Hell’s Aftermath

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Highlighting Historical Romance with P.A. Estelle

My contribution to this anthology is, The Widow Buys A Groom. It takes place three years after the ending of The Civil War. This was my first story during this era and research included topics such as, Elmira, a Union camp where Confederates were kept and information on the largest sale of human beings, known as The Weeping Time.

The_photographic_history_of_the_Civil_War_-_thousands_of_scenes_photographed_1861-65_with_text_by_many_special_authorities_1911_14760407854-300x300 Author's Blog Highlighting History

Prisoners at the Elmira Camp from The Photographic History of the Civil War (See Below)

The Great Slave Auction (also called The Weeping Time) was a March 2 & 3, 1859 sale of enslaved Africans held at Ten Broeck Race Course, near Savannah, Georgia. Slaveholder and absentee plantation owner Pierce Mease Butler authorized the sale of approximately 436 men, women, children, and infants to be sold over the course of two days. The sale’s proceeds went to satisfy Butler’s significant debts, much of it from gambling. The auction is regarded as the largest single sale of enslaved people in U.S. history.

The prison camp, Elmira, was in use from July 6, 1864, until July 11, 1865. It was dubbed “Hellmira” by its inmates. During those 12 months, 2,970 of the 12,100 prisoners died from a combination of malnutrition, continued exposure to harsh winter weather, and disease from the poor sanitary conditions on Foster’s Pond combined with a lack of medical care. The camp’s dead were prepared for burial and laid to rest at what is now Woodland National Cemetery. The cemetery, which is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north of the prison camp site, was designated a National Cemetery in 1877. At the end of the war, each prisoner was required to take a loyalty oath and given a train ticket home. The last prisoner left the camp on September 27, 1865. The camp was then closed, demolished and converted to farmland. The area where the prison once stood is residential today, but work is underway to reconstruct the camp.

A Widow Buys A Groom takes place in the aftermath of the war. I hope you’ll take a look at Under A Mulberry Moon and this group of wonderful stories.

Under-the-Mulberry-Moon-197x300 Author's Blog Highlighting History About the Book

Under A Mulberry Moon is an anthology comprised of nine novellas. Adventure! Mystery! Romance! Nine award-winning and bestselling authors present western historical stories ranging from sweet to sensual to ignite your imagination and feed your passion for reading. Let us sweep you away from your daily cares and entertain you with our sigh-worthy novellas set between 1865 and 1900. What a line-up we have for you!  UNDER A MULBERRY MOON anthology is a bargain at only 99 cents.Stories in Under a Mulberry Moon ~

Millwright’s Daughter – Zina Abbott
Worth the Wait – Patricia PacJac Carroll
A Family For Merry – Caroline Clemmons
Ada and the Texas Cavalryman, Brides of Texas Code – Carra Copelin
Comes A Specter – Keta Diablo
The Widow Buys A Groom – P.A. Estelle
Matthew’s Freedom – Cissie Patterson
The Lady Lassoes An Outlaw – Charlene Raddon
A Family For Polly – Jacqueline Rogers

About The Widow Buys a Groom

Amazon-cover-for-TWBAG-1-200x300 Author's Blog Highlighting History The year is eighteen sixty-eight. Like every other state in America, the Civil War has taken its toll. So many men have been killed, leaving women to survive on their own, raise children without fathers, and run ranches, homes, and businesses with no help. Meadow Creek, Kansas is no different.

Reverend Strong decides to find a solution for his town. He contacts clergymen in different states and learns that women aren’t the only ones who have been devastated by the war. Men, who made it home, also found they have lost everything and want to start new lives.

Katherine Parnell owns Maggie’s Baked Goods. She and her four-year old son, Timmy, have been alone since her husband was forcibly taken to fight with the confederacy. She might need a man, but has no intention of ever having another husband and tells the good Reverend that in no uncertain terms. Ghosts from her past will make sure of that.

Jim Sutton has demons of his own and comes to Meadow Creek to start over. He also has no desire to get married. He comes to Katherine’s aid more than once and finds himself smiling around her and the boy which is something he hasn’t done in years. When Jim lands in jail his only way out is by the woman whose green eyes haunt his dreams.

Can the two of them put their pasts behind them and find love in each others arms or will their ghosts keep any kind of happiness at bay?


Jim Sutton shook his head, disgusted, as he walked through the house. Nobody had lived there for at least ten years. There were only two windows in the small home and they were both shattered long ago. The roof had more leaks than not. The pieces of sparse furniture were all but destroyed. The one thing the house had going for it was the rock fireplace. The hearth, with a fire in it, would be a saving grace in this cold weather.

     The first few nights, Jim slept out in the cold, swearing to himself it was cleaner outside than in, but he was ready to have a roof over his head if Meadow Creek was where he planned to live. It was early Saturday morning. By the time the sun was coming up most of the rotted wood, dead bugs, shredded pieces of material, and charred glass had been swept up and taken outside, along with the pieces of furniture. The rooms were about empty. Jim would need to get wood planks for the floor and shutters on the windows before much more could be done.

     Even though it was cold outside, Jim had shucked his coat, warm from all he had accomplished. Starting a fire outside, Jim hunkered down for a well deserved cup of coffee. It must have been somewhere around nine in the morning when he heard a gun shot. A few minutes went by before he heard another, and then another. Shaking his head and using some colorful language, he dumped his coffee and went to saddle his horse.

     The shots continued sporadically as he made his way closer. He kicked his horse into a gallop when he heard high pitched squeals and yelling, but was too far to hear what was being said. When he topped the crest of a small hill he found a small homestead. The house looked like one large rectangle and white smoke escaped from the roof from a lingering fire. His attention went to a small barn with an old buckboard sitting on the side. In the corral was an old plug, a cow, and calf.

     Another shot came from behind the barn. Jim pulled his gun and followed the noise. He pulled his horse up short and stared. There was Katherine sitting on the cold ground and looked to be loading a gun, while her son was whooping and hollering as he ran about twenty feet away to set up some old cans and rusted out buckets. When Timmy was done, she told him to get behind her. Jim’s jaw dropped even further when he watched her wiggle down onto her stomach. Her legs were bent at the knees with her ankles crossed in the air, blue wool stockings visible from her brown shoes to where her dress was laying on her upper legs. Her elbows were set on the ground and she was steadying the gun in her hands.

     Jim watched her take aim and fire the gun.

     “You missed again, Mama.”

     “Yes, I’m aware.” Jim smirked at the irritation in her voice. She brought her head down, only inches from the ground, and fixed her sight on the target. The gun exploded and the old bucket went flying. Katherine dropped the gun, spun over onto her back and came to a sitting position with her arms opened wide. “I did it!” They were both screaming and Timmy flew into her arms which had them both rolling around in the dead grass.

     Jim got off his horse, laughing at the sight before him. The play continued a few more seconds until Katherine’s face registered shock and she jumped to her feet, stumbling back to the ground then quickly hopped up again. “Wha…what are you doing here?” she asked breathlessly.

     Katherine’s hair was a heap of auburn curls and tangles hanging in her face. A faded brown coat, that was several sizes too big, had a patch on the elbow and the sleeves were rolled up. The hem of a blue skirt was stuck on her stocking about three inches above her knee showing off a shapely leg. Smiling at the site in front of him Jim walked up and took a small branch from her hair. He nodded to her exposed leg.

     Gasping, she was quick to cover her leg and step back, limping on her ankle. “Again, Mr. Sutton, what are you doing here?”

     “I heard shots. I came to see if there was a problem.” He shrugged, trying to hide another smile. “I guess there wasn’t.”

About the Author

My name is Penny Estelle. I live in Sun City, AZ. When I’m not writing, I’m playing water volleyball and pickleball with the “old” folks. I also hike every morning and I’m thinking at trying my hand a tap dancing! We older folks are a gutsy group! LOL

About my writing – I started writing for tween kiddos right before I retired. There is always material when kids are involved. These stories range from fantasies to time travel to puppy love. I also have several picture books out for the beginning readers.

Under P. A. Estelle I write for the older “young at heart” crowd. Most of my adult stories are contemporary and historical romances – in every genre. I must admit historical western romances are my favorite – at least for now, but I have found one never knows what tomorrow will bring!






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The photo of Elmira Camp

itle: The photographic history of the Civil War : thousands of scenes photographed 1861-65, with text by many special authorities
Year: 1911 (1910s)
Authors: Miller, Francis Trevelyan, 1877-1959 Lanier, Robert S. (Robert Sampson), 1880-
Subjects: United States — History Civil War, 1861-1865 Pictorial works United States — History Civil War, 1861-1865
Publisher: New York : Review of Reviews Co.
Contributing Library: New York Public Library

You can try to read the book in context here.

6 thoughts on “Hell’s Aftermath

  1. Hi Caroline and Penny (Keta waving),
    Great post, Penny. I have read a little about the Weeping Time, a very sad and dishonorable time for our country. I’ve also researched Elmira Prison for a book I wrote several years ago, and, in fact, wrote about the unsanitary conditions and deaths at the prison. Small world, huh?

    Thanks so much, Caroline for hosting Penny and UAMM. Very much appreciated.

  2. Lovely post, Penny. I was happy to learn more about Elmira. Good luck in all your endeavors.

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Contact Info

Caroline Warfield, Author

Email : info@carolinewarfield.com