Knox's Plantation, South Carolina, Cotton!

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Feb 14, 2012
Central Pennsylvania
Posting this in Ladies Tea, why? Because some of our Southern ladies make appearances in the production of one of the South's most iconic crops- cotton - on it's most iconic place of production, a plantation.

Apparel worn indicates workers here are receiving wages- after 1865 ( and sooner depending on location ) farms and plantations came to agreements with workers who agreed to remain where they had once been held prisoner. Depending on those relationships it could have been a great arrangement- employees did not have to face upheaval and uncertainty, employers knew the quality of employees. Some, as would have been the case had Mary Randolph Custis Lee been allowed to retain Arlington, would have had an existing, very real friendship between employer and employee, making the social transition for our black citizens less arduous. ( Don't get me started on Mary and Arlington.... it isn't pretty. )

Plantations were self-contained, working farms not merely verandas where belles drooped romantically in summer heat. Heck, belles were not even ' belles', women of that ' class ' generally having been extremely well educated far, far beyond what popular myth loves to portray. You know, Southern Belles and hoops and frills and fainting? OHHHH no, try brains and math and 2 languages before she was allowed to figure out how to walk in those things. But that's another story. This is about what happened when one got off the porch.

We are extraordinarily lucky to have these photographs, amazing snapshots , Time encapsulated somewhere called Knox's Plantation, somewhere around Charleston, South Carolina.

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Our Southern Ladies, preparing cotton on Knox's Plantation near Charleston, South Carolina
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The original stereograph from Library of Congress prints and photographs section, as are all the following.

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And it revolved around this- the cotton gin.

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