The son of a white man and Cherokee slave, Joseph Willis, gains his freedom and swims the mighty Mississippi on a mule.
Driven by three winds…
· a wind of freedom driving him from North Carolina
· a mighty rushing wind compelling him across the Mississippi River into the Louisiana Territory
· a wind of war fueled by slavery
Rooted in a time of tradition and chivalry, Joseph discovers a land of innocence lost.
His life converges with Louisiana contemporaries, including Solomon Northup, James Bowie, William Prince Ford, Edwin Epps, John Murrell, John Audubon, Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, Marie Therese Coincoin, Jean Lafitte and voodoo queen Marie Laveau. He also encounters a young flatboatman in New Orleans named Abraham Lincoln, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans General Andrew Jackson as well as Texas Ranger Jack C. Hays.
From master storyteller, Randy Willis…a novel about adventure, family, faith and the character of a man that touched generations.
Inspired by a true story.
About Joseph Willis
Joseph Willis' life is a story of triumph over tragedy and victory over adversity!
. He was born into slavery. His mother was Cherokee and his father a wealthy English plantation owner.
. His family took him to court to deprive him of his inheritance (which would have made him the wealthiest plantation owner in all of Bladen County, North Carolina in 1776).
. He fought as a Patriot in the Revolutionary War under the most colorful of all the American generals, Francis Marion, The Swamp Fox.
. His first wife died in childbirth, and his second wife died only six years later, leaving him with five small children.
. He crossed the mighty Mississippi River at Natchez at the peril of his own life, riding a mule!
. He entered hostile Spanish-controlled Louisiana Territory, when the dreaded Code Noir (Black Code) was in effect. It forbade any Protestant ministers who came into the territory from preaching.
. His life was threatened because of the message he brought to Spanish-controlled Louisiana!
. His own denomination refused to ordain him because of his race.
. Joseph Willis preached the first Gospel sermon by an Evangelical west of the Mississippi River.
. After overcoming insurmountable obstacles, he blazed a trail for others for another half-century that changed American history.
. His accomplishments are still felt today.
Randy Willis is a fourth great-grandson of Joseph Willis and his foremost historian.
I've learned much from seeing the world through the eyes of my grandchildren, for you know, the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. ~ Randy Willis