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Yet the people in Franklin’s coffle are also sick and afraid. C., and they’ll keep walking all the way to Natchez, Mississippi. They all know about the women he keeps trapped on his farm outside of town.

Their home still stands at the corner of Saundersville Road and Lower Station Camp Road, about halfway between Gallatin and Hendersonville — now suburbs linked to Nashville by sprawl and interstates, then villages quite a way from town.

Isaac, his four brothers, and five sisters were born in that house.

They hired Isaac to travel with the goods, through all those uncivilized places — the woods, the river, Indian territory.

Franklin passed vast fertile lands on his trips, lands with easy access to the port of New Orleans.

In portraits from the period, his black hair is fine and perpetually messy.

He frowns instead of smiles and his eyes are dark with some secret disappointment.

One of the traders gestures to the middle of the coffle.