Friday, January 7, 2011

African American History Buff.... information via QUILTS

I found Diane Moore on her blogspot:  A word's worth!  She is the author of children and adult fiction, journal articles, and poetry and a native of Franklinton, LA.  CONTINUATION OF REVISITING CLEMENTINE HUNTER 

I particularly like this genealogy bit... it reminds me of my great-grandma Lucinda Smith and her plantation life in Arkansas.....

Here is how Ms Moore talks about Clementine Hunter... her Big House Mistress is Cammie Henry...


According to records at the Roman Catholic Church in Cloutierville, Louisiana, Clementine Hunter was born in 1885, and records indicate that she was baptized in March of that year. She was the eldest of seven children born to John and Mary Antoinette Adams Ruben. Her paternal grandfather was an Irish horse trader married to a woman of Indian and African-American lineage named “Me-Me.” Her maternal grandmother, Idole Adams, was a slave who was brought to Louisiana from Virginia. As a member of a Creole family, Clementine was originally named Clemence and was called “Teba.” Her mother tongue was French, and she did not become fluent in English until her second marriage to Emanuel Hunter.  Her first marriage, at age sixteen, was to Charlie Dupree by whom she bore three children. After the death of Dupree, Clementine married Emanuel Hunter and had two more children. She was born at Hidden Hill Plantation, which Harriet Beecher Stowe had used as a setting for her famous novel, UNCLE TOM’S CABIN. The plantation owner, Robert McAlpin, was the model for the cruel overseer in Stowe’s novel. Hidden Hill, now Little Eva Plantation, lies in the flat Cane River country near Natchitoches. Clementine later moved with her parents to Melrose Plantation, and her memory of the world seems to have begun with the cotton fields and pecan groves surrounding the plantation.

Clementine loved the cotton fields and despised school. “I just run off from those nuns at school every time they would send me. My mama kept sending me back. But all I wanted to do was pick cotton,” she once said. “I finally run away so many times my mama gave up and let me pick cotton.” Later, she compared painting with picking cotton. “Paintin,” she said, “is a lot harder than pickin’ cotton. Cotton’s right there for you to pull off the stalk, but to paint, you got to sweat yo’ mind.”

Eventually, Clementine was brought into the Big House as a part-time cook and maid. She was taught to cook elaborate cuisine by her grandmother. When asked the kind of meals she prepared for Miss Cammie Henry, mistress of Melrose Plantation, Clementine told her interviewers, “hard things. You know, peas, okra, and beans.” It was difficult for reporters to discern if she was talking “tongue in cheek,” or if at the age of almost 100, she had some notion that peas and beans are hard in consistency, rather than foods that are difficult to prepare. The cookbook, MELROSE PLANTATION COOKBOOK, which she illustrated for Francois Mignon, features some of Clementine’s gourmet recipes that are far more difficult to prepare than peas and beans – Game Soup, Piquante Sauce, Parsnip Fritter and Rice Blanc Mange.

Note: The third installment about Clementine Hunter will be published in a subsequent blog. Again, the photograph is by permission of B.A. Cohen for THEIR ADVENTUROUS WILL. 

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