Tal McThenia visits Morgantown for "A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping that Haunted a Nation" book tour
Friday, September 14th was a highlight day in my life. I enjoyed being home in Morgantown, Mississippi, for the book tour of Tal McThenia of New York, who with Margaret Dunbar Cutright is co-author of "A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping that Haunted a Nation" (Free Press, 2012). McThenia began his Marion County book tour with an event at the historic Newsom House at Morgantown, followed by an event at the Marion County Courthouse and an afternoon book signing at the Marion County-Columbia Public Library.
This was my first day to meet Tal in person, although we began communicating in early 2010 after he visited Morgantown conducting research for the book. During his 2010 visit, Tal met my uncle and aunt, Ken and Wanda Morgan. My cousin Krae also gave him a tour of the property, including the location where "Bobby Dunbar" had been found. (A century ago that area was known as Newsom, Mississippi. The Newsom House, originally built around 1815, served as the community's depot and post office. The owner, Effie "Biddie" Hammond Newsom, served as the Postmistress and operated a family samwill nearby.) I communicated with Tal and Margaret by phone and email thereafter, and I was most excited for the opportunity to meet Tal in person. I found him to be exceptionally personable and he took time to interact with his audience, listen to their own stories, and answer their questions. Little did I know I also would meet some of the descendants of Julia Anderson Rawls, the mother of Bruce Anderson-- and find my own family connections to them.
The event at the Newsom House was momentous. Who could have imagined 100 years ago the events that would occur there in April 1913 when "Bobby Dunbar" was rescued a returned to his family... or that time would prove it was a case of mistaken identity and that an author would return to the location to recount the story? Almost 40 individuals from the local area attended the outdoor event. The weather could not have been better, and it was somewhat surreal to sit underneath the moss-covered trees listening to the sounds of nature all around and the speakers who addressed the audience from the porch of the Newsom House.
As for the book, it is well-written and captivated me for the several evenings I read the story after my days at work. I found myself longing to get home to read more of the story. Each day at the office I would share new parts of the story and with which character I had become frustrated during my reading the previous evening. When I finished the book I found myself missing it each day. I wanted to know more about the story and the families involved.
I encourage you to purchase a copy of the book. I believe you will find the story just as captivating as I did. Congratulations to Tal and Margaret for turning this amazing story into a book and sharing it with us! (Margaret is the granddaughter of Bobby Dunbar). Get your copy today!
Click here to view images from the event by Marion County Historical Society!
I am a professor, author, librarian, historian, and speaker living in beautiful Cleveland, Tennessee-- but I will always call Mississippi "home." I enjoy my work at Lee University and my hobbies include traveling, being outdoors, hiking, fishing, gardening, writing, reading, and movies.