WATERS PLANTATION

Great News! WATERS PLANTATION, the long-awaited sequel to THE DOCTOR’S WIFE and to STEIN HOUSE  is available. It follows many of the characters from both books who move from the Indianola seaport to Washington County, Texas, and continue their story during the political turmoil that builds after Reconstruction.

WATERS PLANTATION, my tenth book, is historical fiction. It will be available on November 6, but you may preorder on Amazon.

Here is an overview:

It is 1875 in Texas, and Albert Waters takes pride in his image––prosperous merchant and plantation owner who freed his wife’s slaves before the Civil War and gave them land after her death. Then his son Toby, ready to depart for Harvard Medical College, demands answers. Was his mother a slave?

How does a man account for the truth that on a drunken night, when all he could think about was Amelia his long-ago lover, he gave into the touch of a slave girl?

Al and the Waters plantation co-operative of former slaves create a community that prospers as they educate their children and work their land. They organize against political forces regaining control through rape, lynchings, and the rise of the KKK.

Al believes he has been given a new life when Amelia arrives with dreams of moving her family from the hurricane dangers of the Texas coast. In the rapidly changing world swirling around him, Al will have to confront the image he has held of himself if he wants to keep Toby and Amelia, the two people he loves most.

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A Love Story

Jim Shankle was born in 1811 on a Mississippi plantation. When he married Winnie, she already had three children fathered by the plantation owner. Soon after the marriage, Jim overheard the business deal their master made with a planter to sell Winnie and her children. He knew they were taken to a plantation in East Texas. He grieved for several days and then made up his mind to find his family. With a price on his head as a runaway slave, he headed west, always moving at night, foraging in fields for his food, and hiding in the fields when he heard others on the road. Not daring to use a ferry, he swam both the Mississippi and Sabine rivers.

After a 400-mile journey, he reached East Texas and moved at night from plantation to plantation asking about Winnie. Finally, Jim found her as she collected water at a spring. For several days, Winnie hid Jim and brought food to him at night.  Some accounts say Winnie’s master found Jim, other stories say she told her master about her husband. Whatever the truth, the plantation owner agreed to buy Jim.

In addition to Winnie’s three children, they raised six of their own. When emancipation came following the Civil War they became farmers and began buying land with their partner Steve McBride. Eventually, they held 4,000 acres, and as other black families began settling in the area, they formed the community of Shankleville. The Shankles and McBride oversaw the building of a school, church, a cotton gin, sawmill, and gristmill.

Stephen McBride

Steve McBride, who could not read, married one of the Shankle daughters. He established McBride College (1883-1909), fulfilling his dream of helping others receive the education he had been denied.

Winnie Shankle died in 1883 and Jim died five years later, ending a love story that has become an East Texas legend.

Texas Historical Marker story of Shanklesville.
Courtesy Barclay Gibson

LOVE AFFAIR BECOMES A LEGEND

If you are in deep East Texas on TX 63 southwest of Burkeville, be sure to read the historical marker designating the site of Shankleville, a black community named for an ex-slave.

Jim Shankle was born in 1811 on a Mississippi plantation.  When he married Winnie, she already had three children.  Soon after the marriage, their master sold Winnie and her children.  Jim heard enough of the business deal to know that they were taken to a plantation in East Texas.  He grieved for several days.  Then, determined to find his family, he ran away.  With a price on his head as a runaway slave, he headed west, always moving at night, foraging in fields for his food, and hiding in the fields when he heard others on the road.  Not daring to use a ferry, he swam both the Mississippi and Sabine rivers.

After a 400-mile journey, he reached East Texas and moved at night from plantation to plantation asking about Winnie.  Finally, Jim found her as she collected water at a spring.  For several days, Winnie hid Jim and brought food to him at night.  Some accounts say Winnie’s master found Jim, other stories say she told her master about her husband.  Whatever the truth, the plantation owner agreed to buy Jim.

In addition to Winnie’s three children, they raised six of their own.  When emancipation came following the Civil War they became farmers and began buying land with their partner Steve McBride.  Eventually they held 4,000 acres in the black community called Shankleville, which boasted schools, churches, a cotton gin, sawmills, and gristmills.

Steve McBride, who could not read, married one of the Shankle daughters.  He established McBride College (1883-1909), fulfilling his dream of helping others receive the education he had been denied.

Winnie Shankle died in 1883 and Jim died five years later, ending a love story that became a legend.