Her name was Bernice

Marble Bust of Bernice MorrisonHer name was Bernice, though it seems many, including Carr Pritchett, spelled it Berenice, with an e in the middle. Is it pronounced the same? I don’t know; I assume so. I’m sticking with Bernice.

She comes from a time before the war, when Missouri had plantations and those plantation owners owned slaves. Those slaves tended the tobacco and hemp fields and that tobacco and hemp made Bernice’s grandfather very, very wealthy. That grandfather, known simply as “the captain” along with his wife Lucy raised Bernice from about the age of nine. Her mother had died when Bernice was just five and her father when she was just nine years of age.

Sara Catherine Swinney was Bernice’s mother’s name and she died at the young age of twenty-eight. I have done extensive research and have come up with literally nothing concerning the cause of the woman’s death. What I know for sure is that she was adored by her father. On her massive gravestone in Glasgow, in huge letters, just one word at the top: “Kate.”

Kate Swinney Grave

[author's note: I have created a page entitled "A Large Influence for Good" that you'll see at the top of the blog. This entry that you're reading now is the first installment of longer work that I've been researching for a while now. I will periodically use regular blog entries to write and then paste them into the page dedicated to the topic. Additionally, I will add directly to the page as I develop what I hope to be a magazine article.]