McCallister recounts the life of Council Wooten of Lenoir County, whom many considered a renegade for some of his activities including petitioning the General Assembly to allow blacks to vote. Although it was illegal, Wooten and his wife Eliza taught their 500 slaves to read and write. He was a friend of Governors Ellis, Bragg, and Vance. The family plantation was destroyed during the Civil War, and he lost his citizenship, later restored by President Andrew Johnson. Wooten spent the last ten years of his life raising his orphaned grandson, James Yadkin Joyner, who grew up to be State Superintendent of Schools and namesake of East Carolina University's Joyner Library.