I spent a few hours yesterday working on my family history. I am one of those strange people that get excited by receiving old death records in the mail. And stranger still because I started thinking about historical interracial romance.
The record for Mahala Hathorn, my third great grandmother, stated that she was a mulatto in her eighties. She had been born a slave and though the details are murky, I’ve gleaned a bit of a story. Mahala’s owner, Samuel Hathorn, dies in 1854. Leaving no will his property is sold except for Mahala and her children. They remain with his son, Nevin Hathorn, while a court case concerning Nevin’s rights to her go on until the end of Slavery.
Mahala is given one acre of Hathorn land for herself and each of her five children by Nevin Hathorn. She marries Isaac, my third great grandfather, and he takes the surname Hathorn.
Add this to an email I received several months ago from another researcher which detailed the life of Sanco Hathorn. The slave son of Nevin who remained with his White family after the Civil War until his death and was called Uncle Sanco by the children. Sanco is listed with Mahala as having received an acre of Hathorn land.
What’s all this have to do with love and romance? Something cleaved this man to Sanco and Mahala and her children. The records can’t tell me the whole story and can’t prove or disprove my theories, however the romantic in me began to spin a tale. An interracial historical romance set during the Civil War – can there be such thing? Hmmm…