19 January, 2011

Goose Creek Plantation, North Carolina

This is a photo of two slave children at Goose Creek Plantation from my post  First Hand Accounts Of American Slavery In The 19th Century. I found the following information about Goose Creek Plantation in this book by Michael James Heitzler.

"Thomas Monck owned Goose Creek plantation during the eighteenth century. In September of 1739, Monck offered a reward of forty shillings each for the return of three Gambian Negroes. He was one of the few slave owners who branded their slaves. In an advertisement in the South Carolina Gazette of March 12, 1736, he offered a reward of five pounds local currency for the return of an Angola Negro named Gudja. He described him as being 'branded on his right breast T Monck.' In January of that year, he advertised for the return of a slave named Sampson 'to me at my plantation in Goose Creek.'"

30 November, 2010

The Meatpacking Industry During The Early 1900's

The meatpacking industry during the early 1900's was unsanitary, unregulated and incredibly dangerous work. Children as young as three were often employed and forced to work long hours (sometimes 12-15 hour days) for very little pay. Enforcing simple things like hand washing and requiring the use of hairnets were unheard of. Therefore the meat was often contaminated with sweat, dirt, and human hair (among other things).

The machinery used to process the meat was also a problem. There were reports of workers falling into rendering tanks and being ground, along with animal parts, and sold as lard.

Regulation of the meatpacking industry began in 1906 after President Theodore Roosevelt read a book about the plight of the working class and the corruption of the meatpacking industry by journalist Upton Sinclair. The book was a Pulitzer Prize winner and covered the facts of the meatpacking industry of the time.

This book led to the 'Meat Inspection Act' and the 'Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906', which eventualy led to the 'Food and Drug Administration' (FDA).

You can download the entire book for free at American Libraries. Images are via The Library of Congress and are from a panoramic photograph taken by the Chicago based photographer Geo. R. Lawrence Co. in 1900.

29 November, 2010

A Slave Ship

These drawings of the slave ship Brookes show how slave traders would pack the decks with as many men, women and children as possible. Circulated by the Abolitionist Society in England around 1789, the pictures were used to campaign against the slave trade.

Check out this photo gallery from About.com for more images of slavery and the slave trade.

24 May, 2010

The Thistlewood Diary

Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire by Trevor Burnard. The author looks at the 40 year diary of Thomas Thistlewood, a white slave owner in the 1700's who lived in Jamaica. 
Thistlewood's diary reveals a great deal not only about the man and his slaves but also about the structure and enforcement of power, changing understandings of human rights and freedom, and connections among social class, race, and gender, as well as sex and sexuality, in the plantation system.

12 May, 2010

First Hand Accounts Of American Slavery In The 19th Century

Written on the back of this photograph:
"Oh, let me live in Freedom's Land, or die if still a slave."

Goose Creek Plantation in North Carolina.

A old slave and his home.

 It was very common during the beginning of the 19th century to read about escaped slaves in Southern newspapers. The following ads are from the year 1838. Branding slaves (burning letters or symbols into their skin like you would do to cattle) seemed to be a fairly common practice. Notice that Mary, in the last ad, was referred to as a 'girl' and therefore was probably no older than a teen. If you'd like to see more you can check out my other post on slave ads. More can also be found on the website sited at the bottom of this post. Warning: it's not for the squeamish.
Mr. Micajah Ricks, Nash County, North Carolina, in the Raleigh "Standard," July 18, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro woman and two children; a few days before she went off, I burnt her with a hot iron, on the left side of her face, I tried to make the letter M."

 Mr. William Overstreet, Benton, Yazoo Co. Mi. in the "Lexington (Kentucky) Observer," July 22, 1838.
"Ranaway a negro man named Henry, his left eye out, some scars from a dirk on and under his left arm, and much scarred with the whip."

Mr. J. P. Ashford, Adams Co. Mi. in the "Natchez Courier," August 24, 1838.
"Ranaway a negro girl called Mary, has a small scar over her eye, a good many teeth missing, the letter A. is branded on her cheek and forehead.

 Two slave children.

Slave women picking cotton.

Despite what many people might automatically assume it was not just the men who treated slaves horribly. There are many accounts of Southern women brutalizing and even murdering their slaves. The next story is from a letter dated March 5, 1839 written by Mr. John Clarke. 'Mrs. Turner' is the wife of Fielding S. Turner, who was Judge of the Criminal Court in New Orleans . The Turners moved to Lexington, Kentucky and it was here that Mr. Clarke, the writer, became familiar with the family. He says:
        "Mrs. Turner was originally a Boston lady. She is from 35 to 40 years of age, and the wife of Judge Turner, formerly of New Orleans, and worth a large fortune in slaves and plantations. I repeatedly heard, while in Lexington, Kentucky, during the winter of 1836-7, of the wanton cruelty practised by this woman upon her slaves, and that she had caused several to be whipped to death; but I never heard that she was suspected of being deranged, otherwise than by the indulgence of an ungoverned temper, until I heard that her husband was attempting to incarcerate her in the Lunatic Asylum. The citizens of Lexington, believing the charge to be a false one, rose and prevented the accomplishment for a time, until, lulled by the fair promises of his friends, they left his domicil, and in the dead of night she was taken by force, and conveyed to the asylum. This proceeding being judged illegal by her friends, a suit was instituted to liberate her. I heard the testimony on the trial, which related only to proceedings had in order to getting her admitted into the asylum; and no facts came out relative to her treatment of her slaves, other than of a general character.
        "Some days after the above trial, (which by the way did not come to an ultimate decision, as I believe) I was present in my brother's office, when Judge Turner, in a long conversation with my brother on the subject of his trials with his wife, said, 'That woman has been the immediate cause of the death of six of my servants, by her severities.'
        "I was repeatedly told, while I was there, that she drove a colored boy from the second story window, a distance of 15 to 18 feet, on to the pavement, which made him a cripple for a time."
A boy and his fiddle. 

A father and daughter outside their home.

At a public meeting in Lane Seminary, Ohio in 1833 the Reverend Colman S. Hodges (who lived in West Virginia) made the following statement. 
 "I have frequently seen the mistress of a family in Virginia, with whom I was well acquainted, beat the woman who performed the kitchen work, with a stick two feet and a half long, and nearly as thick as my wrist; striking her over the head, and across the small of the back, as she was bent over at her work, with as much spite as you would a snake, and for what I should consider no offence at all. There lived in this same family a young man, a slave, who was in the habit of running away. He returned one time after a week's absence. The master took him into the barn, stripped him entirely naked, tied him up by his hands so high that he could not reach the floor, tied his feet together, and put a small rail between his legs, so that he could not avoid the blows, and commenced whipping him. He told me that he gave him five hundred lashes. At any rate, he was covered with wounds from head to foot. Not a place as big as my hand but what was cut. Such things as these are perfectly common all over Virginia; at least so far as I am acquainted. Generally, planters avoid punishing their slaves before strangers."

 "Martha and her son, Bob" in Georgia.

 "Uncle Gabriel's Cabin" in South Carolina. His master's house is in the distance.

This post contains excerpts from the book American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses by Theodore D. Weld which was published in 1839. The electronic version is available online from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (The link can be found in my Recommended Reading).

These amazing pictures are courtesy Okinawa Soba.

02 May, 2010

Hermitage Castle and a Short Summary of Mary Queen of Scots and Bothwell


Hermitage Castle was built around 1240 in the border region of Scotland by Nicholas de Soulis. It stayed in his family for 80 years when his descendant, William de Soulis was forced to forfeited the property after being accused of witchcraft and the attempted murder of a King. The castle passed to the Grahams and shortly afterward to the Douglas family. In 1342, Sir William Douglas abducted and imprisoned Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie. Ramsay was starved to death in the prison pit at Hermitage. Legend has it that he survived for seventeen days by eating small quantities of grain that fell through the cracks in the floor of the castle granary, which was located above the dungeon. After the death of Ramsay The castle came into the possession of the Hepburn family.

James Hepburn, (called Bothwell) was the 4th Earl of Bothwell. He held the castle in 1566 and it was in October of that year that his mistress, Mary of Scots made her famous 30 mile journey on horseback to see her wounded lover. This ride through the moors nearly killed the Queen.

After the murder of her husband (which Bothwell was suspected of)  the couple were married. Only months later Mary was imprisoned and forced to abdication the throne. Bothwell, facing charges of treason, fled to Norway and his titles and estates were forfeited by Act of Parliament. This was the last time the newlyweds would ever see each other. Bothwell did, however, attempt to raise an army to rescue Mary and restore her to the throne. He was captured and jailed in Denmark, where he died. His mummified body can still be seen at Fårevejle Church. Mary eventually escaped and fled to England, only to be imprisoned by her cousin Queen Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen". Nineteen years after her detainment Mary was charged with treason and executed.

Images Via: Scotland Dreaming, Geograph Britain and Ireland, Garyjd, and Richard Kelly.

25 April, 2010

Bannack State Park in Montana

Founded at the beginning, of the Civil War, after gold had been discovered in nearby Grasshopper Creek, the town of Bannack Montana was once a booming mining town and the county seat of Beaverhead County. In only a few short years this town grew to 3,000 residents with as many as 2,000 more people living down the creek. However, by the 1880's the gold rush in that particular area was over and the population quickly dwindled. By the 1940's the town was practically deserted and the mines shut down for good.

In the 1950's, rather than let the town fall apart completely, the State of Montana declared Bannack a State Park and began to preserve the remaining structures. Today over sixty buildings and two cemeteries remain, most of which can be explored freely.

If you would like to visit the best time would be during the summer months. There's no place to stay in the town site, however, there are two campgrounds within a quarter mile that are worth checking out. Expect to pay about $15 a night for tent sites, RV sites are also available. Dogs are allowed in the state park and both campgrounds as long as they are on a leash.

If you visit during the summer months you can catch different activities every Saturday in town. The events vary and might include music, star-gazing, poetry or lectures. Guided or self-guided tours are available. The third weekend of July a celebration of pioneer life is held called Bannack Days. Get breakfast at the Hotel Meade, learn to shoot a black powder rifle, see a gun fight reenactment, ride a stage coach or stop by the many food and art vendors. You can also watch live demonstrations of pioneer skills like spinning wool, making candles and panning for gold.

A Spooky Legend

This is the Meade Hotel which is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a young teen named Dorthy Dunn.

In August 1916, Dorothy, her cousin Fern and their friend Ruth Wornick were playing in a pond near Grasshopper Creek when they got into trouble. A passerby named Smith Paddock managed to pull the three girls out of the water, but unfortunately 16-year-old Dorothy had already drowned.

Dorthy lived at the hotel with her family (her mother worked there) and since her death there have been numerous sightings of a girl wearing a long blue dress on the second story of the old hotel. These reports most often come from children. The ghost of Dorothy has also been seen standing in an upstairs window by passersby on the street below.

Paranormal investigator Greg Burchfield collected evidence of EVP inside the Meade Hotel which many people think is proof that the ghost of Dorthy Dunn still lingers there. At the time of the recording Mr. Burchfield was the only person in the building. Here is how he explains the experience: "I walked the upstairs hallway and back to the locked doors, and in one specific area it was much colder than the rest of the upstairs. I then decided to try and egg this ghost on into talking to me so I proceeded to ask her if she is a chicken. In the recording you will hear me ask the question then you will hear a distinct giggle, then I say 'I think she's a little chicken,' and I believe quite clearly in a playful voice and tone she says, 'Little chicken from the farm,' with a pronounced accent in her voice." You can find the EVP recording of her voice here. Warning! It's pretty creep.

Here are some more pictures of various building and the cemetery in Bannack. Enjoy!

I used information from these sights for this article: Bannack, MT on Haunted Houses. The official  Bannack, MT site (lots of info!). More information can also be found  here.

21 February, 2010

Eva Braun, Life With Hitler


 A new biography on Eva Braun, Hitler's girlfriend, is coming out soon. Written by Heike Görtemaker, Eva Braun: Leben mit Hitler (Life with Hitler) might not be getting great reviews by the critics but this last paragraph of a rather harsh review really made me want to read more about this woman. From ForeignPolicy.com
...there is a lot that Görtemaker and the rest of us do not know. With so little to go on, [Eva] Braun still appears to be more metaphor than flesh and blood. Her blankness is her defining characteristic. Braun can be, and was ... a stand-in for the unquestioning wives of the officers who carried out Hitler's orders -- even for the nation of Germany itself. Or, if you'd like to take it further, for the wives of politicians who stand by loyally as their husbands drag us into war, women who marry serial killers serving life sentences in prison, or every woman who defends the boyfriend who brutalizes her night after night. We don't understand these women, just as we still don't quite understand how that whole Nazi Germany thing happened, no matter how much we analyze the historical record.