“Faded beauty clings like dust to the shadows of her chiseled face. A straight-spined woman, she holds her head stiff and elevated, her chin jutting out, her lips tight and cobwebbed, as though she’s never spoken poetry, never prayed with a smile on her mouth, never licked syrup from her lips.”~~Samuel’s Wife by Brenda Sutton Rose
My fourth great grandfather, Samuel Story, made his home in Arabi, Georgia. He lived from 1795-1867. History books list him as one of the pioneer founders of that area of Georgia.
While digging into Samuel’s life, I discovered he married Elizabeth (Betsy) Pate, daughter of the Reverend William Pate, and remained married to her until his death.
During his marriage to Betsy, Samuel had a lover, Anna Brown. She was listed on the census as his neighbor. Being a neighbor in the 1800s didn’t mean living next door. Anna’s house could have been five miles down the dirt road from Samuel’s.
Betsy Pate Story gave birth to many of her husband’s children, yet during the same period of time, Anna Brown was having his children. Some of the local history books list Anna as Samuel’s second wife, but deeper research reveals she wasn’t. She was his lover. Samuel never divorced and remained married to Betsy throughout his life.
After plundering through Samuel’s extraordinary life, my imagination ballooned, and I wrote the short story Samuel’s Wife, a work of fiction. The story does not describe Samuel’s life. I simply grabbed Samuel by the hand, locked onto his name, and created a tale about what might have happened among two women involved in such a situation, one the wife, the other the lover.
“My tongue loosens a single syllable, curled, ready to strike, and I toss it between us like a rattlesnake. Bess.”
Nominated by the editors of The Broadkill Review for a Pushcart Prize in Fiction, here is a link to Samuel’s Wife.
Brenda Sutton Rose is the author of Dogwood Blues.
ABOUT DOGWOOD BLUES
Change has come to Dogwood, Georgia, dividing the town, friends against friends, neighbors against neighbors. With the liquor referendum on the ballot, signs, declaring VOTE YES, others declaring VOTE NO, many signs as tall as billboards, pop up in yards throughout the city limits. All of Dogwood has an opinion. And the local newspaper, Dogwood News, reports it all.
When Boone Marshall, a blues musician who inherits the family farm after his father’s death, brings home a new bride not long after his first wife’s suicide, Nell Sauls, the town busybody, goes bat crazy spreading rumors that have no substance. And when Kevin Kilmer, award-winning author, moves back to Dogwood, the town where he’d grown up, and brings with him a husband, Nell makes it her business to drop gossip like bird poop up and down the historic district.
Compared to Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, to Cold Sassy Tree, and to the movie Steel Magnolias, Dogwood Blues is rich in humor.
DOGWOOD BLUES by Brenda Sutton Rose was nominated for a 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Award for First Novel. She has been the guest at numerous books clubs that chose Dogwood Blues as their book for the month. She has taught writing workshops at conferences for new and upcoming writers. Click here to purchase Dogwood Blues.