'Patriot's Reward' makes its debut on May 15

Rye native publishes historic novel about his ancestors' slave in Portmouth

Hank McFarland

May fifteenth is the release date of "Patriot’s Reward", first-time author and Rye resident Stephen Clarkson’s historical novel about a young black man who was brought to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at the age of sixteen and sold as a slave to the author’s ancestor.

The author (in photo at right) was brought up in Rye, living in the historic farmhouse at the corner of Grove and Central Road.  He attended Rye School through eighth grade and during summers he worked at Abenaqui Golf Club, first as a caddy and then in the golf shop.

After he graduated from Rye schools, he went on to attend Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., Yale College, and then the University of Virginia School of Law.  His career took him to New York City, Washington, and Virginia where he was Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of Newport News Shipbuilding.

Throughout his working career, Mr. Clarkson harbored a desire to do some writing. Retirement presented him with the opportunity, and his Portsmouth background and his ancestry provided him with the story.

"Patriot’s Reward" weaves the tale of an real-life African who was purchased at auction by James Clarkson, an eighteenth-century tanner in Portsmouth.  This young lad educates himself about the current events of the day and grows up to take an active role in the American Revolution.

He and 19 others petitioned the New Hampshire legislature for their freedom, a petition that the legislature never acted upon.  
Mr. Clarkson colorfully tells the story of this young man as he joins the cause of the                                            colonies in the Revolutionary War.

Mr. Clarkson’s book is available at the Strawbery Banke Bookstore and can be purchased online.

"Patriot's Reward" was published by Peter E. Randall Publisher: www.perpublisher.com/per103.html.  See also Mr. Clarkson’s website: www.partiotsreward.

May, 2007