Mixed-Race Love Affairs Throughout History…

BlackPansyKindleCoverI’m an author and a blogger. I write about a wide variety of issues and many of the historical things I write about are not pleasant but that does not make me shy away. But there’s one issue that I keep avoiding. I think it’s because I can’t believe it. After the Civil War, Mississippi accepted that former slaves lived together and had families. The children became legitimate and the marriages became legal. That must have brought relief. But at the same time, Mississippi condemned mixed-race marriage partners to… life in prison. Life in prison? Because two people love each other and they don’t happen to have the same skin color? Are you kidding me? Wow. That was only a-hundred-and-fifty-years ago. Life in prison? Unbelievable. There must be more to it.

What’s interesting is that during the middle ages in Spain, mixed race marriages were no big deal. It was not uncommon for affluent women to take black lovers. On the other hand, back in 1724 when the French were in charge of the Louisiana territory, which Mississippi was a part of, they too forbade mixed race marriages and cohabitation. The French said, “We forbid our white subjects, of both sexes, to marry with the blacks…” When white masters took advantage of their female slaves the master was fined and deprived of the slave and the children but the slave who was forced into the relationship and the children arising from it were “… forever incapable of being set free.”

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Millions of people, black and white, live in America today and their DNA tells us unequivocally that the Louisiana Code Noir, the Slave Code, did not stop people from inter-racial relationships. Nor did the harsh penalty of life in prison after the Civil War. And let’s be clear. There were plenty of instances of deep love that crossed the color lines. Here is one of those I ran across in my research:

Peter, 27, stout fellow. The negro lived with Stephen Townsend of Charlestown, South Carolina that near 2 years ago married Mr. Townsend’s daughter when his master gave him to her.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Pansy-Suellen-Ocean/dp/1484900278

Book Two, Blue Violet: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

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Who Were the Cleanest, the Native Americans or the Europeans?

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IVWhile researching the early 1800s in French Canada, I read that bathing the whole body like the Native’s did, was becoming acceptable in French Canada. That statement brought me to a stop. The Europeans didn’t bathe their whole body? They learned it from the Natives? How exactly did the Natives bathe?

Helen C. Rountree, in The Encyclopedia Virginia, (Personal Hygiene Among Early Virginia Indians), writes that memoirs from Jamestown colonists leads to the conclusion that “by modern standards, Virginia Indians were far more sanitary than the Europeans who arrived in 1607.” “Elite” Powhatan Indians, “washed their hands before eating” and “early Virginia Indians practiced personal hygiene that included daily baths in all seasons and all weather.” Rountree’s research tells us that Native “People bathed in the streams that ran by their towns, whether these waterways were salty or fresh. Each morning before dawn, people of both sexes and all ages—even babies—washed themselves until the sun came up…”

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Being a nature lover, I know how refreshing and healthy a morning dip in a stream can be. Sweat lodges are still a large part of Native culture and today, cleanliness depends not on whether one is a Native or an immigrant but whether or not one has access to hot water and a bathtub or shower.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

And Evaline’s Fiddle. Available here:

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http://www.amazon.com/Evalines-Fiddle-Early-American-Love-Story-ebook/dp/B00KCC48NQ

 

History… Who Came Up With the Name Yankee?

Butterfly BLUE VIOLET Front CoverI’m write Civil War era historical romance so I got a kick out of someone in my writer’s forum referring to Americans as “Yanks.” During the War Between the States, the Yankees were the Northerners who opposed the Southerners for breaking away from the Union, which was the United States of America. It likely derives from the Dutch pronunciation of the name Jan (John). The American Indians started it, before the Civil War. It became a nickname for a native of New England and eventually for someone from the northern part of the United States. My mother’s people are from the North, my father’s from the South. What does that make me? Yanked around? Half-Yank? 😉

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Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Pansy-Suellen-Ocean/dp/1484900278

Book Two, Blue Violet: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

American History… the Clash Between Cowboys and Indians

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IVAfter the Civil War, most of the Native Americans had been moved to “Indian Territory.” But there were still skirmishes between the newcomers and the Indians who wanted to remain on the Prairie. Even before the war, land speculators and railroad tycoons fenced off Native lands. To attract buyers, they offered it cheap, (it wasn’t the best farming environment). Next came railroad cars full of hundreds of thousands of Texas cattle, and along with the cows came the cowboys. The Indians didn’t stand a chance. Imagine what that must have looked and felt like to the senses of an American Indian. Your homeland is fenced off with barbed wire, guns are going off (and they’re pointed at you) and cowboys who’ve had too much to drink are having dangerous fun at your expense. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of rugged individualism and freedom of the open range. I love the romanticism of the cowboy life. But imagine America’s natural beauty before hundreds of thousands of Texas cattle started stampeding through the western plains and guns started going off. Must have been beautiful.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

 

 

Civil War… Why Was Kansas Called the Soldier State?

BlackPansyKindleCoverKansas was admitted to the Union just before the Civil War. Its population was sparse but the state brought many men to the battlefield. In fact, per capita, more men from Kansas enlisted in the Union Army than from any other state. The Civil War was not really fought in Kansas (the state saw only one major battle) but in the northeast corner of the state where the Missouri River runs, a lot of guerrilla warfare took place. When the end of the war brought railroad expansion across the state, thousands of migrants sought Kansas’s low-priced land. Because countless families seeking the new land were Union soldiers, Kansas got the epithet, “Soldier State.”Butterfly BLUE VIOLET Front Cover

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Pansy-Suellen-Ocean/dp/1484900278

Book Two, Blue Violet: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

History… the Dilemma of the Irish in Nineteenth-Century Canada

TheCelticPrinceCoverGOLDThe Irish played a large role in Canadian history, but it was not without suffering. During the early 1800’s, after ships to Britain were emptied of their exports, they offered low fares back to Canada to poor Irish emigrants. But once they reached Canada, there was no place for them. Homeless and inadequately dressed, many sought to relieve their misery through alcohol. Out of desperation, many of the women turned to prostitution. If you want a visual example of this watch the series, Hell on Wheels and you’ll get the point. The New World was a rough place, especially for a woman. Cholera was sweeping through Europe. The disease swept rapidly through crowded ships and thousands of Irish emigrants looking for a better life, instead met their death.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the historic novel The Celtic Prince Available here: http://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Prince-Before-After/dp/14840863

History… We All Need a Warm Bath… But is it Effeminate… or Unhealthy?

Did you know that warm baths were looked upon as effeminate by the Greeks? Yes, my trusty encyclopedia tells me that at first, that’s the way they were perceived. We can be grateful that by the 5th century B.C.E., they had become commonplace, at least by the Greeks. Even still, in the early 1800’s in New France, some folks thought that bathing was dangerous to one’s health. But as the 1800’s rolled on, bathing the whole body became acceptable and a bathtub became a symbol of high class. Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era romance, Blue Violet. Available here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

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