The Charleston Earthquake of August 31, 1886 (8.6 on the Richter scale) was strong enough to be felt in Boston, Chicago, New Orleans and Milwaukee. It caused speculation that Florida had broken off the continent. [Wikipedia: 1886 Charleston earthquake] Roe’s novel explores its effects in the context of the relations between North and South after the American Civil War.
Edward Payson Roe (1838-1888) was educated at Williams College and Auburn Theological Seminary.
“Barriers Burned Away, a story of the Great Chicago Fire, was first published serially in a magazine, the New York Evangelist. In 1872, when it came out in book form, it shortly became the most popular book of the year. When his next two novels achieved similar success, Roe decided to leave the ministry and give full time to writing. He believed he could reach more people with the message of Christianity through his writing than through preaching.
This book was inspired by a newspaper account telling of a widowed farmer who visited the county poor house, looking for a good housekeeper. He is supposed to have said, “If there is a worthy woman here, I will marry her.”
From the dust jacket:
“A simple, strong story of American life.
“The stern, silent hero is a farmer, a man with honest, sincere views of life, and of sufficient education to make him an alien among the other farmers.