July 1854, Colleton District, South Carolina
A half-dozen years before Abe Lincoln’s election, comes another collision between European immigrants and African abductees that does not end well.
By 1854, the Tiffany family had enslaved over 300 Africans for more than a century on the 1,100-acre slave labor camp that they called the Tiffany Plantation. The Tiffanys were the largest rice producer in South Carolina’s Colleton District. While the toil of enslaved Africans earned untold riches for the Tiffanys, the Africans endured violence inflicted to force increased rice production and profits followed by the indignity of the bodies of loved ones being stolen from their graves and delivered to a medical school.
Determined to put a stop to robberies of African graves was Posey, an eighty-four-year-old man whose ancestors came from the shores of the Bigh of Biafra, now known as Nigeria. It was Posey’s expert river-irrigation skills that made Tiffany crops successful.
More conflict arose when James, the new general manager at Tiffany, realized that Posey’s expertise would be essential for the success of a plantation he planned to gain with ill-gotten money and slave mortgage-backed securities. All the while, the widow Ella, an enslaved nurse-midwife, sought to realize her dream of marrying widower Posey. Matters grew worse when Posey thwarted James’ first attempt to force his attention on Penny, a comely young enslaved wife and mother.
Rich with history and a cast of unforgettable characters, Two Rivers is a sweeping saga of two peoples, European immigrants and African abductees. Together, they experience courtships, infanticide, homicide, rape, rebellions, revenge, sabotage, storms, high-stakes gambling, grave-robbing, counterfeiting, and more.
“De troubles Posey be sees” in Two Rivers reminds one of Southern Gothic storytelling.