St. Louis And New Orleans

1606 WordsApr 12, 20157 Pages
Kate Chopin was born Katherine O’Flaherty on February 8, 1851, in St. Louis, Missouri, into a socially prominent family with roots in the French past of both St. Louis and New Orleans. Her father, Thomas O’Flaherty, an immigrant from Ireland, had lived in New York and Illinois before settling in St. Louis, where he prospered as the owner of a commission house. In 1839, he married into a well-known Creole family, members of the city’s social elite, but his wife died in childbirth only a year later. In 1844, he married Eliza Faris, merely fifteen years old but, according to French custom, eligible for marriage. Faris was the daughter of a Huguenot man who had migrated from Virginia and a woman who was descended from the Charlevilles, among the earliest French settlers in America. Kate was one of three children born to her parents and the only one to live to mature years. In 1855, tragedy struck the O’Flaherty family when her father, now a director of the Pacific Railroad, was killed in a train wreck; thereafter, Kate lived in a house of many widows — her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother Charleville. In 1860, she entered the St. Louis Academy of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic institution where French history, language, and culture were stressed — as they were, also, in her own household. Such an early absorption in French culture would eventually influence Chopin’s own writing, an adaptation in some ways of French forms to American themes. Chopin graduated from the

More about St. Louis And New Orleans

Open Document