The Trial of the Century in Six Volumes

When beginning to write the six novels covering the Abraham Lincoln Assassination Trial of the Century in 1865, I learned more about “history” than I could ever have imagined. In one of my novels written in 2017, The Rose of Brays Bayou, a story about how brave Sam Houston was on the battlefield and how Texas won their independence is written in textbooks by the victors, the Texians.  You might ask yourself, what history did my story come from…from the writings of Dilue Rose Harris and the Runaway Scrape, of course. The Texians won, so history was written by the victors. Can you read or speak Spanish? If so, pick up the history books written by historians from Mexico City. It tells an entirely different story, but, of course, there is no truth to what they say, right?

In the Lincoln Assassination, the history we have been taught is that which was written by the Northern newspapers…ones such as Harper’s Weekly, The New York Tribune or the Washington Evening Star. Their narratives of events and how the North either won or lost various battles have a completely different version from those written by Southern newspapers. Look in textbooks, and you will find most of what the Northern journalists wrote got transitioned into these books of education.

During World War II, Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “History is written by the victors!”

I have been told that the North’s only real claim to victory is that, because the North won, might tell fewer lies about their adversaries, the South. The North has put its stake in the ground and claims to control the past as well as the future. Take a look at President Jimmy Carter and President Gerald Ford…they gave amnesty to General Robert E. Lee and President Jefferson Davis, but it was over 125 years after the War Between the States. Can you believe that?

Now, take Book 2, The Pursuit and Capture of John Wilkes Booth and the Trial of David Herold. The Northern newspapers and the Northern generals and colonels decided the fate of eight individuals. You tell me this was a fair trial! You explain to me David Herold, with the mind of an eleven-year-old, should have died on the gallows!

This novel, as well as the next three in the series, will take the reader through the capture and killing of John Wilkes Booth. You will have front row seats to all of the witnesses and testimony, including circumstantial evidence and material evidence in the trial. You will be able to determine if the Northern officers of the military tribune made the right choice when it came time to vote on the death penalty for the four conspirators being tried.

In the writing of this novel, every effort has been presented by actual trial transcripts, just the way it happened in 1865. As the author, no decision was made on the truth or falsity of any statements, they were only presented word for word from the transcripts. You decide!

I leave you from my era in history, the Vietnam War. Although this can be considered an example of history written by the losers and not the victors, its accounts in history books can be debatable whether the United States lost the war, but surely we did not win it? But, still, the majority of historical documentation for the War comes from us right here in America.

Following up on Book Two is the third in the series which will cover another conspirator, Lewis Thornton Powell, or some may call him Paine, Woods, or even Mosby?

George Orwell said once while writing 1984… “We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts to show that we were right.”

The Christmas Holidays are upon us and as I do at this time every year, I reflect upon the memories of attending the Old Bethany Cumberland Presbyterian Church outside of Coushatta, Louisiana. I also reflect upon my novel, Faith – Seventy Times Seven and remember how Ada had a calling from God to preach his Word at a very young age. Ada fought great odds of ever becoming the first ordained woman of the cloth in the early 1900’s because of an all-male General Assembly. A woman to preach in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. I don’t think so!

No matter which Elder or which minister she would talk to, the conversation about God and gender would come up and they would always attempt to conclude the matter by saying Jesus was a man. This, I suppose, was to say his incarnation proves something about the gender of God, or in their own words, the ultimate superiority of “maleness.”

In the novel, Ada faced many adversaries, one being an abusive alcoholic husband. But, we are not here to discuss that, we are here to discuss her divine calling at the age of fourteen years. Okay, I must admit. In Jesus, God was once a man. But, he was once a baby, nestled comfortably in Mary’s womb, a small little human whose life depended upon a woman. Furthermore, a tiny small little baby boy who slept comfortably on his mother’s chest and, without a doubt, probably after several months said, “Mamma!”

Ada had the most difficult time convincing men that she had a calling from God to preach his Word. The one thing Ada never let go of was her FAITH. When Jesus grew up into a man and later was crucified and buried and forgotten about by men, it was no other than the women who came to his cave and it was the women who saw him first at the resurrection. It was their words that spread the joy!

I can still see my grandmother, Ada Caston Slaton Bonds of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church standing in front of two hundred members of the General Assembly and with such odds not in her favor, standing up in front of everyone and saying, “Gentlemen, like it or not,” stared up at the ceiling of the building, “God needs women… for friendship, for assisting in church matters, for the work of redemption, and yes, to be ordained and preach his Word just like the other two hundred men in the church!

Hats off to a Pioneer Woman of the State of Louisiana. First ordained woman minister. Lasting title given by the entire General Assembly, Mother of All Presbyteries. Longest active tenure of a woman minister in the United States. And, held the distinguished title of Moderator of the General Assembly six times! (So much for being a woman)

If you haven’t read her autobiography written by Sidney St. James, FAITH – Seventy Times Seven, click HERE.

The words in this story brought back my faithful training in my early years when we had revivals. Miss Ada truly showed her parishioners that yes, “Jesus is in this place”. I was fortunate to be able to attend a 2014 revival in Pleasant Hill, Louisiana honoring the MEMORY of Reverend Ada Caston Slaton Bonds. It will always be a special day in my life. Now that I have read her memoirs , I feel I know her joys, sadness, her love of family and her love of God! A Great Read… Josephine Starr

Book One in the FAITH Chronicles

An Aspiring Story Based on the Truth from Following a

German Family to Texas in 1840

In the early 1980’s this novel had its beginning preempted by another called the Struss Family History. The author, while wearing tall cowboy boots, trudged through many small country farms in Colorado, Austin, and Fayette Counties and dictated the many small etched tombstones in grown-up weeds. The index to the book had these cemeteries reflected of which my good friend Bill Stein at the Nesbitt Memorial Library in Columbus once told me it was one of the most utilized paperbacks in the archives for people searching their family histories.

One time, I went in to see the book and could not help laughing as it was taped back together from the daily use of it as a reference manual.

Additionally, I spent time weekly turning through the microfilm to follow one particular family from Oldenburg, Germany to Columbus and on to Frelsburg where they settled down near a good friend, William Frels.

The reason I am writing this intro to my blog today is that I have taken the original book, Adversity – Face to Face and rewriting it to be more accurate, better taglines, better descriptions and adding whatever substance I feel might help the reading enjoyment one might get from the novel. It is one of my earlier books, and there is so much more I want to say in the story other than just minor fixes. It will be under Sidney St. James the book will be written for the Second Edition.

So, without further a due, here is what my creative historical fiction novel is all about. (Actually, it borders on historical non-fiction only because of my adding and changing some names that may or may not have been actually involved.)

One would be hard-pressed to fully explain the impact that the Strauss Family descendants had in the State of Texas, as well as thousands of other immigrants from Germany, between the years 1836-1846. They came in substantial numbers and had such an impact on politics, economics, and the social life of Texas that much of the things that were, had begun a dramatic change by the mid 1850’s. Many history books are reflecting this period in history, including some the other has written in earlier works, but many are just that, history books, facts, and figures, so to speak. It is amazing how, as adults, we struggle during our childhood through the date-pocketed courses of history…bored, disenchanted, waiting only for the end of that cobwebbed test of endurance. What we find, in later years, is that history is the most fascinating and stimulating of all areas of knowledge. We can ask ourselves, why this unfortunate paradox? Has “history” really changed? The answer is…No!

What has changed is the presentation and the emphasis. In these Faith Chronicles, the author has chosen to write in creative nonfiction two in the series, while the first in the series is imaginative fiction, bordering on nonfiction. It explores and adds that narrative style to the telling of history, unlike the first five published history books by this author. However essential dates, names, and places may be to an expert understanding of history, they are not history, but only the checkpoints and framework of history. This novel is about people…real people, with blood and bones, loves and hates, strengths, passions, weaknesses and their belief in Jesus Christ, our Lord. History is joys and sorrows, failures and successes, heartbreaks and ecstasies. What is history? History is power, the exercise of power, and the vacuum of power. A relatively new genre too, one that this author has found intriguing in following the Johann Strauss family from Germany to Texas in the mid 1800’s, creative fiction and creative nonfiction takes the writing of history to a whole new level. From over thirty years of family research and the production of numerous history books, creative writing explores the history of people, real people! In this novel, it follows a typical German family through the painful decision-making process to leave Germany and pull up roots from generations and farming on the River Hunte near Rastede, Germany. They fight delays from unfavorable winds traveling through the North Sea, storms that take many lives onboard their vessel, contracting yellow fever and other terrible sicknesses, Indian attacks, and many other adversities. The Strauss Family face one misfortune after another during their ninety day trip from Bremerhaven, Germany to Matagorda, Texas. They do not travel alone as Faith is their most influential ally during their continued struggles against the many adversities. The ups and downs of this novel lean on the truth, and at first, it was considered to be a creative nonfiction attempt since the story has been told by real people. All the events and adversities were experienced by thousands of Germans during this time in history. There is truth in how most held tightly to the Faith in Jesus Christ during the many hardships suffered. This same Faith is contained in the following two creative nonfiction novels in this series, FAITH – Seventy Times Seven, an autobiography of the Reverend Ada Caston Slaton Bonds and THE ROSE OF BRAYS BAYOU – The Runaway Scrape, an autobiography of Dilue Rose Harris.

Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the FAITH of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Website is also under construction converting from an earlier business blog to an author-blog type of site. Please bear with us.

In the fifth novel of the Gideon Detective Series, Bridgit Flynn returns to action. She has just solved the case of the murdered teller in the sleepy village of Black Rock Cove and a high-end hotel committee requests her services in solving a rash of robberies from the boarders.

Front Cover for A Prince of Their Own JPEG

A PRINCE OF THEIR OWN by Sidney St. James

 With Vincent Gideon retired and living high in the mountains outside Denver, Colorado, the now renowned Bridgit Flynn continues the Gideon Detective Agency’s day-to-day services. Bridgit can still remember an earlier case where Vincent let a serial killer, Rosenthall, the first book in the Gideon Detective Series, go free and never over the next twenty years did she ever give him her understanding as to why. She was only twenty years old at the time.

 Dve Henry, Jonathan Lane, and Stephen Moore were elected as the committee to search out a detective agency to find out and solve a rash of robberies from tenants living in the Riverside Hotel, an exquisite five-star place of accommodations in Black Rock Cove. She had just completed a baffling murder case in the small fishing village of a bank teller two weeks earlier and found the visit of three gentlemen to her office in Portland somewhat surprising so close to her finishing the prior case.

After listening to their report on the slippery capabilities of a thief and that no detective firms have been able to solve the case, she begins to put a plan together. Her skillful ability to devise methods that help explain cases came up with a unique plan to give Hans Schedl his first undercover case.

Bridgit would go in under cover of Mary Lynn Simpson and watch the case evolve as Hans goes in under cover of Prince Karl Haber of the Duchy of Oldenburg.

His first stop was the Regal Hotel, a swanky ski resort for the younger fast-lane crowd. If one looked closely at the flagstone floor, the heating that was hidden underneath would melt any of the finest chocolate one might leave in a sack on the tile. The armchairs were perfectly positioned to watch the skiers and snowboarders come down the mountainside and as they left their equipment outside and trudged in shaking off the snow from their heavy boots.

 His undercover assignment forced him to first staying at the Regal until he could get his credentials in order before moving to the Riverside Hotel, the only five-star long-term lodging establishment on any of its type on the west coast. Besides, it was there where all the robberies were taking place, and it was there the Prince needed to be to help solve the case!

The novel has just been released at

In the true story written by her own hand, the Reverend Ada Slaton Bonds of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church faced many adversities. One, an abusive husband for twenty-five years and one that spent every dime the family made on whiskey. He beat laborers. He hit his two oldest boys that left scars on their backs and almost let his entire family die in the swamps of northern Louisiana. Because of his drinking, the family moved 14 times in the first three years of marriage.

The woman minister also was called by God to spread his Word at an early age. She used to play the minister down by the lake at the age of ten, and her sister, Alberta, also known as Bert would be the choir director. Read More

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