Mary Scarlett Jones


Conducted by Joe Liles

Part 7


At school, we first started with the ABC’s and then studied arithmetic, English, History, and Geography.  We had a book on each subject.  Our parents had to buy our books.  Sometimes they could get ‘em second-handed, and sometimes they were passed down one child to the other.  Our teachers were all black teachers, and most of the time, they were lady teachers.  Just every now and then we would have a man teacher.  We went to school through the seventh grade.


I’ll tell you one thing about a long time ago when I went to school.  One of the teachers would wear her shoes on the wrong feet.  She said it straightened the heels out.  My daddy had a shoe lash.  It was a metal thing he would mend shoes on.  Now, he would take those heels off and put on some new ones, or he had a piece of leather he would put tacks in and mend the heels that way.  I guess this teacher didn’t know anybody to fix her shoes.  My daddy would have fixed her heels.


We went to the Piney Grove Church.  We would walk or go in the wagon.  We had kind of a near way we went.  We would go to the Wardsville School, and then we walked up what they called the Cabin Hill.  It was between Highway 70 and Red Hill Farm.  “Cept, they didn’t have the highway back then.  It wasn’t until ’23 before they built the highway out here.  We would walk past where Cousin Gertrude used to live, and then we would go straight to the church from there. 


Before they built Highway 70, it was a cinder road.  They got those cinders from the Power Plant.  I remember a lot of big trucks and equipment when they built that highway.  Our parents would not let us get anywhere close to where they were working, but we could stand back a good ways and watch.  In ’23 they made that road into a hard surface road. 


Ever since I can remember, they had a plant called the Southern Power Plant, and they had Plant houses where the superintendents and different ones would live in.  I would baby sit sometimes at night and make a little money for myself.  I was always within walking distance being right here near the plant.  I wasn’t afraid to walk such a short distance.  I would walk down the Fish Dam Road. 


After I got older, I still worked in homes.  I worked for Mrs. Oscar Couch, of the Couch Oil Company, when her daughter was born.  I always worked for the Links, our County Manager’s grandparents.  I guess you know Mr. John Link, Jr. of Hillsborough.  His great grandfather had a milk dairy, and my mother would help them sometimes.  I would go with her and help his grandmother, maybe go to the milk house and do some chores.


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