DEGENERATION The Story of Betsy Roberts

All Rights Reserved ©


This incredible story is based on true events of young Betsy Roberts - how she was kidnapped, abused but survived America's first serial killers - the evil Harpe brothers - how she outlived and ultimately profited using her wits and sheer determination. One day in Kentucky Betsy Roberts is brutally kidnapped by Micajah and Wiley Harpe who take her after murdering her parents, at their small farm. Thus begins a story of how Betsy uses her wits and courage to survive, and then ultimately prosper despite the most appalling conditions and treatment she encounters from them, as well as in the wilderness of eighteenth century America. Along the way she gradually becomes tainted by the evil, murderous activities of the Harpe brothers who, amongst other things, use her as bait to lure travellers to their deaths. She does this under duress initially but becomes indifferent, even to the extent of being a willing accomplice as time goes on. The story is an extraodinary and gripping tale of horrific violence, and yet also incredible willpower, survival instincts and even black humour at times. The relationship between Betsy and the Harpes as well as the other 2 women in the story, one of wh

Thriller / Other
Geoff Burke
4.3 3 reviews
Age Rating:


On a downcast day in April 1773 in Orange County, North Carolina, two young boys were hiding in some bushes. They were watching tentatively through gaps in the branches in growing horror as both their parents were dragged out of their house by a mob, shouting and screaming with great ferocity.

“Traitors, hang ’em both!!”

The two boys shook with fear, desperately clinging to each other. One a tall sturdy, swarthy looking young fellow, the other shorter and lean. Their parents, William and Elsie Harper originally from Scotland, owned this house and modest farmstead. They worked hard but at the same time they had aroused the dislike and suspicion of the local American patriot residents due to their loyalty to the British King George, which was viewed as a most traitorist thing by their neighbours.

Now the local mob, aroused by the many accusations which were circulating around the territory, especially of them spying for the British Government so the colonies could be taxed more, and other vague treachery plots, had decided to take matters into their own hands.

Ignoring protests of innocence and pleading for mercy, the two Harpers (or Harpes as their sons became known) were dragged to a nearby tree, ready made nooses thrust over their heads, and to the delight of the mob they were pulled up high by two pairs of local, burly Patriot men. Kicking desperately, dancing the macabre dance of death, William due to his greater weight ceased dancing first, Elsie, a little longer, until she too hung lifeless.

They had both fought for their lives but finally death came, mercifully, inevitably and the two, joined together in matrimony over twenty years before, now hung limply together in death like


During the dance of death, observing the perverse humour of this terrible spectacle, one of the mob shouted.

“Look at them Royalist bastards now haha!”

Few really responded to this joke, and gradually the mob fell silent as they looked on at the two lifeless bodies now gently swinging in the morning breeze. Some felt a tinge of guilt, others took pleasure in their work and felt justice had been served, as they saw it, crying out.

“Death to Royalist traitors!”

Gradually the mob dispersed after a while with some looking around and wondering where the two boys were.

“Where are those two young ’uns?” one of the crowd muttered but none were interested enough to pursue them. They had had enough, revenge lust had been satiated and whatever happened to the boys was now in God’s hands or maybe the Devil’s.

“To Hell with them.” was the feeling.

All the time watching this horrific spectacle the older, smaller of the two boys kept pulling the other boy further back into the bushes seeking the safety of concealment.

“We’ll have to go to Old Baldwin’s place and see if he will take us in.” he whispered.

Stunned, the younger boy just nodded.

They then made their way deep into the woods and headed South not knowing what fate lay in store for them.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

jay liv: this story should be getting more rate.. it's very interesting.. the author did well on the plot.. i LOVE it !!! ♡♡

Jithy Bose: A different story.

Shrea Sengupta: Story is good. Except for a few things like Ragan believing in Ryan and his lies even after what she had with Brandon! The grammatical errors! Everything else is just fine

DervBlah Carson: I really enjoyed this book, though the beginning was quite hard to handle and hit me in the feels. I really like the slow progression and character development; realistic and heart-rending. I would recommend this book to older readers, as abuse and mild sexual content is involved. This rating is ...

Trista: Great plot and storyline! Short chapters and a lot of spelling and grammar errors. 3☆ out of 5!

kelleybarnett1963: I love this story and can't wait for the others. I couldn't stop reading.everything about it good very well done.

Efya Achiaa: Like every bit of the story .its interesting

rose: y'all I want a protective man like Jack

W: the story line is absolutely amazing and the development is rather well thought out

More Recommendations

ivyluv1238: I like n love everything the book itself keeps me on my toes

Janie Alford: What did dad say to Dean

Remie: The story got me interested until the end. I like the two boys in Alexa's--Colton and Grayson who truly showed love and care for her. But if you are to make the story complicated, I suggest for a love triangle between them :). Anyway, I still enjoyed it. Keep on writing...

thecoldbitch: This book is amazing and I loved it. It made me smile, laugh and even cry. I enjoyed it so much.

Trish Smith-Potvin: Kept me interested the entire time. A bit disturbing story but I still enjoyed it. Definitely need to get the rest of this book.

rellerton: Nice little story, I love the characters. Story has good pacing, keeping me interested. Not too dramatic. Really enjoyed it. A good read!

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.