Sunday, April 26, 2009

Help From Beyond, Coincidence or My Imagination?

Jane Surget Merrill............1864-1932

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time,
you know I am truly fascinated by the life and death of
Jennie Merrill of Natchez! I love history, a good mystery
and Natchez and this woman's story involves all three.

As I've said before, I got interested in Jennie through The Goat
Castle Murder story in Harnett T. Kane's 1947 book "Natchez".
In 2000, I spoke with a lady named Karlyn Richie from Natchez
who voluntarily sent me the paperback book " The Goat Castle Murder"
by Carolyn Vance Smith and Sim C. Callon. After reading it, I was
hooked and knew someday I wanted to tackle a fact based historical
fiction novel on Jennie Merrill's life. I put it on the back burner.

In 2006 I started doing research, visited the locations, although I did not
meet any of the home owners nor see the inside of three remaining
homes. I visited and took photos of all four of the persons involved graves.
I couldn't seem to get the information I needed though. I could find no one
who'd really known any of the four or the answers to why these people
became eccentric after showing so much promise in their youth.

2009! It all comes together! Starting with all of you bloggers interest in
the story, the fact that all three remaining houses were on Pilgrimage Tour
and reading a hatchet job book based on the case, my NEED to write this
story blossomed!

Now here's the part that fascinates me. All the owners invited me back to share what they know.
I met a woman 103 years old who did know Jennie and she invited me back to talk about it! I have ordered several out of print non-fiction books about this era in Natchez to help me capture the feel of this time frame. Last night while reading one of those books I was "blown" away!!

The book is a memoir of a woman from Natchez. It is a very interesting and
vividly descriptive work.It was written in 1950. She was friends with Jennie
Merrill, Duncan Minor, Octavia Dockery and Dick Dana! She wrote a 5 page chapter
on them and the murder. I was not expecting this, and I sat straight up in the bed
and said; Oh My God!

The really " strange part" is I had come to some of my own conclusions about
why Jennie and Duncan became reclusive, her conclusions matched mine!
I believe that Dick Dana was schizophrenic, so did she! I had reservations about why
Duncan Minor's mother was against him marrying Jennie. Kay the owner of Oakland,
Duncan's family home, and I discussed this when I was there. This book told me the reason!
The author's brother was also the attorney of both Jennie and Duncan!

I cannot tell you how exciting it is to have this book. Apparently not even the owners of these homes know about this book! I can't even tell you how I discovered this book and ordered it!
Am I destined to write a book about Jennie Merrill? Did I get help from beyond? Is it all a
matter of coincidence or is my imagination in overdrive? What do you think?


Vicki Lane said...

I'd say you'd better sit down and start writing!

Sandi McBride said...

I'm looking forward to reading your book! So get busy, sistah!!!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wow--what a coincidence, Carol... There HAS to be a connection--for all of those possibilities to land in your lap...

I say---Write the book!!!!! It's DESTINY!!!! You may find out even more about this special person in your life.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

Reader Wil said...

Well I think that you are very lucky to get this book! I hope you'll have the inspiration to write your book!

lakeviewer said...

No questions about it: write the book. You have been blessed with some intimate connection there; must follow the muse. Congratulations.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

I would say.."help from beyond !"
What an interesting discovery.
Carol, write the book, and put all the pieces together !
I think your on to something.

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?
Sherlock Holmes.

NCmountainwoman said...

Definitely YES! You ARE destined to write this book. Just don't stop blogging while your are doing it!

And finish it while I still have good eyesight!

Angie Ledbetter said...

No such thing as a coincidence! Like my visit here via your stop by my place. Hattiesburg? All of my mother's relatives are from there, and in fact, Dad just returned from a visit with a cousin to H'burg yesterday.

Going back to read some more on your blog now. I saw Harper Lee's photo. My fav! (Have a first edition she just signed for me last year. yes!)

My younger sister does historical and political research for lots of authors and history hounds if you're ever interested. :) I'll def be back!

jeannette stgermain said...

If you feel destined, you probably are!! what are you waiting for? Just even the writing of this book will be a journey that is captivating:) You can't possibly lose anything by writing it, can you?

Bren said...

I am HONORED that you took the time to leave me such a kind message on my garden blog. I love your writing and am envious that you always have the right thing to say.

Can't wait to stop by your page again soon.
Happy Spring!

willow said...

Yes!!! You certainly did get some help! Inspiration doesn't get any better than this.

Kaye Barley said...

Destiny! Yes! Sit! Write! I can't WAIT to read this fascinating story and it will make a wonderful book, so you need to get busy!

Kathryn said...

It seems like you're ready to start a new project, but if you have some extra writing time, make sure to check out and enter a Mark Twain writing contest!

If you just want to read instead of write, you can also download a FREE audio book (read by John Lithgow) from the website, but today is the last day it's available!

Missy said...

Wow, that is awesome! It is your destiny!

ps. head over to my page, you have an award :)

Kathryn Magendie said...

Angie said you both may have a connection! isn't that cool? *smiling*

The Prodigal Tourist said...

Hello lovely lady!
Your turn to drop by for an award!

Anonymous said...

I've come to believe there are NO "coincidences" in life. So I say, go for it, girl! It all happened for a reason and I loved reading about it here.

Renie Burghardt said...

Wow, what incredible coincidences, Carol. You know you're destined to write this book! Go for it!



A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

I can't believe you found that book! This is so exciting...I was on the edge of my seat reading this post! Just terrific. I love a mystery. Now, I'll be right back...I have to go to your other post and pick up my lovely award!

Beth Niquette said...

Wow, that is amazing!

Kelly said...

...we always say "coincidence" is just an angel knocking on your door. Sounds like you're destined to write the book! Very interesting story...