"“Among Miss Sallie’s slaves were great grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, children, grand children, and great grand children, for she seldom sold any of her people.” - Nellie Arnold Plummer, Out of the Depths, or the Triumph of the Cross
We talk a lot about the Plummer family at Riversdale, since we have a huge amount of primary documentation, thanks to the Plummer family saving the diary of Adam Francis Plummer and Nellie Arnold Plummer's book throughout the generations. However, Riversdale House Museum is currently looking for descendants of the enslaved community who lived and worked at the former 19th century home, so that we can expand and create a more balanced narrative that is reflective of the experiences of everyone who lived at the home. Through this work we are looking to form a descendant group that will help inform and shape the future of the museum.
Through Nellie, we not only learn about families living at Three Sisters Plantation, but also at Riversdale. There is one family that was split between both plantations: the Scott Family. William, Harry, and Lorenzo Scott were all enslaved at Riversdale, and married to women enslaved at Three Sisters Plantation—Lucy Orme (aunt to Nellie), Millie, and Fannie Carrick, respectively.
The least amount of information is known about Harry and Millie Scott. We know that they had a daughter, Bessie, and that Bessie married a man named Henry Clay. It’s unclear if they ever had children. According to Out of the Depths, Harry Scott himself escaped from Riversdale, even going so far as to steal a horse. At this point, we haven’t found a runaway ad for Harry and he was never heard from again.
Lorenzo and Fannie Scott (neè Carrick) have an interesting, if curious, story. Fannie was the bridesmaid for Emily Saunders when she married Adam Francis Plummer. It’s not clear when, but Lorenzo and Fannie Scott were both freed sometime between 1840 and 1850, when they appear on the 1850 Census as free Blacks living in Bladensburg. They had two sons, Lorenzo and William, at that time. However, they would go on to have four other children as well: Sarah, Henson, Mary, and Thornley. We still aren't sure why Lorenzo and Fannie Scott's family was free, while Lorenzo's brother remained enslaved.
William and Lucy Scott (neè Orme) were the great-uncle and -aunt of Nellie Plummer, through her mother Emily Saunders Plummer. William and Lucy had seven children. Harriet and Josephine appear to have passed away young. We know that Albert Scott was married and had a child, but their names have not yet been discovered. Margaret Scott’s partner is unknown, but she did have two children: Edward and Rosa, both of whom married. Rosa at least started a family of her own. Sallie Scott married a man with the surname Richardson, and they had at least five children together: Albert, Ambrose, Benjamin, Paul, and William. The oldest son of William and Lucy we have the most information on. Tilghman Scott attempted to escape from Three Sisters Plantation by saying he was going to a funeral at Riversdale, something that would have been a relatively common occurrence.
Tilghman did not make it to freedom, but was instead captured and sold south, which we only know thanks to Out of the Depths. A Tilghman Scott born in Maryland can be found in Mississippi’s 1870 and 1880 censuses. If this is the same man, he started a family around 1860, when his first daughter was born. He and his wife, Lizzie, would have four daughters: Alice, Anna, Josephine, and Lucy.
Do some of these names sound familiar to you from your own family tree? Do you think you might be descendant from the Scott family, or another family enslaved at Riversdale? If so, the staff at Riversdale would love to hear from you! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org