Thucydides McCaslin

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Thucydides McCaslin
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McCaslin, Thucydides
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The slave Thucydides/Thucydus only appears in the novel Go Down, Moses by way of the McCaslin plantation ledgers, but the story outlined there is striking. He is the son of Roskus and Fibby and the husband who marries Eunice in the same year she is made pregnant by Old Carothers McCaslin, the white man who owns all four of these slaves. He was born in North Carolina. In his will Old Carothers bequeaths him land, but like Ike McCaslin, Thucydides renounces this inheritance. Instead, according to the ledgers, he chooses "to stay [on the plantation] and work it out" - i.e. earn enough money to buy himself out of slavery (253). Five years later he can buy his freedom, and with the additional $200 he has earned he moves to Jefferson, and sets up shop as a blacksmith. In what the narrator calls "the final entry" on him, Buck McCaslin writes his name as "Thucydus McCaslin" (253); Thucydus himself may have decided to appropriate his former owner's last name, or this use of "McCaslin" may be meant to suggest that, like other slaves, he was an illegitimate child of Old Carothers - though that is speculative. He dies in Jefferson in 1854.

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