Prior to the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, French Creole's represented the power elite in the Mississippi River Valley. Their society was Roman Catholic and steeped in French culture, history and tradition. In the beginning the word Creole referred to first generation French Colonist's born in the Mississippi River Valley. The title Creole implied a certain excellence of origin and so came early to include any native of French descent by either parent in the Mississippi River Valley. The term became popular after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 when Anglo-Saxons began to flood into the French speaking valley.
Born in 1839 Harriet, was one of the last antebellum Creole Belle's to enter the provincial society of the wealthy and well connected Brown and Valle families.
Once he won her, Louis willfully surrounded Harriet with all the comforts and luxuries of an elegant home. He built Schaaf Hill on the bluffs of the Mississippi River overlooking the Valley of Kaskaskia where in the beginning Harriet's Great Great Grandfather Francois Valle, married Mademoiselle Marrianne Billeron the daughter of the Royal Notary to the French Crown - Leonard Billeron in 1748.
By the mid 19th century Creole Style in decorative arts and architecture had reached a level of sophistication envied by the newly arriving Anglo-Saxons. In fact Creole Style in New Orleans and St. Louis was still very French and blended old world charm with unparalleled Creole hospitality. One could find this highly refined style of living in many elite Creole Homes. Harriet's parlors exemplified period elegance not only in decor but in their genteel refinement. One's Creole Style reflects a way of life developed and demonstrated through attitude and etiquette generations in the making. Harriet was Vraiment une` Beaute de Magnificence.
Mrs. Harriet Schaaf, wife of Louis Schaaf, of St. Mary, Mo., passed to her final resting place at her home, as announced in our last week's issue, after a long and painful illness of nearly a years duration, sustained with rare patience and fortitude.
The utmost resources of medical skill and the tenderest and most attentive care of a loving husband and devoted children and friends were unable to stay the hand of death. Although from the nature of her decease death was to be expected, yet the blow falls with a heavy hand upon her devoted husband and loving children who have so long and lovingly watched at her bedside.
It requires a rare degree of fortitude and a abiding faith in the all wise and loving creator on the part of her loving family and devoted friends to be reconciled to her death, dying as she did, after having so long and faithfully devoted herself to her duties as a wife and mother, and just as the long years of energy and business ability of her husband had been crowned with the well deserved success that enabled him to surround her with all the comforts and luxuries of an elegant home and when her children were just blossoming into a useful and happy maturity.
The deceased was the daughter of Walter Brown, one of the oldest and most respected of the early families of Ste. Genevieve county, and was in every respect a most charming and lovable woman, a devoted wife, a loving mother whose greatest happiness was bound up in her home and children and her death creates a void in the community in which she lived that will long be felt. She was loved and respected by all who knew her. She leaves to mourn her loss six children. Edward, Walter, Carl, Mary, Cecelia and Caroline.
She was interred in the Catholic cemetery of St. Mary, Mo., after the celebration of high mass and the delivery of a beautiful and appropriate tribute to the virtues of the deceased by Rev. Father Wagner, and was followed to her last resting place by almost the entire population of St. Mary, and many and sincere were the tears shed over her grave by loving friends.
Her bereaved husband, loving children and sorrowing friends have the heartfelt sympathy of all her knew her and they can only be consoled by the belief that her many virtues will be rewarded in her life to come. May she rest in peace.