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October 12, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

 Buckingham Notables: Lucy Scruggs, Part I

Photo by Boyce Loving. Courtesy The Daily Progress and University of Virginia.

In December of 1958, Boyce Loving paid tribute to “Aunt” Lucy Scruggs in Charlottesville’s Daily Progress. Her life was, indeed, extraordinary. The article began:

This is one of the last stories of its kind that will ever be written from a real, live interview. Other persons will pass the century milestone, but they will not have been born in slavery in this country. Aunt Lucy Scruggs, who will be 104 Christmas Day, was.

Now living alone in a small tarpaper house near Arvonia in Buckingham County, Aunt Lucy is remarkable in more senses than one. Besides doing her own cooking and housework, she has excellent eyesight, hears as well as anyone half her age and is as spry and sprightly as a cricket.

Lucy Scruggs was not at home when Loving conducted the interview. She was visiting friends across the road from her house, her white neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Beazeley.

Lucy was not a Buckingham County native. She was born in Roanoke, Virginia, in 1853, on Christmas morning. Her parents were Jim and Lou Reese, owned by a family named Hazeby, she recalled.

A search for a family named “Hazeby” has yet to be found living in Virginia in 1850 or 1860. Perhaps Mr. Loving’s hearing was not as good as Lucy’s. Perhaps Lucy misremembered the name, or, it was misprinted in the newspaper. In any case, if a Slate River Ramblings reader can decipher the name of Lucy (Reese) Scruggs’ former owners, please comment below.

Coming next: Lucy Scruggs, Part II

6 Comments

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  1. Kathie Phelps Mann / Oct 12 2017 4:35 pm

    Look forward to hearing more about Lucy Scruggs. I have a few ideas, but I would like to see more about her history before I throw it all out there. : )
    One thought- is it actually Roanoke? “Roanoke” didn’t become Roanoke (like we know it) until the 1880”s (it was formerly called Big Lick). I’ll wait and read more before I comment further.
    Kathie

    • Joanne Yeck / Oct 13 2017 3:47 am

      Very good point, Kathie. Of course when Boyce Loving wrote this article in 1958, readers related to Roanoke. It is interesting that he used it to pinpoint Lucy’s birth, not the county. Perhaps, she first lived in a town/village and not on a farm. Much more to come. Glad you are intrigued! Joanne

  2. Devon Frederick Harvey / Oct 12 2017 1:58 pm

    This is a lovely story. Thank you for posting. And thank you for all the other stories you post. While you haven’t done any stories yet on my family from the area, I am hoping that one day I’ll wake up and be surprised by one of your emails! Do you have a link for the document where we can look at the name of the Reese’s former owners? I’d like to give it a try. Thank you!

    • Joanne Yeck / Oct 12 2017 3:05 pm

      Devon, Thanks for writing. Much more to come about Lucy Scruggs. Besides looking at the Roanoke census data for 1850 and 1860, I don’t know of any Internet sources that might help find Lucy’s former owners. Perhaps someone familiar with the Roanoke area will come up with clue. Let me know your Buckingham surnames. Maybe there is something lurking in my files. . . . Joanne

Trackbacks

  1. Buckingham Notables: Lucy Scruggs, Part III | slate river ramblings . . . .
  2.  Buckingham Notables: Lucy Scruggs, Part II | slate river ramblings . . . .

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