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Riley's Crossing

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Riley's Crossing

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Riley's Crossing is the story of Capt. Thomas Mercer Riley who lived in Monroe County, Al. during the 19th and 20th century.  We learn how "Cap't Tom,"--or "Cappy" as he was known, created his own empire of wealth in the "Piney Woods" after a devastating war, and how his secret, forbidden love shaped not only his world, but the world to come.

Riley's Crossing as told by author Kathy McCoy, is an uncommon tale, given its time in history, but one that stands to teach even the modern world a lesson in compassion and in blazing one's own trail.

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Riley's Crossing

Riley's Crossing is a historical account of the unconventional life and times of Thomas Mercer Riley, Jr. Riley, who is known as the Cap'n or Cappie, returns home after a long and bloody Civil War to find the woman he loved married to another man. Riley soon makes a name for himself by righting his family's failing farm. When neighboring mulatto Sallie McCreary comes to the homestead seeking asylum from the unwanted attention of her master's sons, Riley gives her a place to stay. Soon a relationship grows and the entire town is buzzing with the talk of their forbidden love. Determined to live a life of his own choosing, and not one dictated by social norms, Riley moves Sallie into his home and raises a family. At a time when racial mixing would have caused most men to be ostracized from society, Riley rose to a prominent place in the community through savvy business practices and farming. His fair treatment to all men whether they were white, black, rich or poor, earned him the respect and appreciation that causes people to remember him fondly. 

Crossing follows not only Capt. Riley and Sallie's lives, but the lives that their children and grandchildren forged for themselves in the radical new world. McCoy's diligence in learning the true story behind one of the area's most interesting characters makes Crossing a must read for any local history buff.  

Some have called the true tale of Thomas Riley a story that is ahead of its time.  It is certainly that, and we have much to learn--even today--from a man who defied convention and chose his own path.

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Additional Information

ISBN 9780615419152
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Binding Hardcover