Emmitt says the family history he unearthed in book 22 shook him to the core. John helped him find a property deed stating that Mariah was transferred from Samuel to his son, Alexander.
"Samuel probably had her bred," John says. "Then, when she got old enough, he gave her to his son. … They raised and bred horses, and raised and bred slaves."
"In other words, the horses were more important than any slaves that they ever had," Emmitt says. "They treated my people like animals…but worse than animals."
The deed stated that Mariah was passed down along with a horse bridle and a saddle. "She was such a young woman," Emmitt says. "I have a 13-year-old daughter right now, and I have a 10-year-old daughter right now. I couldn't imagine them being passed down through slavery that way."
Professor Steven Deyle, a domestic slave trade historian, says it's safe to assume that Samuel was, in fact, Mariah's father. "Alexander was engaged in this horrible, horrible traffic and why he didn't sell Mariah is because he recognized Mariah as his sister," Steven says.