Inspired by the author’s own family, The Purchase tells the story of Daniel Dickinson, a widowed Quaker who is forced out of his fellowship in Pennsylvania in 1798. Resettling in the Virginia frontier, the firm abolitionist finds himself the unexpected owner of a slave, setting in motion a tragic chain of events that reverberates through his children’s lives.
Athena McKenzie: I understand that the story relates to your own family history in some way. Can you tell me about that?
Linda Spalding: Very far back. It was history I really couldn’t access, so I had to pretty much make it up. But I did have names and dates and interesting status data that still exists. I found the deed for the land and all the interesting land transactions that were going on, which were very complicated – the way people bought and sold land in those days was amazing. It was just a fertile field for me. When I learned in childhood that we had slaves in our family way back and it was boasted that we were so wonderful because we’d freed our slaves, I thought, “Yeah, well, but we had them.What was that about?” And then I found out that we were Quakers when we first came to [America], so how did that happen? I became very interested in Quakerism in my teens and I did a Quaker pilgrimage to England with the Friends World, so I just knew enough about it to know how unlikely it would be that somebody who was an abolitionist would buy a slave. And buy more than one.
Copyright 2013 ZoomerMedia Limited