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Farm broadcaster releases new historical fiction novel

Mount Sidney, VA - It’s not his first book, but it is his first novel. The new historical fiction book is written by Virginia agriculture journalist Jeff Ishee and explores one family’s journey from Swiss/Germany to America in 1803 – 1805. Members of three generations left their homeland in Germanic Switzerland and emigrated to America. It was a life-altering decision. They carried everything they owned in two sacks.

"I'm a fifth-generation American," says Ishee. "All of my ancestors have been rooted in agriculture. It was truly intriguing doing the research on how they lived and farmed during the early 1800s. I think readers will find it interesting to learn what inspired these Swiss/German farmers to take a chance and set out for America. It was the journey of a lifetime."

Details are found at

Readers will follow this family of nine, ranging in age from 2 to 69, as they travel down the Rhine River aboard a Dutch cutter; depart Amsterdam as ‘Redemptioners’ aboard the brig Commerce; trek on foot down the Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia through Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to the Carolinas and Georgia; to finally cross the remote Indian trails of the Alabama Territory and reach their destination in the wilderness of the Mississippi Territory.

Along this epic journey, they would welcome new friendships, have their endurance tested, and suffer enormous tragedy.

Much of the story takes place along the Great Wagon Road which leads from Philadelphia to the Carolinas. The primary characters spend the winter of 1803-1804 at the Augusta Stone Church in Fort Defiance, Virginia. They also spend a season with the Moravian Community in Salem, North Carolina.

Advance readers had this to say:

“A beautiful story filled with adventure, drama, romance, and intrigue with historical facts that educate us on this fascinating period of time. It helped me understand the reality of the great challenges our ancestors and others endured and made me more grateful for their determination and perseverance.” B.H.

“Jeff took us into the past where our ancestors lived a simpler life. He intertwined one family's story with amazing facts I never learned in history class.” L.B.

“I read the advance copy thinking I was doing my friend Jeff a favor. He wanted an honest opinion of the book. Turns out he was doing me a favor. I fell in love with the Ische family early in the first chapter and my admiration for their courage and determination to start a new life in America grew stronger the more I read. They faced every challenge with faith that God would see them through. I couldn’t recommend this book more." D.R.

Availability - The novel “Two Sacks” was released on December 1st, 2023, and is available on in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle versions.

About the author - Jeff W. Ishee is an award-winning journalist, having worked in the agriculture news media in the print, radio, and television sectors. He is passionate about gardening, genealogy, American history, and growing heirloom peanuts. Jeff is married to Carole Marshall Ishee and lives in Augusta County, Virginia.

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