Marilyn R. Hill-Sutton
Outskirts Press Inc
Every once in awhile a human will do something so shocking and so unexpected that it takes their world by surprise, in 1886 one extraordinary event took place when John Knight Jr. Summoned five witnesses to his deathbed and left his estate to his former slaves. The plot thickens because the former slaves are his wife and children, a taboo union at this time. As a white plantation owner, attorney and decorated Confederate Civil War veteran, Knight did the unthinkable for his time period. The after math that follows is one of epic legal battles, courage, love and hope for the future as Knight’s former slaves enter their plantation, their home and their future. The past unfolds in an era of gray areas, when black and white are not easily defined. It is the amazing story of one man’s effect on generations to come.
The Knight Family Legacy is a story deep in heritage and history. The author has written a fascinating history of her husband’s bloodline. It is written from a genealogical stand point and is very insightful to the topics of the time period. The era of slavery is documented with keen insight into a family’s history, stories, love and loss. This book is 576 pages of text and graphs that fully discloses the history, the court documents, public records, ancestral information and the events that changed the Knight family and their slaves. The text can be confusing at times due to the magnitude and all the legal processes and deep history.
This story was fascinating and well documented. Major John Knight Jr. fell in love with Violet Knight, his mulatto slave, a love that was forbidden and intern so was the union. His death bed decision was to leave his estate to Violet and their children. The wish was one that his son Jacob had to fight in order to honor. The fight between the family’s heirs, lawyers and other interested parties is recorded in countless documents, court records, hearing records and more for the reader to discover. The book has multiple photos, war documents, newspaper articles and maps to help aide the reader. There is so much information that it can be overwhelming yet fascinating to read.
This book would make a wonderful read for anyone interested in the civil war time period, genealogy, history, non-fiction, law or court cases and biographies. If you are not deeply interested in one of the above genres or hobbies I do not suggest you buy this book before previewing it at your local library or bookstore. It traces the night family from the early 1800’s until its last entry in 2003. The story is one of love, heartache, battle and compromise. It is simply astounding to try and put yourself in their shoes and understand the full effect of the decision made by one man, a man who sought to be honorable and a son who would stop at nothing to see his father’s wishes carried out.
I particularly enjoyed reading the court cases and hearing proceedings in this book. They are documented in conversation style making the reader feel they are a witness to the actual event. It fascinated me to read these. It was interesting to read the tables that included monetary values. One would think the items would cost more or be appraised for more without considering the change of inflation and other monetary advancements or declines since that time.
Reviewed for Bookpleasures