Friday, October 22, 2010
Burying a Long-dead Corpse
"Could he be just a legend?" someone asked.
No. Reliable researchers swear there are newspapers on file that tell of his shenanigans. Another expert on local history told me how to get to his family burial site where his stone stands, proclaiming the reality of his existance. Yet, the large wall poster listing sheriffs of the county all the way back to 1815 makes no mention of the elusive man. But Ancestry.com lists a younger man--perhaps a son or, more likely, a grandson--bearing the same name.
The newspaper journalist in me wants to check further into the story or Robert Right Rae Sr., but since time is short, having promised an agent that I'd complete this manuscript in five months, I've had to find another solution. After all, historians have been on his trail for years and discovered what I've shared here.
Several of you gentle readers shared your wisdom, and this is my solution.
History is a precious thing. It has suffered great harm at the hands of revisionists recently. I do not want to do further damage to the truth. Therefore, I have fictionalized the locations and the characters. In that way, I can base my scoundrel of a slave-hunting sheriff "loosely" on the man himself. I've renamed the towns and counties. To protect the guilty? No. To protect history.