The intriguing story of a woman who traveled the world from Revolutionary France to plantation South Carolina
From her birth at the palace at Versailles to her death on a South Carolina plantation, Natalie Delage Sumter (1782–1841) lived a life riveted by escape, adventure, grandeur, and hardship—a saga that spanned several tumultuous decades of French history and included her residence on three continents. The godchild of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and a member of the French nobility, Nathalie de Lage de Volude fled to New York at age eleven at the height of the French Revolution. She lived for eight years in the household of politician Aaron Burr and became a confidante of his daughter, Theodosia. On her return voyage to France, Delage fell in love with Thomas Sumter, Jr., a diplomat to France and the son of South Carolina's Revolutionary War "Gamecock." The couple enjoyed a celebrated shipboard romance, and with their marriage months afterward, Natalie Sumter entered the world of the southern planter aristocracy.
A Lady of the High Hills follows the epic events that took Sumter from one continent to another and included eleven years as a diplomat's wife at the court of Portugal in Brazil, an extended visit to France, where she presented five of her seven children at the court of Charles X, and her final years as a plantation mistress in Stateburg, South Carolina. Thomas Tisdale describes Sumter's adjustment to life in the South Carolina backcountry, her role as the matriarch of the Sumter family, and her constant financial worries despite her husband's vast landholdings. Tisdale also recounts Sumter's efforts to overcome religious and intellectual isolation in Stateburg, including her creation of a lending library, education and religious instruction of the family's slaves, and sponsorship of the Roman Catholic Church in South Carolina.
Thomas Tisdale was born in South Carolina and has practiced law in Charleston, South Carolina, for more than thirty years. He is a past president of the South Carolina Bar and has served on the boards of many educational, legal, and civic organizations. Tisdale is a founder and first chairman of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in the United States, the American branch of an English missionary society that publishes books and fosters distribution of Christian literature worldwide. Tisdale lives in Charleston. Additional information is available at www.thomastisdale.com