Author to Speak at Jacksonport State Park Visitor Center

Carla Barringer Rabinowitz, a descendant of the some of the early settlers of Randolph County, will be reading from her new book, Borderers: Becoming Americans on the Southern Frontier, at 2:00 PM., Wednesday, July 24, at the Jacksonport State Park Visitor Center, 111 Avenue St., Jacksonport, Arkansas.

Borderers draws on the author’s seventeen years of research into original documents, court records, state and Federal archives, deeds, letters, and estate inventories to produce a richly detailed picture of four generations of her ancestors. More than a family history, it is a narrative of race, class, religion, and community in the early years of America, tracing the journeys of its characters from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast over the course of 150 years. There are wars, rebellions, lawsuits, and murders – Baptists, Quakers, Methodists, and Freemasons – Patriots, Loyalists, corrupt officials, and Regulators – free people of color, Highland Scots, Cherokees, Choctaws, and more.

In the course of her research, Rabinowitz discovered a whole set of cousins she had known nothing about: the descendants of her great-great-grandfather, Arkansas Governor Thomas Stevenson Drew, and his enslaved mistress, his wife’s first cousin Martha Bettis. The author’s investigations led her to Jacksonport, where Martha, now a free woman, finally made enough money to buy and free her son, twenty years after she herself was freed. How did she do it?  The variety of possible answers casts light on the bustling society of an early river town.

One reader described the book as “a beautifully crafted and riveting tale…a captivating story of how ordinary people, striving to survive and prosper in a young America, shaped the social and political evolution of their country. Rabinowitz is a masterful storyteller.”

Carla Rabinowitz has worked as a family mediator and as the executive director of an education-related non-profit in Worcester, Massachusetts, and is a sixteen-year member of the Athol-Royalston Regional School District Committee. She has previously written about the history of the Barringer Meteorite Crater in Arizona, and the ways in which parents raise successful learners.  She lives in Royalston, Massachusetts, with her husband Phil Rabinowitz.  They have two adult sons.

Copies of Borderers will be available for purchase or signing. Brief articles on many of the topics covered in the book can also be found on the author’s blog, at