Pre-Review Interlude: The Fabulous History of the Dismal Swamp Company

I am absolutely fascinated with The Great Dismal Swamp (TGDS); so much so I find myself daydreaming Hitchcock-like scenarios to get the money to spend several months on both the Virginia and North Carolina sides of it. While I am daydreaming, I am also reading. The first book I got on the area was Daniel Sayers’ A Desolate Place for a Defiant People: The Archaeology of Maroons, Indigenous Americans, and Enslaved Laborers in the Great Dismal Swamp. Quite a lengthy title, isn’t it? Such a weighty title deserves people behind it. I don’t know whether it’s a result of the lack of archaeological material available (due to the nature of swamp life) or what  but it lacks people. So I put it aside and started The Fabulous History of the Dismal Swamp Company by Charles Royster. Boy, are there people in this! Related people, intermarried people, so much so that if I had to pick one word to describe the  37 pages I read so far (out of 434, not including the notes, index and permission acknowledgements), that word would be nepotism. So and so married so and so who was the sister of a member of the House of Burgesses. That Burgesses member married the sister of the man who married his sister and when the sisters or the husbands died, they married ever deeper into their economic and social circle. The litanies of who married who (and who gained what lands as a result of such marriages) is almost biblical! There are definitely plenty of people in this book but they are not the people I am looking for.

However, I will continue reading because 1) I am absolutely fascinated with the Great Dismal Swamp; 2) in looking for material to read  about TGDS, almost everything referenced this book; 3) it will help me populate Sayers’ book; 4) regardless of the bloated self-satisfaction of the ghosts in this book, I am already aware that from the time the first ship landed in Jamestown until the end of the Civil War, a not insignificant number of enslaved people successfully sought freedom (refuge) in the Swamp.


Great Dismal Swamp Links:

Great Dismal Swamp Hid a Secret Human World

Fleeing To Dismal Swamp, Slaves And Outcasts Found Freedom

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

~ by Tichaona Chinyelu on December 3, 2015.

One Response to “Pre-Review Interlude: The Fabulous History of the Dismal Swamp Company”

  1. […] my book blog, I have written about how absolutely fascinated I am by the Great Dismal Swamp. I have started but […]

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