In 2012, writer Barbara Lockhart encountered the usual brick walls of disinterest from agents and major publishing houses when she sought to have her recently completed novel, "Elizabeth’s Field: Of Freedom and Bondage on Harriet Tubman's Eastern Shore," published. So, Lockhart self-published her book, had it listed on Amazon, and began letting people know about it. The book has drawn raves and was recently republished in a second edition.
When Lockhart purchased her farm in 1970, her writer’s inquisitiveness led her to delve into county land records to learn the history of what she had bought. There she uncovered the rare situation for the time that the farm had been owned from 1852 to 1857 by a mixed free Black and Native American woman—Elizabeth Burton, the Elizabeth of the book title—and that then the title passed suddenly to a White family that owned the farm for three generations before selling it to the author.
But how did Elizabeth and her family lose their land wondered Lockhart? As the author told us in a recent interview, she “had to find out why.” Nine years of research later, with "Elizabeth’s Field" Lockhart turned out a page-turner based on the free Black woman who owned Lockhart's farm in Harriet Tubman country of Maryland’s Eastern Shore of the 1850s, then had it essentially schemed from her by a White neighbor.