"We are the seeds of strength, love, and beauty. We are the branches of our Family Tree..."
The Family Tree, written by Shellie Moore Guy and illustrated by Gwen Ballard Patton, tells the real-life story of Charley Wilson and Sandy Terry, two brothers who escaped slavery to join the Union Army to fight for the freedom of their people during the Civil War. Learn how the brothers lived during slavery, how they escaped, and what they did during their time as soldiers. Follow their families as they settle following the war and how they and their descendants become important people in their new communities.
Author's Note - Shellie Moore Guy
My great-great-grandparents Charley and Eliza Wilson and their family settled in Rock Island, Illinois in 1866 following the end of the Civil War. They moved to the town of Port Byron, Illinois in 1876. In 1914 a man named John Hauberg interviewed Charley. The result of that interview is a description of my ancestors’ lives during slavery and how they gained their freedom. This is the basis of my book, The Family Tree.
Writing this story and bringing my ancestors’ experiences to life has been a source of joy and inspiration. After sharing this story with my family, the children seemed so interested and excited that I decided that other children may be interested and would benefit from learning about local and national history.
Our story reflects the stories of many African American families in the United States and it is my hope that this labor of love will provide the readers of this book a sense of history as well as a source of personal inspiration, encouragement, and pride.
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This book is made possible by the generous support of the Scott County Regional Authority, the Regional Development Authority, the Hubbell-Waterman Foundation, Illinois Humanities, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency