Anna: The Letters of a St. Simons Island Plantation by Melanie Pavich

By Melanie Pavich

As the spouse of a regularly absent slaveholder and public determine, Anna Matilda web page King (1798-1859) used to be the de facto head in their Sea Island plantation. This quantity collects greater than a hundred and fifty letters to her husband, little ones, mom and dad, and others. Conveying the substance of daily life as they chronicle King's ongoing struggles to place meals at the desk, nurse her "family black and white," and continue religion with a disappointing husband, the letters supply an soaking up firsthand account of antebellum coastal Georgia life.

Anna Matilda web page was once reared with the expectancy that she could marry a planter, have childrens, and have a tendency to her family's household affairs. Untypically, she used to be additionally schooled by way of her father in all elements of plantation administration, from seed cultivation to construction building. That grounding may serve her good. via 1842 her husband's homes have been seized, because of money owed gathered from crop disasters, fiscal downturns, and wide investments in land, enslaved employees, and the improvement of the within sight port city of Brunswick. Anna and her kin have been sustained, although, through Retreat, the St. Simons Island estate left to her in belief by means of her father. With the hard work of 50 bondpeople and "their raise" she was once to attempt, with little reduction from her husband, to maintain the plantation solvent.

A worthwhile checklist of King's many jobs, from accountant to mom, from physician to horticulturist, the letters additionally exhibit a lot approximately her courting with, and attitudes towards, her enslaved staff. Historians have not begun to totally comprehend the lives of plantation mistresses left all alone by way of husbands pursuing political and different specialist careers. Anna Matilda web page King's letters provide us perception into one such lady who reluctantly entered, yet still excelled in, the male domain names of commercial and agriculture.

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Additional resources for Anna: The Letters of a St. Simons Island Plantation Mistress, 1817-1859

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42. Wood explains, On most lowcountry plantations bondpeople had ready access to two of the main prerequisites for fishing and hunting: boats or canoes, often of their own manufacture, and firearms. ” In theory, guns could be carried only in the presence of a white person and had to be returned to the owner or overseer after their use, which could not xxxiv Introduction be on the weekend. In practice, not all owners strictly enforced these requirements. . Hunting expeditions involving the use of firearms were usually made in the company, and thereby under the direct supervision, of the bondperson’s owner or a male member of the owner’s family.

37. Vanstory, Land of the Golden Isles, 194 –195. 38. See Huie and Lewis, Patriarchal Plantations, 20 –21; Wheeler, Eugenia Price’s South, 37–39. 39. Huie and Lewis, Patriarchal Plantations, 36; Vanstory, Land of the Golden Isles, 141. 40. For more on the Demeres, see Cate, Our Todays and Yesterdays, 72–73, 181–182; Vanstory, Land of the Golden Isles, 199. 41. Though the origins of the task system are not known, it was brought to coastal Georgia by South Carolinian settlers. It had been in use in the South Carolina low country since the early eighteenth century.

It again becomes my turn, to dedicate a few hours in communication to my dear father, intelligence of your affectionate family at Retreat. I am happy to state that we all continue to enjoy our usual health, the poor negro’s have been extremely sickly within the last three weeks. As many as 26 have been taken with the fever, but many thanks to the Almighty disposer of all events, the most of them are now in a state of convalesency. The Island begins now to put on a very unhealthy appearance, Mr Armstrong and two of his daughters are very sick; as is also Mr & Mrs Mathews, and one of their little children, Mr Abbott, and all of his children, and Mr Goulds children.

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