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Mammy Belle (1780?-unknown)

Quilt square of multi-colored patterned fabrics representing corn and beans
Mammy Belle, "Corn and Beans"

Uncle Bubba and Mammy Belle accompanied James Britton Bailey and Nancy Bailey on their trek to Texas from Tennessee in 1818. They were adults with children at that time, being born perhaps in the 1780s. Mammy Belle was an integral part of the family and Golson tells several stories about her in Bailey’s Light — caring for the children, cooking a stew, fenagling a hat from Mrs. Bailey, helping with the girls’ wedding dresses. Golson reports that Uncle Bubba and Mammy Belle spent the remainder of their lives with Mrs. Dorothy [Nancy] Bailey, after Britt Bailey’s death. Mrs. Bailey died in 1870.

Uncle Bubba and Mammy Belle were not enslaved by the Polleys, but by James Britton Bailey, Mary Bailey Polley’s father. Mary Bailey Polley grew up under their care and protection.

Her quilt square is “Corn and Beans.”


This biographical selection is from The Enslaved People of J. H. Polley Plantation, Whitehall, Sutherland Springs, Texas 1836-1865. The collection is the work of independent scholar, Dr. Melinda Creech. Dr. Creech compiled and presents a biographical sketch of each of the enslaved along with a unique historic Texas quilt for each individual since photos of the 28 enslaved are not available. The collection is available to view in person at the Sutherland Springs Historical Museum.

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