Mississippi Magazine|May - June 2020
The history of Maria Price’s family in French Camp dates back to the 19th century, but the home she and her hus-band have created will allow the past to shine into the present and future. Rachel and James Downing arrived in French Camp on New Year’s Day of 1858 from Chester County, South Carolina, and settled on the outskirts of the small town. Mary Ida was the third generation to be born in the area, and she attended nearby French Camp Academy. It was here that she met and fell in love with Norman Harper, who shortly after high school became her husband. Norman set his goals to become a trial lawyer, but during his first years of law school was asked to return to teach a course at the academy. After his first week, he never mentioned law again. Norman became a professor and minister and went on to teach courses at Belhaven College and Reformed Theological Seminary, both in Jackson.
During Mary Ida and Norman’s early days of marriage in French Camp, their daughter Maria was born. Young Maria developed a deep love of her hometown through her parents and extended family. The Harpers moved to Jackson when Maria was two, but they visited with Mary Ida’s family quite often. “I always felt comfortable and perfectly at home here running around and climbing trees with cousins,” Maria recalls.
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May - June 2020