Captain Joe Cree
Captain Joe Cree, Julia Cropleigh’s husband. Cree is killed when he moves in front of a tree his crew is felling. The steady older cousin of the Cropleigh orphans, Joe married Julia to provide for her. At the time of his death, Cree was taking part in a risky business venture with Amelie Cropleigh. Cree explains to his son, Lucius, that he took part in the bargain—she sold him timber at a lower price and he agreed to cut it in half the usual time—so he could “repay” her for the death of her husband, whom he had sent on a dangerous mission during the Civil War that ended in his death.
Julia Cropleigh, the youngest child and only daughter in the Cropleigh family. When she is widowed, Pete Legrand, mistakenly believing himself to be the father of her child, Lucius, comes to ensure Lucius’ inheritance. Usually strong and independent, Julia accepts his help and his courtship, eventually marrying him. First, however, she tells him that her brother Duncan, not Pete, fathered Lucius. Despite the illicit birth of her own son, Julia is enraged when she discovers that Lucius has run off with Ada Belle Rutter, the daughter of sharecroppers. She eventually accepts their marriage, even suggesting that Ada Belle be taught her letters.
Duncan Cropleigh, who was killed during the Civil War. Duncan shared an unusually strong but pure bond with his sister Julia. Their bond changed, however, when Julia became engaged to Joe Cree. One night in the woods, they slept together, at first in all innocence, but then Duncan took Julia, hoping to keep her to himself. The next day, she left her brothers to track deer with Legrand and was discovered in his arms. Duncan cut Legrand and would have killed him had not their brother Dickie, a doctor, been there to save him. The...
(The entire section is 776 words.)