Twelve Travelers, Twenty Horses by Harriette Gillem Robinet

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On the eve of the 1860 presidential election, and in front of a courthouse of American justice, Jacob Israel Christmas stands for sale at the third slave auction of his life. At thirteen, he has been separated from his mother for three years, has run away, and then been captured, all the while wondering, When will I be free? If Abraham Lincoln is elected, Jacob knows there's a chance for freedom; if not, slavery could spread west, all the way to California.

When a rich, young prospector named Honorable Mister Clarence Higgenboom buys ten slaves -- reuniting Jacob with his mother and friends -- Jacob can't believe his luck. But when Jacob suspects the Honorable Mister of being a dishonorable murderer and thief, who plans to rob a stagecoach carrying Pony Express wages, Jacob knows he must stop him! Without wages, the Pony Express will refuse to ride...and they've got the important job of carrying the election results to California.

As the master, his pregnant wife, and his ten slaves set out on a two-thousand-mile trip from Missouri to California, a harsh winter descends on the country. Despite the cold, Jacob never loses sight of his purpose: to make sure that the Pony Express matter what.


About Harriette Gillem Robinet

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Harriette Gillem Robinet, a Washington, D.C., native, graduated from the College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, New York, and from graduate studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. From reading journals from that time period, Robinet realized that 1860-1861 was a remarkable turning point in America's history. Her research for Twelve Travelers, Twenty Horses took more than a year to complete, as Robinet learned about the telegraph, the Pony Express, the route west, Abraham Lincoln, the prospect of California seceding from the Union, and most importantly -- the likelihood of freedom for slaves at that time. Robinet then wove the events of that fall of 1860 and winter of 1861 into the lives of twelve characters she grew to love. She and her husband, McLouis Robinet, live in Oak Park, Illinois, and have six children and four grandchildren.
Published January 1, 2003 by Atheneum. 208 pages
Genres: Travel, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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What a privilege.” Though readers may not find the story believable, they will learn a lot of history in Robinet’s (Missing From Haymarket Square, 2001, etc.) latest work as she includes most of the important events in the history of slavery: the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, the F...

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