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Unformatted text preview: t; and shoved to the bottom of the social ladder. But because they worked hard and saved their money, they slowly accumulated land. The Rossetti family landed near Leland, Mississippi, in 1902. They were from a village near Bologna, and had the misfortune of listening to the wrong labor agent in that city. Mr. and Mrs. Rossetti brought with them four daughters, the oldest of which was Nicola, age twelve. Though they often went hungry the first year, they managed to avoid outright starvation. Penniless when they arrived, after three years of peonage the family had racked up $6,000 in debts to the plantation with no possible way of paying them off. They fled the Delta in the middle of the night and rode a boxcar to Memphis, where a distant relative took them in. At the age of fifteen, Nicola was stunningly beautiful. Long dark hair, brown eyes—a classic Italian beauty. She looked older than her years and managed to get a job in a clothing store by telling the owner she was eighteen. After three days, the owner offered her a marriage proposal. He was willing to divorce his wife of twenty years and say goodbye to his children if Nicola would run away with him. She said no. He offered Mr. Rossetti $5,000 as an incentive. Mr. Rossetti said no. In those days, the wealthy farming families in northern Mississippi did their shopping and socializing in Memphis, usually within walking distance of the Peabody Hotel. It was there that Mr. Zachary DeJarnette of Clanton had the blind luck of bumping into Nicola Rossetti. Two weeks later they were married. He was thirty-one, a widower with no children and in the midst of a serious search for a wife. He was also the largest landowner in Ford County, where the soil was not as rich as in the Delta, but still quite profitable if you owned enough of it. Mr. DeJarnette had inherited over four thousand acres from his family. His grandfather had once owned the grandfather of Calia Harris Ruffin. The marriage was a package deal. Nicola was wise beyond her years, and she was also desperate to protect her family. They had suffered so much. S...
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This note was uploaded on 07/18/2010 for the course LIT 301 taught by Professor Dra during the Spring '10 term at American College of Computer & Information Sciences.
- Spring '10