4 out of 4 stars
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From Hill Town to Strieby by Margo Lee Williams is a historical non-fiction work that shows the genealogy of her ancestors and the development of their community, Strieby, formerly known as Hill Town. Williams begins tracing her ancestry from 1850, before the Civil War. Through extensive research, she tells of the progress of the African Americans in the community going from slavery to freedom. Because of notable figures such as Rev. Islay Walden, African Americans in that area had the opportunity to receive an education and a place to worship.
Williams’ research spans over many years and she provides remarkable documentation to show just how much of an impact the education received in Strieby had on the literacy of the people of the community based on national standards. She also dedicates a portion of the book to chronicle the life of Rev. Islay Walden, an ex-slave and also the first African American to the graduate from the New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS) and the first postmaster of Strieby. He was also a notable poet of the 19th century.
I believe Williams did an amazing job researching and organizing this book. It’s filled with pictures of her ancestors, historical sites, and landmarks. She has also included census records and WWI draft records in certain sections as a point of reference. The amount of research that went into this book is both extensive and impressive. I like that it is divided up into five parts, with the first three parts describing the progress of the Strieby community. The fourth part is the complete genealogy of four generations of the Hill and Lassiter families. The fifth part briefly touches on what’s happening in Strieby today.
I rated From Hill Town to Strieby 4 out of 4 stars. I can’t think of anything she could have done to improve this book. I noticed only two small editing errors. One editing error was a missing comma and the other, a spacing error. I did, however, read one Amazon review stating that the book didn’t format well on his Kindle and he was unable to read it. With that being said, it may be best to buy a hard copy.
All in all, I really enjoyed reading about this important piece of history. I think anyone who enjoys historical non-fiction or someone who aspires to write about their family’s history and wants to see how it’s done, would enjoy this book. As earlier stated, it may not do well on an e-reader, but I think this is the perfect hard copy to add to any collection.
From Hill Town to Strieby
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