Margaret Ann Gethers Scott, Ph.D.

I Come from Bowman Lane

A Family History Memoir

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Margaret Gethers Scott has been the Ford Family historian since 1996. Here, she first offers a wealth of information about why and how to write one’s own family history. She then proceeds to her main subjects, the seven children of her earliest known ancestors, ex–slaves Charles Ford and Rebecca Small Ford. The parents and children were all born in the 1800s. Margaret, born in 1946, is the granddaughter of Tom, the youngest of those seven children.

Charles and Rebecca are placed in the historical context of Emancipation and Reconstruction in the African American community in South Carolina, where the author still lives. In telling the stories of The Big 7 and their very numerous descendants, much general history of the area in the early and mid-20th century is interwoven with more personal anecdotes. Many of those are humorous, and all of them are vividly narrated.

There are long lists of the descendants' names, and there is well-earned acknowledgment of their impressive accomplishments in many fields: music, the military, education, business, diverse trades, and more. Some sections present fascinating snapshots of culture, detailing things such as typical foods of the area, quilting traditions, yellowware pottery, and time–tested construction techniques.

Naturally, in addition to the uplifting stories of hard work, family unity, and perseverance, there are some painful stories of prejudice and tragedy. As is only right, there is no whitewashing of history here. But at the close of the book, as the author obviously intended, the reader is left with a wonderful, over–arching impression of warmth, as beautiful and comforting as an heirloom quilt.

Description of the cover for blind and visually impaired readers

Against a background of dense, deep green bushes, there is a photo of the green and white sign marking the crossroads of Bowman Lane and Ritter Road, both of which figure prominently in the book and in the history of the area. The main town in the story is Walterboro, South Carolina. The title of the book is at the top of the cover, and the author's name is at the bottom. Those are in black letters against white backgrounds. The spine and the back cover of the book have plain black print on a pale green background.

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Mother Dear

The Life and Times of Nettie Mariah Ford Gethers

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Mother Dear: The Life and Times of Nettie Mariah Ford Gethers is divided into three parts: The Memoir, The Interview, and The Obituary. The memoir and the interview are previously unpublished family history documents rendered in the words of my mother, Nettie Mariah Ford Gethers, aka Mother Dear. In the interest of authenticity, I have retained Mother Dear's words as written in the memoir and as spoken in the interview.

I had always thought I would someday publish Mother Dear’s memoir and interview together under a single title. Upon completing my book I Come from Bowman Lane: A Family History Memoir, I realized how frequently I had cited Mother Dear's words. It was then that I decided to publish the memoir and the interview as a companion to I Come from Bowman Lane. The result, with the addition of an obituary, is this book.

My mother lived from February 8, 1925 to September 3, 2015. Her long life, which began on a "one-mule dirt farm" in Colleton County, South Carolina, was marked by much hardship in her youth. While she had limited formal education, her deep faith, her love for her family, her commitment to hard work, and her lifetime habit of reading enriched her life and sustained her to the end.

The stories in Mother Dear demonstrate one of the main themes of I Come from Bowman Lane: Everyday ordinary people often have extraordinary stories to tell. Perhaps Mother Dear will inspire you to gather and preserve some of the extraordinary stories that abound in your own family.

Margaret Ann Gethers Scott
April 2023

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About the Author

Margaret Ann Gethers Scott was employed in the fields of education and librarianship for 39 years. In addition to serving as Ford Family historian since 1996, Margaret has further contributed to the field of life story capture as a certified Guided Autobiography (GAB) instructor, workshop facilitator, speaker, obituary writer, and now author.

Margaret enjoys speaking to audiences about the importance (and urgency) of preserving family history. A fortuitous life story capture moment came when Margaret was the guest speaker in a private home at the monthly meeting of her host’s supper club. The lively Q&A session which followed her talk, “Seven Reasons to Write Your Family History,” convinced Margaret that there was an audience for information on family history as stories. She seized the opportunity provided by the isolation associated with COVID–19 and over the course of the pandemic wrote this book, I Come from Bowman Lane: A Family History Memoir (Write Your Family History Now, Before It’s Too Late!).

In her capacity as family historian, Margaret has compiled and edited eight volumes (photocopied and spiral bound) of From Whence We Came: The Ford Family of Colleton County (Walterboro), South Carolina. She has also combined her mother's previously unpublished 2013 memoir and a 2015 interview with her mother into an edited work titled Mother Dear: The Life and Times of Nettie Mariah Ford Gethers (1925-2015). Mother Dear is being published as a companion to I Come from Bowman Lane.

Margaret's autobiographical essay, "A Girl Gets Sick of a Rose," has been accepted for publication in Mamas, Martyrs, and Jezebels, a forthcoming anthology from Black Lawrence Press. Margaret's abiding interest in the role of rice in South Carolina history was the inspiration for her next book, R is for Rice: An Alphabet Book for Ages Six to Ninety-Six. She has the following earned degrees:
B.A. in Psychology (1968), Rockford College [now Rockford University] (Rockford, Illinois)
Master of Librarianship (1978), University of South Carolina (Columbia, South Carolina)
Master of Education in Reading (1986), The Citadel Evening College (Charleston, South Carolina)
Ph.D. in Library and Information Studies (1995), Florida State University (Tallahassee, Florida)

Margaret Ann Gethers Scott lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina in a home that sits on the original 20-acre tract of land that her formerly enslaved great-grandparents acquired during the early years of Reconstruction.

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