She was born under less than “normal” circumstances. Her birth mother had fallen in love with someone who promised to marry her upon his return from a trip to Kentucky. When his trip was extended, she despaired and thought that she had been betrayed. She settled for a “drunken, worthless vagabond” who was overseer of a neighboring plantation. But then her true love returned, and upon finding her married, promptly left for France. Some time later, her birth mother and her first love had an extramarital affair which resulted in Elsa’s birth. Elsa, however, was turned over to her mother’s brother to raise.
Elsa remembered that as a young girl she was adored by both her uncle and his negro servants, and often her mother, “Aunt Anna”, would visit. At the age of five, Elsa was sent to New Orleans to attend school, and only saw her uncle on occasion – they communicated mostly through letters and he always made sure she was well provided for.
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