Cultural Influence

The William T. Johnson Story


plantation house

Longwood Plantation, Natchez Mississippi

In my research for the Locket Saga, I have found numerous amazing historical accounts of African Americans in America’s early history. This month in honor of Black History Month, I want to share some of the accounts that I found from our history and how they relate to the Locket Saga series.
Up to this point in this Black History Month series, I have focused on characters that I already included in the books of The Locket Saga. This week’s focus is William T. Johnson, was a free African American barber of biracial parentage, who lived in Natchez, Mississippi. He will be a prominent character in a yet unwritten book in the series.

Johnson’s Early Years

Johnson was born into slavery sometime in 1809. Because his owner was also named William Johnson, many historians believe that this man may have been his father. William Johnson, the elder, emancipated the young man in 1820. His mother, Amy, had been freed in 1814 and his sister Adelia in 1818. Johnson trained with his brother-in-law James Miller as a barber, and began working in Port Gibson, Mississippi. He returned to Natchez, where he became a successful entrepreneur with a barbershop, bath house, bookstore, and land holdings. Though a former slave, William Johnson went on to own sixteen slaves himself. He began a diary in 1835, which he continued through the remainder of his life. Also in 1835, he married Ann Battle, a free woman of color with a similar background to his. During the following years, they had eleven children. Johnson loaned money to many people, including the governor of Mississippi who had signed his emancipation papers.

Johnson’s Murder

Johnson was murdered June 17, 1851 after a boundary dispute, by a mixed-race neighbor named Baylor Winn, in front of Johnson’s son, a free black apprentice, and a slave. Winn was held in prison for two years and brought to trial twice. Johnson was such a well-respected businessman that the outrage over his murder caused the trial to be held in a neighboring town. In that town no one knew Winn, so they didn’t know that he was half-black. Since Mississippi law forbade blacks from testifying against whites in criminal cases, Winn’s defense was that he was half-white and half-Native American, making him white by law. The defense worked, none of the witnesses because of their color could testify, and Winn escaped conviction.



William T. Johnson Museum in Natchez, MS

Johnson’s diary was rediscovered in 1938 and published in 1951. It reveals much of the daily life of a 19th-century Mississippi businessman, including the fact that he was himself later a slaveholder. His papers are archived at Louisiana State University. Through an act of Congress, the home of William Johnson became a part of the Natchez National Historical Park in 1990.





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September 18, 2017

I am not a Jew and have no intention of calling myself a Jew.. I do not believe in Replacement Theology. I am a Gentile, a  Christian. I am not under the law, I am not. I have been redeemed from the law of sin and death that the law brought. I do not believe that God changed his mind concerning the Jews. I believe that they remain God’s chosen people.However, I shouldn’t throw out the Old Testament because years ago,  I have learned that there are things that I can learn from the Old Testament. I learned that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. I learned that everything in the Old Testament points forward to the coming, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and his second coming,  and everything in the New Testament points back to the coming death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and his second coming.

I read the whole Bible through the first time when I was twelve and when I was going through it, I remember coming across Psalm 22 for the first time. It didn’t take me any teacher to show me that it was a prophetic psalm of David that revealed the inner thoughts of Jesus Christ while he hung on the cross two thousand years in the future.

When I was in my late teens I learned about types in the Bible. These types were hints of what was coming in Jesus Christ.

Rosh Hashanah, One of the Seven Jewish Feasts

The Seven Jewish feasts are indicative of the events that are to occur that related to future events as well as memories to be shared. They are in themselves prophetic of past and future events. The first three feasts represent what happened during passion week. The feast of First Fruits or Pentecost occurs at fifty days after the last day of the earlier feasts. This was indicative of the empowering of the church. The last three feasts occur one right after the other and the first of those three feasts is the Feast of Trumpets. These last three feasts last seven days.

The first of these is Rosh Hoshanna. It occurs in 2017 from September 20-23, and is also know as the Feast of Trumpets. During Rosh Hashanah is to blow a primitive trumpet known as a shofar. According to Rabbi Shraga Simmons when blowing the trumpet, there are three distinct sounds.

Tekiah – one long, straight blast

Shevarim – three medium, wailing sounds

Teruah – 9 quick blasts in short succession


The Tekiah Sound


Rosh Hashana is the day of appreciating who God is. On this day, the Jews internalize that understanding so that it becomes a living, practical part of our everyday reality. God is all-powerful. God is the Creator. God is the Sustainer. God is the Supervisor. In short, God is King of the Universe.


But for many of us, the idea of a “king” conjures up images of a greedy and power-hungry despot who wants to subjugate the masses for his selfish aims.


In Jewish tradition, a king is first and foremost a servant of the people. His only concern is that the people live in happiness and harmony. His decrees and laws are only for the good of the people, not for himself. (see Maimonides, Laws of Kings 2:6)


The object of Rosh Hashanah is to crown God as our King. Tekiah – the long, straight shofar blast – is the sound of the King’s coronation (Malbim – Numbers 10:2). In the Garden of Eden, Adam’s first act was to proclaim God as King.

Today, for Christians, we have a greater covenant promise than the Jews of the Old Testament. We, Christians call Jesus Christ our Lord of Lords and King of Kings. We set our values straight and return to the reality that Jesus Christ is the One Who runs the world… guiding history, moving mountains, and caring for each and every human being individually and personally.


Maimonides adds one important qualification: It isn’t enough that God is MY King alone. If ALL humanity doesn’t recognize God as King, then there is something lacking in my own relationship with God. Part of my love for the Almighty is to help guide all people to an appreciation of Him. Of course this is largely an expression of my deep caring for others. But it also affects my own sense of God’s all-encompassing Kingship.


As a Christian it is my duty, my act of LOVE to my Creator and King to share his love with others around me. Therefore I put up what Maimonides says into a Christian perspective. It isn’t enough that Jesus Christ is MY King alone. If ALL humanity doesn’t recognize Jesus Christ as King, then there is something lacking in my own relationship with Christ. Part of my love for Christ is to help guide all people to an appreciation of Jesus Christ. Of course, this is largely an expression of my deep caring for others, but it aso affects my own sense of Jesus Christ’s all-encompassing Kingship.


The Shevarim Sound


When we think about the year gone by, we know deep down that we’ve failed to live up to our full potential. In the coming year, we yearn not to waste that opportunity ever again. The Kabbalists say that Shevarim – three medium, wailing blasts – is the sobbing cry of a Jewish heart – yearning to connect, to grow, to achieve. (Tikunei Zohar – 20-21, 49a)


Every person has the ability to change and be great. This can be accomplished much faster than you ever dreamed of. The key is to pray from the bottom of your heart and ask God for the ability to become great. Don’t let yourself be constrained by the past. You know you have enormous potential.


At the moment the shofar is blown, we cry out to God from the depths of our soul. This is the moment – when our souls stand before the Almighty without any barriers – that we can truly let go.


As a believer in Jesus Christ, I too cry out to him. When I bare my soul to him, I cry out not just for myself, but for others too.


The Teruah Sound


On Rosh Hashana, the Jews wake up and be honest and objective about their lives: Who they are, where they’ve been, and which direction they’re headed. The Teruah sound – 9 quick blasts in short succession – resembles an alarm clock, arousing them from our spiritual slumber. The shofar brings clarity, alertness, and focus. (Malbim – Yoel 2:1)


The Talmud says: “When there’s judgment from below, there’s no need for judgment from above.” What this means is that if we take the time to construct a sincere, realistic model of how we’ve fallen short in the past, and what we expect to change in the future, then God doesn’t need to “wake us up” to what we already know.


As a Christian, we know that when we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we recognize that we are sinners. We judge ourselves unfit for heaven. We recognize that there is only one way that we avoid the judgement of God when we enter the hereafter. We recognize that our salvation isn’t based on what we do, but what Jesus Christ has already done and for that we are and must be humbly grateful.


God wants us to make an honest effort to maximize the gifts He gave us. You aren’t expected to be anything you’re not. But you can’t hoodwink God, either.


The reason we lose touch and make mistakes is because we don’t take the time every day to reconnect with our deepest desires and essence. The solution is to spend time alone every day, asking: Am I on track? Am I focused? Am I pursuing goals which will make the greatest overall difference in my life and in the world?


The Rabbis tell the Jews to make it a habit to keep in touch with yourself, and when Rosh Hashanah comes around, the alarm clock of the shofar won’t be nearly as jarring!


I believe that this sounding of the Shofar will eventually correlate with the Jewish realization of who Jesus Christ is. I believe that this event also is when the great Harpazo (catching away) occurs, when the true believers are wait out the judgement and wrath that will occur during the seven years of tribulation. At the same time, the trumpets will show the Jews how much they need not just a savior, but that the Savior has already come. They will recognize who Jesus Christ is, they will repent for their denial of him and desire to bring the whole world to him and finally, they will focus all their attention on the work of bringing souls to Christ. The final outpouring of the spirit will not be from Christian believers, but from Jews who believe that Jesus Christ is their Messiah.






Writing While Watching Irma

This weekend, I had been watching the progress of the catastrophic storm that Irma has become make its way up the coast of Florida. I am writing this on Sunday, so the storm has just started coming onto land in Florida. From the looks of it, the storm will be hugging the west coast of the state maintaining its strength as a category 4 storm most of the state’s length. My prayers are with the residents of that state just as they were with residents of the Houston area during Hurricane Harvey.


Here in Missouri, the weather is perfect. Temperatures are in the upper seventies and low eighties with low humidity. Ironically, here in Missouri, we could use some of rain (haven’t had any for almost three weeks) and it doesn’t look as though we will be getting any of Irma’s rain.

Living Today, The Power of Now, Live on Kindle

Cover B

My latest book, Living Today, the Power of Now, is now live on Kindle. The book is only $2.99 on Kindle (higher cost in print, of course) and like all of my books, it is free if you use Kindle Unlimited.

Final Edits on Two New Books

Yesterday I got the final edits back of two new books. These books I will have to work making the changes my editor recommends and then start preparing for publication. I have developed a pretty good system of getting the editing and formatting in print and in digital formats done. I also need get a good cover for my books and then they will be ready to be launched. These two books will be Book VI of the Locket Saga: The Anvil and a nonfiction book: Write a Book To Ignite Your Business.

Other Books in the Works

In addition to the edits on the two books already mentioned, I am also working on the second draft of Book VII of the Locket Saga: Two Rivers.


In addition, I am thinking about what I am going to write about in Book VIII of the Locket Saga (the exact title has not yet been determined. I was talking with someone about the ideas that I have for this next book. One of the things that I found during my research was about what happened during the first steamboat trip down the Mississippi. I’ll tell more about that history at a later date.

Finally, there is marketing both online and in person. I have been working a lot on twitter during the past few weeks, but one of my main events is coming up. Next weekend, I will be in Marionville, Missouri at the Meeting Place on the main road in the town from 11-3pm. I will be signing and selling not only my new book, Living Today, The Power of Now in print but also the other books that I have written. These books include all five novels of the Locket Saga, Simply Vegetable Gardening, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

My life goes on the same as usual and I will continue with all the writing that I am doing.. However, everything is not life as usual for everyone. People are still cleaning up from Hurricane Harvey and soon the cleanup will begin in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. There are ways that we all can help from praying, sending monitary support and volunteering with the cleanup.

Who hasn’t heard the knock-knock joke about the interrupting cow?

Me: Knock, knock

You: Who’s there?

Me: Interrupting Cow.

You: Interrup. . .

Me: Moo.

That, of course, is a joke, but we’ve all had interrupting cows, often every day. Interrupting cows come in many forms.


One form of interrupting cow that we have is distractions. We can be working on a project when our phones, online games, the telephone, texts, social media, our families or our pets demand our attention and interrupts our flow of thought. One seemingly minor distraction can cause us to lose twenty minutes or more in productive time. Major distractions like internet games can distract us for hours.

Often the best we can do with these types of distractions is to try to avoid them at all costs. To avoid distractions from our phones is not to have them on while we are working.

To avoid being interrupted by those around us, we also need to plan try to avoid this type of distraction as well. For instance, we can get up early so we can work before our family demands our attention. We might instead stay up late for the same reason. We might simply find times to work when we know that we won’t be distracted like when family members are out of town or simply taking a nap. We might also choose to shut ourselves off in a room with instructions to those around us to avoid interrupting us except for emergencies.

I have a love-hate relationship with the solitary game called Freecell. I can go mind dead for hours playing Freecell. I made a vow to myself that I would not play Freecell this entire week. If all goes well, I will do the same next week. Not that there is anything wrong with playing games in general. Just that when I am supposed to be working, I shouldn’t be playing Freecell.

Another Type of Interrupting Cow

The other day I experienced another type of interrupting cow. This time I was working on my book Write a Book to Ignite Your Business, The Why-to and the How-to. I had been working on it for about an hour and had gotten to the point in my book where I was talking about sitting down and doing the actual writing when I had this idea of calling flashes of inspiration “interrupting cows”.

There are two things that I don’t want to do with this type of interrupting cow. The first is that I don’t want to ignore this flash of inspiration. I learned a number of years ago that great ideas are easily forgotten, therefore, if I didn’t write it down, I would forget what I thought in that moment of brilliance.

I didn’t want to do the opposite either and to allow it to take all my time from my work.

I can’t avoid this type of interrupting cow, nor do I think that I want to avoid it. Instead, as quickly as I can, I write down just enough about this flash of inspiration so that I can save it well enough to remember it later when I went back to it. That’s exactly what I did with the interrupting cow that became this blog post. It is also a section in the book that I was writing when the interruption came. As you can see, sometimes interrupting cows are not so annoying. Sometimes they actually serve a purpose.



Jesus and the little child

The three major religious of the United States are not what you might think. I am guessing that if you were asked what the three major religions of the United States are, you would answer Christianity, Mormon, and Atheism. Two definitions of “religion” according to Merriam Webster dictionary include “an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods. Another definition is “an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group”.  Therefore in our current political climate the three major religion, if that is our definition, then the top three religions in the US are Christianity, Humanism, and Capitalism.

The God of Man VS the God of Mammon

For the first time in American politics, Christianity is an outlier. None of the candidates that are left include traditional Christian values. The values of the Democrats and the Republican parties center on other religious values. These religious values are the values of humanism (Democrats) and Capitalism (Republicans). Neither Hillary nor Trump place any pretense that their beliefs, interests, values, or activities are based on the works and values of Jesus Christ.

The God of Man

“There is a way that seems right unto men, but the way thereof is death.” Proverbs 14:12

Hillary is a middle of the road Democrat. Sanders is a dyed-in-the-wool socialist. Though Sanders and Hillary have their differences, the Democrats embrace humanist ideology. Humanism centers on the idea of relativism. In other words, it is up to the human being to decide his or her sexual orientation, to decide whether an individual is male or female, to decide whether or not the child a woman is carrying should live or die. They believe that the government’s purpose is to provide necessities for all Americans including shelter, food, education, and medical care. There are no absolutes. Everyone should be treated equally no matter their race, gender (or gender orientation), religion (unless it’s Christianity), or age. No one should be excluded based on and they believe that if you have any absolutes in your beliefs you are narrow-minded and bigoted. The problem with following these democrats is that neither follows Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, relativism is the original sin. Adam ate of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil because he wanted to be able to decide what was and what was not right for him personally. God wasn’t a factor in the decision. God called that sin.

The God of Mammon

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (money),” Matthew 6:24

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” I Timothy 6:10


Many people have voted Republican in the past because the Republican platform has stood on the ideals of pro-life and the right to free enterprise.  The problem that occurs in this election is that Trump is neither pro-life, nor is he actually for free enterprise. He may tell us that he is for free enterprise, but don’t let him fool you. His god is money.  Actually so is the god of any of the Republican candidates.  If you don’t believe me, think back to when the Republican candidates were getting ready to make a run for office, what did they do? They headed for Las Vegas to meet billionaires to support their campaigns. Except Trump, of course, he had his own billions to get him going. He then started spouting off about how because he was a billionaire, he would straighten out the country’s money problem and built the middle class. Hogwash, have you ever seen him on The Apprentice? The man is ruthless. He doesn’t even pretend to be a Christian. His religion is money and to think otherwise is foolishness.

The Republican Party is not united under Trump, they say, because he does not follow the Republican platform. They say he is a loose cannon. However, the reason behind this is partly because the billionaires who backed the other candidates don’t have control of him because he has his own money. This makes Trump not much different from the Democrats in that he is an individual who is making the decisions rather than allowing the Republican Party money dictate what he does. Again, it is the dictates of the individual, this time however a single individual (rather than each individual within a collective) who makes the decisions about our lives.

Jesus would Vote for. . .

So who would Jesus vote for? That’s the person that I would choose because he believes in allowing the person to choose life or death, blessings or cursings (though he recommends choosing life and blessings).  I believe that he would have no choice but to vote for a write in candidate, and that candidate would be himself. He would vote for himself and I as a Christian have decided that to vote for anyone else but Jesus would be throwing my vote away to what I think is the lesser of two evils. He promises that if we follow him, we will have abundant life and blessings for eternity. Why should we vote for anything less than that?  If the candidate on the ballot does not follow Jesus, then I cannot in good conscience follow them. As the Quakers of Colonial times said, “No King but Jesus.”

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at .

Just how safe are the chemicals used in American Agriculture? Here’s a video discussing a study out of the UK in regards to neonicotinoids and Treated Soybeans. A world like the one described in Silent Spring by Rachel Carson might be that far from reality soon.

IMG_8330 final copy


Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at .

The Darkness of Wickedness

light in the darkness

In Proverbs 4:14, it says not to follow the way of the wicked nor the path of evildoers. This doesn’t only mean that we should not literally follow the path of a wicked or evil person. It also means that we should not do as an evil person doe, and it also means that also should not even try to think like an evil person thinks.  It is too easy to believe that doing things in the way that the world does it is okay because they got away with it, but did they really?


Proverbs 4:15 goes on to say that we should turn away and go somewhere else.  There are always other choices than to do wrong. Sometimes doing right might not be the easiest thing to do in the short term. You might lose friends, but are they the friends you really want to be with? You might think that you’re missing out on an opportunity that is “once in a lifetime”. Believe me when I say, that is almost never the case. If the opportunity is something that God wants for you (and he always wants the best for you), then the opportunity will come around again. This time without evil attached to it. When evil is attached to an opportunity, it is often a premature manifestation of something that God wants for you.

Don’t Do As They Do

Look at the life of Abraham. God promised Abraham a son even in his old age. Sarah came to him with a suggestion for making that happen. She offered her handmaiden Hagar to give him a child. This was the way of the world at that time. A wife could give her servant to her husband and then claim the child as her own. This was not God’s plan and there were negative consequences. God later gave Abraham Isaac, but Isaac still has to face Ishmael every day.


Proverbs 4:16 says for evil people cannot sleep until they have done their evil deed for the day. They cannot rest unless they have caused someone to stumble.


It is not the people that we need to avoid so much as it is that we should not get caught up with their schemes. An evil person is always gossiping or scheming and usually we get hurt and they leave smelling like a rose. Verse 17 goes on to say that evil people eat wickedness and drink violence. These people seem to live and breathe this lifestyle. These people take our energy like a black hole sucks up matter and energy from the universe. I am certain there is someone in your life like this. These people are the negative Nellies or the gossipy Gerts or the schemer who tries to conning Connies. You might have to do business with them, but you don’t have to get chummy with them. Best not to get into social situations with them.

Be As the Dawn


“The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18 tells us how we should be. We should be the light.  We should be the one who shines ever brighter.

Matthew 5:14 says that you are the light of the world. Our goal as light bearers for Christ is that we are to show our differences by not behaving like the wicked. We are to as it says in verse 16 to let our light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Does your light glorify the Father?

Cygnet Brown Photograph

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at .

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