93-year-old Lucy Hofmann and her sister 91-year-old Alice Lowry came to share their stories when StoryCorps visited The Haven Assisted Living Residence in San Antonio, TX. Lucy and Alice shared about their family and a unique slice of American history.
Lucy talked about how Emperor Dom Pedro Segundo of Brazil encouraged southerners following the Civil War to come to Brazil and become Brazilian citizens. He wanted agriculture and cotton to be developed in Brazil. William Hutchinson Norris, one of the first original Confederados known to arrive in Brazil was Alice and Lucy’s great grandfather. Many of William’s sons had fought in the Civil War for the South, and one of these sons, who joined William in Brazil, was Robert Norris, their grandfather.
Lucy said that their grandparents picked their land by choosing a spot that reminded them of the fertile land they left behind in Alabama. The town that formed around this land where Alice was born, Villa Americana, is now the city Americana in Brazil.
Lucy and Alice attended a Methodist boarding school called Colegio Peracicabano that they remembered fondly as well as the picnics held every four months by the descendants of the southerners who came to Brazil. These gatherings always had two things: southern dancing and good southern food. Alice remembered the tables piled high with fried chicken, stewed corn, lemon pies, and of course, biscuits and cornbread.
After traveling much of the world throughout their lives with their husbands, Lucy and Alice are settled back in Texas. Lucy is pictured here listening closely to her interview on the laptop in The Haven Parlor.