Chapter Three May Do Me In

Chapter Three is divided into three parts–the Harpes, John Murrell, and Isaac Franklin and John Armfield. Basically, if you ever cut open someone’s belly and dumped them in a creek, I have room for you in this chapter.

But Franklin is just such a sick fuck it’s kind of ruining the fun of the chapter for me. The research is just grueling. UNC has some of Franklin’s letters scanned in so that you can read them yourself without having to travel to North Carolina and, good god damn, it’s just so fucking… Like I was relieved when I couldn’t make things out, because his handwriting is so crappy.

And, on a more minor note, I swear, there’s no way to do even a tiny bit of research into John Murrell before you start to suspect he was framed. Not very well, but framed. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure he was a “thief of horses and negroes,” but to the extent people claimed he was? No, that was a frame-up job by a guy I think was a great deal scarier in his own way. No one can put a body count on Murrell, but his “biographer” leaves a trail.

4 thoughts on “Chapter Three May Do Me In

  1. Re: Isaac Franklin. If you haven’t yet read any of Ed Baptist’s work on rape and the slave trade (AHR article in 2001 is a good place to start, and his book is harrowing)’ you should give it a whirl. Yes, he is a powerfully fucked up guy, but one that gets you into the heart of what the slave South looks like once all the moonlight and magnolias are removed.

  2. I have been reading as much of Baptist’s work as I can get my hands on, but I didn’t know he had a whole book. I’m going to have to read it.

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