Elizabeth "Bettie" T. Black was born in September 1843 in Tennessee to John Dews Black and Susan Langley. She moved from Jackson, Arkansas, to Yalobusha County, Mississippi, in January of 1863 to live with her uncle and aunt, J. S. and Martha J. Richardson. The Richardsons owned a plantation near the town of Graysport, then located on the Yalobusha River, now a site covered by the waters of Grenada Lake, a reservoir northeast of Grenada. Black was living in Duncan, Monroe County, Arkansas, by 1865, and there she married James Mayo, a real estate agent in partnership with L. J. McKinney, on February 7, 1866. According to U. S. Federal Censuses, she was living in Jackson, Arkansas, in 1870 and 1880. She is listed in 1900 as a resident of Cleveland and Cypress Townships in Phillips County, Arkansas, with her husband. They did not have children.
The Bettie Black (Mayo) Diary contains daily entries from January to September 1863 and a summary for the year 1865. They detail the lives of Bettie Black and her Mississippi relatives, the Richardsons.
The Bettie Black Mayo Diary was acquired from Cather and Brown Books, Birmingham, Alabama, in 1991.