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Even though the story focuses on the lives of his own ancestors, Limestone County author Jerry Barksdale says his new novel, “Revolutionaries and Rebels: The Story of an American Family’s Fight for Freedom,” is much more than just his family history.
“This is a history of the Southern people’s struggle for liberty, the story of every family,” Barksdale says. “This novel has it all: war, history, romance, hardship and hope, the Southern spirit overcoming adversity.”
When Barksdale wields his felt-tip pen to sign copies of the book on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Pablo’s on Market in downtown Athens, Ala., it will be the culmination of a more-than 30-year journey of retracing his family’s footsteps from the Carolinas into Lincoln County and on to Limestone Co., Ala.
“My work began in 1972, when my dad said to me, ‘You know that old house you pass every morning going to work is where your great-great-grandfather Daniel Barksdale lived, don’t you?’” Barksdale relates. “I was intrigued by that because I was living within rock-throwing distance of where he had walked and where my great-granddad had walked.”
Barksdale began researching and became drawn into the family story; however, when the now-retired lawyer began writing the story, it read too much like a legal brief.
“Dull,” he says.
So instead, Barksdale decided to turn the story into a novel based on real people and events. It took him five years to flesh out the details and complete the novel, and in the process, he learned some fascinating things about his family.
“I learned that my great-great-great-grandfather Micajah McElroy fought in the American Revolution and built the first masonry courthouse in Limestone County,” Barksdale says. “And I was intrigued to know that my great-grandfather, his three brothers and his brother-in-law all fought in the Confederate Army. I’ve often wondered what old man Micajah would think and say if he had known his grandsons would fire on the flag he helped establish.”
McElroy also built the Lincoln County Courthouse here in 1813.
“Revolutionaries and Rebels” is available in Athens at Pablo’s on Market, the Alabama Veterans Museum and the Limestone County Archives. The book is also available online at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and Ingram.com. The e-book version is available at Amazon.com.
Barksdale will be at Pablo’s on Market beginning at 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, to sign copies of the book. For more information, visit www.jerrybarksdale.com.