William Henry Shelton’s wood engraving illustration of Benjamin Phipps's, “Discovery of Nat Turner,” (1800-1831) on October 30, 1831, which first appeared in 1882 in A Popular History of the United States.
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Nat Turner's Insurrection from: A social history of the American negro, being a history of the negro probrlem in the United States, including a history and study of the republic of Liberia
About noon on Sunday, August 21, 1831, on the plantation of Joseph Travis at Cross Keys, in Southampton County, in Southeastern Virginia, were gathered four Negroes, Henry Porter, Hark Travis, Nelson Williams, and Sam Francis, evidently preparing for a barbecue. They were soon joined by a gigantic and athletic Negro named Will Francis, and by another named Jack Reese. Two hours later came a short, strong-looking man who had a face of great resolution and at whom one would not have needed to glance a second time to know that he was to be the master-spirit of the company.
Seeing Will and his companion he raised a question as to their being present, to which Will replied that life was worth no more to him than the others and that liberty was as dear to him. This answer satisfied the latest comer, and Nat Turner now went into conference with his most trusted friends. One can only imagine the purpose, the eagerness, and the firmness on those dark faces throughout that long summer afternoon and evening. When at last in the night the low whispering ceased, the doom of nearly three-score white persons—and it might be added, of twice as many Negroes—was sealed.