|Illustration done by John Picacio for Millipede Press's art book Artists Inspired By H.P. Lovecraft|
There was no rhyme or reason for Oliver Bixby to ever begin to pursue the arcane arts of necromancy. His New-England born parents had roots extending all the way back to the Mayflower era and only immigrated to the Caicos Islands in the Caribbean after the conclusion of the American Revolution, as the British army and colonial Loyalists were forced out of the burgeoning new country. Luckily for the young Bixby his father, Frederick Bixby, the sole earner in the family had a preternatural ability for business and within a few years had acquired some land and began a small but profitable business exporting cotton to England’s faraway colonies. Over time, Frederick acquired more and more land and in turn his increased wealth allowed him to purchase newly arrived Africans as cheap labor to work his fields. By the time Ollie was born the Bixby estate had 100 slaves and expanded to the size of three plantations. Ollie’s mother, Abigail, was a unique woman, foregoing the teachings of the church and the rigid rules which bound women to their husbands, fathers, and sons, Abigail was quite the lone wolf. Her behavior, to say the least, would have driven most men to drink but Frederick loved his wife and never struck or argued with her. All in all, young Oliver had quite an ordinary life, relatively speaking.