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Word Count: 5,032
Summary Chapter 1 The book begins as Ellen Creighton and her nine-year-old son Jethro plant potatoes for the summer crop Ellen has had twelve children four of whom have died She is a tired woman who favors Jethro most of all Three of Jethros siblings died from childrens paralysis the year Jethro was born but Jethro managed to escape the disease Ellen knows he is special as if somehow Destiny had marked him They break to say goodbye to Shadrach Yale Jethros teacher who upon not having enough money to continue his studies began teaching at the school where Matt Creighton Jethros father worked Ellen had nursed Shadrach back to health after he contracted typhoid fever and Shadrach is now part of the familyespecially to Jethros sister Jenny who has been in love with Shadrach for some time Shadrach is planning to leave to go to a neighboring town to receive news about the dispute between the North and the South Ellen worries that he will bring back news of war As they are working in the field Jethro tries to distract his mother by telling her about Copernicus but he knows that nothing can make her forget about the troubles Talk of Abraham Lincolns election issues of tariffs free states slave states and rebellion have gotten so heated that war seems imminent Jethro kind of looks forward to the war because war meant loud brass music and shining horses ridden by men wearing uniforms Thinking of war prompts Jethro to think about his sister Marys death A group of hoodlums broke up a dance she was attending and chased Mary and her date One of the hoodlums Travis Burdow fired a pistol that frightened the horses causing the wagon to overturn and kill Mary The town banded together to seek revenge on Travis Burdowthe whole Burdow family had been hoodlumsbut Matt Creighton had called an end to it
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