The Timekeeper Chronicles

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While the Timekeeper Chronicles is a work of fiction, there are plenty of real people and places who provided inspiration and plenty of backstory.


Obviously Charleston is a real place. It is the capital of West Virginia. In 2010, the Census stated a population of 51,400 in the city itself, and the metropolitan population of almost 218,000. Its original name was Charles Town, but it was changed to Charleston to avoid confusion with another town named Charles Town in the eastern part of the state.

Salt, coal, and natural gas are the traditional big industries around Charleston, and demand was high during the World Wars, though they have declined in recent years due to environmental regulation and the growth of other industries such as medicine.

During the Civil War, Virginia joined the Confederacy, though Charleston and the western half of the state remained under Union control. West Virginia was declared a state by Abraham Lincoln.

Since the end of World War II, Charleston has seen much economic growth resulting from its natural resources and natural landscape. On top of this, they also boast a thriving downtown and shopping scene, appreciation for the arts and sciences, and excellent hospitas and medical care.

Charleston remains, on average, warmer than most of the state because it is west of the highest elevations. Snow usually falls between November and April, with March bringing rain, snow, thunderstorms, and the occasional tornado.

Beaumaris Gaol

Beaumaris Gaol is a disused prison on the Isle of Anglesey, Wales. It was built in 1829 and expanded in 1867, though it was shut down just 11 years later. It then became a police station, a clinic, a children's house, and finally a museum which still operates to this day, seeing about 30,000 visitors a year.

The gaol was poorly lit, and punishment for the prisoners ranged from black cells to whipping to a stretching board. Prisoners also labored to keep a water pump operational, providing water to the gaol. A number of felons were housed there, some facing the gallows. However, only two were ever actually hanged. The rest made due with hard labor, or were shipping to Australia. There was only one escape, and he was later recaptured.

Richard Rowlings

Richard Rowlings was a prisoner in Beaumaris Gaol, there for killing his father-in-law. When he was taken to be hanged, he cursed the church clock tower that the four faces would never show the same time.

In The Chivalrous Welshman, Richard's real last name is never mentioned, and throughout the series, it has been changed to protect the integrity of the deceased and his family, and provide room for creative license.

Richard, called "Dic" or "Dick" by most, was known as the town "bad boy." He disappears from history in 1842 after his marriage to Emma Owens, reappears in 1861 a widower. Within the year, he marries Elinor Williams and has a child with her. Elinor goes to live with her 70 year old father on his farm. Her father denies Dic access to Elinor and the child unless they move out by November first.

Dic had no permanent job, but moved from farm to farm for seasonal labor. There was never any evidence of quarrelling between him and his father in law, but most accounts state that this was because they intentionally avoided each other. One night, Richard went out to take care of business for the harvest. Dic followed. Only Dic returned home that night. Richard's grandson, also named Richard, found him dead in a ditch, his head bashed in.

Dic had no alibi and no one was willing to lie for him. He was arrested for the murder. During the trial, there was little, if any evidence, to stay Dic had done the deed except that he had been out at the same time as his father in law. Nevertheless, the jury found him guilty and sentenced him to hang.

Despite never having confessed his guilt and with the decided lack of evidence, Dic was hanged on April 4, 1862. While legend says he cursed the clock tower to never show the correct time, witness testimony and the advice of counsel says he remained silent.

Opinions were divided over Dic's guilt, and even now, no evidence has been been discovered to prove him one way or the other.

The Stono Rebellion

On September 9, 1739, near Stono River (20 mi sw of Charleston, SC), a group of slaves, led by a slave named Jemmy Cato, revolted and killed 25 white colonists.

The slaves were believed to be native Africans, perhaps from the Kongo, as some of them reportedly spoke Portuguese. Jemmy Cato was believed to have been owned by the Cater family who lived north of Stono River. He started out with 20 slaves, but recruited up to 60 slaves by the end of the rebellion, where they raided an arms shop and killed over 20 white colonists. In the ensuing confrontation, half of the slaves were killed. The other half that fled were eventually caught and executed.

The slaves were likely trying to reach Florida, where the Spanish were offering land and freedom to escaped slaves. Stono was only 150 miles from the Florida line.

In response to the rebellion, South Carolina passed the Negro Act, limiting slave gatherings, education, and other privileges. It also imposed a ten year moratorium on imported African slaves, in order to limit rebellious actions and attitudes. It also required legislation in order for an owner to free his slave, when before it could have been done privately.

More rebellions popped up in the surrounding area following the Stono Rebellion, but none were so large or so bloody.

The Menalamba Rebellion

In October 1895, France annexed Anatanarivo, capital of Madagascar. Popular resistance to this move sparked the Menalamba Rebellion. Common support was shown by wearing red shawls. While disorganized at first, it quickly gained leadership, values, and demands. Guerrilla attacks were launched against both the French and the traditional monarchy.

One of the demands was a return to more traditional beliefs, as the monarchy and other political offices had converted to Christianity under French rule. A number of churches and religious icons and figures were destroyed, and five missionaries were murdered by rebels.

On January 1, 1896, after a successful military campaign by General Jacques Duchesne, France officially took over Antananarivo. Queen Ranavalona III, the island nation's last monarch, remained, but retained no political power.

France did not initially take the rebellion seriously, believing it to be random, unsustained acts of violence. However, as attacks continued, the French army accused the monarchy of aiding the rebels. A number of the royal court were executed or exiled, and General Joseph Galleini took over as the island's governor.

At the height of its power, the Menalamba Rebellion consisted of over 300,000 members who instituted a successful blockade on Antananarivo during the summer of 1896. The cause of the rebellion's collapse is believed to be primarily hunger, although sickness, disease, and losses are also factors.

The rebellion waned toward the end of 1896 and collapsed in 1897, though there were smaller uprisings through 1900. The rebellion was not considered ended until 1903. The Malagasy suffered losses of over 100,000, while the French only lost in the hundreds.