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Read the Prologue of my new and soon-to-be-published novel,
Run With the Wind
Today, along the shores of Matagorda Bay nothing remains of what was once the largest port city in Texas.
In the 1870s emigrants from Europe were flooding into Texas, drawn by the promise of cheap land. Indianola was the port of entry not only for emigrants, but also cargos bound for San Antonio, the largest city in the state.
Two extraordinary events in that decade would seal Indianola’s fate. In 1875, a hurricane destroyed the city. That same year the railroad between Houston and San Antonio was completed, thus assuring that ocean cargos bound for San Antonio no longer need transit via ox-cart and wagon train through Victoria, but, more economically, through Galveston by rail via Houston.
Indianola soon ceased to exist, while Galveston’s economy surged.
Two Jewish brothers arrived in Galveston from Germany in 1876 and founded a shipping business, married and began their families. Both built huge mansions planning that their children and their children’s children would live there. In the 1890’s the older brother, Levi Weismann, left the shipping business and founded a bank. The younger brother, Abraham, continued in shipping and built an empire.
The Great Storm of 1900, which took 8,000 lives on Galveston Island, also decimated the families as well as the businesses of the brothers. Both struggled to rebuild. In 1905 Abraham’s surviving son presented him with a granddaughter, named Sarah. Three years later, Abraham died and his son inherited both his father’s mansion and the shipping business.
The young man was not a good businessman. He tried to rebuild what was once an empire using money borrowed from New York bankers. The newly-completed Houston Ship Channel siphoned business away from Galveston, and usurious interest siphoned profits from what remained of the shipping business.
Sarah was 13 in 1918 when the influenza epidemic took her mother and her great-aunt, wife of Levi Weismann, the banker.
At 21, Sarah Weismann impulsively married Glenn Jacobs, a gentile. Her great-uncle, strong in his faith and unforgiving of the sins of others, was incensed. However, Uncle Levi softened when she presented her son to the Rabbi at Congregation B’nai Israel.
Near the end of the second year of Sarah’s marriage, the Great Depression descended upon the United States, and her father took his own life as bankers took the remnants of what was once an empire. Sarah’s gentile husband lost his life at sea, and her son, that same year, was stricken with polio.
What follows is the story of Sarah Jacobs and her son Benjamin, as they battle poverty and the enemy of polio, and Galveston, along with the world, turns worried eyes to Europe as it faces the rapaciousness of Adolph Hitler, and the promised murders of millions of Jews.
The year is 1938…