Robert Lanham earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology and a law degree from the University of Colorado. After more than twenty years of trial and appellate practice, he spent the next five years researching and writing The Red Bird and the Devil. Robert lives in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where his protagonist, Henry Woodward, lived 350 years earlier.
The Red Bird and the Devil
In late 1675, Henry Woodward was in Westo Town in the middle of the wilderness on the Savannah River, negotiating terms of a trade agreement. Sitting in the shade of a live oak tree, he took a moment to reply to an earlier request from the English philosopher John Locke, and wrote the following: Sir, I have made the best inquiry that I can concerning the religion and worship, origins, and customs of our natives… He went on that the Port Royal Indians believed the soul was immortal and there was a heaven and a hell. They held the red bird (cardinal) to be sacred and believed that their medicine men could send out rattlesnakes to hunt down and kill enemies. He concluded, The Westos among whom I now am, worship the devil in carved images of wood.
The Redbird and the Devil is the true story of Henry Woodward’s remarkable life. Overcoming political intrigue, personal loss, and physical hardship, Henry became one of the most important figures in Carolina Colony. Was he a friend or a foe of the Native Americans? His legacy is tangled. Was he a pawn of the ruthless English Lords Proprietors, American’s first frontiersman, or both?