What could possibly go wrong? Laura Town and her life-long friend Ellen Murray joined the Port Royal Experiment in 1862 to test their abolitionist ideals against the realities of slaves abandoned by their owners in the Low Country of South Carolina. They hoped to find a place they could call home, as well as an outlet for their talents as schoolteacher and doctor.. It seemed like a good idea at the time, until . . .
Until they experienced the climate—violent storms spawned over the Atlantic, searing heat, tainted by swamp gasses, cockroaches, bedbugs, swarming mosquitoes,and “no-see-ums” that left nasty bites in their wake.
Until they met the slaves themselves—full of fear and resentment of white people caused by centuries of cruelty, slaves who had never seen the outside world, slaves whose superstitions included breath-sucking night hags, evil graybeards living in local trees, and unfree spirits rolling down the roads at night in balls of fire.
Until the dedication of the missionaries found itself tested by lack of food, furniture, medicine, and the bare necessities of life. Until the unity of the abolitionist effort fell apart under the strains of religious differences and unrecognized prejudices.
And until the combination of battle wounds and a raging smallpox epidemic made death their constant companion. Could these two independent women survive the Civil War and achieve their goal of turning slaves into citizens?
About the Author
Carolyn P. Schriber is a Professor Emerita in the History Department at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. Since retiring she has written several other books on the Civil War in South Carolina: A Scratch with the Rebels; the award-winning novel, Beyond All Price; and a collection of short pieces, Left by the Side of the Road: Characters without a Novel. She has also written a handbook on publishing called The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese: How to Avoid the Traps of Self-Publishing. Read more about her work on her website at www.katzenhausbooks.com. She now lives near Memphis with her husband and five lovable but opinionated cats. When she is not engaged in her duties as president of Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service, a non-profit charity connected with Lions Clubs International, she writes and enjoys traveling to do more research in the Low Country between Charleston and Savannah.