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The Road to Frogmore

The Road to Frogmore

Miss Laura M. Towne was a Unitarian, an Abolitionist, and a medical student. In 1862, at the age of 37, she left her Philadelphia home to travel to the Sea Islands of South Carolina. Her purpose: to do whatever she could to help the newly freed slaves become useful and productive citizens.

What could possibly go wrong? Laura Town and her life-long friend Ellen Murray joined the Port Royal Experiment in 1862 to test their abolitionist ideals against the realities of slaves abandoned by their owners in the Low Country of South Carolina. They hoped to find a place they could call home, as well as an outlet for their talents as and seemed like a good idea at the time, until . . .

--Until the climate—violent storms spawned over the Atlantic, searing heat, tainted by swamp gasses, cockroaches, bedbugs, swarming mosquitoes “no-see-ums” that left nasty bites in their wake.

--Until they met the slaves themselves—full of fear and resentment of white people caused by centuries of cruelty, slaves who had never seen the outside world, slaves whose superstitions included breath-sucking night hags, evil graybeards living in local trees, and unfree spirits rolling down the roads at night in balls of fire.

--Until the dedication of the missionaries found itself tested by lack of food, furniture, medicine, and the bare necessities of life. Until the unity of the abolitionist effort fell apart under the strains of religious differences and unrecognized prejudices.

--And until the combination of battle wounds and a raging smallpox epidemic made death their constant companion. Could these two independent women survive the Civil War and achieve their goal of turning slaves into citizens?

Early Praise for

The Road to Frogmore

Carolyn Schriber shares with us the intimate stories of the people involved in the transition from slavery to emancipation – the trials they suffer, the challenges they face, the difficulties that must be dealt with in relationships on all sides. The stories Schriber shares are emotional, sometimes humorous, and both familiar and unfamiliar. Schriber doesn’t hesitate to get to the guts of the issues and reflect from all sides the genuine emotions involved

—Rev. Faith Nettleton-Scherer

A fascinating journey into a little known but emblematic chapter of the Civil War. The Road to Frogmore reveals how that epic struggle was not only to emancipate America's slaves but our very understanding of freedom and humanity. In vibrantly portraying the transformation from slavery to freedom, Carolyn Schriber astutely reveals how much we have still to learn from that struggle.

—Leila Levinson, author of Gated Grief

Learning about historical events through the eyes of the people that lived during those times is one of the most fascinating ways to approach history. Carolyn Schriber did a wonderful job of researching, along with using information from both diaries and letters to make discoveries regarding the women who made a huge impact on the lives and times of emancipated slaves.

—Joyce M. Gilmour, Editing TLC

In The Road to Frogmore, Carolyn Schriber is meticulous in her research of the events surrounding the mission of “Turning Slaves into Citizens”. She uses imaginary journal excerpts written by Rina, a slave woman, as a way to bind the many stories gleaned from diaries and letters of volunteers that served. Carolyn’s treatment of the Gullah language for the reader is brilliant.

—Elizabeth Egerton Wilder, author of Granite Hearts

(Frontispiece, used with permission of The Penn Center)

If only history had been this spell-binding when I was in school! The title of Carolyn P. Schriber’s recent release, The Road to Frogmore: Turning Slaves into Citizens, grabbed my attention immediately and never let go. The author has masterfully woven details from her exhaustive research into a book that reads like a well-plotted novel, yet all the characters are real people and all the events factual. I give the book five stars out of five and recommend it to history buffs as well as those like me who are looking for a good read with a bonus. I can see The Road to Frogmore used in high school or college history classes where it would spark many rich and lively discussions. It would also be an excellent book club pick for the same reason.

--Candace George Thompson, author of Still Having Fun: A Portrait of a Military Marriage, 1941-2007.

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