Mosianna Milledge was born a slave in the mid-1800s in Georgia and eventually became a paid maidservant in the childhood home of Juliette (Gordon) Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts. It was discovered that Mosianna had a particular gift for cuisine, and she was elevated to the position of cook. After Juliette’s marriage and move to England, Mosianna boarded a ship to join her mistress as a part of the new household. Mosianna soon became as well-known as Juliette in the party circles of the elite, as she introduced Juliette’s guests to Southern African-American cuisine. While in England, Mosianna met Rosa Lewis, a scullery maid at Wellesbourne House and taught her to make some of her Southern dishes, such as brandied peaches, pecan pie, and buttermilk biscuits. Rosa later became the proprietor of the Cavendish Hotel in London.
Mosianna is an outstanding example of a woman making her way in a world that was changing rapidly. In her lifetime, she went from slave to maid to accomplished chef owning multiple pieces of property, a feat uncommon for an African-American during her lifetime, and frankly a feat for a woman of any decade and color. We hope you will take time to walk through Laurel Grove Cemetery to visit Mosianna, where she is buried with her husband Thomas, to thank her for being a pioneer.