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1871 – Georgia
Someone has tried to assassinate Virgil Smithson. The Georgia State Legislature is not a safe place—if it ever was. To protect her growing family, Amanda wants to go home to Milford. Virgil is willing to serve out his term and return to life as a blacksmith, but first he has to know…who is trying to have him killed?
Meanwhile, Amanda works to resolve Milford College’s everlasting financial woes by starting a fund raising campaign to finish the school building. Her efforts require her absence from home and the many pressures influence the marriage of the Milford College founders.
Then, a missive arrives from Ohio and Amanda receives an offer she feels she cannot refuse.
When all they want is what they had in the first place, a quiet life in Milford, Virgil and Amanda must strengthen their faith to negotiate these difficult days of the Reconstruction Era.
Someone is trying to put an end to the dream of Milford College and Virgil Smithson’s life. In this, the finale of the “Founder’s Trilogy” the Representative and his wife have to find a way to figure it all out…before it’s too late.
The Preacher’s Promise
1866 – Ohio
Devastated by her father’s death days after her triumphant graduation from Oberlin College, Amanda Stewart is all alone in the world. Her father’s unscrupulous business partner offers her an indecent proposal to earn a living. Instead, to fulfill a promise she made to her father, she resolves to start a school to educate and uplift their race. Sorting through her father’s papers, she discovers he had carried on a mysterious correspondence with a plantation in Milford, Georgia. She determines to start her teaching work with the formerly enslaved. However, when she arrives, the mayor tells her to leave. There’s no where for her to go. Virgil Smithson, Milford’s mayor, blacksmith and sometimes preacher man with a gift for fiery oratory, doesn’t want anything to do with a snobby schoolteacher from up North. On top of everything else, the schoolteacher lady has a will hard enough to match the iron he forges. He must organize his fellow formerly enslaved citizens into a new town and raise his young daughter alone. Still, his troubled past haunts him. He cannot forget the promise he made to his daughter’s mother as she died–that their child would learn to read and write. If only he didn’t have secrets that the new schoolteacher seems determined to uncover.
To keep THE PREACHER’S PROMISE, Amanda and Virgil must put aside their enmity, unite for the sake of a newly-created community in a troubling age, and do things they never imagined. In the aftermath of the flood that was the Civil War, God set his bow upon the earth to show love and understanding for humankind. To reflect God’s promise, these combatants must put aside their differences and come together–somehow.
The Lawyer’s Luck
1844 – Ohio
Lawrence Stewart is a rare man. Raised with his grandmother’s Miami Indian tribe, he’s a Negro with brown skin, and has consistently walked between two worlds most of his life. He devotes his time and study to becoming a lawyer, fully intending to obtain justice for the ousted Miami Indians. No Negro man has accomplished these things before, but he is not daunted. He studies for his exams as he rides circuit through the backwoods of Ohio, handing out justice to people who cannot easily reach a courthouse. His life is perfectly set until one June day…. Aurelia “Realie” Baxter made her way from enslavement in Georgia to the free land Lake Huron in Ohio. Far from happy as a slave doing the bidding of a woman cooped up in a house all day, Realie is a bona fide tomboy with a special gift with horses. Now, she is so close to freedom in Canada, she can smell it, but her plans are interrupted when Lawrence shoots her…by mistake…. Lawrence cannot study encumbered with the care of an enslaved woman, but he’s responsible for her injury… Realie wants to get to Canada, but Lawrence won’t let her get away in trying to help her…
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1868 – Georgia
Milford College is in trouble. The mission to create teachers and preachers for the recently freed populations is on a shaky course because of problems between the married founders.
Mayor Virgil Smithson has been away to the constitutional convention in the newly established state capitol in Atlanta for almost five months. He’s late in getting back home. Worried about her husband, Amanda Smithson manages the crowded and growing school by herself. How they will pay the taxes on the school property if Virgil doesn’t return from Atlanta?
More problems: The Milford daughters-in-law arrive in town, determined to wrest what they see as their rightful inheritance from the Smithsons.
Amanda has hired an old school chum from Oberlin to teach the older students. And he’s a tad too affectionate with Amanda for Virgil’s liking.
Just when it all seems impossible to resolve, the Smithsons must endure another crisis that threatens to tear them, and the dream of their school, apart.
When life becomes difficult, it will take all of God’s love and mercy for the Smithsons to come together to fight within the bonds of holy matrimony that united them less than two years before. It will be the mission of the mayor, and his wife, to do what it takes to keep the new and coltish educational tradition that they began together going–to keep their love alive.