Mary, Once of Perry
Unbelievable, but true stories
connected to Perry,
Texas (Falls County)
by Toney Urban
the late 40s and early 50s, there was a Black lady named Mary (last name unknown),
that would arrive out in the countryside near Perry,
Texas and dispense some incredibly amazing medicine and conversation.|
This would take place the 17th of each month. Her following, if you prefer to
call it that, was enormous. Each time I was there (possibly some 20 times) I saw
75 to 100 people - with about 50 to 60 cars. This was just a few yards off the
highway out in a pasture.
Mary was on the heavy side, about 250 pounds,
I would imagine. She always sat at the base of a huge tree, I think Elm, and lean
back against it as the people approached her. She always had in her hands a small
crumpled up pad of paper and a very short lead pencil that she scribbled on as
she spoke to each person.
After each consultation she'd reach over into
a big box of medicine she kept next to her and pick up a brown colored bottle
of medicine. The brown glass bottles were each filled with some kind of liquid
that looked the same to me. After paying the $2.00, each client would be given
a bottle. Sometime Mary would engage the client in conversation, and sometimes
not. But if she was asked a question, she would scribble on her pad and then speak
a few words to them. People always seemed to be happy with what they were told.
At times she would take time out to holler a few orders to some of her
kids. I was told that Mary had 23 children, and all were said to be her and her
husband's natural children.
One: Meeting Mary|
My first exposure to Mary came through P. K. Brown,
a Black man who lived in a small house we had. P. K. worked for us year 'round.
One day P. K. asked my Dad a favor. He wanted Dad to take him and his wife to
see Mary. My Dad was a bit reluctant to grant this favor because we were always
quite busy. But because P. K. was a good man and had been with us for a very long
time, he finally agreed.
PK's wife was bedridden for many years. She lay
on a flat board and could not walk or take care of herself in any way. P. K. would
bathe and feed her and did whatever he could. To move Mrs. Brown, it involved
unbolting and removing the passenger side seat out of the old 1932 Model A. Mrs.
Brown was then slided in on the board she always laid on. This was a big event
for the Browns, since they had never ridden in a car before.
near the big tree, a lot of yelling could be heard. It was Mary clearing people
out of the way so my Dad could drive the car up close enough to her that she could
reach out and touch Mrs. Brown in the car. After Mary looked at her, she scribbled
a while on her pad and then told her "you will be OK." She then handed her a bottle
of medicine and said "that will be two dollars." P.K. reached out to give her
the $2.00 but she would not take it from him, saying "she's got give it to me",
so P.K. gave the $2.00 to his Wife who then handed it to Mary. We came back home
and returned Mrs. Brown to her house on her board as we found her.
K. was very happy and thankful. We went back to our house, and that was kind of
the end of the story for awhile.
Some weeks later, I can not recall how
many, about 5 a.m. we were awakened by someone banging on our door real hard and
loud. When we went to the door to see what all the noise was, it was P.K. He could
not talk, and he looked almost white. All he could do was motion with his arms
for us to come with him. We followed and as we crossed a small creek where his
house was, over to the side was Mrs. Brown chopping weeds in their little garden.
Well, after this, my Dad decided he would go see 'Mary' and this is how I became
involved. My Dad swore she did him good, and he never missed going to see her
the 17th of each month thereafter.
Two: Mary and the Water Well - next page
Note: I wrote these in an attempt to find others that may have known Mary.
If you too had a 'Mary' exposure, please send
me a note and tell me yours. - Toney Urban |
Subject: Toney Urban
I'd like to thank Toney Urban for his wonderful
writeup on Mary!!! You did a great job, Toney. Just facinating. I wish I'd gotten
to meet her. Do you have any more stories? I'd love to read them. -
Best, Diane, Williamson county, Texas, March 16, 2006