Bill Weevil and soil erosion

NDR5thNY

Private
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Location
Lumberton, NC
Would slavery have survived Boll Weevils and soil erosion? I look forward to reading comments. My father didn’t believe slavery would have survived these factors.
 

NDR5thNY

Private
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Location
Lumberton, NC
Thanks for the post! I had no idea there was a Boll Weevil Museum!
Mechanization was certainly the greatest change in agriculture. I was referring to the late 1800’s when the boll weevil and the failure to be a good steward of the land were at forefront of the struggles in Southern agriculture. Succession destroyed the markets for Southern Cotton. England increased production in Egypt and India.
My fathers General Store still had hitching posts outside the store. Horse or mule drawn wagons were rarely seen in the 1950’s. The early 1960’s saw vast migration from the rural south as share croppers were replaced with mechanization.
 

Steve Roberts

Private
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
there was a cotton picker patented in 1830 but was never perfected until the 1950s. I think it was too great of a threat to the slave south and northerners didn’t need it. Also northerners wanted to keep blacks in the south. If it had been perfected there would be nothing for slaves to do unless they diversified their crops and industrialized. However slaves were not considered good factory or machine operating labor. On top of that white folks did not want to work in factories or compete with blacks. So mechanization would reduce the value of slaves which was as important as cotton in the southern economy. Cotton was so important that even when the boll weevil showed up that many folks just grew more cotton to make up for the low yield due to the bug.
however as enterprise Alabama discovered, crop diversification solved the weevil problem and slaves could be used in that activity. The trouble was that the profits from cotton were so high the south could not give it up . Although cotton markets collapsed after the war it came back and a poor man could still do it without mechanization on a small scale. Upland cotton was better quality than India cotton and cheaper than Egyptian cotton which has always been produced on a smaller scale. The south wanted to maintain the status quo and remain unchanging. peanuts were one of the main substitutes for growing cotton. Two expressions reveal the difference.
1 ) when something has little value they say “aw that’s peanuts”.
2 ) when something has a lot of value they say “he’s in tall cotton “.
the boll weevil forced diversification and saved the day even if profits were lower . Mechanization and industrialization freed blacks and poor whites from the land and brought about the civil rights movement.
 
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Steve Roberts

Private
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Btw they used kudzu to stop erosion and created a whole new problem. it was cheap and so fast growing it took little labor. They seem to have always cheeped out on everything with no foresight. As you said, they were not good stewards of the land.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Negroes and poor whites worked in cotton fields until the 1930 period. I don’t understand the rhetoric that the Variance of commodity prices or crop failures would kill Slavery. There were both before 1860. Nothing unique to farming.

Slave Labor cost were fixed. Cotton could be stored for long periods. A cheaper or more productive source of Labor would of been the only threat, outside of War. White Immigration could of done it. Coolies were thought to be a threat. However they were not Free Labor.
 

NDR5thNY

Private
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Location
Lumberton, NC
Negroes and poor whites worked in cotton fields until the 1930 period. I don’t understand the rhetoric that the Variance of commodity prices or crop failures would kill Slavery. There were both before 1860. Nothing unique to farming.

Slave Labor cost were fixed. Cotton could be stored for long periods. A cheaper or more productive source of Labor would of been the only threat, outside of War. White Immigration could of done it. Coolies were thought to be a threat. However they were not Free Labor.
I don’t believe you appreciate the devastation that the war visited on the south. My paternal great grandfather sat out the war. His mother was a Quaker. Dad said that was the reason he did not join the army. However he did have one slave. Like many things in life circumstances are complicated and don’t fit neatly in a package . Wyatt began selling off his farm to pay the taxes. In 1868 he sold 100 acres. He finally lost all the remaining 650 acres in 1885. He buried 45 year old wife in 1881. A 27 year old son and a twenty five year daughter died in 1878.
The Confederate money was never any good. A chicken in Richmond late in the war cost $15 which was more than a months salary for a Soldier. Sherman’s Army destroyed all utensils needed for farming. Horses and Mules were confiscated or shot as part of the total war campaign. 1919 and 1929 were difficult times for farmers. The price of cotton in 1858 was 10 cents a pound in Cheraw Sc or 12 cents a pound in New York City. The prices are from a letter to my great grandfather in Anson County 1858 from the cotton broker in Cheraw. The price in 1929 was still 10 cents a pound before it fell to 2 cents in one day. . Some were able to prosper in those difficult times but many were not.
I believe I read in Col. William Smith’s book, “The Anson Guards” he describes crossing the river into Anson County after surrendering at Appomattox and finding two ten year girls eating Blueberries. He asked them what they ate the day before and they said blueberries. He asked what are you going to eat tomorrow and they said blueberries. Unfortunately Smith doesn’t say what happened to the two girls, one white and one a former slave. This is six weeks after Sherman’s Army left Anson County.
Many Colleges were closed until 1870 due to a lack of funds and a lack of students including UNC and USC.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
I don’t believe you appreciate the devastation that the war visited on the south. My paternal great grandfather sat out the war. His mother was a Quaker. Dad said that was the reason he did not join the army. However he did have one slave. Like many things in life circumstances are complicated and don’t fit neatly in a package . Wyatt began selling off his farm to pay the taxes. In 1868 he sold 100 acres. He finally lost all the remaining 650 acres in 1885. He buried 45 year old wife in 1881. A 27 year old son and a twenty five year daughter died in 1878.
The Confederate money was never any good. A chicken in Richmond late in the war cost $15 which was more than a months salary for a Soldier. Sherman’s Army destroyed all utensils needed for farming. Horses and Mules were confiscated or shot as part of the total war campaign. 1919 and 1929 were difficult times for farmers. The price of cotton in 1858 was 10 cents a pound in Cheraw Sc or 12 cents a pound in New York City. The prices are from a letter to my great grandfather in Anson County 1858 from the cotton broker in Cheraw. The price in 1929 was still 10 cents a pound before it fell to 2 cents in one day. . Some were able to prosper in those difficult times but many were not.
I believe I read in Col. William Smith’s book, “The Anson Guards” he describes crossing the river into Anson County after surrendering at Appomattox and finding two ten year girls eating Blueberries. He asked them what they ate the day before and they said blueberries. He asked what are you going to eat tomorrow and they said blueberries. Unfortunately Smith doesn’t say what happened to the two girls, one white and one a former slave. This is six weeks after Sherman’s Army left Anson County.
Many Colleges were closed until 1870 due to a lack of funds and a lack of students including UNC and USC.

What does any of that have with the OP?
 

Desert Kid

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Location
Arizona
Would slavery have survived Boll Weevils and soil erosion? I look forward to reading comments. My father didn’t believe slavery would have survived these factors.

The Boll Weevil would have been an existential threat to slavery come the 1890s in an independent CSA. Historically, the Boll Weevil unceremoniously ended the rein of the cotton barons. And there wasn't a rebound until the advent of pesticides in the 1940's.
 
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