|1850|| Catherine O'Flaherty (later Kate Chopin), born 8 Feb., St.|
Louis, Missouri. Daughter of successful Irish-born business
man, Thomas O'Flaherty ( 1805-55) and his second wife, Eliza
(née Faris, 1828-85), a descendant, on her mother's side, from
old St Louis French-speaking notables. Grows up in extended
family in slave-holding household.
1 Nov., father among guest dignitaries killed when Gasconade|
Bridge collapses under inaugural train. At 27, mother left a
prosperous widow; she never remarries.
Intermittently attends Academy of the Sacred Heart, sometimes|
as a boarder, following traditional 'Plan of Studies' and convent
rituals. Learns French and piano from charismatic great-
grandmother, Mme Charleville.
Civil War divides St Louis, along French/German lines. Family|
sympathizes with Southern slaveholders and the Confederate
cause. Half-brother George enlists with Missouri mounted
infantry. Union headquarters set up in St Louis, close to family
home. Kate is briefly arrested for tearing down a Yankee flag.
George taken prisoner Aug. 1862, released Nov. In Louisiana,
French-born Dr Victor Chopin sends family to France, to keep
17-year-old son Oscar out of the fighting.
Jan., great-grandmother dies. Feb., George dies of typhoid|
aged 22. July, Union soldiers break into mother's garden after
Confederate surrender at Vicksburg.
|1864||Family slaves run off.|
Nov., elected as one of Children of Mary, the greatest Sacred|
Heart honour. Oscar Chopin ( 1844-82), a relation of the
eminent St Louis Benoist dynasty, comes to the city from
Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, to study banking with the
|1867-70||Keeps Commonplace Book, as literary record and diary.|
Graduates with highest honours from Sacred Heart. Reluctantly|
follows social season as a fashionable St Louis belle.
Spring, visit to New Orleans. Diary breaks off, 24 May. Writes|
allegorical sketch, 'Emancipation. A Life Fable'. At some point,
meets Oscar Chopin.