‘Journey to Natchez’ update

It’s been terribly long since I’ve posted on Appetite 4 History. Since I last wrote, ages ago, I’ve been working part time for the marketing department of a local college and also working on my book, (working title) “Journey to Natchez.”

I’m two chapters into it, and probably ought to be working on it right this second, but on this rainy day I’m just not feeling all that motivated. So, here we are.

For those who are unfamiliar with the project, “Journey to Natchez” will tell the story of a group of people who traveled 1,000 miles from Amherst County, Virginia, to Natchez, Mississippi, in the fall and winter of 1847-48.

The group included slaveholder William Macon Waller and about 20 enslaved people, including men, women, and several children who were taken from their families. Some of the enslaved people’s names are known and others are lost to history. Waller planned to sell the slaves in Natchez to cover debts at home.

While Waller rode a horse or a mule, the enslaved people, including the children, walked about 25 miles a day. The forced migration took about three months.

The book is based on letters Waller wrote to his family on the way to and from Mississippi, but my research goes well beyond the letters. My goal, through the letters and other historical accounts and sources, is to tell a more full account of this journey.

Unfortunately, none of the enslaved people with Waller left a record of their experiences that I’ve been able to discover. That doesn’t mean I haven’t looked over the past seven years, and will continue to look, for records they or their families might have left.

It’s hard to imagine there isn’t someone out there today related to India, Foster, Anderson, Lucy, Louisa, Sarah Ann, Sarah, Nelson, Henry, Susan, Emily, “Piney Woods Dick,” “Runaway Boots,” Ellin, Pleasant, or Charlotte.

There might even be a family out there who has always heard that they came to Mississippi or Louisiana from Virginia, but doesn’t know how or why.

If any of these names or this story rings a bell, I’d love to hear from you and share what I’ve found so you can know more about what your ancestor went through and survived.

In the meantime, though, I’ll keep writing and researching and will, hopefully someday, finish this book.

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