In the winter of 1910, a young woman named Bessie Watkins left her small Ohio town for the big city of Cleveland. She told her family a new job awaited her, and she took the train north. They would never see her again. In fact, her family members would never even hear of her until a century later.
Bessie Watkins was writer Kelly Bancroft's Great Aunt. Her brother discovered Bessie while doing genealogical research, combing through birth and death certificates, employment and census records. This mysterious relative soon intrigued Kelly. Why was her name never mentioned in their family? What were the circumstances of her death? Why did she move to Cleveland alone shortly before the end of her life? Kelly went there to see where Bessie had lived and died, and to learn more about her.
What she discovers deals with an issue that continues to be one of the country's most divisive.