Approved CharacterPlayer ID:
Sarah Elizabeth DavisNickname (if Any):
Family back home called her LizzyBethRole:
School Teacher's MaidGood, Bad or Ugly:
Ugly but obedient to Mrs. BurwellGender:
Small scar behind her left ear from one of her older brothers shooting her with a sling shot.Weapons:
NAAccuracy (Aimed and drawn - each weapon):
Has no possessions of her own. Everything she does have belongs to Mrs. Burwell.Horse:
None of her own but bares some of the responsibility for caring for Mrs. Burwell's horse, Nelly.Likes:
Mrs. Burwell, Mrs. Burwell's horse Nelly, not having to worry where her next meal will come from, a soft warm bed, security, serving Mrs. BurwellDislikes:
Hunger, homelessness, poverty, the noosePersonality:
Quiet ans studious, if for no other reason than to please Mrs. Burwell. She has been intimidated by the woman's intelligence and strength from the day they met. A good person at heart, she never the less serves Mrs. Burwell with nothing less than total loyalty. She owes her life to the woman and spends each day trying to repay that debt, not out of guilt or a sense of duty, but out of gratitude.
For herself though, Sarah dreams of a family of her own, a good husband and beautiful children. She sometimes finds herself conflicted, torn between her longing for a family and her earnest desire to serve Mrs. Burwell. She knows though, if she ever had to chose, she would chose to serve the woman who saved her. History:
Sarah Elizabeth Davis was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi in 1858. The youngest of six children and the only girl born to Olivia and Jasper Davis. The Davis family was among the most desperately impoverished white families in Lee County. For this reason, when war broke out in 1861 Jasper enlisted in the Army of the Confederacy. The lure of a decent, steady pay was hard to resist. His time in the army was cut short however, when he lost his left eye and the hearing in his left ear as well as suffering damage to his hearing in his right ear, in his very first battle. He returned home to his family, a war hero, in under a year. But Jasper survived his short service in the army only to be murdered in front of his family in 1864, by one of General A.J. Smith's Union soldiers as they marched south to engage General Nathan Bedford Forrest's forces in order to protect General Sherman's supply lines. Sarah Elizabeth was only six years old.
After their father's death the three oldest boys joined the Confederate Army, the youngest of the three being too young to fight, was used as a drummer. He and the the oldest son both fell at the Battle of Palmito Ranch. The other was said to have witnessed General Robert E. Lee's surrender but has not been seen or heard from since.
Olivia and the last two remaining Davis children survived as best they could. In time the two youngest boys both left seeking employment else where. One was working on the expansion of the railway system and the other ended up working in the West Virginia coal mines, where a man's life was valued less than that of a mule.
Olivia Davis died in the winter of 1872 of pneumonia. Sarah Elizabeth was 14 years old. Lizzybeth, as her family had always called her, found work as a maid on a rich family's estate. She spent practically all day on her hands and knees scrubbing floors. She was just days past her 16th birthday when the estate owner's 22 year old son cornered her in the stables as she slipped an apple to her favorite of the family's horses one evening. The man tried to rape the young girl at knife point and would likely have succeeded except he was drunk. The petite young girl killed the man with his own knife. Gutted would be a more accurate description of what she did to him. Lizzybeth knew that no matter what she said, she would hang for killing the man. So she stole what money the man had on him, took the family's fastest horse and run away before anyone knew what had happened.
The young girl made her way to Natchez, Mississippi. There was a lot of talk there about the fortunes to be made out west, and that the frontiersmen were looking for white wives, as there was nothing out west but Indians and coyotes. Well that sounded like the perfect solution to the young fugitive running from the noose. So she sold the stolen horse and booked passage for herself on a river boat bound for New Orleans. Lizzybeth kept herself locked in her room for the most part. After all, it wasn't exactly safe for a young girl traveling alone.
Lizzy's plan was to travel to New Orleans, then take a ship to Texas. After that she would make her way slowly west, taking odd jobs in various towns along the way in order to fund her journey. But, she encountered an unexpected problem. After paying for the riverboat trip she did not have enough money to pay for passage on a ship bound for Texas. And New Orleans was not a place she wanted to spend much time in, particularly not alone. Additionally, she figured that the longer she remained east of the Mississippi the more likely it was that she would be caught. So Lizzybeth saw only one option. She was already guilty of murder and they can only hang you once so...she stowed away on the first ship she found headed for Texas.
Apparently Lizzybeth was a better murderer and horse thief than she was a stow away because she was caught the very next morning, sneaking out of her hiding place looking for something to eat. The young girl, thin and dirty from her travels and hiding in the cargo hold, was dragged on deck and before the captain. The captain was a hard man and when Lizzy opened her mouth to speak in her own behalf the man backhanded her, knocking her to the deck. There was some discussion as to what would be done with the girl. Some suggested she be hung from the mast or, at the very least, bound to it. Others proposed she be given over to the crew for their pleasure before being tossed over board. After all, it would be most merciful to relieve the wretched wench of the burden of her miserable little life. But just as one of the crew members was reaching out to lay a hand on the terrified young woman, someone stepped forward in her defense.
The woman was obviously well bred, educated and strong. And from the look of the clothes she wore, was a person of considerable means. She gave the captain and the crew a good verbal lashing for their lack of humanity and basic decency. The woman assured the captain that she would pay the girl's fare and would take responsibility for her. "Of course, Mrs. Burwell. As you wish." It might have been amusing. seeing how contrite the rough old captain was and how he submitted to the woman's wishes without objection, if Lizzybeth had not been so frightened. The woman took the girl by the arm and led her away to her cabin to be cleaned up, fed and to tend to the bruise the captain had left on her cheek.
Sarah Elizabeth was not illiterate but nor was she well educated. She read well enough that she could get by on her own and had enough math skills to understand money. As it turned out, Mrs. Burwell was a teacher and began furthering the girl's education that very day. She would not tolerate her companion being ignorant.Any Other Info:
Of the six Davis children, Lizzybeth was the only one to continue her schooling into the 8th grade. This had much to do with the influence of Mrs. Sinclair, and elderly widowed teacher who lived about a mile down the old dirt road from the Davis home. Lizzybeth would walk to her house everyday after school, taking the old lady a meal prepared for her by her mother as well as doing any house work the old lady needed. The old lady was nearly blind with age but helped Lizzy as much as she could when she had problems with her school work. She was also teaching the girl basic Spanish and French, subjects not commonly offered in many schools in the region. In addition to being a retired teacher, Mrs. Sinclair was also a fine pianist, who gave lessons in her younger days when she could see well enough to read music and actually see her pupils. By the time she met Lizzy her sight was failing and she played everything by ear and by memory. One of the old woman's favorite things to do when Lizzybeth came for her daily visits was to sit down at her piano and play as the girl sang to her some of the old country hymns that she loved.
Lizzy was crushed went the old lady passed away peacefully in her sleep one night in the Fall of 1872. The girl was all choked up as she sang the old lady's favorite hymn at her grave side. When her mother died just months later, Lizzy found herself suddenly alone in the world and could not find it in her heart to sing. She had to leave school in order to take a job just to be able to survive.