Jennie Baker Caples (Feb 13, 1895 – Oct 17, 1994)
Married to Fred Caples (Oct 7, 1861 – Oct 20, 1934)
Burial – Tuscaloosa Memorial Park
I have recently been privileged to hear from several friends who lived in my old house while they were students at the University of Alabama in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I have really enjoyed all the memories they have shared.
During the 1960’s and 1970’s my old house was owned by Mrs. Jennie Baker Caples. She is the ‘Caples’ portion of the house’s official name, the Foster-Murfee-Caples House. Mrs. Caples and her sister, Sarah, are depicted with their nephew, Dave Sherman, in the photo below. My thanks to Dave for providing this wonderful photograph. They are standing on the front lawn of my old house. Dave is wearing his ‘Million-Dollar Band’ uniform.
By all accounts, Mrs. Caples was a real Southern Lady. Southern Ladies were once more common in Alabama than they are today. The real Southern Lady was a woman of strength and character, not the simpering belles depicted in most books and movies. Think Ellen O’Hara rather than Scarlett. Southern Ladies settled a frontier, built a civilization, endured a Civil War, suffered defeat and survived a painful reconstruction. They lived through a great depression, two World Wars and the Civil Rights Movement. They marched through history in pearls, high heels and tasteful cosmetics. They were pillars of their communities, churches, and families. And, through it all they remained genteel.
Genteel: a. well-bred or refined; polite; elegant; stylish: b. having an aristocratic quality or flavor.
To be a Southern Lady was to embrace all that life has to offer, the good and the bad, with style.
I wonder if my generation still embodies the qualities of the true Southern Ladies. Few of us wear heels to the Piggly Wiggly, but I hope that (underneath our yoga pants) our spirits still burn as brightly as those of our mothers and grandmothers. Do you agree? I would love to learn what ya’ll think constitutes a true Southern Lady in 2013.