Mary Ann Cord, born a slave in Maryland, had seven children taken from her and sold off to other slave holders. Although, she never expected to see any of them again (as was often the case with slave families broken up through sale), she was reunited with her youngest son, Henry, during the Civil War. Unknown to his mother, Henry had escaped to freedom in the North, enlisted in the Union Army after the war broke out, and found his mother after the Union occupied the city where Mary Ann had been living. In the 1870s, Mark Twain met her and was so moved by her story that he retold it in his “A True Story, Repeated Word for Word as I Heard It ' (1874).
Listen to the latest episode of the History Banter Podcast (Episode 13: 10 Historical Movie Ideas) for more on this story.