If you love historic fiction, then go here and read this true story about one of Manatee County, Florida's founders.
There is a lot of other information on the internet if you become interested in researching the characters in the story further. Since that is my modus operandi, I have been scouring the net looking for traces of our heroine, her family and other persons in the tale.
The writer is a kindred spirit, I think, although I've never met her. She loves history, as do I, but most importantly, she is a Christian. That makes us sisters in Christ. The story she is writing doesn't leave out the faith of the characters (that was much more open and acknowledged by the general populace than today), or their flaws. For instance, many Manatee county natives know of the "castle" built by Dr. Braden back in the mid 1800's. If you visit the ruins, you will read about who Dr. Braden was - a pillar of the community, a Dr., etc. But you may not read about his slaves - or if you do, it will be glossed over as just another bit of information.
That's what I love most about this story. The author is teaching me a Christian lesson as I read the history - that is the lesson of trusting God, the journey of faith that a believer goes through as trouble and heartache touch his life - and the best part of all - this is a true story.
So, go and enjoy - so far there are 51 chapters! I took one whole day when I first found this blog, to read up to chapter 45. Since then, I've waited with baited breath for each new installment.
I have also always loved reading about the land before men came and settled it, whether the US East Coast, or the journey of Lewis and Clark in the west - and the way Florida looked before it was bulldozed, canaled and concreted. I once read in another piece of Florida history that below Lake Okeechobee there were moon vines growing in the trees so thickly that you could walk on top of the trees as if on a giant rug for miles. I cannot even imagine this, since now, the area below Lake Okeechobee is farming country, and the lake itself is surrounded by a dike. Oh, to have seen Florida in those days. There are photos of Coconut Grove with only one dirt road and the knowledge that panthers could be in the thick tropical trees anywhere. This story, "Eliza's Story", then, is another glimpse of a part of Florida before development. Florida in it's natural state - I can only sit back, close my eyes and imagine how beautiful it was.
I love it when I find such a, for me, perfect blog. History, Christianity, a great story - it's like coming home!
Wow! I am honored that you wrote such kind words about my story and recommend others to read it. And I am humbled that you can see the real reason for my writing, to glorify God. Thank you such much. You are a great encouragement to me. As for your search for Michael Dickens, if you find him, let me know. I have been searching for him for over twenty five years. He just drops off the face of the earth. Either he was killed in battle or he ran away and changed his name. A lot of soldiers did that seeking a fresh start in Texas because it was not war torn. Again, thank you for your encouragment. I am on the home stretch now. About 15 chapters left to do to wrap up this stage of Eliza's life. Love, Cathy
I will never forget this story - I know it is true and that makes it so powerful. I found pictures of Eliza and, of course, Mrs. Joe. I find references to Mary's husband in Civil War data - but nothing about Michael Dickens. I'm going to keep trying - I have a membership in Ancestry.com and they have added foreign databases - i.e., England. He HAD to have been born somewhere! I won't write anything regarding the story so as not to give anything away to those who wish to read.
Regarding those books I mention that you would like to read, but are out of print. If you have a local library card, you can do interlibrary loan as the Manatee County Public Library has them in circulation. Thanks for your support. Cathy
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