Chapter One



     “I’m f-f-f-freezing,” Emily whispered to her older sister, Laura.

     “That’s ‘cause you’re wet,” Laura whispered back.

        “Shhh,” their mother reproved them.

     Cold rain poured down upon the cobblestone streets of Pikeville on the Friday afternoon that Mary and Martha Conn were getting married.  Standing inside the courthouse beside their future husbands, and wearing homemade calico dresses, the seventeen-year-old twins beamed with the hope of a bright and happy future.

     Bennie and Sarah Conn, along with their three younger daughters, Laura, Emily, and Amanda, stood near a marble wall and watched the ceremony. 

     Bennie was a handsome man, with curly dark hair, a rugged face, and broad shoulders. But years of drinking hard liquor had taken its toll on him, and he looked older than his forty-three years. Beside him stood his wife, Sarah, in a full checked skirt and white blouse. 

     Sarah’s face shone with a youthful glow. At five feet tall, she was shorter than her twin daughters. Her thin brown hair was pulled back and lay in wispy curls just below the back of her neck. Although she never cut her hair, it barely reached her shoulders.

     Bennie and Sarah’s younger daughters, Laura, ten, Emily, seven, and Amanda, four, stood close to their mother, staring wide-eyed at their older sisters.

     “I present to you Luther and Martha Johnson,” the justice of the peace said, pointing to Martha and Luther, “and Jim and Mary Johnson.” He pointed toward Jim and Mary.


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