Clarissa Thompson's Notes
after the smoke of though conflict which transformed three millions of
slaves into citizens of the mightiest country on the face of the earth had
cleared away, many of the former bondmen came to the front in their
respective localities. Among these was Samuel B. Thompson. He was a man of
much natural ability, and, for a time, his people " delighted to
honor him." During the Republican ivy hue ho held many positions of
trust and emolument. For eight years he filled the office of justice of
the peace in the capital city, . and for six years he represented his
native county in the State legislature. A newspaper, edited by men of
Caucasian lineage, said of him, several years afterward : "He is a
colored gentleman, in every essential." His wife, Eliza Henrietta,
one of the most amiable of women, was a worthy helpmeet, and to this happy
couple were born nine children, one of whom is the, subject of our sketch.
Clarissa Thompson's opportunities have always been of the most
excellent character. Those Northern societies who have done so much for
the amelioration of the condition of the freedmen sent some of their
noblest and best to labor in the Palmetto State; and Columbia, with her
usual good fortune, secured some of the choicest spirits among these.
Howard school, named in honor of the philanthropic General O. O. Howard,
boasted of a fine corps of thirteen teachers. Miss Carrie II. Loom is, of
Hartford, Conn., had charge of the most advanced grade. She was a born
teacher, and manifested the deepest interest in her pupils. Clarissa had
just completed her ninth year when she entered this lady's department, and
she has always regarded Miss Loomis as the teacher to whom she is most
indebted. A few years in Howard school, and then she is enrolled as a
member of the South Carolina State Normal school, of which Prof. Mortimer
A. Warren, of Connellsville, Conn, was principal, and Miss Loomis chief
assistant. Professor Warren was one of the best educators on this
continent. An enthusiastic believer in the inductive system of teaching,
he founded his methods on those advocated by Pestalozzi, Froebel and
Horace Mann. While here, Miss Thompson had the privilege of attending
lectures given by members of the faculty of the South Carolina University.
The standard of this university was high. The board of regents had spared
no pains to secure the services of the best talent in the country. Its
library has always been famous; its laboratory has always been considered
one of the best in the United States, and its reputation, with such
intellectual giants as McDuffie and Hayne, claiming it as their Alma
Mater, has always been enviable. It was the aim of the board to put it on
a level with what it was in ante bellum times, and, judging from the
graduates it turned out— such scholars as T. McCants Stewart and the
lamented. William M. Dart — their efforts did not lack much of being
crowned with success. The normal school was, de facto, a part of the
university; and during the last year of their course the class of which
Miss Thompson was a member pursued some of their studies in conjunction
with the junior class of this institution.
A brief extract from this novel may not be out of place here.
Will DeVerne, the hero, says to his aunt :
The playful look left Will's eyes.
Since coming to Texas, Miss Thompson has written a temperance poem entitled "A Glass of Wine," which was published in the Texas Blade, and was favorably received by the cities. Texas boasts of quite a number of race papers, and under the nom de plume of " Minnie Myrtle" Miss Thompson has contributed letters, poems, and, in one instance, a novelette called " Only a Flirtation," to several of them.But while her tastes are literary, her chief desire is to accomplish good in her profession. " "We must work out our destiny, in a great measure, in the school-room," she says, " Among most races, the mothers mould the character of the children; but so many of our women have been deprived of the opportunity to elevate themselves, and poverty compels so many of them to spend most of the time away from their families, that a large proportion of the children cannot receive the home training imperative for the production of grand men and noble women. with heart and head cultivated to the utmost. It may seem a thankless task, and even the most enthusiastic among us ofttimes get discouraged; but, if we will only persevere, ' rich will the harvest be.' The elevation of our race depends largely on the character of the work done in the school-room. The teacher can, by a few well-chosen words, touch the very chord that will inspire 'some mute, inglorious Milton,' some embryo physician, financier or mechanic to devote himself to the vocation for which Nature has designed him, instead of frittering away his talents on something to which he is entirely unsuited. A teacher's influence may make a life, or it may mar it."
Some of the members of Miss Thompson's family have attained a considerable degree of prominence in their respective localities. Among these are her paternal cousin. Dr. Alonzo C. McClennan. of Charleston, S. C., and his partner,. Dr. John MePherson Thompson, her oldest brother, who has- made a fine reputation as a mathematician, as well as a physician. Miss Thompson says that what little of literary ability she possesses she inherits from her father, while to her mother, to whom she is devoted even beyond the ordinary, she owes a retentive memory.
Miss Thompson's ideal of womanhood is very high, and in her writing she has always endeavored to hold up to her readers the model extolled by the great Justin J. Holland, as contained in the following lines, with which we conclude this sketch :
She was my peer.
It was begun in the Christian Recorder, but, awaking to the fact that
the plot and development of the story would scarcely become an ecclesiastical
paper. It was withdrawn after three chapters had been published.
Noted Negro Women: Their Triumphs and Activitiesby Monroe Alphus Majors - 1893 - 365 pages
Miss C. M. Thompson m. W. A. Allen 24 Dec 1896 Tarrant Co. Mg. Rec. bk 9, page 298
|Allen||CLARISSA M||Head||F||B||Oct||1859||40||M||3||Teacher||SC||4||Owm home||7-WD FORT WORTH|
|HOPKINS||EMMA C||Cousin||F||B||Jan??||1870||29||S||Dressmaker||SC||0||7-WD FORT WORTH|
|Thompson||CELIA R||Sister||F||B||Oct||1866||34||S||Teacher||SC||6||7-WD FORT WORTH|