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  • Writer's pictureNancy Rogers

The Real Sarah

Updated: Nov 26, 2022


I've never been able to find a portrait of Sarah, although there is a very famous miniature of her husband's aunt, Martha Pawley LaBruce. I'd like to think that Sarah resembled the portrait above. It's unsigned, so who knows, maybe it is her.

One could certainly argue that the world doesn’t need a new blog, but I’d like to think that my blog isn’t the norm. For example, I have a friend whose blog centers around new recipes for martinis. It’s been dragging on for two years and I’m tapped out. I don’t read it anymore.

My blog is to help promote my new book; SARAH'S SECRET, a coming-of-age inspired by a real-life woman named Sarah Vaux, who became an extended member of the Pawley family upon her marriage in 1803, and lived at True Blue Plantation in present-day Pawleys Island, SC, until her death in 1823.

Sarah is buried in True Blue Cemetery, a small cemetery on the grounds of a gated community now known by the name, Heritage Plantation. She was forty-years-old and had had ten children in less than twenty years. She died of malaria after giving birth to a daughter. That child—Child Number Ten—was born ten months after the birth of Sarah’s ninth child, a son. Both children survived.

​The rest of the story is from my own imagination. Whenever possible, though, I used the names of real people who had lived at True Blue during Sarah's lifetime. I used the real names of Sarah’s parents, I used 18th century song lyrics, bawdy words and forgotten phrases from the past. (You wouldn't believe how many 18th and 19th profanity websites there are.)

Once I even tried a recipe that was thought to be from Sarah’s own collection. It consisted of pudding ingredients (including suet) that were placed in a muslin bag and suspended in boiling water for six hours. The results tasted like mushy shoe leather and raisins. I served it for Christmas—big mistake—but at least I tried. If I can find the recipe, I’ll pass it along. This Christmas my family and I toasted Sarah and her family with a bottle of Madeira, which seemed fitting because True Blue was noted for its enormous garret filled with the finest Madeira.

I’ve decided to use my collection of Lowcountry photographs to inspire my blogs. My story will begin on June 28, 1711, the day that the British Crown opened the Waccamaw River (the river that True Blue overlooks) to future homesteaders. Speculators were not allowed. The British were building an empire; they were not interested in wealthy speculators buying up the land to resell for profit.

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