Widow of the Free State of Jones: The Story of Eliza Evans Crabtree During America’s Most Troubled Era

The novel, Widow of the Free State of Jones, is about the courage of one woman who managed to survive the ravages of the Civil War as well as the war within the Free State of Jones County.

The book is historical fiction but based on the life of Eliza Evans Crabtree and her husband Haynes, who were the author's great-grandparents. It is the product of many hours of research and remembrance of family stories.

Haynes served in the Confederacy and died as a prisoner of war just before the war ended. He joined to please his brothers, not because he believed in slavery.

Eliza praised God even when life seemed unmanageable. She took care of the farm aided by a young Confederate deserter. It seemed as if she was fighting against the Union, the Confederacy, and the Free State of Jones at the same time.

After losing everything, Eliza and the children moved to Beaver Meadow, Alabama, to be near Murphy Crabtree and his family. She and the children worked until her goal of a boarding house was achieved.

The story portrays life at its worst with the horrors of war, racial injustice, and poverty. It also describes life at its best with love and hard work reaping the reward of peace and security.

--Paulette Wilson

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