Who came to Buxton with a lot of money and was able to buy 50 acres of land without a loan in Elijah of Buxton?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It was Mrs. Emmeline Holton who came to Buxton with a lot of money and was able to buy fifty acres of land without a loan.

For the people of Buxton, to have the amount of money it would take to buy fifty acres of land outright is almost unimaginable.  Elijah notes that

Folks are speculating all the time 'bout how much money Mrs. Holton has.  She don't flash it 'round or nothing, but folks say anyone that can buy fifty acres without a loan must be rich as a slave owner!

Mrs. Holton had come to Buxton with "lots of pieces of gold sewed up in her dress."  No one in the Settlement knows exactly how she came by that money; they only know that of all the people in the community, she was "the only one that never had to borrow no money to get her land" (Chapter 5).  Unfortunately, despite her riches, Mrs. Holton was unable to bring with her what was most important in her life when she came to Buxton.  Mrs. Holton and her daughters managed to get to freedom, but her husband, John Holton was caught, and was taken back into bondage in the American South.

Mrs. Holton manages to acquire twenty-two hundred dollars, an enormous amount of money, but before she can secure her husband's freedom, he is killed by his slave master (Chapter 13).  In his memory, she gives the money to Mr. Leroy, who often works for her on her holding, so that he can buy the freedom of his family instead (Chapter 15).