8 min readDec 31, 2019
Her life had made a difference and the hardships had been worth the heartache. Somehow, when everything was said and done, life had worked out for her and hers. That’s what mattered.

Oney’s Story: Phoenix Rising, Part II

In the End, Her Life Was a Thing of Beauty

Oney awoke and on this morning, all seemed right with the world. Mark was sleeping soundly beside her. As she lay there in the dawning of the new day her thoughts turned to the events that had brought her to this place.

The year was 1899. Earlier that year, she and Mark had wed. Being the ‘Scarlet Woman’ all her adult life, the expectation of marriage never entered her mind. Although the label was unjust, it had become her lot in life. Yet somehow, she had survived.

When Hiram had handed her the Contract to Indenture her boys in 1867, she had determined then that losing her children was not an option. They would have to take them by force; she would never hand them over willingly.

She understood at that moment that she would never bend to the courts or Hiram. Knowing it would be easy to get lost in a holler or on a mountain top in Western North Carolina, especially with her family’s help, she knew she would run.

Throughout Hiram’s tirade that night, her mind was whirling. She was blindsided, relieved, crushed, sorrowed, elated. So many conflicting emotions but through it all, a plan to escape was forming. The plot was born of shear panic.

At morning’s light after Hiram left and with terror in her heart, she dressed the children for the first step of the journey. With her children in tow and carrying her infant, they walked the long mountainous two miles to her cousin’s farm. Although they were surprised to see her, they agreed to send word to her father and took her and the children into their home until he would arrive.

Her father, George was a wise man and knew the ways of the town politicians and courts. He had already experienced their form of justice when it came to the opposition of the infamous Hiram King Jones.

He knew just the spot to hide her and the children where they would be safe. He used the male dominant court system to their advantage. The court would not call her, a woman to appear; they would call her father. He could take…


RB is a retired psychotherapist, storyteller, genealogists and lover of family.