By Melanie Pavich

ISBN-10: 0820323322

ISBN-13: 9780820323329

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, childrens, mom and dad, and others. Conveying the substance of lifestyle as they chronicle King's ongoing struggles to place nutrition at the desk, nurse her "family black and white," and maintain 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 might marry a planter, have little ones, and have a tendency to her family's household affairs. Untypically, she used to be additionally schooled through her father in all facets of plantation administration, from seed cultivation to construction building. That grounding could serve her good. by way of 1842 her husband's homes have been seized, as a result of bills collected from crop disasters, fiscal downturns, and vast investments in land, enslaved staff, and the advance of the within sight port city of Brunswick. Anna and her kin have been sustained, despite the fact that, by means of Retreat, the St. Simons Island estate left to her in belief by way of her father. With the exertions of 50 bondpeople and "their elevate" she was once to try, with little relief from her husband, to maintain the plantation solvent.

A necessary checklist of King's many jobs, from accountant to mom, from health practitioner to horticulturist, the letters additionally display a lot approximately her dating with, and attitudes towards, her enslaved staff. Historians haven't begun to totally comprehend the lives of plantation mistresses left all alone via 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 info for Anna: The Letters of a St. Simons Island Plantation Mistress, 1817-1859

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19. William Page wrote to his daughter from Newport, Rhode Island, in August 1823, “In my reply I was not as particular in some plantation concerns as I may have been. I will repeat part and add to it. If you have not positively engaged Up Country Lumber, do not as so—let the Scaffold Etc. alone and do the best with what is on hand. The Lime and moving bricks for the 8 chimnies percevere in—the worst is the loss of the Cotton Crop. . Give orders to open the drains not haul up nor hoe but to take off all the sprouts with knives and continue to as so until the first Nov[ember] in doing which there will be a chance to take in what may be made and to produce a late crop” (William Page to Anna Matilda Page, August 28, 1823, Thomas Butler King Papers [hereinafter tbk], shc).

She wrote constantly of the state of health of her husband, children, guests, and bondpeople. She asked constantly for reports of the health of absent family members and offered advice and sometimes preventatives and cures for the health risks associated with traveling to towns and cities north and south. However, plantation inhabitants, white and black, were particularly subject to a number of diseases. K. ” Infectious diseases were a major cause of death for adults and children alike, though the rate of death among infants and children was especially high.

Cousin Marys linen is with yours and my fathers—the quality will show which is hers. I must now beg that my dear Mother will use her influence with my indulgent father to permit me to remain as long as he first promised me. You know that when I return I shall be with you as much as you can desire— and really my dear Mamma you know I am getting old and cannot much longer enjoy the pleasures of the world. So do pray my dear Mamma get him to indulge me. — 3 Should anything occur between this and the morning worth relating I will add it—at present—I have nothing further to say.

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Anna: The Letters of a St. Simons Island Plantation Mistress, 1817-1859 by Melanie Pavich


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