The Barrow Plantation 1860 & 1881


Map Code: Ax01894

In 1881 David Barrow, a plantation owner in mid-Georgia, wrote a newspaper article describing the changes in his property’s stewardship and organization post-Emancipation. Two decades earlier, his father had owned 94 slaves, housed in communal quarters overlooked by the house of the overseer. After the Civil War, the now freed inhabitants were initially employed in two competing gangs, and paid a percentage of the crops as wages. But Barrow extols the gradual introduction of tenant sharecropping, of which he was a pioneer in the area, unexpectedly successful against the ‘confident prophecies of the croakers’. The new economy of the plantation is detailed. Cotton is the cash crop, of which half the acreage is planted, with the annual rent ‘750 lbs of lint cotton’. On the rest of the land, corn, watermelons and sorghum (for syrup) was cultivated. The homesteads each had a mule, cow, hogs and chickens. The plantation housed its own church and school.

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