Those Sexy French Housewives of Yesteryear…

When I was a senior in high school, my best friend lived as a nanny for a doctor, his wife and five kids. The doctor and his wife were young and lively and liked to throw parties. The doctor asked my friend the nanny if she and I would like to dress up like French maids and serve drinks at their upcoming party. We had just turned eighteen and were flattered at the invitation. We had been Maids a Milking in the senior play (The Twelve Days of Christmas) so had pretty blue dresses we’d sewn together with white aprons. We adapted them and pulled off looking like the French maids the doctor ordered.

Times have changed, haven’t they? I mean really, that was sexist, wasn’t it? To ask that of two innocent young girls? But those were the days of Playboy Bunnies and no one thought anything sinister. It was all in fun. But why French? And who started that anyway? Did World War II play into it? Is it because the French are rumored to tolerate mistresses? And of course, those mistresses would be French women. Maids maybe? Making a cliché out of the sexy French maid? Let me tell you what the encyclopedia tells me about French women, particularly housewives. We can all learn something.

The encyclopedia that I’m going to quote from (Grolier Encyclopedia, 1956, Volume IX, pg. 40) was put together, during the years before, after and during World War II. Here is what their researcher discovered about French housewives:

One feature of the French character is much the same in all parts – they are all hard workers and their love of independence makes them thrifty. French housewives are good managers and can make a little go a long way. And the French woman is her husband’s adviser and partner; often she understands his business; often she carries on a business herself. In all domestic economy hers is the deciding voice. The manual laborer’s wife does not have to ask him for money; she takes his wages and allows him so much out of them.

Now that… is a strong woman. And strong women don’t think they’re sexy, they know it.  Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1484900278

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

Book Three, Black Lilac: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EKJMTKA

Book Four, Ellie: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LWVNCTS

Book Five, Rose Thorn: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1GN58T

Book Six, Mississippi Wild Blue: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072L2WWMR

Book Seven, Dandelion Lane: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073WPHMWG

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Civil War Soldier… His Wife Was Fifty Years Younger

The Civil War ended in April 1865 and the last Civil War veterans died in the 1950’s. But according to a story last August in the “U.S. News & World Report,” by Curt Mills, the United States was still paying a veteran’s pension to the daughter of Mose Triplett, a soldier who started as a Confederate Rebel and defected to the North and became a Yankee. When Mose died in 1938, the pension he was receiving went to his daughter Irene. If you’re counting the years since the Civil War ended and thinking… that’s not possible, let me give you a hint. His second wife was fifty-years younger. Mose was eighty-three when his daughter Irene was born. He was an elderly father, he had his last child, a son, at eighty-seven. He must have been a hearty man, he made it to the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

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

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

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

Book Three, Black Lilac: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EKJMTKA

Book Four, Ellie: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LWVNCTS

Book Five, Rose Thorn: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1GN58T

The KKK Modeled Themselves After a Fraternity but Their Antics Were Sinister…

Black PansyAfter the Civil War, the Ku-Klux-Klan set out to terrorize blacks. The structure of their group was modeled after college fraternities and they sought to have fun with their get-togethers but their antics were sinister and their motives were to drive the newly-freed blacks from the South. When reading about their hierarchy, it sounds like something out of a children’s fantasy book. But what they did, was not child’s play. They were deadly serious. The leader of the KKK was a general named Nathan Bedford Forrest. He was their “Grand Wizard.” He ruled over what they called their “Invisible Empire.” Invisible because it was cryptic and illegal. (They murdered blacks.)Canva Blue Violet Cover  The next guy down was the “Grand Wizard,” he helped rule the South. Every state had its own realm and it was supervised by a “Grand Dragon.” The counties were called “dominions,” a “Grand Giant” ruled over the dominions. A “Grand Titan” ruled over the county. Smaller localities were called “dens,” and they were ruled by a “Grand Cyclops.” The members were called “Ghouls.”Front Cover Black Lilac

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

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

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

Book Three, Black Lilac: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EKJMTKA

 

 

 

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

Genealogy… Secret Southern Bi-Racial Babies

People usually keep things secret to avoid the danger involved in exposing themselves. Quite often, the person with the secret is doing nothing wrong but something that others don’t approve of. Throughout history, having babies out of wedlock was certainly one of those secrets. Having a bi-racial baby was an even bigger secret.

For centuries bi-racial marriages in America were forbidden. The Slave Code of Louisiana (1724-1803) prohibited “white subjects, of both sexes, to marry with the blacks…” and forbade “all our white subjects, and even the manumitted or free-born blacks, to live in a state of concubinage with blacks.” If there was an “issue” that arose from one of these “forbidden” relationships, the issue being a child born, that child was to be “adjudged to the hospital of the locality, and said slaves shall be forever incapable of being set free.” Wow, pretty heavy punishment. But guess what, those forbidden relationships still happened and look at us today. Bi-racial couples are everywhere, including on mainstream television.

If you’re working on your southern family history and you suspect there’s a secret, good luck trying to get the older relatives to speak up. As far as they’re concerned, that secret was buried and will stay buried. And those of us who want to uncover the truth? I think some of these old timers think… shame on us.

No one has ever given me reason to believe that my family history has one of these secrets but I suspect it does. I have questions that are unanswered. There are a lot of people in a three-hundred-year-old family tree and undoubtedly a lot of secrets. My hope is that southern hospitals are digitizing their old records because as the Slave Code of Louisiana tells us, look to the hospitals.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy.

Available Here:

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

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

http://smashwords.com/b/313643

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