Sarah and Jason Thibadeau received a letter from the publishers of their story Thibadeau The Pirate. Opening it they read: Jason, we have just received a letter from a person by the name of Thibodeaux located in North Carolina. She has asked me to put you in contact with her. She claims to have information about an ancestor of hers that very possibly could be the same person as the first Jason Thibadeau of Vermont. According to this lady there are too many similarities between her ancestor and the Jason of your book to be just a coincidence. Her address follows. Miss Harriet Thibodeaux 123 River Road Charlotte, NC 28205 Tel 919-555-6201
Sarah and I were both curious about Jason's early years and just maybe this woman had some answers. Sarah called that evening. A woman with a pleasant voice answered. "Hello, this is Harriet Thibodeaux."
"Hello, this is Sarah Thibadeau of Vermont. I'm calling in reference to a letter you sent to the Sunshine Publishing House about the family Thibodeaux. Would you explain why you might think my husband's ancestor that we wrote about and the one that is the ancestor of yours might be one and the same?"
"I certainly will. I have the diary of the mother of the one we are talking about. Her name was Winifred Boylston, wife of John Boylston of Raleigh. She had three children, all boys. John Jr., Jason, the middle son and William, the youngest."
Sarah broke in. "Thibadeau. I was asking about Thibadeau."
"I know. This may take a few minutes to connect the dots. Bear with me. John Boylston owned a small plantation and kept slaves. Apparently his was an unhappy marriage with dissension between husband and wife always present. It had to do with the husband spending much time among the female Nigra slaves which Winifred felt was very demeaning. Especially as her husband was producing progeny by these same Nigras.
"According to this diary, things came to a head when the second child reached four years of age. John Jr. was short, fair and the same coloring and stature as his sire. Jason, on the other hand, was slim, dark and tall for his age. John Sr. never gave it a thought until some visitors from Winifred's home town came to call. One of visitors was Etienne Thibodeaux and he made much of little Jason. It was obvious that they shared some common blood when they were seen in close proximity. John Sr. recalled that Winifred had made yearly trips home on extended visits for the last several years.
"A major battle raged for over a week until a truce was put together. Each had to compromise. John Sr. agreed to raise Jason until he reached the age of ten years. In return Winifred agreed to never have contact with Thibodeaux again. When company came, Jason would be hidden from view, for Boylston feared humiliation.
"In many ways, it was a miserable life for little Jason. The Boylstons, father and son, made sure of that. The mother Winifred, produced another son, William. This child was born a year later after the compromise and conceived from the rape by her husband.
"The day she regained her feet from her confinement she faced her husband. 'If you ever touch me again you will die. Look around you. I brought my slave Mammy with me when I came to you. If I say I want you to get sick and die, that is what will happen. And know that if you try to sell her, I will have the law on you. I will be your wife in name only from this day on. I also would have you consider how you treat my son Jason. I will make the arrangements to have him leave as agreed when he reaches the age of ten. Just make sure nothing happens to him until then.'"
"You read this in Winifred's diary?"
"Yes. It gives an insight to daily life on our early plantations."
"How did you come by this diary if she was a Boylston and you are a Thibodeaux?"
"Winifred outlived her husband by some years. When this Jason was thirty years old she moved back to her home town away from her oldest son who had inherited the plantation. She did keep her promise to never see Etienne again, but was in constant contact through the years with him by post. She was buried in his family plot although not next to him as he had family of his own. She was a cousin of his wife, so she legitimately could lie there. She directed that her papers be given to the cousin or her niece after her death."
"Is there any way to tell if this Jason was the one who came to Vermont?"
"Not absolutely, but it is quite certain. He wrote his mother letters which I have, as well as the diary. Letters continued periodically to the family up until 1794 which seems to be the last time there was any information about him.
"Later on it was indicated that one Rachel Curtis may have had contact with someone from the north, but there is no record of it that I have in my possession. You will find that this Rachel Curtis played a large part in being an ancestor and I am descended from her through her son, Steven.
"Jason was a privateer, for he sent his mother the Lettre de Marque he sailed under sometime after the war was over. He did live a very exciting life, both at sea and on land, where he had the honor of meeting well-known personages. He met General Washington several times."
"Why did he drop out of sight when he did?"
"There was a scandal in 1793 that possibly contributed to his disappearance. He and his older brother never got along, going back to his childhood before he was driven from home. The scandal was over a woman that both men may have coveted. The woman was to be William's wife. It isn't quite clear what the relationships were.
"A duel was fought with Jason wounding his older brother. He spent quite some time in the sheriff's keep while the case against him was being decided. Dueling was illegal at that time although seldom enforced. John Jr. was a well-known plantation owner and that is why Jason was held. Shortly after he was released, he disappeared and was lost to friends and foes alike."
"The time line seems to be correct. He was thirty-five when he reached Vermont."
"Maybe not. This Jason Thibodeaux would have been nearly forty. That seems to be a discrepancy."
"If he is the one, maybe he lied about his age for some reason. What do you want to do with the information you have?"
"I thought maybe you would take what I have and make a fairly factually account of him. He is the only ancestor I have that I know of that was the least bit exciting. When you read the letters, you will see what I mean. I would be glad to have you peruse them."
"I would love to see them. Would it be possible for us to visit you?"
"Certainly my dear. Just think, both of you could possibly be relatives of mine. My family in and around this section of the country have mostly died out. Down through the years, the Thibodeauxs never amounted to much, all being in trade of one sort or another. That may be why I have clung to all of the papers concerning Jason Thibodeaux."
"Don't say that. There is nothing special about either Jason or myself. We met, found out we had common ancestors, fell in love and wrote a story about what drew us together. Jason will bring some pictures of his great-aunt Nellie. Who knows, there may be a similarity in your features. As soon as we can make arrangements to travel, I will let you know when to expect us. Our two-year-old son Marcus will be traveling with us. He is a Thibadeau to the last hair on his head."
"Oh, I'm so thrilled! I almost didn't write your publisher, thinking it would be futile to expect that they would forward my letter to you. Then I ascertained there was nothing to lose. I do have plenty of room for you to stay with me."
"We don't have your letter. The publisher just gave us your name and phone number. We don't really need the letter now, do we?"
"No. It was just a request for you to contact me if you were interested. Do call soon so I can meet you in person."
"Jason, we are going to North Carolina as soon as I can arrange travel plans. We have to meet this lady. We have often wondered about the original Jason Thibadeau. You are his namesake and we must find out if there is a connection."
"I suppose. What about my business? Do you expect me to drop everything and take off?"
"Yes. You are going even if I have to bribe you."
"And how would you bribe me?"
"The same way Ruth Baker bribed the original Jason Thibadeau when she wanted something."
"Okay, put Marcus in bed and make sure he is asleep."
My wife had flown several times but I had not, so was a little hesitant. It was almost a nonstop flight so there was only the complication of having to make one change. Marcus was excited and we bought a little model plane for him to play with while in the air. Landing at Raleigh-Durham, we took the shuttle into Raleigh to a hotel, only going into the lobby to call a taxi to take us to the address of Miss Harriet Thibodeaux.
I was startled when we met, for this lady could have been the sister of Aunt Nellie. She looked much as I remembered my aunt when I was twelve. Miss Harriet was a little more refined looking, had somewhat finer features, stood more upright and had beautiful coiffured white hair. But then she never was burdened by having murdered her husband as my aunt had done. This lady greeted us as if we were long lost relatives and we may be just that.
.... There is more of this story ...