Who was the woman who raised Timothy in Theodore Taylor's The Cay?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Timothy was raised by a woman named Hannah Gumbs.

Although virtually no information other than her name is given to us in The Cay, Theodore Taylor wrote a "Prequel/Sequel" to the book entitled Timothy of the Cay in 1993.  In this book we learn that Hannah "was no kin at all" to Timothy.  She had found him "asleep on her doorstep...just before he was of crawling age" with a note bearing his name, "Timothy", and she had raised him as her own.  A "large, handsome woman" with "wise, deepset brown eyes", she was born a slave in the Caribbean Islands.  After she was freed she scraped to make a living first as a coal carrier and then as a laundry woman.  Her husband died the year before she found Timothy, and she had no children of her own.

Although she could not provide him with schooling, but "wisdom seldom came out of books anyway."  Hannah raised Timothy to be good, healthy, and strong, and when the day came for him to set off on his own, she let him go with pride and wistfulness, sad to see him go but confident that he would make his way well in the world (Timothy of the Cay, Chapter 4).