A young man loses his job and is forced to relocate. No one is hiring in such bleak economic times. America finds itself threatened by a world superpower firmly in control of global trade. Money is scarce, businesses fail, and the Bank of the United States closes its doors. The country will soon be embroiled in another war. This is not present day—the year is 1811.
Craig Ridgeway, a 21-year old gunsmith from Pennsylvania, rides a flatboat down the Ohio River and settles in Breckinridge County, Kentucky to try his hand at farming. Through an accidental association with a notorious widow (the past proprietor of a liquor vault and prostitution den), he inherits a patch of rich bottomland, embraces a nearby family, and falls in love with the abandoned wife of a violent outlaw. Overcoming inexperience and hardships, Craig builds a promising new life, learning how to raise corn, tobacco and hemp. Inspired by the “Widder’s” recipe, he and his wife Mary manufacture bourbon whiskey, which he markets profitably in New Orleans. A new steamboat embarks on its first journey down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, ushering in a new economic era.
But good fortune comes at a high price. The looming war with Great Britain disrupts the economy and soon overshadows Craig’s life. He must make choices that affect others in times of conflict. Will he risk everything by fighting on the northern frontier? Will he use his special talents as a gunsmith and marksman to help his nation? After twice refusing to fight on the northern frontier, he has one last chance to join his fellow Kentuckians in the heroic defense of New Orleans. The epic battle on the sugarcane plantations below the city provides redemption for the young American nation—and for Craig, who prays to survive, to return home to his adventure in life with Mary.
Widder’s Landing is a story of life, love and survival set against the rugged Kentucky frontier.
6" x 9" hardbound
568 ppAbout the Author:
Eddie Price is a lifelong native
of Kentucky. A graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College (BA) and Western Kentucky University (MA and Rank I), Eddie has taught history for 36 years (31 at Hancock County High School). He has also taught part-time classes for Owensboro Community & Technical College. The winner of numerous teaching awards, Eddie has coached many award-winning academic teams and history contest winners. He is active in the Hancock County Historical Society and helped organize the Young Historians Club. Eddie is world traveler who enjoys bicycling, horseback riding and swimming. He now lives in Hancock County, Kentucky. Praise for Widder’s Landing…
“Widder’s Landing is a banquet of first-person Kentucky history served up with plenty of first-rate adventure. More history than fiction; a total immersion in real life Kentucky. Readers will hope this first novel won’t be Eddie Price’s last.” – Virginia G. Carter, Executive Director
Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc.
“Eddie Price explores the vital role Kentucky played during our Second War for Independence with Great Britain. Widder’s Landing is a well-researched historical overview of Kentucky’s role in the War of 1812, a penetrating look into the lives of Kentuckians during this tumultuous time in the history of Kentucky and our nation.
” – John M. Trowbridge, Command Historian, Kentucky National Guard
“Widder’s Landing is a non-stop adventure. Love, war, earthquakes and outlaws – Eddie Price navigates his characters through natural and human-made disasters with passion and aplomb.
” – Neil Chethik, Director, Carnegie Institute, Lexington, KentuckyReview Notice Widder's Landing Rating: 5.0 starsReviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite
In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, just before the War of 1812, Craig Ridgway works as a gunsmith with Jakob Wetzel. Jakob dies and Craig leaves for the western frontier rather than marry Jakob's temperamental, controlling daughter Anna. Craig stops briefly in Pittsburgh and becomes an iron worker, but he heads onto Kentucky. Floating down the Ohio River on a flatboat, he contracts pneumonia but his life is saved by the Widow Fuqua of Widder's Landing in Cottonwood Bend, Kentucky. The Widow, in failing health now but once the operator of a hellhole of prostitution, gambling and drinking at her dug-out home as well as being the backer of a gang of outlaws, befriends Craig and shows him how to plant crops on her land. When she dies, she leaves her three hundred four acre parcel of land to him as well as six thousand dollars in hidden coins that he finds months later. The Widow Fuqua's neighbors are strict Catholic war veteran Martin McDonnell and his family who, kind as they are, find the Widow and her shady past repugnant. Craig is attracted to Martin's daughter, Mary, who is seeking a divorce from drunken, unfaithful Jedediah. The coming war with Britain looms as does the issue of slavery as wealthy, landed neighbor Colonel Stoner owns numerous slaves.
"Widder's Landing" is historical fiction at its very, very best. Craig Ridgway, Martin McDonnell, his entire family including Mary, the Widow Fuqua, Colonel Stoner, Craig's friend Levi and all the many other characters are well-created and consistent as author Eddie Price gives the reader a clear picture of what life was like back in the early years of our country. Events like trapping racoons and other wild animals for food and fur, building spring water wells, neighbors helping each other gather in crops and build barns, friends and relatives surviving earthquakes and river pirates, and sons going off to fight in the war, are totally believable. All these happenings are so very well-written that the readers will feel as though they are standing right there as the story progresses to its final pages. Books like "Widder's Landing" come along so rarely that reading it is a true pleasure creating memories that will last a long time.Readers Favorite ReviewReaders Favorite-A Review by Jorja Davis
Book Review: 'Widder’s Landing' | Kentucky's history is part of love story
Special to the Courier-Journal
Review by Mary Popham, Special to the Courier- Journal
Eddie Price has written a love story interwoven with thoroughly researched and well-written history.
In 1811 in Lancaster, Penn., apprentice gunsmith Craig Ridgeway loses his position when the owner of the gun shop dies. Ridgeway packs his few belongings and heads west. During heavy rainfall on a flatboat coming down the Ohio River, he contracts pneumonia and lands in Breckinridge County, Ky., where his life is saved by a hideous outlaw widow. He helps her with farm work and when she dies, she bequeaths Widder’s Landing to him. He falls in love with Mary McDonnell and marries into the Irish Catholic family that owns the connecting farm.
Through the Ridgeways and McDonnells, the author describes how hard our ancestors worked. “Craig could scarcely believe the labor required to run such a little farm.” Each page is filled with the daily chores of milking cows and feeding chickens to such phenomena as the arrival of “a giant comet close to Halley’s in brightness,” or swarms of migrating birds that darken the sky. Each seasons crop is detailed: trading or purchasing the tools, horses and oxen for the plowing; saving or buying the seed for planting; hoeing and gathering corn, oats, hemp, and tobacco.
Members of the community help one another in almost every chore, from building the houses and barns, to corn-shucking, hog-killing, transforming flax to cloth, suckering, worming, stripping, and hanging tobacco, rolling cigars, and hauling the fruits of the fields to market. I have never read a more detailed account of how bourbon whiskey is made.
Price explains what is going on around the state and the country with stories of traveling priests and preachers, riverboat trips to New Orleans, the New Madrid earthquake, and river pirates and outlaws who must be subdued. He describes the Battle of Tippecanoe and a year later, the War of 1812, sometimes referred to as “The Second War of Independence,” when the young men go off to war. He writes an extensive side-story of slavery and how Craig and Mary Ridgeway purchase slaves to set them free, giving them paying jobs on their farm.
Price’s writing is clear, and his scenes chock-full of color and reality from war and death, to birth and love-making. “Widder’s Landing” is highly recommended to history buffs and to anyone who likes a great story.