Elizabeth Haney


April 4, 1900 - February 16, 1985
Role: Cowhand Family
Nicknames: Bessie
Maiden name: Sevier

Elizabeth “Bessie” Haney grew up in a farming family on the Lewis plantation/ranch from which the land for the freedman community Lewis’ Bend was given. Her father was Valentine Wallis and her mother was Gussie Sevier whose family originally immigrated from France and arrived in Texas in 1826. Bessie remembers arriving at the Lewis plantation when she was six years, living in a tent until they moved into Lewis’ Bend. They were one of the very few white families living in the area. Both of her grandfathers were cowhands on the area ranches and her father cowboyed a little for the West Ranch but mostly farmed shares for the Lewises. Her paternal grandfather kept books for Dennis O’Connor. Bessie lived the typical hard scrabble life coming up but didn’t feel it was a hard life. The baptisms in Lewis’ Bend were highlights for young Bessie. “I loved to hear the Colored folks sing at baptism. When we went down in that old mud. Prince Terrell's daughter and one of the others, I don't know. Take em out there and they would douce ‘em. They always had a good crowd at a baptism. I don't know where they got so many people. There wasn't that many people around there. Baptisms were the only celebrations we had.”