Thursday, April 27, 2017

Slave Bills of Sale and Other Research

I'm deep into the edits of Book 2 in The Women of Rose Hill historical fiction series. The sequel to The Planter's Daughter, this book is set on the same Texas cotton plantation and takes place five years after the first book. If you know your Texas history, you'll recognize the date of June 18, 1865. That was the day Union Army troops landed in Galveston, bringing with them the Emancipation Proclamation that freed over 250,000 slaves still in bondage despite the end of the Civil War. As you can imagine, many changes will take place on Rose Hill plantation, so stay tuned to find out when the release date will be! If you haven't read The Planter's Daughter, click HERE to order your copy! History, romance, drama, slavery! It has it all and more, and is getting lots of 5-star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads! I think you'll enjoy it! 😄

Since Book 2 won't be out for a while, I thought I'd share some of the research I've done with you to whet your appetite. It was truly a fascinating time in our nation's history!

One item that comes into play in the story is a Bill of Sale. A Bill of Sale was a document given to the purchaser of a slave to prove ownership. When we buy a car these days, we receive a title that shows the car belongs to us. That is what a Bill of Sale did regarding a slave. They were often handwritten, but some slave traders and brokers actually had forms printed and simply filled in the blanks. It is unreal to me that the document pictured below represented the sale of a human being. That human being was named George and he was 23 years old.

In Texas, the largest slave market was located in Galveston. Smaller ones existed in San Antonio and Houston, but because Galveston is a port city, it made sense that slave traders would set up business there. Thousands upon thousands of slaves were bought and sold there. I won't go into the horrific details of what a slave might have endured during these transactions, but suffice it to say animals often fared better.

I've posted about this little book before, but it deserves to be mentioned again because I could not have written about slavery in Texas without it. I Was Born in Slavery provides true narratives of former Texas slaves. In 1936, our government sent out-of-work writers south to interview former slaves so we would have record of their stories. Most were in their 80s, 90s, and 100s, so it was important to hear in their own words what life was like as a slave before we lost the chance. Some of them shared stories about the day "Freedom" came to Texas, and I've incorporated many of their words and reactions into my book. Staying true to the slaves' actual lives and experiences is extremely important to me as an author of historical fiction.

A new character who arrives at Rose Hill in Book 2 is Corporal William Banks. Corporal Banks lands in Galveston with the Union Troops, eager to help set Texas slaves free. As a black Federal soldier, he would have been especially satisfied to see slaves walk off plantations and farms. The young man pictured below looks just like how I imagine Corporal Banks would have looked when he rides into Rose Hill plantation with Colonel Levi Maish, our new hero. I think readers of The Planter's Daughter will be pleased with his story.

So there is just a sneak peek at Book 2!  Go HERE to see some of the pictures on Pinterest that give me inspiration as I'm writing. I truly love all the new characters in the book as well as the returning characters from The Planter's Daughter.  I think you'll love them too! Of course, the book's hero and heroine (a daughter of Rose Hill and returning character) will experience all kinds of difficulties, heart-throbbing romance, and important growth within themselves, just as the characters in Book 1 did. Readers will not be disappointed! I'll let you know the release date soon! In the meantime, be sure to get your copy of The Planter's Daughter HERE. Kindle copies are only $2.99!! Enjoy!




Sylvia A. Nash said...

Michelle, I've been researching this very topic for my current WIP except for Tennessee. I found your post interesting. I cannot imagine how anyone could buy and sell another human being. Unfortunately, the events of the 1860s did not end it. Human trafficking still happens today. Sometimes I think we're just as blind to it today as our ancestors once were.

Michelle Shocklee said...

Thanks, Sylvia! I think you're right about slavery in today's society. :'(

Have you read this book about slavery in Tennessee? It has the same type of narratives as found in I Was Born in Slavery.

Blessing to you and on your writing!

Sylvia A. Nash said...

Thanks for the link, Michelle. I found a digitized copy of the WPA slave narratives online, but I haven't yet found a digitized copy of the Fisk University slave narratives. This book has both although the comments suggest they are highly edited. I'll check it out further.

Lisa Godfrey said...

I can't wait for your new book. When will it he available?

Michelle Shocklee said...

Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog! I love your enthusiasm! The second book in The Women of Rose Hill series -- The Widow of Rose Hill -- releases February 2018. I know that sounds like a long way off, but it'll be here before we know it! :D

Have a fabulous day!