Eddie was only 14 when his older brother and sister found themselves caught up in the Civil War, In 1862 When Charlotte suffered the death of her newlywed husband and Johnny lost his leg in battle, Eddie was safely protected, tucked away on a farm in Aiken, South Carolina. He spent his days in the barns, taking care of his beloved cows and dreaming of becoming a dairy farmer on his own.
He excelled in mathematics, but paid little attention to current affairs, or to studies of history or literature. He had learned that skin color had nothing to with the nature of a man's character. His best friend and constant companion was a former slave named Eli, who also happened to be his second cousin. But he had almost no other social contacts.
By the time the war was over, Eddie was an adult, but still an unusually innocent and protected one. When the family moved back to Charleston, Eddie stayed behind in Aiken. He was fully capable of managing the farm, as well as its livestock and orchards, but he shunned the political and economic changes taking place beyond the borders of Pine View Farm.
Readers, therefore, should not be surprised to find him building a life for himself that was separate from the interests of his ancestral family. He valued simplicity, self-sufficiency, honesty, and hard work. And when he sought a wife, he would find her, not among the daughters of his parents' friends or among the elite families of coastal South Carolina, but in a family of recent Swiss immigrants who shared his values.