Dorothy R. Harris

October 1, 1926 - July 8, 2015
Role: Cowhand Family
Maiden name: Scott

Dorothy was born in Bloomington, Texas to Ora Lewis Scott and William Scott, but her family was living and working on the McFaddin Ranch. Dorothy was one of the few who knew the names of at least one set of great grandparents, Wally Nelson and Sarah Nelson. Sarah came to Texas as a slave. Her paternal grandparents were Mary Clark Scott and John Scott, a cowhand and excellent rider on the Fagan Ranch. Her brothers, Elvin and James Scott were both McFaddin cowhands as well as her cousin, Leo Scott. Dorothy’s maternal grandparents, Annie Nelson Lewis and Anderson Lewis, were also born on the McFaddin Ranch. Dorothy went to grade school in Bloomington and high school in Victoria and completed nursing school at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dorothy remembers the women in her circle being more aggressive about getting an education but the men, at least at that time, could do just fine without one. However it was the men, her brothers and uncles, who provided the financial means for her to attend school. Her uncles were all cowhands on the McFaddin Ranch and they made fifty cents a day. Dorothy remembers they were very happy. Under the patron system the McFaddins took care of everything; they were housed, had no doctor bills and got groceries at the ranch store. She remembers the cowhands as very warm people, pretty rough, but very concerned for the cattle. Dorothy was a life long Baptist and a career nurse. She was a top flight member of “The Women’s A Team” of this project and contributed immensely to the knowledge of life among the African American community, particularly the lives, work, and dreams of the women of her community and time.

Introduction to Dorothy Harris

Louise S. O'Connor
Voice of Dorothy Harris
Dorothy Harris – I can remember when my uncles were making fifty cents a day at the McFadin Ranch. And there were no hours. They would just leave before day in the morning. I would know that they were going. And they would be late at night when they would come back. And they made fifty cents a day. When they went to seventy-five cents a day that was a big raise! But, you know, they had no doctor bills. The McFadin's took care of everybody. And everything could be bought at the store. They had everything. And then I can remember when they went to a dollar a day. My brothers were old enough to work then and they made a dollar a day. But they were very warm people, and very concerned. You would hear 'em talking about what cows had worms in what pasture. And when they would get well, I guess. You could tell they were very proud people. And they were all like one big family.


"People miss so much that grow up in town. Our children don’t even believe the things we tell them. But you better believe it — life was good out here in the country."

Cryin' For Daylight: Ranching Culture in the Texas Coastal Bend