. Elder was a congenial Democrat and the Finleys were intellectuals. Before Harriet, the second daughter, was born, March 06, 1852, they rented the little brick cottage which still stands at the corner of Pearl and South A. Streets.

At this time Harriet's sister, Phebe Crawford, lived with then. These two women did all the work for the family, now numbering seven, all the cooking, sewing, laundry, etc. Every evening, when Clem was at his store, working on his books, after putting the four children to bed, Maria and Phebe sat together and by the light of two candles, they would take turns reading and sewing. In this way they did much good reading and made all the children's clothes.

In the meantime, Clement had formed a partnership with Daniel Crawford, a cousin of Maria's. They had a general store on north side of Main Street between Marion and old Pearl. They called the store "The Bee Hive". The sign, with a large Bee Hive in gilt, hung in front of this store as late as 1886 or later. Clement's slogan was "What a man does is the Thing" and all his friends thought it fine.

When their second daughter, Harriet, was two years old, they decided to move to a more desirable part of the town. They bought property on old Fifth, now Eighth Street, two and one half blocks north of Main Street, on the west side of the street. They built a comfortable house, sufficiently commodious for their large family. They had the first bathroom in Richmond, Hugh was born here in 1855 (Hugh Crawford). All four of the other children were born in this house - Anna Vaughan, George Lewis, Richard McDonald and Alfred Archibald.

Originally, Richmond was called "Quaker City" as it was settled by the Philadelphia Quakers. There were many aristocrats and considerable wealth in some of these families, especially the ones who came later. With a few exceptions their stiffness and reserve did not appeal to Maria. When she invited them to call and see her (the earliest ones) they would say, "It would be pleasant" and they never came.

In the 5th Street house, however, she found herself surrounded by most delightful neighbors who became her life long friends - the Van Dorans, the Stricklands, the Col. Bridgelands, the Jacksons and opposite them lived the Episcopal Clergyman, Doctor Wakefield, a real Irishman and his family.

These people all had comfortable and some handsome homes. The Stricklands had French furniture and the Col. Bridgelands had a very large house, carriages, horses and their daughter had a French governess (quite unusual at that time). The Scotts were very happy in this home for about fifteen years. There was much social activity in a simple way. Once a year, in winter, each family gave what was called a "Stand Up Party" at which a hundred or more were invited. They entertained with charades and music. Later, each guest was given a plate and napkin and refreshments, consisting of sandwiches, coffee, ice cream and cake were served. Maria would sometimes bring home a piece of the white cake to the children.

But adversity came - Clement made a mistake when he decided to sell his interest in the "Bee Hive", take a partner and branch out in a larger and what he thought, more lucrative business. A furniture factory was built in the country and a distributing store was established in town.

At first it seemed to be a success. The family was able to have more comforts and many luxuries - servants, a carriage and horses, etc. Unfortunately, however, a fire destroyed the factory, a dishonest partner made expensive law suits necessary and crippled Clement to such an extent he was forced to change his mode of living. It was then that he decided to sell his home and remaining store and go to the "Far West".

Once more Maria, now with a husband and a large family of children at the educational age, moved on farther West and took up the life of a Pioneer.

In the Fall of 1869 they went to Southeastern Nebraska, to a small hamlet, called Camden, on the Blue river, but remained there only one year. The railroad they expected to come to Camden went to Crete and their mill and lands in Camden were of no value. In the Fall of 1870 they settled in Ashland, Nebraska, a village of fifteen hundred inhabitants, midway between Lincoln and Omaha, on the Burlington Railroad.

Clement established a small, but profitable business, had a group of congenial friends about him and lived there until his death - 1895. This couple celebrated their Golden Wedding the January before be died and all the children, with the exception of Jessie (Mrs. Malcolm Andrew McDonald) were present.

They met at the home of their son, William Clement Scott, Jr. The house was decorated with greens and flowers. In spite of the season of the year the weather was mild and it was a beautiful starlight night, when the couple returned to their cottage, after the joyful occasion was over.

The bride wore in 1895 a black moire silk gown, with lace at throat and sleeves. The groom wore a dark cutaway suit and Ascot tie.

After her husband's death Maria spent her winters with her daughter, Harriet, in Atlanta, Georgia and her summers with her youngest daughter Anne, who lived in the north.

She, Maria, during her life, traveled in a "Covered Wagon", a Buggy, a Private Railroad Car and in an automobile. Her life was a comparatively calm and peaceful one, with no tragedies. She had some hardships and, no doubts many disappointments, but through all her vicissitudes, she was able to meet her misfortunes with a grace and quiet dignity, which made her presence a benediction to the different households, where she spent her last days.

Written by her daughter, Anna V. Scott Jackson

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Jessie Scott Millener's Notes:

Grandmother Scott did not spend her summers with Aunt Anne until she was 90 years old. She spent some time with her in the spring and fall.

For a number of years after Grandfather Scott died, she lived in a small cottage a block from our house, with a good maid to look after her.

Later she and Uncle George rebuilt the cottage into a two story house, and Uncle George, who had been living at the hotel, lived with her. When Uncle George married, Grandmother went to Atlanta to live.

Every summer until she was 90 years old (after she went to Atlanta), she visited us. She loved to be with us for she could tell us what we should do and not have someone tell her what she should do.

Grandmother was beautiful even in her old age - pretty face and figure, good hearing and eyesight, no pains or aches. She was not vain, but thought a great deal about appearance. Always wanted me to wear gloves when I swept or dusted the house, always wanted me to protect my complexion when out of doors, brush my hair 100 times every night. She was always telling us that "True refinement springs from the heart" and that "Repose is the essence of refinement."

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