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Clarice Jeter's Geni Profile

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Clarice Jeter (Lawson)

Birthdate: (75)
Birthplace: Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas, United States
Death: March 15, 1967 (75)
Seattle, King, Washington, United States (Tuberculosis)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Preston Wadd Ladd or Nadd Lawson and Laura Lawson
Wife of Preston Murice Jeter
Mother of Emma Josephine Jeter; Clarice Jeter; Nancy Jeter; Delores Hall Hamm; Lucille Hendrix and 3 others

Occupation: Domestic Servant
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Clarice Jeter

She was listed in census with the surname LARSON, but has been written in biographies as LAWSON.

From Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix By Charles R. Cross:

Clarice had been born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1894. Like many Arkansas African Americans, her ancestors included both slaves and Cherokees. Clarice would tell her children the U.S. government had hunted down her Cherokee forebears, until slaves hid them and, eventually, intermarried with them.

Clarice had four older sisters, and the quintet of Lawson daughters regularly traveled from their Arkansas home to the Louisiana Delta to pick cotton. On one of these trips, Clarice, who was twenty at the time, was raped. When Clarice later discovered she was pregnant, her sisters decided to take her west and quickly find her a husband. They picked Washington after hearing from railroad workers that the region offered greater opportunity for blacks.

In Seattle, they advertised for a husband, not mentioning Clarice's pregnancy. Preston Jeter responded, and though he was nineteen years older than Clarice, they began to date. When Clarice's sisters pressed him for marriage and gave him a sum of money as a dowry, he grew suspicious and broke off their relationship. Clarice had the child and it was put up for adoption. The sisters offered Preston more money if he would marry the now-grieving Clarice. He agreed, and they were wed in 1915. The the marriage would last until Preston's death thirty years later, the unusual circumstances of their meeting would strain the relationship.

Both Preston and Clarice had come to the Northwest to start a life in a place where race was less an issue than it was elsewhere. To a degree, this was true in Seattle, which lacked the segregation of the white-only drinking fountains of the Jim Crow South. In the Northwest, however, African Americans encountered a less overt form of discrimination, but one that still limited opportunity. In Seattle, blacks lived almost exclusively in an area called the Central District, four square miles that contained some of the city's oldest, and most decrepit, homes. Outside of this neighborhood, landlords would rarely rent to African Americans, and many townships had laws banning real estate sales to nonwhites.

The biggest challenge to blacks in Seattle- and the one that threatened to supersede all others- was finding fair employment. African Americans were tolerated by white Seattle society in most situations, but the only professions open to blacks were service jobes as cooks, waiters, or railroad porters. In a apttern that was familiar, Preston Jeter found work as a longshorman during a strike; it was a job normally held only by whites. Clarice found work as a domestic, a job that 84 percent of Seattle's African American women held in the 1910 census. Clarice, like most black mothers of the day, cared for white babies at the same time as she began to have children of her own.

Over the next ten years, Clarice would have eight children, two of whom would die in infancy and two who would be adotped out. Lucille, the youngest of the Jeter children, was born in 1925, eight weeks premature. Because of complications from a tumor, as well as postpartum depression, Clarice remained in the hospital for six months after Lucille's birth. Preston, then fifty years old and suffering from health problems of his own, couldn't care for the family, so Lucille's three sisters - Nancy, Gertrude and Delores - initially raised the baby. The nurses brought her home on a day in December that featured a rare Seattle snowstorm. "They had to walk up the hill in front of our house very carefully with her," recalled Delores Hall, who was four at the time. "They put her in my arms and said, 'Be careful because this is your new sister.'"

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Clarice Jeter's Timeline

January 17, 1892
Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas, United States
Age 22
Seattle, King County, WA, USA
June 1919
Age 27
Arkansas, United States
Age 26
Seattle, King County, Washington, United States
Age 28
Seattle, King County, WA, USA
Age 31
Washington, United States
October 12, 1925
Age 33
Seattle, Washington, United States
March 15, 1967
Age 75
Seattle, King, Washington, United States