This blog is about Lavinia Fisher and the legend she left behind when she was hung in 1820, at age 27. The charge was highway robbery, though many people believe she and her husband John were murderers.
While many people think she was America’s first serial killer, some believe she never killed anyone at all. Others believe she was a witch who still haunts Charleston, SC at night. Many claim to see her ghost around King Street.
As I write the historical fiction version of her story, I hope you will read along. Most of these blog entries will be from writing prompts I find, and answer as though Lavinia herself was being interviewed. The goal is to finish writing her story in the form of a book, to prove who she really was, and set Lavinia free.
I hope you enjoy the journey!
Tina Russo Kinney
If you were to start a new business right this minute, what would it be? Describe it.
Currently I own the Six Mile House with my husband. Women are not usually allowed to own a business but because my husband’s name is on everything as well, I get to be a business owner.
I enjoy cooking a lot, and putting on tea. I think if I did not have an inn, I would want to own a restaurant in downtown Charleston for all the rich folks with money to spend, the type where the wives go out to high tea with friends and spend their husbands money. The food here could be so much better if they would put some soul into it. People come to the peninsula and pay good money and the food is sub-par at best. People stop at Six Mile House on their way out of town all the time, and tell me my cooking is so much better than anything in Charleston.
Down at The Sugar House, that’s the correctional facility for errant slaves, the slaves run the treadmill for grinding corn. Sometimes they lose their limbs or even their lives running that thing. I hear the overseer will feed the contaminated grain to those inmates and the Old City Jail, but who is to say they don’t feed that all downtown in Charleston? I bet it’s cheap, so I wouldn’t serve it. I would have my husband John go to to Savannah and get the supplies from there. I would be better than what they make here!
Of course we also have tea here in Charleston. Some people say I use it to poison my guests and murder them, but that’s preposterous. I would never dream of doing such a thing, and how much tea would they need to drink!? Imagine saying something like that!
Anyway, I would love to have a house downtown where I could turn the whole thing into a restaurant and hold high tea like back in England. Don’t you think that would be just lovely?
-Lavinia Fisher (circa 1817)
I would tell her the weather here in South Carolina, especially in Charleston (aka the LowCountry) is absolutely dreadful! The humidity here is so disgusting, you can chew it most of the year. The worst months are June through August, but really it’s most of the year here. If it’s not wretched hot, it’s raining something dreadful.
I didn’t know any better until my husband and I traveled inland a bit and realized not the whole world is so gross.
Charleston has a smell. It’s putrid when you’re downtown on the peninsula. Dead animals on the side of the road, there’s the salt of the sea. It’s all because Mother Nature makes the weather here horrid.
The pluff mud is something else I can hardly stand. It sits by the water, a grey and putrid color by the salt marshes. It smells worse than a decaying body. Or course everyone thinks I murdered all those people and stuffed them in my cellar. We do not have cellars in Charleston, but if we did, and if I had killed all those people, pluff mud is what I imagine it would smell like. All of this I blame on Mother Nature
-Lavinia Fisher – Charleston, SC, circa 1817
Of course I have had a hidden agenda! Doesn’t everyone? I look out for myself and for my husband. I’ve belonged to a street gang for all of my adult life. I pride myself on taking care of myself and my gang. I have no problem robbing people and feeding and caring for my gang, but watch out, on the outside, I’m as charming as ever! You can’t help but love me and admire my beauty! It’s hard to be a woman today, so I have no problem being the person I am to get what I want!
I believe I look good in just about anything. People often comment about how beautiful I am, and my emerald green eyes are my best feature. Most people in the 1700’s and 1800’s do not wear colorful clothing, but I love to accent my eyes when I can wear nice clothing.