Isle of Canes

Isle of Canes

A Historical Novel

Book - 2006
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Isle of Canes is the epic account of an African-American family in Louisiana that, over four generations and more than 150 years, rose from the chains of slavery to rule the Isle of Canes. Historically accurate and genealogically significant, this first novel by eminent genealogist Elizabeth Shown Mills is a gripping tale of racial bias, human conflict, and economic ruin told against the backdrop of colonial Louisiana. This novel is the result of more than thirty years of research. To fuel the story, as well as to maintain historical accuracy, the author found and referenced actual family history documents such as baptism records, manumission papers, probate records, land records, book extracts, and more to reconstruct the lives and times of Francois, Fanny, Coincoin, Augustin, and countless other unforgettable characters. But it takes more than documents on paper and microfilm to bring such an epic story to life. Mills' engaging prose puts flesh on the bones and pulls you into the lives and lifestyle of long-ago Louisiana. ""
Publisher: Provo, UT : Ancestry Pub., 2006
Edition: Paperback edition
Copyright Date: ©2004
ISBN: 9781593313067
Branch Call Number: FIC MILLS 2006
Characteristics: xiii, 583 pages : illustrations, maps, genealogical tables ; 23 cm


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Jun 21, 2017

A page turner for anyone who enjoys family sagas. The difference between this one and most family sagas is that "Isle of Canes" is based on a true story and 30 years of research. The first generation is an African couple, ordered to marry by their Louisiana owners. Fortunately, the blacksmith and the kidnapped daughter of an African king fall in love, and their owner is kind. Their 11 children are not their own, however, and when their French owner dies, his children inherit them. Still, as long as the land is sparsely settled, whites and blacks manage fairly well together. In many cases mixed families are formed without much hostility. Some Creole families marry, become very rich, and see to it that their children are educated, even sending their sons to Europe, and build large mansions. However, depression and first the Rev. and then the Civil War, disrupt the pattern, and laws are passed that keep blacks from voting. The decades of rich creoles--black, white, and mixed race--is over by 1900, and those who appear to have any "black blood" sink into poverty.

Well written, well documented, excellent genealogical charts. The only confusion is that the various families tended to use the same names across the generations and in each family. A minor problem. A long book, but should be read by all Americans who want to understand how we got to where we are now.


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