Dr. Jerry Giddens
February 12, 2010
Branson County, North Carolina is a very rural town in the south. The biggest town in the county is Troy, a village of 400 or 500 people. Civilization at this time basically generated around the war, the one historical event that overshadows all others. Troy was so small that the news of old Captain Walkers murder spread throughout the town very fast. The old war veteran was well known and loved in the community. The town??™s patrons thought that the Negro who killed their friend should be burned not lynched. When the news of the capture spreads through the town, the men are still not happy. They feel that ??????ordinary justice was too slight a punishment for such a crime.??™??™ The gathered crowd decides to lynch the prisoner, and arrange to meet at five that afternoon to take action. The sheriff is an educated, wealthy, and respected man. He vows to go the jail and protect his prisoner, as is his duty. The sheriff unshackles the man and tells him if the men get in the jail, to fight for himself. The sheriff continues to do his job to the best of his ability, and that??™s to protect his prisoners. The men, surprised at the sheriff??™s resistance, decide to give up the idea of lynching the prisoner. He does not notice the prisoner steal his revolver, and the prisoner soon levels the gun at him. The prisoner declares his intention of escaping. The sheriff says that this is little gratitude for saving his life, and the prisoner admits that while the sheriff saved him, it is only momentary; soon he will hang on the order of the court. The prisoner says he didn??™t kill the captain, but knows he will not be able to prove it. At gun point the sheriff is forced against his will. When the sheriff reveals his utter surprise that the prisoner would ???kill the man to whom you owe your own life,??? the prisoner says indeed he owes his life to the sheriff ??” in fact; he is Tom, the sheriff??™s illegitimate son, born to him of the sheriff??™s former slave. The sheriff gasps, saying in surprise, ?????™you would not murder your own father?????™ Tom counters with logic: what ???father??™s duty??? has the sheriff done for him; he also points out that other white owners gave their African-American children freedom. Seeing a gun pointed towards her father the sheriff??™s daughter shoots the prisoner. The sheriff starts to think about how his illegitimate child has been through enough. Thinking of ways to save him the sheriff decided to at least investigate his case. Only to later that day find the prisoner, his son, dead in the jail cell.