Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Being primarily concerned with the safety of their wives and children, however, they felt it necessary to secure their protection. This was done in a variety of ways. Some in the grip of terror fled to the woods with only those provisions they could carry by hand, remaining there for days at the time. Others congregated in public places such as Cross Keys, Jerusalem and the surrounding county seats of Virginia and North Carolina. A letter from Jerusalem on August twenty-forth described the situation there: "Every house, room, and corner in this place is filled with women and children, driven from home, who had to take to the woods, until they could get to this place." This left the farms deserted or in the hands of the blacks. Once the men were assured of the safety of their families, they were ready to join in the search for the rebels.
At first no one was certain of what had occurred, how many slaves were involved, or how many whites had been murdered. This quite naturally gave the people gathering together for protection endless opportunities for speculation. Thus the rumors began to multiply, and the whole affair became as the Richmond Enquirer said, "Subject to an extraordinary amount of exaggeration." In Jerusalem there were as many rumors afloat as facts. Many theories were advanced concerning the motives of the insurgents. Some felt their intent was merely to plunder, others that they wished to create panic and then seize power, and still others that they were part of a widespread plot.
Saunders, Rebecca, "The immediate reaction to the Nat Turner rebellion (August - November, 1831)" (1969). Honors Theses. 726.