55 pages • 1 hour readIrene Hunt
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While the Creightons are still recovering from the destruction of their barn, one of the neighbors’ boys, Dan Lawrence, comes home wounded from the war with tragic news: Tom Creighton is dead. Dan recalls how the beginning of April was beautiful and carefree, but on April 6, as he and Tom were watching the reinforcements come in at Pittsburg Landing, Tom was killed by a stray bullet.
The Creightons are devastated. Ross Milton publishes a scathing editorial directed at Wortman and his gang, writing that the Creightons just lost their son to the North’s cause and demanding to know what Wortman and his cronies have done for the Union other than harassing a vulnerable family. Jethro and Jenny go to record Tom’s death in the family Bible and take a moment to muse over the other names written there, especially the three children who died the year Jethro was born. The reality of that tragedy finally hits Jethro, and Jenny confesses that she’s terrified another soldier is going to come to report Shad’s death.
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The community soon gets a small reprieve from the sorrow of the times, though. The store owner, Sam Gardiner, a skilled shooter, begins publicly criticizing Wortman and his gang.
By Irene Hunt