|About the Book|
Quakers, farmers, slave owners, inventors, industrialists, business founders, philanthropists, and political leadersthese are the members of one North Carolina family whose story begins with the refusal of proud seventeenth-century English farmers and craftsmen to suffer religious persecution. If one trait links the saga of the Beesons and Borens of North Carolina, it is that every generation makes its mark on the land and in the community largely through an unwillingness to accept the status quo, whether that is religious persecution in England, the ravages of the Civil War in the South, or the drudgery and inefficiency of farm labor. Mary Jane Boren Meeker grew up surrounded by the extended family of powerful business people and civic leaders, but what she remembers most vividly from her childhood is the ordinary family talk about ancestors who were humble Quakers, farmers, and dreaming entrepreneurs. Time and again conversations on the broad porch in Greensboro turned to her familys Quaker roots and to the story of a fourteen-year-old boy who refused to go with his parents to Indiana in the 1830s but, when the Civil War broke out, walked all the way to join them. By the twentieth century, the Borens had become owners and operators of companies that shipped brick and ceramic products throughout the nation.The author ponders the people and forces that shaped her family, what America gave them and what they returned to their country and their community. Her record of how her American family was nourished by and, in turn, nourished its part of North Carolina is not only a family story, but also a microcosm of Southern history.