Title: Lords of St. Thomas
Author: Jackson Ellis
Publisher: Green Writers Press
Publish Date: April 10th 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 5/5
In the Mojave Desert, at the southern end of the isolated Moapa Valley, sat the town of St. Thomas, Nevada. A small community that thrived despite scorching temperatures and scarce water, St. Thomas was home to hardy railroad workers, farmers, shopkeepers, teachers, and a lone auto mechanic named Henry Lord.
Born and raised in St. Thomas, Lord lived in a small home beside his garage with his son, Thomas, his daughter-in-law, Ellen, and his grandson, “Little” Henry. All lived happily until the stroke of a pen by President Coolidge authorizing the construction of the Boulder (Hoover) Dam. Within a decade, more than 250 square miles of desert floor would become flooded by the waters of the Colorado River, and St. Thomas would be no more.
In the early 1930s, the federal government began buying out the residents of St. Thomas, yet the hardheaded Henry Lord, believing the water would never reach his home, refused to sell. It was a mistake that would cost him―and his family―dearly.
Lords of St. Thomas details the tragedies and conflicts endured by a family fighting an unwinnable battle, and their hectic and terrifying escape from the flood waters that finally surge across the threshold of their front door. Surprisingly, it also shows that, sometimes, you can go home again, as Little Henry returns to St. Thomas 60 years later, after Lake Mead recedes, to retrieve a treasure he left behind―and to fulfill a promise he made as a child.
Henry Lord was born and raised in St. Thomas, Nevada. He has spent his entire young life in the small town, as have his parents and grandparents. Henry lives with his parents and his grandfather, after whom he was named. It’s the 1930s and Hoover Dam is being built. The construction of the dam will cause the town to be submerged, so the residents are all moving away. Henry’s father and grandfather disagree about what they should do. The father believes they should leave and find a home and work in a nearby town. However, the grandfather refuses to sell his home and business to the government, and doesn’t believe the waters will reach the town.
The story is told is told from the viewpoint of the grandson, “Little” Henry. He is just a young boy when the town is being abandoned by the townsfolk, and doesn’t fully understand what is happening. The family experiences a lot of tragedy, but young Henry handles everything with respect and dignity.
A historical fiction account of St. Thomas, Nevada. St. Thomas was a small town abandoned by the residents in the 1930s after the Hoover Dam was built and the waters of Lake Mead submerged it. The last remaining resident of the town was Hugh Lord, who was the inspiration for the character of Henry Lord.
A heartwarming story about family and home. Beautifully written. This short book manages to evoke a number of emotions, including happiness, sadness, anger, and hope.
I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.