A Stranger and a Sojourner: Peter Caulder, Free Black Frontiersman in Antebellum Arkansas / Edition 1

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A Stranger and a Sojourner: Peter Caulder, Free Black Frontiersman in Antebellum Arkansas tells the extraordinary story of Peter Caulder, a free African American settler in the Arkansas Territory. After serving as a rifleman in the war of 1812, Caulder established a community of free-born African Americans in northern Arkansas and was largely accepted by his white neighbors until an 1859 expulsion law forced the community to flee the state and settle in Missouri.

Like many frontier people, Peter Caulder was unschooled and signed his name only with a mark. To document such a man's life, and to determine how he thrived within a slave society and came to join a free black backwoods community, Billy Higgins has skillfully interwoven oft-neglected primary sources—many of which are reproduced here—from around the country; and through the information revealed in censuses, tax records, sutler's account books, army returns, folk stories, land warrants, traveler's journals, and newspaper notices, a fascinating—and groundbreaking—account of Caulder, his family, his friends, and his community has emerged.

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Editorial Reviews

"Higgins presents a more complex and nuanced picture of life for blacks in the antebellum South in this portrait of a black frontiersman who lived and thrived in the Arkansas Territory. Using numerous historical resources, Higgins reconstructs Caulder¹s life as an independent, though engaged, citizen of the territory. He also portrays the number of other free blacks who lived in tentative peace and self-sufficiency among white neighbors until the murder of a local white man, the expulsion of free blacks, and the threat of enslavement forced Caulder to flee to Missouri. This well-researched book adds new dimension to portraits of the lives of blacks before and after the Civil War."
American Library Association
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557288059
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 349
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Billy D. Higgins has been a professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith since 1993. This is his first book. His essays on African American culture before and after the Civil War have appeared in Freedom's Odyssey: African American History Essays from Phylon and the Arkansas Historical Quarterly.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: A Stranger and a Sojourner xi
Prologue xvii
Chapter 1 Catfish Creek 1
Chapter 2 Rifleman 17
Chapter 3 Stranger at Belle Point 35
Chapter 4 Army Guide 55
Chapter 5 Fort Smith 83
Chapter 6 Black Yeoman in Arkansas Territory 111
Chapter 7 Keeper of a "Severe Pack of Dogs" 133
Chapter 8 Flush Times and the Storm 165
Chapter 9 Sojourning in Southern Missouri 195
Epilogue 211
Appendix A 223
Appendix B 235
Appendix C 275
Notes 283
Bibliographical Essay 325
Index 339
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