Typescript of "Old Canoochee Backwoods Sketches. Life in the Backwoods of the Lower South in the Late Ante-bellum Days."...


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Life In the Baokwoods of the Lowe'. -outh

In the Late Ante-bellum Days.

In three Parts:

Part I... o.
Family L,.le. ,-"

Part II
Times and Pastimes.

Part III
The Harrison Family. o-'e i Old Girls.o'

Part I... Family Life .
-"" -- ..,f:^ __ ,,t:h f m r f ,. \ V

Julia E. Han.

S Old Canooohee Backwoods Sketches.

Life Di the ;Baokwoodasof the Lower South

In the Late Ante-bellum Days.

Part I Family Life.


I ....
II ....

II ....

VI ....

VII ....

VIII ***





S* *



... 0




Xiv .......

XV .






- Pioneers.

- Early Days.

- Old Canooohee Plantqtion.

- African Slavery.

-Personal Attributea.

- Personal Attributes.

- John Benton.

- Daily Duties Household

- Family Washing.

- Home Manufactures, Soap.

- Home Manufactures, Texti

- The Family Doctor.

- Interior Traffic, A -Tr

Native Characteristio-

Men, Women, and Children

canspo rotation

B The Cracker Cart.

- The Itinerant Merchant Mr. Sims ,Peddler.

_ Shools f' -,

.......... The Wayfarer.

*******..* Sowing and Reaping.

.. .... Gardening.

...........- Food Conservation.

.......m Sugarr~ane.

...........- oultry

........ .... Cattle,

* *......... Building.

_ Fruits, Vegetables, Meats.

- Breaking Oxen.

Julia E. Harm
Gainesville, Florida.



Part i

Pioneers _

The story of the migratory movement of peoples from the Atlantic

Seaboard across the continent of what is now the United States of

America, is one of the great epics of modern times. This movement,

begun in the early days of the republic, continued until the opening

of the Civil War. The great human stream was augmented from time to

time by shiploads of immigrants that were poured into the harbor of

New York.

Those who went first blazed the way for others to follow; these

in turn blazed other and wider scattered trails. It took courage of

a very high order to brave the perils before those hardy pioneers,

even the known perils, the danger of starvation; wild beasts; and

attacks by hostile savages, remnants of the great Lost Tribes, who at

some former time (who knows when?),possibly in the dawn of history,

had roamed this vast wilderness. But these perils and others yet

unknown did not stop the tide. On and on, the travelers went over

mountain passes, across mighty rivers, vast plains and desert tracts

to reach the Promised Land, the end of the rainbow and the fulfilment

of dreams for what? None knew, and none could by any stretch of

imagination compute the value of individual worth in the great world

empire which they had started to build.

I| Pioneers. ,- -

Some of the earlier pioneers who were seeking homes rather

than adventure were content to establish themselves upon the fringe

of that civilization upon which they had turned their back. Where

they found soil, water and forest growth to their liking, and

certain other necessities of living, they set up their abode. Some

went into the Allegheny Mountains, where their descendants are

today, a more or less primitive people because they have held almof

in great measure from the outside world. A still smaller group

came into the lowlands of the South, just back of the great Coastal

Plain, and-below the foothills. Here they found fertile soil,

beautiful rivers and vast forests of virgin pine with a wealth of

naval stores and magnificent building material in its heart. These
were the gifts that nature held out to them in the midst of a mild

climate, and they accepted the offer.


._____ I.-l

Part I.-lamily Life. Early Days.

Can; one conjecture the extent of the hardships that are

encountered by a group of people transferred directly from an old
world civilization to a new and strange environment, into a vast

wilderness unsoarred by human agency without adequate means for

adapting the necessities of daily living to the outward circumstances?

That was what befell those hardy pioneers in the backwoods of

America. A beneficent climate and over-lavish gifts of Nature some-

what ameliorated the situation in the lower Southern Backwoods, but

even there the lift-wasBard for several years. Attempts have been

made to portray the vicissitudes of that time, but description has

failed. Those who could perhaps have given the story in detail had

not the leisure, or maybe the iiolination.

In sharp contrast to those rigorous conditions there were

people in the more populous and opulent sections, in the older towns

and on the large plantations an element with a background of wealth

and station who had not undergone the hardships incident to back-
woods life. These had fixed their homes in groups along the Atlantic

Seaboard, groups that were rapidly growing into cities and extensive
plantations. They were there as early as the first part of the 18th

century,_ an established and gantinuing class.

Altho Virginia was the original slave-holding colony, the
system had spread to most of the other colonies, and where not legally

prohibited many WelliMr-do families in the Northern colonies had held

Negroes in the capacity of house servants. On the great plantations

that were being developed along the lower Atlantic -eaboard, where

climatic and economic conditions were best adapted to the Negro, the
rapidly increasing number of slaves brought added responsibility, but

E. Ha'rn.

Old Canoochee Backwoods Sketches.
Backwoods Life In-The Lower South In The

Late Ante-Bellum Days.
I .

Part 1 Family Life Early Days.

Can any one conjecture the extent of the hardships that are

encountered by a group of people transferred directly from an old

world civilization to a new and savage environment into a vast

wilderness unscarred by human agency,and without adequate means for

adjusting the necessities of daily living to the outward circum-

stances ? This was what befell those hardy pioneers in the backwoods

of America. A beneficent climate and over-lavish gifts of Nature

somewhat ameliorated the situation in the lower Southern backwoods,

but even there the life was hard for several years. Attempts have

been made to portray the vicissitudes of that time but description

has failed. Those who could perhaps have given the story in detail

had not the leisure, or maybe the inclination.

In sharp contrast to the set rigorous c ition edition od

there were people,in the more populous and opulent sections, in the

older towns and on the plantations, who had not undergone the hard-

ships incident to backwoods life __ an element with a background of

wealth and station. They had fixed their homes in groups along the

Atlantic seaboard, groups that were rapidly growing into cities and

extensive plantations. Thfee people were there as early as the first

of the eighteenth century,_ an established and continuing class.
Altho Virginia was the original slave-holding colony, 1^1 the sys-

tem spread to most of the other colonies, and where not legally pro-

hibited,many well-to-do families in the Northern colonies held
*w- .

SEarly Bays.

also brought wealth, leisure and opportunity to the ruling'classes.
The favored few of the American aristocracy enjoyed life, the

novelty, the charm of the New World, ages and ages old, ~at so

vitally young and beautiful. The hostile Indians andethe ehnr6achihg'

settlers of rival nations were on the frontier, and life at home was
comparatively peaceful and happy. Great shiploads of goods pertaining
to the comforts and refinements of life were brought for their enjoy-

ment almost from the severance ~ the mather country. Much of the
building material for the beautiful Colonial homes was brought from
Europe. A few families sent their sons for collegiate training to

the established centers of learning in the Old World.
During the Revolution the American people bravely endured the

curtailment of supplies which they themselves had cut ofd; but after
that period, and the Republic was established, there was a renewal of
trade with the mother country and with other maritime countries, and

seasons when the leading American seaports were crowded with shipping.
There was no lack of elegance and of sumptuous living for the society

folk of the early presidentialsadministrations of the United States.
Glancing backward, we note that in the latter part of the 18th
century there was much intellectual activity in Europe,_ an age of
writers, poets, historians, .philosophers, political thinkers with knowl-
9Og and experience of statecraft. In America, also, there were menodf
deep learning, broad culture, who stood high in the annals of their
country. While the pioneers were carving roads and building homes in
the wilderness these men were establishing a general government .They
had a vision beyond the present. -| were the leaders and counselors
in the Revolutionary War. ftat oIng drawn-out struggle brought hard-

Early Days.
I.- 3.

ship to all classes of people, none escaped. But the people as a

whole emerged from that seven years experience a better people and

free free from governmental tymnry.

There were many discordant elements to be reconciled, many hardJ
/of government to so
problems to solve, but the leaders were patriots and statesmen, and

thru their wisdom and effort the young republic was started on its

way with little hint of the internal strife that was to develop

into civil war a little more than a half-century later.

Folld tng the founding of the general-gbvernment came great nm:

material progress. Immigration increased. During this period many

sections of the interior outstripped the lower backwoods in economic

improvement. New settlers more advanced in education and worldly

knowledge were working the alchemist's charm in the wilderness of

America. Cities, towns and thriving communities were spreading out

over the land. Schools and colleges were being established, churches

were raising spires to heaven.
To sum up many of these great forces:_ Before the middle of

the 19th century, steamships were crossing the Atlantic; palatial

steamboats were racing each other upon the waters of the mighty

Mississippi; transportation upon all the important rivers and the

Great Lakes was increasing; the electric telegraph.was a spur to

business. Agricultural machinery and household implements were

being invented and manufactured to lighten toil on the farm and in

the home; newspapers were printing and distributing the news from

all over the home land ; and news from the Old World was being brought

faster than Badr before had been known; many new states had been

admitted to the Union and more were seeking admission.

EEarly Days.

I.- 4
All this wonderful world progress wrought in the United

States within the first fifty or sixty years of its national life,_

territorial expansion, establishment of manufactures, agricultural
improvement, and extension of commerce with other nations, gave great

promise for the future. ehe War of 1818, tho not of gigantic propor-

tions, settled for a long time the chance of dnyfurtKert trouble' with-

the mother country The Monroe Doctrine, coming a little later an-

nounced to foreign nations a principle of the Government of the

United States of America which id still adhered to.
There were some annoying troubles with the Indians during this

time very distressing indeed, but with a firm hand they were finally

quelled. During the Revolutionary War there had been much vexatious

interference with the rights of the American settlers by the British
(Tories) near the Florida Boundary Line. The British had held Florida,.

las the result of the last inter-colonial wari-from 1763 into 1783, the

close of the Revolution. The depredations continued for some time

later, and the Spanish again coming into possession of Florida,renewed

thesi former hostilities. The Spanish exercised a vicious influence

upon the Indians of the adjoining states, and incited them to savage
attacks upon the white settlers hase 1 til ttaeks lasted well

into. the 19th century. Andrew Jackson proved the men to put an end
to much of that. His drastic and somewhat arbitrary measures largely

led to the purchase of Florida by the United States.

However, trouble broke out again when it was found tha~aesasry to
remove the Indians from among the white settlers of the lower Southern
States to the reservation provided for them beyond the Mississippi .

The provisions of the Federal Government to pay the Indians for their

SEarly Days.
I 5.
Old Canoochee Backwoods Sketches-

holdings were liberal we Li ea-aI in price but did not satisfy the
Indians who were loth to leave their present place of abode. There
was difficulty with the tribes in Georgia, which was settled by Cvrno
Governor Troupe who took the matter into his own hands as governor

of the state, and almost in defiance of -be higher authority. But his
patriotic and determined action did rid the State of Georgia of the
Indians. They were paid liberally for their holdings, and departed.
for all time from Georgia.
Just following the Indian troubles in Georgia, the Seminoles who

had trailed into 9lorida broke out into war against the whiles. The
Seminole War dragged along for fatly pevfnyears. United States troops

were sent down in considerable numbers to put a stop to it. The war
broke out again in the 1850's It was well into this time before Ut
thbe ramoial if the hostile Indians was effected and the land feed
of their preseno3t. 50 5 --- u^
0 Something of these activities and the national progress was

felt in the Backwoods,and many economic advantages accrued therefrom,
yet the people were not greatly disturbed by these happenings. They
were but little concerned with the pomp.3 and vanities of the outside
world. They had not the education to awaken ambition or to make them
restless under adverse conditions. Their horizon was narrow limited
by their home and neighborhood life, their daily work and pastimes.
They had a sest for life, much physical strength and hardihood

qualities well suiteato their environment.

Old CanoocheeBackoods Sketches.
Old Canoochee Backwoods Sketches.


Family Life.

I- 1

Old Canoochee

We called it "The Old Place", and a beautiful place it was,
that old Canoochee Plantation in the big bend of the Canoochee,
the pretty tributary of the Ogeechee river, and not far from their
confluence in southeast Georgia. The Canoochee fNoa ib-Uc-r one -

,~ r

Part 1


Part 1

I Irp~

Old Canoodhee Backwoods Sketches.

Part I_ Old Canooohee-Ogeechee Plantation,

The Ogeechee river found its source in the foothills of
upper Georgia. The Canoochee as tributary in its lower course
flowed in a nearly parallel direction the larger river, until t
after the latitude of Savannah was reached when it turned eastward
and,'binea the- mainriver. The great Ogeechee continued its way
to the sea and furnished water fot the big rice plantations with
their system of dykes and canals.
In this lower valley of the Canoochee just above the

confluence of the two rivers was one large landed estate.
Canoochee Plantation proper comprised a relatively small part
of this landed area. Between the river cove and the highway a mile
or more away were the cultivated fields and the stockpens. An
avenue of oaks led fromhthe road to spacious family home with its
surrounding orchards and gardens. The highway led beyond the plani
station into the big woods and the open cattle ranges and still
farther into a section of small farms and open cattle ranges. This
Canoochee Plantation had been settled in the 1740's more than a
hundred years before. The original settler wa John Harn, 4gp had
left his home in Scotland for America. After a sojourn in the
Carolinas he had 0omeltp the bsower-Oghechee section of Georgia, and
finally to this favored location, bringing with him his family
of his wife, nine sons and daughters, and a goodly number of indent-
ured serving people. The family ranked as gentry and enjoyed many
privileges, social and otherwise not known to their less fortunate
neighbors.in the nearby district.

After the ban against Africa slavery was lifted in Gec-gia

in 1860, the indentured servants were succeeded by Negro slaves.

Old Canoochee Backwoods Sketches.

.Tart T 'ancockee

II 2

The plantation proper of this eanoochee estate comprised only

a relatively small part of the landed area. The home was located

about a mile from the cove of the river and nearer,to the highway,

which in a general direction parallelled the river. The cultivated

fields were tilled by negro slaves, no great number of negroes, just

enough to lend interest to the general activities of farm life where

the master was his own overseer and rode his own fields to direct


The place in its nearest direction was twenty miles from Savannah.

The soil was fertile and well suited to the farming that was carried

Sfn. The hief source of re ~ue i.* cattle-raising an a large scale.

Fine rse atle, and e pedigeed dogs, were features of the

home life: and the big woods held a wealth of the finest timber,

always available when wanted.

The original dwellers of the plantation had passed thru the

vicissitudes of the period just before, during, and after the

Revolutionary War. The first John Ham was an ardent and active

patitot. The early settlers suffered much from the Royalists of that

time as well as from invasions. Those who committed depredations

against the property of the patriots under the claim of loyalty to the

British king were known as Tories. The name applied, and those who

bore it, were held in contempt ever after, even down to the third


But all that troublous time was now past. Ranking among the gen-

try and financially independent, the old plantation family enjoyed

prestige and material comforts beyond what was known to many of their

less fortunate neighbors. This* however, had no effect upon the

spirit of neighborhood friendliness. Life was peaceful and Willy, and

Old Canoochee Backwoods Sketches.
Old Canooohee
for the time untroubled by the storm clouds that were-bginning to

show upon the political horizon because of the question of States

Rights and African slavery.

Just beyond Oanoochee Plantation and extending along the

river, was a more or less thinly populated district of small farms

and settlements. The people of this backwoods were the descand-

ants of a sturdy British yeomanry who also had come there just

subsequent to the Oglethorpe period and in advance of the American

Revolution. These early settlers in theit search for farming land

had left the immediate seacoast and had been lured into this in-

terior by the magnificent timber and the abundant native grass.
The river itself was alluring. Beyond the call of its beauty, it

afforded easy transportation to the seacoast, an important advan-

tage at that time when there were few if any roads into the *illr'ior

derness. The small farms as established were in a lesser way the :.
replica of the larger plantation n variety of activities,_ some

general farming, large cattle-raising, with timber as an extra

source of revenue.

a Cattle-raising was carried on by free range. It had not yet

found ( necessary to restrict the grazing of cattle as in more

populous communities. There was, of course, some regard given 1

to the ownership of lands. Public lands, of which there were large
areas, were entirely free for grazing; but grazing on private prop-

erty was by permission, and the grazing did not include any other
form of adoption. "'ild lands were rarely posted. The hunting of
wild game was without restriction. There were certain ethical

rules and a gentleman's agreement among sportsmen which all right-
minded men were supposed to obey. Only a purely wanton individual

Old Camoochee Backwoods Sketches.

The first settlers of-he Backwoods beyond Canoochee Plantation

were a strong, upstanding people, a rugged class as they had to be

to endure the hardships of their pioneer life. Their descendants
had inherited most of that ruggedness. These later ones had not

greatly changed their mode of living, but had continued in the same

routine handed down by their forbears. The domestic regime was much

the same. Whatever prosperity had come to them was not greatly
evidenced by any improvement in their home life. In the nearby city
of Savannah there was an aristocratic element who had acquired and

practiced the art of good living. In the city homes and on the plan-

tations there ias an excess of Negro servants, each of whom had been

trained to render service that promoted the ease and comfort of their
masters. The absence of negro slaves in the Backwoods left every-

thing to be dome by the members of the family.
The men liked to count their flocks, the women counted their

poultry flocks; and this far in excess of what would have been ex-

pected from the lack of conveniences in their homes The Backwoods
people were inured to their cheerless homes; they had never known
anything better. What had been good enough for their ancestors was
good enough for them. They lived much in the open and were generally

healthy and happy. The farmers raised at home nearly everything
needed in the of supplies,_ food products, cotton and wool for cloth-

ing, leather for shoes were largely produced An the place. Only the
better shoes and clothing was bought in the city. It was a common

saying that the former lived at home.
This Canoochee Backwoods was .typical of other sparsely settled

interiors where the people were of the same original nationality.

Ood Canooohee Backwoods Sketches.

and had developed along similar lines. Throughout the early Colonial
period Georgia had been settled by groups of diverse nationality, each
of whom held rather closely to old family traditions, and perpetuated
certain racial characteristics. However, with changed economic con-
ditions in the New World, there came about in urban centers and the
more populous rural sections a gradual merging of interests that
worked to mutual advantage. The Backwoods people largely held aloof
from the changing influences. They were independent and happy in
their own way. They rather scorned urban ways and were q law unto
themselves. This certain kind of independence may have been a saving
grace to them. Anyway, it entitles them to our respect.

s --. d




--- Pemlj.,e ///.
The African slavery introduced into Virginia shortly after

its settlement spread to all the colonies. Rven the most sincere

and tender-hearted philanthropist could see nothing wrong, (if you

liked the job), in taking a a*tegerand converting him into a more

or less decent human being, even if it were necessary to purchase

that savage from his socalled master. The experiment having been

tried by them, the people of the Northern states soon found that the

African Negro was not adaptable for any branch of skilled labor, nor

was the extremely different climate adapted to the Negro. The very

-.best thing was to get rid of the Negro; in faot, it was an economic

to let 4im go. And go he did. Bat where did he go and what became

of him? It is the province of those who know to answer that question.

All the slave-holding Southern states had rigorous laws

governing the presence of free or freed Negroes in their midst. there

were a few Southernerj (when nearing the'. end of their time ) who

realized that the ownership of slaves was undesirable,and set free

those who had served them. One freed Negro among a lot of slaves

could exercise an inoalculably bad influence.

So, whatever did or did not become of the Northern freed

ionmd Negroes, it is absolutely certain that no slave-holding

Southern state opened its doors and welcomed large numbers of than

under the statia of a free people. In the setting aside of slavery

in the Northern states, tSme Southerners saw the opportunity to

increase their Biavbrholdings to advantage. The inference is plain

that- freed Negroes who entered any of thoserstates did so in

diminished numbers and under government surveillance, ox, thbyoo amee

in.as any oth"r property bought and paid for.

- .


/ African Slavery
lIi a

1 4 .l 1' 1.

4 Iolent agitations of the slavery question were being held
over the country, particularly in the North, but with these my story
has nothing to do. The pages of history have recorded the matter in
its entirety.
The rice growing sections, the Sea Island cotton plantations
and the great interior Belt held most of the slaves. There were
smaller groups over the state. Old Canoochee Precinct was a typi-
cal backwoods community. Beyond the big landed estate in the bend
of the river where there were some slaves the Backwoods did not
own slaves, nor did they want them_ And, by the way, negroes were
not spoken of as slaves except in a specific way and in formal de-
bate. The negro was an outlandish treataracfor whom they had no
liking. Any negro would have been treated humanely, even kindly,
but he would have been in the way. Old Canoochee Precinct was not
opulent enough to establish a system 'of slavery in its midst, and
the ownership of one or two slaves would have been unwise. Requiring
separate living quarters quite beyond the family-circle, the negro wov:
would not fit in with the domestic scheme. Negroes are intensely
social; where negroes were held in family groups and treated decently,
as they generally were, they were a happy, carefree people. The
social and personal condition of one or two negroes isolated from
companionship with their kind was pitiable, It was like caging a
wild animal or a wild bird in close and solitary captivity, and
seemed cruel indeed. The small farms of Old Canoochee Psm a t
had no need for the Negro.

Julia E. Hap IV 1.

Native Characteristics
Men, Women & Children
Family Life.

It was characteristic of the average backwoodsman that he

liked to employ primitive methods in whatever he had to do. He

did not take kindly to new fangledO ways; he liked no methods

conforming to any set of rules other than had been practiced by his

forbears. He pursued a straight line of action, and when a thing

was done he gave his mind and body a rest, and did not waste any

mental effort in vain speculations upon abstract subjects. In this

he was as far removed from the man of academic mind as the poles;

the backwoodsman translated his thought into action.

The backwoodsman was the product of his environment the

seemingly illimitable wilderness, the vast unpopulated spaces, lead-

ing on and on, and beyond. He did not like close confinement in
any way. It was expansion, freedom, he desired freedom to live

his n way, not trameled or hampered by many conventions.

Yet he was a law-abiding citizen. He paid his taxes; served on

the jury when called; did his duty on the public road, (worked the

road or paid for it); voted at the election for his favorite candi-

date; and was ready to help to the very limit of his ability and

knowledge in an emergency. The backwoodsman was hospitable to

individual strangers, but held at a distance any furrinerss" who

could not give a clear and understandable account of themselves. He

was clannish and did not readily take strangers on their face value,

and was easily suspicious of people he did not know. To those who

felt that it was worthwhile to cultivate his confidence and did

secure his friendship, the backwoodsman was loyal to the last ditch.

IV 2.

He reckoned himself in manly attributes the peer of any man.
He stood on his own platform, and feared no man living in what he
had to say. But if he thought it good policy, he could be as dis-

creet as the sphinx, and felt it no hardship to ride all night on
a secret errand of importance to himself or his clan.
The main business of the backwoods was farming and cattle-

raising. These lines of work were carried on after the manner of

long ago. The traditions of the earlier settlers were rather rigidly
adhered to. There may be better methods practiced at the present

time which were unknown then: but this rule holds good everywhere,

and the backwoods farmer e4 tta t-ri may have done as well as

others in the prosecution of his affairs. If he sometimes hit upon

a better way than he had previously known, the discovery was his own,
and did not come from the schools.

There were then "Country Gentleman" and "Farm and Fireside"
magazines finding their way into the homes of farming people, but

these as yet had no clientele in the backwoods, where there was
but little time given to reading. The backwoods family subscribed to
and read the nearest weekly newspaper, which they sometimes derisive-
ly characterized as the Blanktown "Excuse", because of its poor

quality in every way, but of which they would not have liked to be
deprived. There was no R.F.D. (Rural Free Delivery) service then.

Everybody had to get"the mail which may not have come oftener
than once a week- at the post office. It gave one a small dis-

tinction to have the newspaper come addressed to John Doe, Esquire,

or to Mrs. Richard Roe.
The Family Bible and the yearly almanac held a conspicuous place

in the "hall", (the front living room) of every home. The almanac

IV 3

was frequently consulted for weather predictions and Notes on
Farming, and Time for Planting the Garden and When to Prune SL
ruit Trees. One famous old almanac had its astronomical calaula-
tions made by one of the very early scientists the name of the
almanac was Qrier's Family Almanac, and it held the place of hbnor,
in name at least, long after the very old Jr. Grier had passed away.
The older backwoods people read the Bible religiously every
Sunday at least, the others less often perhaps. But even then they
could quote from the Bible certain things aphorisms and maxims
for living, which many close students of the Bible have failed to
discover within its pages. Much that was figurative they accepted
as literal, in belief but did not practice, like the injunction to
turn the other cheek to the enemy. Many of those good people would
have been shocked at any other than a literal rendering of mich that
they read. Old Testament history they interpreted in terms of the
present. The dire predictions against the wickedness of certain ancient
Jews, the direct pimishments for sine they had committed which had
been visited upon the offenders, and the ptmnisments borne by them
very long ago were; believed to apply to the people of this period,
were yet to be fulfilled, and wOre "signs of the times" which indi-
eated the near approach of the 4lnm.
Those good people observed the Ten Co aand~rat as nearly as
they could in their daily living. If there was any noted lapse it
was in the Third, and that was a very general lapse. There was at
that time rash profanity among men in all walks of life, even among
those in high station. Perhaps the way to account for it is, -
that in times of grert stress and storm thru which the people bad
passed they had called upon the Almighty for help and it had been

IV -4
given them. They realized that this was always the one sure hope
in time of trouble, The God of their fathers had never failed the
So to that one familiar source of succor they had resorted. Perhaps
aom this familiarity had come an easy form of. appeh, which had
developed into irreverence that had spread, and with the spreading
had grown into gross and general proportions. natinct the back-

woodsman was reverent; he lived close to nature and it made him

Personal Attributes
Men. Women and Children.

Because at their outdoor life and their work with the cattle aad
the calling of the dogs, the men were loud-voiced and clear of speech;
the women were very gentle in manner and low-voiced in a drawling,
astical way. Many of them bore beautiful names, drawn from the
classes and early British poetry, which had been handed down thra
many generations. Family names too, indicated British origin. Many
legends, old ballads and traditions, held their place ft family
recitals. Ballads of the days of chivalry, and USit of the old
Border Warfare, were still sung to the same old tunes. any express
ions and old sayings could be traced to the time of Shakespeare, and
man superstitions also.
Speaking of superstitions, not all the beliefs so classed were
anything more than scientific facts for which nobody could give any
reasons. Many of the older men had lived very close to nature all
their lives, had observed her moods and variations and had learned
many of her secrets. They had observed the moon'6 phases, the
influence of moonlight as well as of sunlight upon growing plants.
The moon ruled the tides, why may it not influence other natural

phenomena, and in large measure determine the time for planting
certain crop'

Taken all in all, the life of the backwoods, while uneventful,

held the charm of serenity and quiet contentment for its people, a

permanence of family life that is not so pye- known at this day.

Many a backwoods home has t~hown its stabilizing influence around
its children in the formative period of their lives and has sent

forth sons and daughters who have been reckoned among the finest

citizens of the land, men and women who have not been ashamed of

their lowly backwoods origin.


The boys had their outside interests dear to the heart of any

boy. They learned to ride from the time they could sit upon a horse
at eight and ten they had bird-traps, which they set in the fields

when the crops were off. Game of all kinds was so plentiful there

were no legal restrictions as to decoying, trapping, or shooting,

other than those founded upon ethical principles as to the seasons
and times for those pursuits. The bird-traps were made of sticks,

usually bits of shingle, tied together with strong cords. The

sticks were placed one upon the other in cries-cross fashion and

we'e& built up so that the trap would be a few inches higher in the

middle and large enough to hold two birds. The trap being strongly

bound with the cords, was then set upon the smooth ground and the

setters placed. These were three sticks, one to hold up the trap,
the other two at the slightest touch would throw the trap to catch
the unwary bird that entered under it for the grain sprinkled there.

IV 6

Usually at twelve the boy was given a small shotgun with which

he soon learned to shoot birds and other small game. When he was

fourteen or fifteen he could go with his father and other men on
their hunting trips. It was the ambition of every boy to bring

down some specimen of big game. If he did, and the game was a deer,

the antlers were hung up in the hall as a permanent trophy of his


The children were given their animal pets. Sometimes it would

be a hen and chickens. In that case it might be necessary when the

chickens were weaned to cut the end of the small toenail for indenti-

fication. It would not do to cut the central toenail, that was what

the chickens used in scratching for,its living but the tip of the

small toe was all right. The rule now is to band the leg of the

chicken with a metal band for identification.

Little children nursed puppies aad puny pigs. When the pesky
things did not di -* which often they did in spite of the care given -

and reached a healthy maturity, they brought much pleasure to the
children in return.

Girls early learned to cook, to spin and sew and knit. They
were often married in their middle teens, so the girls usually

started at ten or twelve to furnish their hope cheat. ~. course,
you know what a "hope cheat" is; it is something that every woman

knows about and every girl cherishes. It is a sort of treasure

chest or trunk containing things, table and bed linen, pieces of

fancy work and fine needle craft which the girl will need in her

home after she is carried. Her women friends often add to the stock

of pretty things. At one time the girl had to begin early to make

IV "b 7

her patchwork quilts and to -apin for the articles she would need *
hence the name spinster as anciently applied to an married waran.
In these modern day when styles and fashions change so often,
few girls try really to fill a hope chest; instead her friends give
the engaged girl approaching her marriage a shower" or party and
literally shower her with gift. The bridegroom'a friends also
contribute to the ahower as well as to the wedAing proper, and since
"All the world loves a lover", every friend and invited guest feels
obliged from sentiment to give as beautiful and appropriate a gift
as may be. Customs change as much for the times an for the different
grades of society. Those backwoods friends and neighbors were as
sincere and kindly in their feeling toward their young people as ay
be found anywhere.
The farmer's girls were often sSisted by their family in asme
domestic enterprise that would bring them spending money. Perhaps
they raised spring chickens for the city market, or turkeys for
Thanksgiving and the Christmas and M W w Year trade. The girl may
have been given 4 6ow of her own.

The children were the most Interesting and noticeable feature
in any backwoods home. They showed the effect of their wholesome liv-
ing, n robust health and a usually happy disposition. Every family
could boast of from five to ten and even more boys and girls; each
child bort nto the family was welcomed a a heritage from the ord -
and they grew up in that happy Atmosphere. Family devotion and clan
loyalty were marked characteristics of the backwoods people. There
was sometimes a feud between unrelated families, but never any such


IV 8

thing within onest own family. Ch,not
The habits of thrift and industry found imperative by the early
settlers had been established and passed on down to their children.
The regular fixed habits of Work that were known by the backwoods
people were not really so rigid as to impose great hardships upon the
children in any well-regulated home. The parents themselves lived up
to the belief that "All work and no play makes Jack a dull bioy" This
easy philosophy so ruled their lives that almost any farmer or his
wife would willingly set aside a piece of work to have a little
impromptu picnic, go fishing' or to visit some of their kinsfolk or

True there were some in the neighborhood who were shiftless and
lazy, pretending to trust to the ae-lim of luck to hide their own
short-comings. If Parmer B. had an exceptionally good crop because
he had worked toward that result when the lazy man was sleeping or
loafing, the lazy fellow declared that Framer had exceptional"luck"
in whatever be did. When Mrs. B. had t fine garden and a flock of
chickens that she was bringing to a profitable market standard by
close and unremitting attention, the lasy, shiftless woman whined that
she herself never had any luck in anything seeming to forget that abe
had not done anything to deserve good luck. For that reason, Mrs. B.
because of bar extraordinary good luck was expected to furnish the
other wo., 's family with greens, vegetables, and other things, which
they have cultivated at home thru the exercise of a little industry
and self-reliance.

tOld Canoochee Backwoods Sketches. IV.-

The backwoods family lived largely out of doors, men, women,a

and children. The wide front piazza was the meeting plaoe for

the family and for receiving visitors much of the year. The oli-
mate was mild. When it was cold they went indoors and had big

wood fires.;Riah, resinous pine wood was used in great abundance

along with great logs of sturdy oak and hickory. The big clay

chimney had been built to extend outside the house. In the rear
corner flthis chimney was a shelf or stand for wood just below a

window.. The boys of the family kept the stand well supplied. To

replenish the fire it was only necessary to open the window to

reach the wood. This arrangement was convenient and eliminated
the bother of having $he wood .brought into the room.


Julia E, Hara V4

FaAzy Life

Personal Attributes
The Family

Perhaps it was the spirit of mutual helpfulness and interdependence

in which they had grown up thru the necessities of their living, which

made the members of the average backwoods household so kindly thought-

ful of each other. The father was the head of the house, the mother

came next in authority; the father dealt with the sterner matters, the

real business and government; the mother with the softer side, to whom

the children went when they wanted to prefer an important request to

the father, or for a certain sympathy which could not be described, but

which mother knew all about.

It was inevitable that in large families there would be cases of

discipline to be dealt with by the father. In these the mother rarely

interfered, except in private; to have done so would only have made

matters worse, besides being wrong in principle. If the father lost

control of himself, or was unjust or cruel, the mother, at no matter

what cost to herself, would interfere in behalf of her child. Family

discipline in general was rigorous in those days. It was allied to

the religion held, which bore the traces of the gloom and sternness of

the Middle Ages. Instead of regarding punishment as a restraining

influence against wrong doing, ter were many individuals of that time

who believed that punishment meant some sort of personal infliction -

was a just and righteous thing in itself, to be dealt out to offenders

for the slightest infraction of what was often an arbitrary ruling of

some one or more persons in authority.

There were parents brutal in the exercise of authority over their

children. Much of this proceeded from real, narrowminded ignorance,

V 8.

and as men became more enlightened, discipline became milder. It may

be argued that the pendulum has awung too far in the other direction,
and that there is now but little government of homes in general. Per-
haps this is trua, but it not the present condition largely a reaction
from that earlier time? Laxity in parental management has taken the

place of severity. There is a wise and happy medium by which children

my be protected against their own. weakness and inexperience guided,
not driven and left in possession of their own souls.
In Canoochee Precinct, there were few if any domestic tyrants. If

a man who was supposed to be the real head and reasonable governor of
his family became habitually harsh end cruel to his wife and children,
he was made to feel the disapproval of the entire community. It was
extremely rare that any disintegration of the family occurred. The
backwoods woman had been trained both by the traditions of her family
and by the outer circumstances of her life to endure. Because of this
and her pride and shrinking from making her unfortunate family affairs

a matter of common knowledge, she often endured what no self-respecting
wife is now expected tor encouraged to endure, in silence and tears.
In the same way, a good man may have made an unfortunate marriage,

but he usually made the best of it. He may many times have been em-
barrassed by the indolence of his wife and the inefficiency of her so-

celled housekeeping. Often that man was a pleasant, good-natured,

happy sort of fellow. If so, he really had the best of the situation.
His friendliness and goed nature under trial bridged over many an
unpleasantness. His genial philosophy was contagious. Neighbors were

attracted toward him. Tho the dinner may hav been badly cooked, the
rooms disorderly, the children not so clean as they should have been,
he was too loyal to his wife and family to appear to notice. Perhaps

he would excuse himself to a visitor when he saw the anallest child
approaching, and take the child aside and surreptitiously wash faeo
and hands. hastily slip on a clean dress if one could possibly be
found; then the baby child with (or without) a clean dress was presented
by the father with a proud, "Isn't he a fine fellow" w... A asn or
woman like that is a blessing to know.

J a E. Harn. VIO

Family Life

Personal Attributes

John Benton

One of the finest men in all Canoochee Precinct was John Benton.

Like every one else, John had his faults, but his virtues and his

lovable qualities far outshone any faults. John was half-poet,

half-philosopher. He loved nature and the big outdoors. He loved

the song of birds, the glint of the redbird's wing; the glimmer of

sunshine as it sifted thru the trees and fell upon the dark pools in

the creek where the fishes hide; the white sandbanks in the river

when the water was low; the old mill site and the great sheets of

water that tumbled over the wheel. On moonlight nights he sat up

late and talked, because he loved the moonlight. On dark nights,

soon after the sun had gone down, he went to bed and slept. He rose

in the early morning long before the sun, at the time when all the

earth was wrapped in beauty; and as the sun came up over the rim of

the earth every bush and leaf sparkled with dew or hoar frost. That

was the time when thanticleer hopped down from his high roost in the

tree top, and mounting the nearest fence sent forth his clarion call

to the rising day. All the young creatures, the hen with her brood,

the puppies, the kittens, the pigs, the young calves in the barnyard,

joined in their morning chorus.

These sights and sounds were a joy to the soul of John Benton.

He was happy, he loved his wife, the sweetheart of his youth, the

mother of his children; he loved his children, each child in turn,

but the last baby, the last one of the big brood, he loved a little

more for the time than the others. John had always honored his father

and mother; it would be 4 little short of high treason to fail in the

smallest particle of love and reverence to that old mother now that

VI 2.

his father had passed on and his mothewas bereft of much happiness

of former days.
Tho John loved his wife, he was master of his household. His

wife followed his wishes as nearly as possible. From his children

he exacted strict obedience; there was no deviation from his orders
and little or no wrangling over the matter. To some one looking on,

this arbitrary way of dealing may have seemed hard and unreasonable,

but the family had never known any other rule of living. John had

started in on the very first day of his marriage to pretty and timid

Mary Blanton, who was very much in love with him and she had acquiesed

in his wishes. Since that day they had gotten along as well, or

better, than most married couples- there was no wrangling.

The one thing which made Jolm Benton an agreeable man to live
wibh was that he was no grouch. If he didn't like a thing and thought

it worthwhile to say so, he spoke pleasantly and the correction was

made. There was no scowling, no grumbling, no black looks and hateful

or ominous silence. The incident was disposed of, dismissed, and that

was the end of it. Thru the day neither wife nor child shed a tear
or gave a sigh over the trivial happening.
In the very beginning of their married life John Benton had told

his wife in his slow quiet way that "She could mind her own business
as she saw fit and he would hardly interfere; but that he was going'

to 'tend to his own business himself, and he didnTt want no women

interferin'.* He didn't want too much advice unless he asked for it,

and no questions nor suspicions as to what he was about." ..... The

married life begun on this philosophical plan had lasted more than

twenty years, and had moved serenely and happily. Mada Benton had
unbounded confidence in her husband, in his wisdom and his love. He

* VIw. 3/

had always provided for his family as he had said he would, and

they had lived comfortably if not luxuriously. There was plenty of
hard work for every one, but each knew just what was expected of him.

John attended to affairs on the outside; and there was rhythm in the

household under Mary's guidance.

.There were times, however, when John ordered a halt in the day's

work and the whole family occupying the big farm wagon would go to

the river and spend the greater part of the day lolling, fishing and

resting. After cooking and eating the fish with the bountiful lunch

that Mary and the girls had brought they rested in the shade awhile;

then the whole crowd again climbed into the wagon and drove to Bill's.
John and Bill had been friends since they were little children. Per-

haps John hadn't seen Bill in a week, and he wanted to know what

Bill was doing. That evening the family returned home in time for
the boys to feed the stock and finish any other tasks about the home.

In that part of the country they never spoke of "chores", That word

drifted down to them later.


Julia S. aln. VII.. I
Family Life

Daily Duties.

SThe life of a backwoods woman began and often ended early.

Married while still in her teens, she assumed the cares and responsi-
bilitles really designed for maturer years. It was truly the sua-
vival of the fittest. The physically strong, iL n woman who had
been bred to her fate may have welcomed the hardhsips of her life,
but there were many who suocoabed. tomen of thirty often looked
old enough for their own mothers.
The round of daily duties began in early daylight, if not before,
rind lasted with but littel intermission until well into the night.

There was always a large family to provide for, with breakfast at
candle light, so t te a could get to their work in the
cooler hours. In summer the men came from the fields when it grew
too hot for any outdoor work, which was always before noon. They
rested then, ("nooned") until about an hour after the midday meal was
over, and went back to work.
If the farmer was the right sort of man, he and the boys, (there
were always boys in the family), would go to the cowpen, which was
often some distance from the house, and do the morning milking. The
cows had to be milked before the dew dried, turned out, and the calves

put to pasture; a4dhe considerate husband saw that the water palls
in the kitchen were filled, at the deep well from which water was
drawn by a heavy windlass and rope, or by a double chain and pulley.
The old wellsweep of earlier days had been replaced by these later
mechanical contrivances.
After breakfast was over, the table had to be cleared, dishes

washed, and pots cleaned, besides giving the little children their

VII 2.

breakfast. Sometimes there was an older girl who could assist with

these duties, but if the baby cried the mother's care was imperative.
Perhaps the same small-sized girl could sweep floors, and if tall

enough, help make the beds. The shoes and belongings of the men and
boys had to be picked up from where they had been thrown and put in
the right places.
Fresh vegetables had to be gathered for dinner, The peas, beans,
potatoes and corn, whatever kind was wanted, had to be brought from

the garden or patch, a small journey away.
Milk had to be strained and put away as soon as it was brought
in. Later the cream must be skimmied and the churning done. This was

a big job in itself. In the summer time churning was carried on in

the backyard under a big tree; there was not then so much difficulty
to get the butter to "gather" as in winter. But even under the most
favorable conditions the poor child wielding the heavy dasher of the
big wooden churn would often trow weary and call for the mother's

help and sympathy. Vhen the butter had coe the child's task was done.

The butter then had to be taken from the churn, all traces of milk
removed and the butter molded and put on the cool dairy shelf* The
buttermilk was drawn off and set aside. Then came the tug of war with
the washing and scalding of the various vessels and strainers, scald-
ing and frequently scrubbing the chumn, and putting all those things
on the top of the fence where the air and sunlight would dry and

"sweeten them.
All the varied ingredients of a good dinner and every mother's
son of those in the field felt that he was entitled to a good, hearty

dinner by reason of having earned it in the sweat of his bro w- had

to be brought from the variously separated locations in the backyard,


from the smokehouse where the meats were, from the store room, the

sugar house, the dairy* The cooking was done on a wide kitchen

hearth, well-equipped with heavy iron pots, usually of generous size;

racks and iron bars en which to set those iron pots; big iron ovens

and "spiders" in which baking was done by placing fire and coals both

underneath and on top. The heavy lids of th baking ovens were

lifted for inspection by means of a long flat "firestick". There were

coals Of good hardwood, oak or hickory, for any toasting or broiling.

What was known as a "spit" was an arrangement for roasting before a

bed of coals. A large fowl, say a wild turkey or a pair of ducks, or

a goose, was hung by an iron hook with a big dripping pan to catch the

juices. There must be constant turning and basting of the fowl to

insure the right degree of uniform brownness and tenderness.

It must be admitted that food prepared under those conditions

did have a superior flavor, but it was a laborious way to get results,

and required much skill in regulating temperatures, and much bending

and turning and heavy lifting by the cook. Think of it, old as the

se of cooking stoves bas been, their introduction and use in the

Southern backwoods is of comparatively recent date. Any town house

now not equipped with gas and electricity for domestic use is not

considered a worthy home.

The backwoods woman who lived in those times needed strong vigor-

ous health. The daily cooking, cleaning, and sweeping; the weekly or

tri-weekly scrubbing; the regular weekly washing and ironing; and,

where there were children, as there always were, mor or less daily

laundering; all these domestic activities, even under favorable

conditions made one strenuous round.
For the woman who toiled ceaselessly all the morning there were

afternoon and evening duties as well. When the noon dinner was over,


and the dishes, pots. and pans washed and scrubbed and put in their
places, there may have been a breathing spell, when she might sit
instead of standing. Then was the tiM to darn, mend, and perhaps
sew a little, which must be done by hand. Clothes for the men and
boys were made at hobm. Somet ies two women Vwh were neighbors would
plan their work to take an afternoon off, when they would combine
their efforts in the cutting and sewing of garments. If there was a
woman in the neighborhood who was considered a good tailoress, she
might be secured to assist one whose talents lay in another direction.

As in the farming, harvesting, &nd building carried on by the men,
there was a spirit of mutual helpfulness which worked for the good of
At rare intervals some woman neighbor would cme for a short after-
noon visit and to exchange the neighborhood gossip, either good or bad.
This made the time pass pleasantly and speedily. asn the neighbor
left, there were the chickens to feed and look after for the night,
the evening milking to do, and "the supper to fix". The children iho
had been given more or less care thruout the day now came for an extra
asare. Soon the man and boys would be coming home from the fields
hungry and tired.
If there were any children to wash the supper dishes, the mother
would sit and rock and sing the baby to sleep, while they did the
kitchen work, otherwise, the work must wait. The baby mat be put to
sleep in the way the good Lord meant it should be in the mother's
arms, quieted and soothed by the slow movement of the rocking and the
low sound of her voice, as she sang some favorite old hy3m. Thie
little respite from the cares of the day when the baby's bedtime came,
was a boon to the tired mother as well as to the little child. The
backwoods mother was one of the Saints of the earth an old-fashioned
Mother. __________________


Old Canoochee Backwoods Sketches.
_Daily Duties
Household Ways.
The Backwoods family lived largely out of
doors, men, women, and children. For a large part of the year

because of the mild climate they spant most of their leisure time
on the wide front piazza, There they received their guests, there
the women, sewed, knit and gossiped with their neighbors; the men
came at intervals, followed by the hounds,_ Ringwood, and Jowler,
Lion and Hunter, all in the jolliest loud mood, the children com-

ing to meet them, the smaller ones climbing up to their father to
be noticed.
When it became for/comfort on the piazza, the family re-
paired to a big fire within doors. In the rear jamb of the big
clay chimney that had been built well out from the wall of the
house, was a platform just below the window and capable of holding

a great load of wood. Much "fat" pine or lightwood was used. When
necessary to replenish the fire one had only ko open the window
and reach the wood which the boys had kept on the platform.

On the plantations,the family dwelling, the "hall" or"the
big house" and the accompanying small buildings, were set well back
off the road and was approached thru the big gate that opened on
a tree-lined avenue all of which lent an air of dignity, exclu-
siveness and privacy to the family home. Contrary to this, the
backwoods home was built not far from the side of the public road
and admitted calling and loud conversation with passers-by.
While the value of shade trees was known and appreciated,
and there was to the average home -ffiae background of fine trees, ;
there was no close-clipped green lawn. Such a thing as a lawn
mower was not known and its purpose not understood.

9* B1d Canoochee Backwoods Sketches.

Daily Duties M-6
Household Ways.

_Jave for a hardy shrub here and there, few of the Backwoods homes
gave any evidence of attempts at horticulture about the premises;
most of the dwellings were surrounded by white sandy yards under
the trees. It would have been a delight to walk ankle deep in *bh

the'beaut1ful brown leaves that in the fall of the year were dropped

from the sycamore, oak, and other deciduous trees but these were

religiously swept away as being unsightly and their presence a re-
flection upon the name of the women of the family as good house-keepers,
The girls regularly swept the yards front and back, with a "brush-
l.fe girld
broom made up of a bundle of gallberry bushes stripped of their
leaves. It was dirty work, but the girls tied up their heads or donned
an old sunbonnet to protect in part from the dirt, and at the end of
the task there was a liberal application of soap and water. The house

was set well up from the ground, and the boys kept underneath raked
and clear of debris.
In the early springtime the woodlands were redolent with wild

bloom. When violets and little star-eyed flowers were peeping thru
the new grass, the air was filled with balsamic odors of pine, hickory

buds, and the entrancing fragrance of yellow jessamine and wild honey-
suckle. Here and there like sheeted ghosts snowy wild plum shone thru
the trees, and dogwood, maple and redbu leamed in springtime loveli-
ness. In the farmer's field the Cherokee rose formed an impenetrable

hedge along the fence rows.

There were some exceptions to the bareness around the home,
and the ornamentation of open spaces was a delightful blend of color
and fragrance. Since that time florists have achieved wonders in the
propagation and improvement of flowering plants and shrubs, but even

was much to select from,_ cape jessamine,(gardenia) crape myrtle,

f fj1d Canoochee Backwoods Sketches. !i~*
i -Househod Ways.

syringa, hydrangea, honeysuckle, woodbine. Not many ever-blooming roses,
but those that bloomed in spring were exquisitely lovely. There were
borders of annuals, gay morning glories; hollylooks that flaunted their
color, and regal sunflowers that turned golden disks to follow the sun,
Boxwood with its slow growth and dignified permanence,/not known
to the Backwoods, was met frequently in the grounds of the older settled
plantation homes, asa usually as a hedge for camellias, calyoanyhus, and
pitisporum. In those plantation gardens sometimes were oheridhed plants,

and even trees of foreign importation, soured by a member of the family
when in foreign diplomatic service, or as a traveler on a summer tour.
But these things did not touch the life of the Backwoods.
Mosquitoes were not numerous in the higher setting of the house,
and it was thought that the two big tirestands that were lighted every
night in warm weather would ward off any troublesome insects. However,
as a further precaution against mosquitoes, each of the beds had de-
pending from canopy and testers a full mosquito net. Long-handled pal-
metto brushes made from the shredded leaves of palmettoes that grew along
the Ooast were very effbotiv6 in driving away mosquitoes and other fly-
iinineots. Brown sedge grass that grew in old fields in the fall of
the year made convenient light brooms for flicking away dust and keep-
the floors uhder the beds clean.
The extreme cleanliness practiced by most of the Backwoods house-
wives in and around the premises entailed much hard work, but was held
to as a sort of religion. There was much "scouring" and use of hot water

at regular intervals, when the big washpot was needed. This system of

housekeeping made up in large measure for the lack of better household
furnishings, _which the people did not miss since they had never known

any better than they then had.

Jullj E. Vi n .

Family Life

Family Washing

In the mild olimate of the lower South the family washing was
usually done out of doors the year around, -by selecting bright days
in winter. In every family backyard there was a commodious open
shelter under which the worker stood. In the more primitive house-
tovKer .
holds, deep troughs hollowed out of a Urge log, with auger hole in
one end and a OCOmtb stopper, was used as a tub. In addition there
might be a pall or two, and one or two big iron-bound tuba made by
sawing across a heavy hardwood cask that originally had been appropriated
to some other use, perhpas it had been a syrup barrel. There was a
heavy wooden block of convenient height (two and a half or three feet)
and a heavy hardwood stick; these were the "clothes block* and the
"battling stick', used for pounding the clothes instead of rubbing on a
washboard. A large iron pot or boiler stood on its own legs a few feet
away. For convenience, all this equipment was placed near the well.
There wad one rigid requirement* altho the trough, the tubs and
the big washpot for boiling, could be conveniently reached from the
well, no water, no soapsuds from the trough, the tnbe, nor any from
the pot could be poured out near, but must be carried to a-fafe distance
to be emptied. Every family prized a good well of pure water; for not
only the health but the comfort of the family depended upon the purity
of the drinking water. There was no artificial ice in those days: it-
was not until br. John B. Gorrie of Appalachicola, florida, invent
a formula for artificial ice was suh a thing known. This wonderful
discovery was made in 1858. In the large towns and cities where trans-
portation was adequate, people enjoyed the natural ice produced farther
north, but in a spirit of self-defense the country people took care of


their wells.
Vlhen washday approached, usually the evening before, soiled
garments were shaken out and put to soak in cold or lukewarm water*
The next morning, as early as the other work would permit, the washty
was started. Here again the help of the men and boys was acceptable,-
in filling the trough, the tubs and the big pot with water, and in

providing wood for the boiling. Then the real work began. The
clothes were washed, soaped with plenty of good homemade soap. put

to belJ, taken oat, pounded with the stick that was used to keep the
clothes moving around In the pot; washed again, ned, wrung out and
put to dry. There were no clothes wrinSers, and this was the vary
hardest part of the whole operation, the clothes had to be wrang by
hand. If there were no clothes pins, and there might not be, the
clothes were hung on the cleanest part of fences and bushes to dry.
Before wire clothes-lines came into use, there were small-size ropes
but these had to be taken down and pat up often to prevent mildew and
too early wearing out.
The question of personal cleanliness and the problem of removing
the dirt from soiled clothing is as old as civilization itself, and
has come to the meet recent times. Th laundry method of the back-
woods housewife had ranch to recommend it. She had the advantages of
good soft water, plenty of clean homemade soap, plenty of wood for .'-
boiling; and for the drying, clean sweet air, free from all impurities,
and sunlight in clean open Spaces. The baby's clothes, the men's best
shirts, and the women's best dressoe were generally done at the same
time as the starching and ironinv.
The smoothing irons, ancientlyy known as "sadirons"), were the
old-fashion kind used from time inmemorial. They were placed before


a fire of glowing coals of oak or hickory on a clean swept hearth,
and when hot enough were polished to exstrem amootness with beeswax
or on the brash of a green pintop. As each piece was ironed it was
seasoned, before the open fire in winter, eMd in the open sunlight at
other times.
The weekly washday was the hardest day of the week for the hob e-
wife. In the average backwoods family everybody recognized this and
more or less consideration was akr n. The men and boys kewn not to
expect the usual big boiled dinner. The noon meal would be a quick
meal or lunch. But with the many good things from the dairy, the
smkehouse, the store room and the sugar house, with probably some of
Mother' s fine lightbread, which had been baked the day before, nobody
fared badly. The boys and girls made jolly over the situation, the
boys wanting to help "Big Sister", who after all was not so very big,
and had been helping Mother as best she could, while Little Sister had
taken care of the baby. Between the tw girls the dish-washing and
the churning had been done; Mother had stopped from the washing to
help with the scalding of the milk things and had put them up high to
dry; rather was thoughtful and bad helped to carry off the used water
from the trough and the tuba; and so it had been a good day after all.

.4 '. /* I *

Juliv E. Harn. Lame Manufactures
Family Life

In the back nook of the kitchen of every Backwoods faorhose

there was an ash barrel or hopper. This was made by taking a strong
barrel (not a cask) boring holes in the bottom and filling the barrel

with oak and hickory ashes taken from the big open fireplace. The

barrel of ashes was set upon a slightly inclined platform on which

cleats had been nailed lengthwise. From time to time water was

poured upon the ashes, and after dripping thru was caught in a

receptacle under the edge of the platform. T41s strong lye was used

for ma rng soap and for other purposes.

!(hen the time came for making the soap, the refuse fat which had
been saved for this was put into a big wash boiler, water added and

boiled awhile; then removed, strained thru a coarse cloth or sacking

and returned to the pot. Lye was added and the whole boiled the

requisite time, which was determined by testing in a clean white plate.
It hard soap was wanted a piece of rosin or even a piece of dry pine
gum was added to the boiling mixture, but for soft soap this was

'hile the soap was boiling it nmnst be stirred continuously in

one direction and by not too many individuals. whetherr the manner

of stirring had anything to do with the quality of the soap is not

definitely known, but every good cook knows that fine cake batter

shloud be beaten with firm steady strokes or by a cake beater in the

one direction, to produce a cake of fine smooth texture. Soft soap
of a Jelly-like consistency was put into a tight keg iad set away;

the hard soap was left to cool in the boiler. After that it was cut

into bars, laid on a board in cries-cross strips and put aside to
harden. he soap made in this was was wonderfully cheap and good.

Julia E. Ham.

Family Life

Home Manufactures

Spinning and weaving were among the necessary activities of every

home. Girls of twelve were often the main dependence for the spinning.

The weaving was always done by the older women of the family* The

unit of weight for thread was the ounce. This was computed also in

the cloth, and was the comparative weight of all woven fabrics,

whether cotton or wool, or mixed, and in the weight of blankets. 'With

the simpler weaves of cloth almost any housewife could adjust the

warp in the loom; but often the services of another woman who was

particularly skilled in the work would be required to "put in" a piece

of bloth, that is, arrange the thread and determine just the order

of the procedure. Many of those women were good, even expert design-

ers of patterns for the beautiful wool counterpanes. Their patterns

were often standardized designs brought from the old country by some

ancestress, but there may have been some original patterns among them.

Those backwoods people must also have had aB-4ae knowledge of dyeing

the simple primary colors. The indigo growing about in all the woods

was the common souroo of blue; but besides the logwood black, and the

indigo blue, the patterns of the counterpane were marked with a beau-

tiful red, yellow and brown. All these colors were lasting, as could

be shown by the very last remnant of the counterpanes. Gray cotton

jeans for men's and boys' summer suits; various checks and stripes for

women and children's dresses and aprons; plain white of different

weights for different purposes these would be included in the summer


The greatest achievement by any home weaver was the fine gray

SX 8.

Jeans for mean's and boys* suits, the nearly-all-wool fabrics for
* winter wear. Some of this goods was quite fine and handsome, being
of smooth even texture, and distinctly gray and uniform in color.
When properly tailored those suits were very worthy of admiration.
Much of the weaving was done in the late spring and early fall, in
an open room. Some of the loghouses did not have glass window panes,
and light was essential for the work. For the same reason the weaving
could not be done in the winter; and it may be that a moderate temper-
ature was better for the mgnipulation of the threads. This also was
the time when the chickens and gardens required less attention, and
there would be more time for cutting and sewing.
Knitting was another of the woment1 occupations. Nearly, if not
all the socks worn by the men and boys were homeknit. But this work
was often done by the winter fireside; and if there were any women in
the family who, by the infirmity of age or weak health were not strong
enough to assist with the more arduous duties, they did most of the
knitting which included not only socks, but scarfs and wraps for the
women and children, and gloves for the young sirls, who liked to pro*
teet their hands when engaged in the rougher tasks; and gallusess
(suspenders) for the men and boys.

Julia E. Har XI.

S. Family Life

The Family Doctor

The family doctor lived a long way off in a more populous com-

munity, and was not always available when wanted. It was necessary,

therefore, that some one in the household should know what to do in
ordinary cases of sickness, without depending too much upon the

doctor. There were no long-distance telephones in those days, no

automobiles nor hard-surfaced roads leading any and every where. It

was a very distressing but not infrequent experience to send a messen-

ger some twenty miles away for the doctor to find upon arrival that
the doctor had been called twenty or more miles in the opposite direel*-

tion, and with no certainty as to the time of his return.
So, the very best thing to do was to guard the family health in

every way possible by taking precautionary measures, and if there

were any symptoms of an ailment or sickness coming on, try to stave it

off. If this could not be done there were certain preliminaries that
the doctor always prescribed in advance of any remedies. Learn these
and be prepared. In case of accident, as for instance, a broken arm

incurred by a child falling from a tree, there was nearly always some
one available who could set the limb correctly. And it bad to be done

without the aid of the X-Ray since there were none in existence.

In extreme cases the patient might be taken to the doctors home

office, which was something of a family hospital. People in cities

patronized the regular hospitals when necessary, but many surgical

cases, as well as other forms of illness, were treated at home.

Trained nursing as a profession was not known out of the big cities,

but there were many practical nurses who had large knowledge of the

r .-.

XI 8
Old Canooohee Backwoods Sketches.
The Family Doctor.

the work. InsertJ2
-- nt uoh of their knowledge was gained from prac-

tice of rules laid down in a book known as The Family Doctor. More

than one stilled practitioner had written guide book for heads of
neaps.t 1,
families. A book of this kind was in/every intelligent family, was

the exclusive property of the mother and wisely withheld from pub-

licity, but available to those who could rightly interpret its teach-

ings. The lessons were straightforward and easy to follow. It was

a treatise on physiology, hygiene, care of infants, and much extended

and valuable information as to the treatment of simple maladies.

This knowledge was primarily intended as intelligent guidance for

mothers in the care of their families and where ailments were,ao the

common kind. In this there was no attempt to rob the regular doctor

of his prerogatives, but to be a help in time of need._ "To know

waht to do until the Doctor Comes."

X Besides the medical guide,etc.

\j14.L 6t44#t~&rblhuir-:


work. here was ways in every community an elderly woman, herself

a mother, whose services were vital in their importance, but strange
to say, these very women, upon whom the lives of mothers and babies
often depended, were considered more of a necessary evil than a
blessing. The next in importance to the surgeon himself, the woman
was only somebody's "granny"
Some knowledge of the healing art had been handed down n in fami-

lies thru many generations and was highly prized. Medicines and

remedies from herbs in the vegetable garden, and from roots, plants
and barks found in the woods and old fields, were ne or less skill-

fully compounded. Simple chemicals were produced,-potash. was obtained
from wood ashes; iodine from burnt weedsa iron from scales broken out
from the blacksmith's anvil. Manufacturing chemists now Offer ready
for use mnch that in former times the chemist in the drugstore found

only in crude form and worked out by slow process. Many materials
for dyeing the cotton- and wool for spinning bad also to be found in
the woods. These were fixed with simple chemicals.


i *'-2.

work. There was always in every community an elderly woman, herself

a mother, whose services were vital in their importance, but strange

to say, these very women, upon whom the lives of mothers and babies
often depended, were considered more of a necessary evil than a

blessing. The next in importance to the surgeon himself, the woman

was only somebody s "granny"

Some knowledge of the healing art had been handed down in fami-

lies thru many generations and was highly prized. Medicines and-

remedies from herbs in the vegetable garden, and from roots, plants

and barks found in the woods and old fields, were more or less skill-

fully compounded. Simple chemicals were produced,-potash.was obtained

from wood ashes; iodine from burnt weeds; iron from scales broken out

from the blacksmitht- anvil. Manufacturing chemists now dffer ready

for use much that in former times the chemist in the drugstore found

only in crude form and worked out by slow process. Many materials

for dyeing -te-cotton and wool for spinning bad also to be found in
the woods. These were fixed with simple chemicals.

Julia Et 4rn
-., lIA 1.

6 ld Canooehee Backwoods Sketches.

Part 1 Family Life. ^ W -_e_

Interior Trafflt. A

In addition to the means of communication furnished by
natural waterways, the several rivers that found their way to the
sea along the Oeorgia coast, there were certain highways leading out
of Sa&VfOM even the earlier period of development offered fairly
good right of way for the traffic of the state. The IaUieville
and lugusta, the Dublin road, and two others that were the continu-
ation of the Savannah-Ogeechee road to King's Ferry on the Ogeechee
river, fifteen miles from the city. One of these two was the Darien
road, leading fifty or more miles south and southwest and terminating
at rarien on the Altamaha river. This road was of the earliest
Colonial importance.

rteift was one of the earliest of the Oglethorpe settlements,
dating back to 1734. It was settled by a group of Scotch Highlanders
brought over by Oglethorpe the year after Savannah, with the double
purpose of founding a colony and one thpt would be a military cordon
against the hostile Spaniards in Florida. En passant, it may be
sta-ed that the Scotch settlers proved themselves equal to all that
was expected of them, either as citizens or as soldier pAtigts. *
The Darien road was built by slave labor after the introduction of
Negro slaves into Georgia ((In 1750) It was a broad atmay stage-
coach highway, much o t be of corduroy structure thr the
swamps and lowlands. waTs we 1 maintained for many years, and ulti-
mately absorbed into the modern highway system of the State.

JutSlta E. Barn.,

The other road from the Ferry Junction led along the lower
Great Ogeechee thru the peninsula of Bryan Neck and skirted many
of the big river plantations. The history of these old planta-
tions and the people who settled them and bestowed upon then the
beautiful names that still cling, forms a tory interesting part of
the State of Georgia's early records. But it does not properly
belong to these Backwoods Sketches j .'... The other important high-
way leading from King's Great Ogeechee Ferry, passing thru and
beyond Canoochee extended west and nortlhest into the interior of
a thrifty farming section which the railroads had not yet penetrated.
This road, locally known as the "oencart Road, furnished an outlet
from the farms to the city market, Savannah. Great wagons, some-
times caravans of great wagons loaded with cotton, wool, and other
farm products, formed a feature of traffic. Big farm -wagons loaded
two and three tiers deep with all kinds of poultry went into the
city by continuous route and brought back supplies of merchandise
and manufactured goods. Each wagon was drawn by an adequate team
of horses or mules. Food for the teamsters, provender for the
draught animals, food for the poultry, and water for the entire
#mraner was an important consideration.
Along the highway also were driven by slow stages large numbers
of cattle on their way to the city market. Some of the cattle were
brought from as far away as the adjoining state of Florida. The
battle needed skillful manageent while on the trail. The question
of food and water and some grazing along the highway was planned as
far as possible before the setting out. It was urgent that the
journey be so graduated that advantage oould be taken of the creeks

Julia E. Hamn.

another road from the Ferry junction led along the lower
Great Ogeechee thru the peninsula of Bryan Neck and skirted many
of the big raoLeplantations. -'he history of those old planta-

tions a4 tenep im I ndl@e toeiote,

bea I2names that still cling, forms a very interesting part of
the State (of Gedrgia s early records.!- But it does nt properly
bejongyto thee Backwoo0 d Sketis a '"e hiormportant high-
way ead from Kingts eat 0getMktb Ferry, passing thru and
hyfaW -Z C-avU-_ u -A4d- ;.-t- and northwest into the interior of

a thrifty farming section which the railronads iad not yet penetrated.
This road, locally known as the "Haneart: Road' furnished an outlet
from the farms to the city are Savnah ag some-
times cars-vans of @et wagons, loaded with cotton, wool, and other
farm products formed a feature of traffic. Big ewei wagons loaded
two and three tiers deep with all kinds of poultry went into the
city by continuous route and brought back supplies of merchandise
and manufactured goods. Each wagon was drawn by an adequate team
of horses or mules. Food for the teamsters, provender for the
draught animals, food for th poultry, and water for the entire
number wa an important cons ieration.
Along the highway also were driven by slow stages large numbers
of battle on t wy t city ma Some of the cattle were
brought from as far away as the adjoining state of Florida. The
cattle needed skillful management while on trail The question

alL -.0 1^Lj -sa 4i 1fI_-. -1 --- "- e! 6-- lav mLe
n out was urgent that the

journey be so graduated that advantage could be taken of the creeks

*11 3 .

and tributaries of the larger rivers, where the cattle could be
forded across without danger erloss. The care Of the vehicles was
another item. Each of l;he big farm wagons carried a can or small
pall of axle grease dangling from the lower frame. without the i)t
axle grease the long journey could not be completed. When weather
permitted, much of the travel was done by night, resting in the day.
The teamsters and cattle drovers on the regular route had
camping places, changing from time to time as the native grass along
the way became exhausted., :-a ;9. -l i- ,
a-- i_=- ......~l u_- .... -u. -nThe "cowboy holler" and
the loud cracking of whips could be heard a long way off, and
were a friendly signal when approaching a home in sight of the high-
way. Then everybody rushed amt to see and w*& to the drivtrtan&---
keeping a little ayv back from the dust amdE| te.
In those early days before there was such a network of railways

over the face of the country, the travel along the highways was
heavy. The stagecoaches took care of much of this, and provision
was made for passengers and teams at the relay stations. Even then
there were many private conveyances of various kinds on the roads,
and ngy men who preferred horseback riding. The wealthier class
of people generally traveled in their own carriages, and sometimes
if on a long trip, with their servants and 1 gae in ano her vehicle.
SAt the pp e;ma t th&ei"-s -a I ro, n ST.ffn1 I---r a.=.ed. of J

h.wj .h for pene jt. Tfe contrast now,/
however, is in the magnificent(public roads tor
of j.tiop of the elect ic motor for" daewqh4
omobleh e t-i ixr4 e1w -triease .- d oaeheS, roomy and .
comfortable whether fl**,ra iway or privately-o d vehicle ain the

XII 3.

and tributaries of the larger rivers, where the cattle could be
forded aeros without danger of loss. The car of the vehicles was
another item. Each of the big farm wagons carried a can or emal
pail of axle grease dangling from the lower frame. VWithut the
axle grease the long journey could not be completed. '!hen weather

permitted, much of the travel was done by night, resting in the day.
The teamsters and cattle drovers an the regular route had
camping places, changing from time to time as the native grass along
the way became exhausted. T l T i

The cowboy heller" and
the loud enacking of the whips could be heard a long way off, and
were a friendly signal when approaching a hom in eight of the high-
way. Than everybody rushed out to see and wave to the drivera,and
keeping a little way back from the dust and noise.
In those early days before there was such a network of railways
over the face of the country, the travel along the highways was
heavy. The stagecoaches took care of inch of this, and provision
was made for passengers and teams at the relay stations. Even then
there were many private conveyances of varaouo kinds on the roads,
and many men who preferred horseback riding. The wealthier class
of people generally traveled in their own carriages, and sometime
if on a long trip, with their servants and luggage in another vehicle.
At the present there is a revival, and greatly increased, of
highway travel both for passengers and freight. The eantrast, now,
however, is in the magnificent public roads that bisect every part
of the country; the substitution of the electric motor for draught
animals air-conditioned and electrically lighted coaches, roomy and
comfortable whether &n railway or privately-owned vehicle In the

earlier days a long journey was looked forward to with more or less
dread bans of the privations it entailed. The railways changed
much of the uncomfortable features; but then the railway was often
far away, and not easily reached. W lsa ne me-aw .r- trn

Tiabe. was an important source of revenue along the Canoochee
river with its forests of lofty pines. For many years Southern
"heart pine" had a name and prominence in the big lumber markets.
As confined to the Canooohee section, the business consisted in

the cutting and floating of sawmill logs to the city market,
Savannah, where, beQquse of its excellence, the timber commanded
an exceptional price.
The route by which the timber was taken to market was by rafts
down the Canoochee into the Great Ogeechee river to the sea; then

up the coast between the sea islands to the city. This was a much
favored route when the weather was propitious, but in the season of
storms was accompanied by much hazard. The records show very few
fatalities, but there was the ever-present danger in any rough
weather of the loss of the timber, and the men being blown out to
sea. The Savannah-Ogeechee canal was built in the early part of
the 19th century to eliminate the danger and also to shorten the
distance between the two rivers. However, the sea route had a lure
for men of adventurous spirit, and was not wholly abandoned by

those who rode the rafts.

\-nz a B.- I
O Old Canoochee Backwoods.

Interior Traffice
The Cracker Cart.
Part 1. Family Life. ___

One unique type of vehicle was the Cracker cart, popular with
the mmll farmers because of its cheapness, its adaptability to
varied uses, and its long service. The art was often used as the
fatly carriage, even to go to townand for hauling small loads about
the farm. it was built by the local blacksmith and wheelwright.
The original idea of the cracker cart amy have been borrowed
from the Spanish settlers in Florida, or wherever early Amersian
settlers case into contact with them. The cart had only two wheels,
and was ballt on the principle of the dumpeart. The bread wheels
with rias several inches across were banded with heavy iron tires

wrought out in the blacksmith shop. The spokes sad other parts of
the wheels were hand-wrought of hardwood, the body of simple and
somewhat crude construction was fastened to the axle by strong iron
The horse was saddled and the shafts drawn over his head; a broad
leather band was carried nder the horse a body and fastened to the
shafts by sturdy wooden pins on each side. The saddle without stir-
raps was made secure. Instead of leather traces, small iron chains
were used... Two-wheeled carts have been in use from time immaeorial,
were known to the ancients, but where the Spanish idea comes in is in
having the -river sit on the saddle and guide the horse with the
bridle rein-:tla Spanish Volante, whose coachman wore livery and
carried a eoach whip. The driver of the cart with feet firtly implant-
ed on the shafts gave added security. But It was a crude and ludicrous
position for a man and that is probably the reason that the boys, even

t le*- $ it tB. 1

the small boys on the farm, usually drove the cart, with fe& resting
easily upon the shafts. The father was far more at home on hore-
back, feet in stirrups, free and untrammeled, racing thru the woods
with dogs following in Afll cry, both m and dogs ruslng fall tilt
after game or stampeding cattle.
The name Cracker came from the cowboys, who used long plaited,
leather whips when driving the cattle. The whips were generally
homemade, and had strong handles covered with buckskin, and a buck-
skin cracker on the end. From much practice the ePwbOys had become
expert in the use of the whips; the loud, sharp crack of the whips
and accompanied by "the Cowboy Holler' "0-00 Q.000.0()Ou v was thrill-
ing and carried to a great distance. The cowboys were known as the
"whip crackers'. The name was extended to include the entirety of
the Backwoods people, who were nearly all engaged In raising cattle
on the free ranges. Thus Georgia became known as the Cracker State.
Both Florida and Georgia Backwoods people are known as Crackers even
now, altho the name has largely lost its significance. The cowboy
holler was developed into the Rebel Yell which was used by Southern
soldiers in the Civil lar.
In the city of Savannah, as in many of the older cities, there
was a large central market where all kinds of fresh foods and vege-
tables were exposed for sale. The City Market in Savannah was
located in one of the open squares for which the older city was
noted. The structure itself was a large open building with a strong
heavy rhed roof supported by massive pillars. The area beneath
was divided into stalls and open compartments for the various kinds
of food, seats, fish, dressed poultry, vegetables and bakers#
produata. Immediately surrounding the structure on all sides, was
an iron rail that guarded the low platforms where the hucksters


disposed their wares. Great baskets and flat trays made of strong
grasss, were piled high with tempting fruit and vegetables.
To this market4 the country people, usually small farmers who
eould Vke the rip from home in one day, would come and sell their
surplus in the morning of the next day. In a part of the older city
of Savannah which had once been a residential section and was only
a few blocks from Market Square, was an area of vacant lets, more
than a acre in extent and enclosed by a high board wall, This was
the Wagon Yard where farmers could park their carts for the day or
night. A long open abed provided stalls for horses. A large,
fwmikhed house, in connection with the wagn yard, afforded respect-
able quarters where the farmers or their families could lodge. How-
ever, as the lot might not be free of molestation, in spite of police
protection, the farmers and.dlivets oaeupied the wagons and carts to
protect their property.
~rPsef going to market usually went in groups. Neighbors found
it pleasanter and safer to eamp togetAer on the return trip, which
was frequently necessary. %he neighbors would start from home early
in the morning, meet by appointment at the bridge or the ferry and
travel in company; stopping near "Old An fineth' place Sfo the
nouoday lunch. Anybody who ever traveled the SvaWaaeebgeeehee road
from the city to the twelve mile post, aL mabered the3teth
fmly and the big deep well with its springs of pure cool water. -
heepitality of that homely little Datohman, Peter Sineath, and his
favtly, in keeping that well by the roadside, was as fine and pure as
the water itself. The farmer would reach the city in the early
evening and after a night of some rest would be ready for the next


,tlluminating gas was used in Savannah at that tiae thruout the
city, in public buildings, to, sto offices, and many homs, and
until displaced by electricity. The city market which had been
dimy lighted in the earlier part of the night, was brilliantly
ilJuswtated shortly after midnight. Butchers, bakers, trU garden-

t e4s, Iketefts As, and venders of every sort, came in and got far-
for tAe early trade. The coffee stalls and lunch stands opened up.
The farmui with country produce were there in the early morning
light, VWthb the horses hitched at the convenient rack, not far away,
the two-wheeled cracker heart would be drawn up in front of one of the
httksters' platforms, the good things in the cart held back until the
customers amie.
City people then visited the market for delicacies that now are
reached by other medium, Men,(connoieurs in food) and housewives,
would appear in the early morning, each followed by a servant with a
big covered market basket, to select from the first of erngs of the
day. tMny farmers had regular customers. They i as the season
namn round, fresh country butter; homemade cheese sausage; and
various neat puddings fre the recent hog-killing; fresh pork, dressed
poultry; fresh eggs; game, venison, wild ducks, wild turkey The
farmer woenm who sent their good things to market knew the value of
appearance. Everything was beautifully clean, and there was a dis-

play of white cloth wrappings that was very attractive...
The larger output from regular farm crops was taken to the city
on big farm wagons. S.omfe.mes the farmers would Recompany the carts
driven by the younger men, usually to manipulate the sale. But those
were bigger transactions, and represented the real income of the
family. Selling in the city market was more or less profitable in
a smaller way. The returns generally went to the women of the family,

II-i- 5

and helped with current expenses

The merchants around Market Square confined their trade almost$

exclusively to the country peopleand catered to their special needs.

Those merchants were not the regular cotton brokers. The latter all
had offices on the Bay, the river front. Cotton was stored tempora-
rily in great cotton sheds and warehouses in B the railroad yards
and on the water front. But the Market Square merchants did a thriv-
ing business. In the exchange the farmers sold to the merchants

barrels of cane syrup, cured meats, bushels of corn and dried pease, 4
or wool
and animal hides. And a bale of cottom/might figure in the exchange.
What the merchants offered in return represented staple sulllies,.

Some farm implements, harness and other leather goods, horde blankets,
farm and garden seed, canvas and cheesecloth for crop covers, coffee,
and the finer grades of sugar. Nearly always the farmer received a

suspicious-looking big jug that might or might- not contain vinegar.
Those jugs were more in evidence just before Christmas or in
advance of a political rally, or a barbecue.

*./ / .XII.

SOld Canoochee Backwoods Sketches.

The Peddler

One of the time-honored institutions of that faraway day was

the itinerant merchant, Mr. Jasper Sims, who had lost a leg in the

Mexican War and made his home in Canoochee Precinct. After the War

and the loss of his leg, Mr. Sims found that he could not continue

the business of farming and began to look around for some other way

of making his living. He was a very active man of lively temperament

and possessed a sense of humor; he was withal something of a philoso-

pher. These qualities admirably fitted him for the business of itin-

erant merchant. At the start Mr. Sims fitted up a light spring

wagon, with a top to protect from the weather, harnessed his one horse

and went into Savannah. There he was fortunate enough to find a

friend in one of the leading merchants who agreed to finance the

enterprise and to furnish Mr. Sims with all the goods he would need

for his initial trip, entirely upon credit.

The initial trip proved financially successful, even beyond what

Mr. Sims had anticipated. After that he went regularly out into the

country district with his goods. The jingle of the bells on the

peddler's wagon, enhanced by the rattle of tinware, was heard with

pleasure by the housewives and children; the former were much enter-

tained by his jokes and gossip, the latter delighted with the gift of

candy which Mr. Sims never failed to remember. The merchant peddler

studied the wants of his customers; he jotted down requests, and

rarely ever was any one disappointed. For the goods he brought, he

received his pay in butter, chickens, eggs, and any other produce that

the housewives had to sell. In the season when the men and boys had

animal hides to dispose ofj Mr. Sims would make special trips for

the dressed skins, hides and pelts of small fur-bearing animals, -

coon, deer, otter, squirrel and fox, and dressed buckskin. The

larger, heavier cowhides the farmers took into town along with

the cured meats, the barrels of cane syrup, the cotton and the wool.

ulia E. Han XIV.-

Family Life


There were in every populous community flourishing private

schools, and in every state many secondary schools, academies, and

some colleges of high rank- But there were few, if any, free schools

anywhere in the South, and the thinly settled rural communities

educational facilities were very meager. A common school term consist-

ed of a "quarter" of three months, and woful to relate, one such term

a year was all that some communities had. Moreover, the school term

had to be pitched at a time that would not too greatly interfere with

work on the farm.

Since there was no regular public school system in the backwoods

sections, and no school officials, the selection of teachers was an

irregular matter, usually left to the teachers themselves. The man

or woman who desired to teach in a rural community announced the fact,

and went around the neighborhood with a written contract and secured

signatures from the heads of families as to the number of "scholars"

they would send. In this matter, one or two prominent citizens usually

took an active part. Sometimes a public meeting would be called at the

schoolhouse to discuss and decide matters. If the number of pupils

warranted, there might be a second teacher. While the salary was

necessarily small and paid at the end of the term, the price fell

somewhat heavily upon large families. As a whole,,however, the people

were strictly opposed to what was known as free schools; they thought

that such a system which they did not understand would savor of


The question of transportation of pupils was not one of very

serious consideration. Many of the boys and girls walked three or

a df


more miles to the 1dg schoolhouse. When there were several children

there might be some sort of conveyance provided, but that was rare.

In those days people dod not disdain to walk; it was considered good
for them. The daily session opened at about eight in the morning,

possibly earlier. There was a noon intermission, and school had to

be "turned out" in time for the children to get hem before dark.

It was often a jolly crowd that set out from the big log schoolhouse,-
talking, laughing, wrangling, and swinging their dinner pails. Now

and then there might be a scrap on the way that would have to be

investigated the next day. As a rule, however, the presence of a

large boy or girl would keep down trouble. Years after that time,

the question would come up for discussion in a gathering of teachers

as to the extent of the teachers jurisdiction over pupils on the way

to and from school.

One thing may be said of those old-fashioned schools, if there
were only a few subjects taught, there was thoroughness. Methods
took care of themselves; the brighter pupils had no limitations put

upon them by being yoked to the dull and mediocre. Much more depended

upon the educational qualifications than upon the professional train-
ing of the teacher. Many a bright boy or girl received intensive
training in some favored subject because of the teacher's special

knowledge of it. The worst handicap was the dearth of libraries and

books in the homes.

Very much was thought of writing,- penmanship. As a rule, boys
took a delight in that. If a boy had gone thru the Blue-back Speller;

could write a clear, distinct hand, and had passed thhiule of Three

in arithmetic, he was considered fairly well educated in a backwoods

neighborhood. Oh, yes, he must have given some time to the study of

"Smith's Grammar". Anyway, these things well and throughly learned

XIV -S -

were fundamental. Besides, there was much in the way of a practical

education that was learned on the farm and about the home.

The big time at the schoolhouse was on Friday afternoon when the
spelling match would come off and there was usually some attempt at

public speaking. There had been mo established standard of spelling

until Noah Webster achieved it with his Blueback Spellerg which, per-
haps, accounts for the varied forms of spelling that had prevailed.

From that wonderful old spelling book came forth many champion spellers.

The first page of the book contained the alphabet, followed by the
elementary syllables. One had to learn his a-b-a abs. Progress was
marked by certain stages. When one had reached "baker" and "shady"
he was well into two syllables. There was a rule that every syllable

in a word must be pronounced individually and as compounded, no matter

how long the word nor if one of the component parts was only one letter.

(To spell the word incomprehensibility, the procedure would be I-n in,

c-o-m cor, Incom, p-r-e pre, Incompre, hien hean, Incomprehen, s-i al,

Incomprehensi, b-i-1, Incomprehensibil, i* Incomprehensibili, t-y,

(pronounced t-wy-ti), Incomprehensibility.) To fail to spell and.

pronounce each word clearly and distinctly in this way was to miss.
The spelling match was the main feature of the afternoon. All who
were sufficiently advanced could take part without regard to age. This

proved a strong incentive to all.
B&t4there was much rivalry in the speaking and much interest shown.
Tuan -eimp certain stock pieces that went the rounds as long as their

popularity lasted. Perhaps the first speaker who came out would

"You would skyree (scarce) expect
One of my age
To speak in public
On the stage,

L XIV 4.

"And if I chance to fall below
Demosthenes or Cicero,
Don't view me with a cricket's (critic's) eye,
But pass my imperfections by."
It was a brave little boy who could deliver that. The next boy
on the program essayed:

"The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but him had fled-"
Incidentally it may be remarked that the same boy stood on the burning
deck for many years on Friday afternoons. The story of "Mary Had a
Little Lamb" was in the height of tie popularity. These "pieces"
were taken from The Little Speaker, but the teacher had a book for
more advanced students. It was a special favor to be permitted to
make selections from that. It contained such classics as, -"Spartacus
to the Gladiators"; Marc Antony's Oration Over Caesar; Marmiods Defiance

to Douglas; Supposed Speech of Regulus; Leod Chatham On the American
Revolution; Washington's Farewell Address, and sundry other patirotic
American addresses, and a few others rather beyond the average boy
in a rural school. If the teacher himself had the ability properly
to train the boys tiey did creditably, but otherwise there was much
mutilation of the material.

The larger girls depended for their recitations upon the minor
English and the American poets. "Maud Muller" and "Curfew Shall Not
Ring Tonight" were not yet on the boards. "The Wreck of the Hesperus"
was in the offing, and "The Breaking Waves Dashed High*.

/'JaSeaJkx XV.
Z *'J J J1 1.I xv.

Family Life

Ths Wayferer

The word "trampn was not at that time included in the vocabulary
of the backwoods, but there were frequently itinerant preachers,
teachers, singing masters, bookkeeper, and "professors" of various
sorts who would come along and offer their services for whatever
remuneration they could obtain, Some of these transients were worth-
while and happened along just when needed.

There have always been human derelicts, and if backwoods records
had been fully and accurately kepttit would be found that sometime
weary souls seeking to escape from tragedy or disappointment have found
a haven of rest in some sequestered backwoods place among plain kindly

people people a little shy of strangers and distrustful at first,
but once their confidence is won, staunch in their friendship.
In the latter times there came tu Laton a- wence, he or
why, no one a4ea, a- stranger, a man apparently about thirty-five years
of age, shabby, unkempt, evidently ready to collapse from arilness
and umnger. lie was first seen at the store and postoffice by John
Benton, who had gone there on a shopping errand. Senton was a man of
rare understanding and kindly sympathies. He soon saw that the man
was not drunk, but sick and starving, and took immediate charge of him.
The man was assisted up from where he had fallen and placed in an old
armchair usually occupied by ona of the idlers around the store. e.
storatives wore given and food. in moderate quantity. It a s found that
the wayfarer should have a place to lie down. As he was not a fit
object to introduce into one's clean home, a bed was improvised in a
back room of the store. There he slept until next morning, when soap
and water and a towel, followed by a hot breakfast from a nearby home,

/ ', fXV- 2.

wrought a casiderable change in him.
The stranger expressed his appreciation for what had been done for
him, said he was not really ill except from fatigue and hunger. more-

over, if they would permit him, he would like to stay for awhile and
work for his board and a change of clothing. To those who befriended.
him, this stranger did not seemi a eooann beggar, but possessed of an
innate dignity and sincerity. So they let him stay on. He was given
work and seemed ready and willing whenever needed. Tacitly, however,
he was kept under niobtnaive asnroillance for a time. Than it
dawned upon some of them that this man was possessed of an Intelligence

and understanding much above the average of the community. His digni-

fied reserve and urbanity of manner won their aspect.
The result was that if any one visiting Beaf oareter some years
later had asked the names of the outstand ng citizens, the first nams

given probably would have been that of Judge Wilkins. So long had
that wayfarer held a position of trust and honor in the community,

that no one seemed to know anything about the manner of his coming
among them, or the story of the man whom John Benton had found on the
porch of the country store, prone from hunger and fatigue. And only
to his warm personal friend, John Benton, bad Raymond Wilkins revealed

the story of his past life and the great heart-breaking tragedy that
had driven him forth wanderer from his home and friends, into an
almost unknown backwooods eoaMAuity. But there he had finally found

peace and a partial surcease from the haunting memories, and could

mend the broken threads of his life in service to his fellow an.

a- "M

J Zlia H I. X
FPamily Life

Food Conservation
Sugar Cane

Every farn in the lower South had Its "patchU of sugar cane,
and a very important crop it was, requiring only a small piece of land
to produce syrup and sugar for the family the year round. The land
had to be rich, but after the first planting very little cultivation
was needed. At one time the farmers banked their cane when the stalks
were cut for the syrup-making, and then in the spring, opened up the
great banks of earth, removed the stored cane and planted it. Later
it was found that a very mach better method, and one that reduced the
amomth of work considerably and rodned better results, was to plant
the cane at the time of cutting for grinding.
In this later way, the ground intended for the nw crop of next
year was thoroughly plowed and made ready. The long trenches in which
the seed stalks were laid, received a heavy layer o pine or soae other
straw and was plentifully fertilized. Then the stalks were carefully
laid, so as to protect the "seed eyes"a heavy covering of earth was
drawn over the stalks, heavy enough to insure against any danger from
frost, and were left thunslntil the winter bad passed and the warn
days of spring had cone. Then the earth covering which had been some-
what depleted thru the winter was drawn away in part, so that the buried
canes could receive the warming sunshine and the rain. Later, the ros
between the cane were plowed. It would probably be necessary to apply
moe fertilizer and plow again and draw the earth more firmly about
the roots, but that would be all, for some months. When the first cool
days of fall came, the fodder was pulled from the lower part of the
tall grown stalks to let in air and sunlight, which helped the cane to
mature and sweeten, but the very lightest of frosts would call for

XVI 8.

immediate cutting and harvesting. Old roots from which the long ripe

stalks had been cut were treated in a similar way to the seed stalks;
there would be another crop from this stubble, but not quite so good
as from stalks.

The stalks of ripe cane were cut, the green tops removed and,
stripped of their fodder and outer casing, were carted to the mill and
there heaped up ready for the crushing. The farmer's cane mill was of
simple and primitive construction. It consisted of two heavy upright
cylinders tu ing upon each other by means of corresponding cogs. The
cylinders were placed upon a small but strong foundation f the small
screw propeller, at the top of which was adjusted a wooden sweep or

pole, a slow-going horse or mule was harnessed. Tho the animal traveled
slowly round the mill and-aa he traveled in a circle,-he had to be
blindfolded. WThen the mill was set going, the canes were thrust between
the rollers by the worker in charge. As the juice was crushed out it
fell thru a coarse cloth strainer into a big cask.
A small open shed housed the furnace with its big boiler or pan.
The furnace was usually built of clay as that was the most available
material, and the work could be done by member of the family. There
were no scientific aids to the business know then to the backwoods,
and people had to rely upon their practical experience; but there was
always someone in the neighborhood who had expert knowledge, gained
from experience, whose advice and help were invaluable. With the
strong and steady boiling of the Juice, there was constant care, and
continuous skimming of the surface with a long-handled strainer, and a
clarifying process at the last. Vah sufficiently boiled the syrup
or sugar was token up into a large trough dug out of seasoned hardwood,
that would not affect the flavor. The screened product was allowed to
stand awhile, the syrup to cool and the sugar to solidify. The syrup

I XVI 3.

was usually stored in suitable barrels and casks. There are so many
containers now that syrup is generally stored in smaller quantities,
After the syrup was consumed the sides of the barrel would be found
coated with crystal rook candy.
* The works. handicap was in lack of facilities to clarify the sugar.

After it.had cooled and granulated the sugar was taken as free from
the molasses as could be, put into barrels and placed on an inclined

, platform in the sugar house. To help the draining of the molasses,
holes had been bored in the bottom of the barrel and cane stalks
thrust thru the mass, A receptacle was placed beneath for the molasses,
Cane grinding and "augar b'ilin* time" was a lively season. It
made strenuous work for some members of the family, but the youngsters
made a holiday of the time and everybody seemed to enjoy it.. The
same work may have been going on at several farms in the neighborhood
at the same time. There was much visiting around by the boys and girls-
in the day there would be drinking of juice, eating foam off the top
of the cooling sugar and at night straw rides and candy pulling and
great jollity everywhere.
The wizardry of the chemist has converted into valuable byproducts
much that was formerly asted on the farm., Outside of furnishing
material forTurn or vinegar, nothing at all was known of the value of
sugar cane refuse. That the stalks from the mill could be converted
into beautiful wall board was a very worthwhile discovers and the most
attractive cellophane akes a very charming wrapping for Afy small

f l
Julia E. Ha XVII.

Family Life

Sowing & Reaping.

The annual work of the farm started early in the new year. There

was the cleaning off and burning or plowing under of the refuse in

the fields from last years crops, like corn stalks and dead pea vines,

muoh as had not been saved for forage. The only fences known then were

the worm* fences of rails, split from the very plentiful supply of

timber. The corners of those fences, both inside and outside, had to

be cleaned out and the fences righted up. With the magnificent free

ranges for cattle it was better to fence the crops than the cattle.

With conditions reversed now, there are still sections in some parts

of the South where the "no fence" law for crops is not popular, and

even hard to enforce because public sentiment is against it. The back-

woodsman holds tenaciously to old customs, either from sentiment or from


Corn was one of the earliest crops to be planted, cotton followed

later. Sweet potatoes were started early from a draw bed. A small plot

of ground was made into a rich soft bed of earth in which the sweet

potatoes were planted very close without regard to anything but to get
as many plknts from the bed as could be made to sprout and grow therein.

In the field where the potatoes were to be set the land had been plowed

and the earth drawn up into long high rows. The plants or "draws" were

then taken from the seed bed and placed in the tops of those lomg rows

of earth. In a short time the plants would be growing finely, having

been kept well watered if the season was unusually dry. Not only the

tubers were growing in the soft earth, but long vines were growing at

the top. These vines were clipped after a time and planted in similar

rows of earth, and later they.produced fine potatoes; and so on thru


the summer vines were cut and planted in the potato rows, particularly

after the summer rains. Potatoes from the draws matured early; those

from the vines were left to grow until late fall.

From the first of April there was a succession of fresh vegetables,
berries, then early melons oanteloupens Summer watermelons were
grown in the field and it was intended to have only enough for home and

neighborhood consumption. Later on the raising of melons for market

was. found profitable, but vegetables and fruits for market were growa

only in truck and market gardens near the city. Field peas were a

forage crop, but then ias*4othe peas when tender and green were con-

sidered fine for the family table. Peas, were also one of the very

best leguminous crops for soil improvements one time the maturing

fodder was pulled from corn stalks and used for forage, but that custom

is being discarded now and other things used along with the hay instead.

When the corn was matured there was the "breaking"of the corn from the
stalk and letting the ears hang down until the time came for harvesting.
The ears being lowered prevented mildew while the corn was standing.

Cotton required much care fom the time it was planted. in order
to secure a good stand it was planted too thick and later was thinned.
Then came. numerous ho aings "chopping" and in most sections it had

to be fertilized,_all this until cotton-picking time. It was better

for cotton nat to stand too long in the field after maturity and risk

unfavorable weather. Perhaps the farmer by rotating with his

neighbors could get thru all right with the picking. The cotton, when

picked, was brought in from the field, each picker's share recorded,
weighed, and a certain price paid to the outside help.

S La e2 came the ginning. At one Time the cotton shbd was largely
wasted, only a small part being saved for fertilizer* Then it was



learned that the seed was nearly as valuable as the cotton Itself.
Volumes could be and probably have been written upon the subject of
cotton seed and the multitude of products manufactured from it, many
of them valuable food products for man and beast and known nearly
S all over the world.

Julia E. Ha. XVIII.
Family Life

The vegetable garden was a very important source of food supply.
At the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, before the
farm work had started and the men and. boy had leisure to help, the
ground fr e garden was gone over. If the family had kept the ame
garden sept for years it might be thought best to move the garden or
take in some new ground. Land was so cheap that this sort of rotation
of crops was commendable, and more satisfactory than a intensive

tilling of the same plot. Very early in the year the more hardy
vegetables, English peas and Irish potatoes, could be planted; and
after the 10th of tarch, in the lower Louthern latitudes, even tender

vegetables could be set. Before that time the lettuce and young onions

were sufficiently grwon for salad; while the new sprouts from the stalks
of collards which had been allowed to stand after the heads had been

cut, made very appetizing "greens" Remember there were no canned
vegetables and fruits at that time. Tomatoes were not considered edible,
and were not planted in the vegetable garden, altho the plants were
sometimes found in the flower garden where they were known by the fan-
eiful name of "love apples", The fruit was small and in no way could
it compare with the fine product of the later highly cultivated varie-
ties. Along in April new Irish potatoes and English peas wore plentiful
for the hom table.' This, too, when young spring chickens were coming
in as broilers. With roses blooming in the front year in that section
roses did not wait until June to shower forth their bloom bees humming
all around the hives; and chickens clucking and cheeping about the place;

fruit trees shedding their blooms; sweetness in all the air about the
home; Bob White calling out in the wood it was time to go fishing ,

t .XVIII 2.

Cantaloupes were planted in the garden, water melons in the field.
Was there anything more delicious than a ripe Southern water melon?

They did not ripen, however, until the hot weather. Green corn came
in May, also dewberriea, and plums of the smaller variety. The

vegetable garden contained a greater or less variety of herbsa some
of them for kitchen flavorings, many of medicinal value; other perhaps
for their fragrance. As the red pepper ripened it was strung in

strands and hung up to dry for winter use. Sage, so fine for season-
ing asasage and other winter meat, was dried, powdered, and closely
set sway. The dried pepper was ground; mustard seed was ground or
maeerated in the small iron mortar, screened and dried. Other herbs

were dried and cared for in similar ways, ready for use.

Truck gardening on a lar:e scale was not carried on except in the
neighborhood of large towns and cities. Transportation facilities were

not then adequate for perishable stuff, There were not refrigerator
cars; all the ice used in the lower South was from the crop of natural

ice shipped from the North, and little if any ever reached the remote
backwoods sections. Artificial ice manufactured after the formula

invented by Dr. John 8. Gorrie of Appalachicola, Florida, discovered
in 1858, did not o into general use until after the Civil War.
Diversified farming as a source of revenue was not practiced in the
lower South until the close of the same period. A great handicap also
to many industries in those days vOs the lack of good roads outside
the main great highways of travel.

Julia E. Harn: : 23.

Family Life

Food Conservation.
Fruits, Vegetables & Meats.

within the past several decades science had done ach for
improvement in food preservation, particularly as applied to the
domestic output. In those old days nothing was knmon to the house-
wife about the preservation of fruits and vegetables by sterilization
and hermetically sealing in jar and cans. Steam pressure cookers in

the home bad never been heard of, or perhaps even thought of, except

by men who were making scientific research.
M eaten were dried, smoked or pickled. It was found that sausage
put in atone or earthen-ware jars and completely covered by melted
lard and allowed to stand, would keep indefinitely. Fruits were
preserved in sugar, or, those that lent themselves to this method,
we" dried by a primitive process of placing in the sun; but success
depended upon the state of the weather during the 'period of drying.
Then there was the trouble of keeping fruit screened from insects.
Some vegetables were dried in a similar way, or pickled. Beans and
peas naturally dried on the stalks and vines; but had to be looked
after because of weevils. The bulk of the peas and beans was kept in
the barn, but what was intended for home use was put in cloth bags and
hung in the store room to one of the joists along with the garden seeds
for the next planting. The first commercially dried vegetables were

called "dessioated" and had to be soaked in water before cooking, like
dried beans.

All these operations called for muah work which would have been
reduced to a minimum if there had been any certainty that everything

XIX i 2.

would keep, but climatic conditions as well as methods largely deter-
mined the question. Now when a housewife packs a can of tomatoes or
any other vegetable or fruit, she nows that if she has used ordinary
care the contents of cans and jars are safe for an indefinite time,
and there will be no loss or disappointment thereby.
Honey was stored in the comb or strained, the latter method being
the better, perhaps. Besides the domestle honey on the hose place
there was often wild honey to be found by the bee hunters. There were
many nuts to be gathered from the woods in te fall of the year, -
elinquepins (a sort of chestnut), hickory nuts, walnuts, and these
with the home-grown peasts, (commonly known as "pinders"), made
cracking and shelling a pleasant diversion around the winter fireside.
In the early spring and summer, dewberries, blackberries, huckleberries,
(outside of the dietioner nobody ever called them "whortle" berries),
May pops (the fruit of the Passion Flower), haws and crab apples (good
for preserving), were plentiful. A most delicious fruit found in old
fields in the fall of the year was the wild persimmon. Persimmons were
the main ingredient of a very excellent homemade beer, which was usually
flavored with sassafras root,- and was very similar in taste to a cele-
brated and mah advertised popular drink of today.
Some vegetables could be grown in the garden the year round.
Every fall there was a large patch of turnips sown, both white and the
yellow rutabagas. The turnips furnished greens for the family table
in the winter and were also good to feed to the cow, and the green tops
to the chickens. Collards, a variety of cabbage, were used in the same
way as the turnips. Lettuce could be grown nearly the year round. The
Irish (white) potato was not regarded so much as a staple article of
food, but was highly prized in the spring as new potatoes, and came
along with English peas and other early vegetables. Sweet potatoes.

XIX t 8.

were on the family table every day for months.
The sweet potatoes admitted of many ways of serving, baked,
candled, fried, in pies, (a rich combination of milk, sugar, ega,
butter and flavoring), Sweet potato "pane" was made from the grated
raw potato, mixed with syrup, sIome sugar, a large lump of good sweet
lard, various spices, and the whole mass made quite soft with plenty
of rich sweet milk, and slowly baked, being frequently turned from the
sides of the oven as it browned. The ovan for baking was a heavy iron
oven like that in which light bread was baked, placed on the kitchen
hearth, with fire both on the top and under the bottom of the oven.
This was regular sweet potato pone and when cold was cut in ~slies to
serve. The spices made it quite dark, which was considered just the
right thing.
The way of making sweet potato pudding was to select only the
lightest colored yam and amit the spices that would tai it dark and
substitute strips of lemon or range peel, and make the mass very soft
before placing in the oven. The method of baking was the same as for
the pmne, frequently stirring and drawing from the sides of the oven
as the crust formed. The result was a richly browned pudding with an
amber colored interior that ras goodness itself, and soft enough to be
served with a spoon.
Many articles of daily consumption had to be prepared entirely In
the hoBm kitchen which now come in cans, jare and cartons ready for use.
Spices were ground in a snall mill usually nailed conveniently on the
kitchen wall, or else they were maaerated in a small heavy iron mortar,
similar to the mortar used by the druggist in compounding prescriptions.
Allspice and black pepper were ground, ginger and nutmegs were grated
with a small grate) mace, the flower of the tree of which nutmeg is

XIX 4.

the fruit, and cinnamon which came in long strips of thi& dried bark,
wee pounded in the iron mortar. The same mill wase soamete used for
dried red pepper from the home garden. The method of cleaning the.
spice mill for its varied uses, was to run some dry meal or grits thra
the mill several times. This thoroly cleaned the mill and left no
traeee from one to the other of the spices ground in it.
Coffee was roasted and ground at home. The favorite kind of raw
coffee was Rio, a pure South American product. Another green coffee
was the peaberry, socalled from the shape of the grain which resembled
a garden pea. Coffee was cheap in those days. Te Java and Mocha
grades were higher, but the tio produced a clear strong beverage which
was much liked.
The method of preparing the raw coffee was to look it over by
hand, rejecting any stray gravel or other refuse; wash and dry the
coffee and roast it in a big open iron "spider" on the broad kitchen
hearth with a moderate fire underneath and constantly stirring to
prevent scorching. The stirring might be done with the aid of a long-
handled kitchen spoon, but in nearly every kitchen was a slender paddle
of oak or hickory which was reserved for stirring the roasting coffees
Just before the coffee had reached the full degree of roasting and
browning and was nearly ready to be removed from the fire, a small
lump of sweet pure butter or a very small piece of pure lard was added
to the coffee and stirred all thru it. The glase produced tended to
make the coffee settle clear when it was prepared for drinking.
then the coffee was ta9an from the spider and was somewhat cooled,
it was pat into a tightly closed receptacle to prevent escape of the
aroma end loss of strength. then the coffee was to be made for drink-
ing, the dry roasted grains were ground in the coffee mill, measured

XIX 5.

and put into the metal pot with the right quantity of cold water and
brought to a boil on the coals or else swiftly boiling water was

poured onto tho dry ground coffee in the pot and barely permitted to
continue the boiling, when it was ready to be poured into the cups.
And a most delicious beverage it was, generally accompanied by plenty
of smet rich cream and sugar if wanted. -
This method of making coffee ia a saiMp primitive one used In
earlier times. Since then the ue of gas and electricity in kitchen
has made possible also the use of several different kinds of patented
coffee pot, each with its own individual method for preparation; but
there are just two printtples upon which maocess depends and which hold
good at all times, the proper roasting and grinding of the coffee
berry, and the preservation of the aroma and strength. If these are
maintained, the drink will be B good whether made on the hearth of a
backwoods kitchen or brewed in an earthenware jug out in the woods by
a picnic fire.
The Sounnd ad odor of fresh coffee being ground was a most welcome
one, particularly in the early morning. The odor of coffee accompanied
by that of fine hoeecured bacon or ham with fresh eggs, made an appeal
to any healthy red-blooded individual, whether in the backwoods or
anywhere else.

Julia E. Hamr x /

S Family Life


On every farm some poultry was raised. Where the farm women

gave intelligent care to their flocks the work was found both inter-
esting and profitable. They had all the advantages of food in

abundance at little or no extra cost; wide range with sunlight and.

shade; fresh air and water. The children of the family were generally

glad to help in the work. The nearness of a creek or a pond made the

keeping of geese and ducks much easier. The mothers of young turkeys

had to be watched to keep them from running out into the grass and

dew of the early morning. Young turkeys do not thrive under such

treatment, and it is fatal to young goslings to get caught in a shower.

Geese were kept for their feathers. The traditional household wedding

gift from a mother was a big feather bed and pillows, and the feathers
and down that went into the making had to be from the live geese raised

on the home place.

There many enemies to the poultry flocks that had to be taken
into account and various defences raised against them. SkunkMs
'possums, and hawks were the worst. Guinea fowls were often kept as

sentinels against hawks. Their incessant call of "Pot Rack! Pot Racki"

was a cheerful note and a signal when needed to notify of the nearness

of a hawk. There were always guns high up on the walls of the hall,

and a light shotgun that a boy or his mother could use against a hawk.

Most of the farm women could shoot.

A noisy welcome met the approach of a stranger to a backwoods
farmhouse. The horses neighed and whinnied; hound dogs bayed; other

dogs barked; geese screamed; ducks quacked; guinea fowls called "Pot

S 'it

XX 2.

Rack"; and the big rooster, patriarch of his family, set up a loud
erow. Sometimes the timid little children, not used to strangers,
hid and fearfully peeped from their hiding place; the women withdrew.
At the stranger's loud salutation of "Helloa! Helloain the man of the
house, if anywhere out in front, called back, lighthi 'light "
(Alight) and come in," and went forward to ward off the dogs. The,_
it was "Howdye, Howdye" from each of them.

Ham. .. XXI1

Family Life


One custom that prevailed then, but greatly condemned now, was

the burning of the woods in late winter to hasten the growth of young

grass for the cattle. It was not so harmful to burn the woods then.

With a great expanse of woods with big standing timber that would not
be needed for many years to come, the rank undergrowth and heavy

native grass, the destruction of the smaller growth did not matter to

the extent it does now. Within the past seventy-five or more years

there has been a wanton waste of the magnificent timber, in consequence

of which there is urgent need, not only for conservation but for the

stupendous system of reforestation which has been inaugurated within

a recent period.

When there was a plentiful growth of young grass on "the burn"

the cattle were brought home from the range, (the deep woods and the

cane brakes). The spring rounding up of the cattle would take several
days, perhaps, depending largely upon the inclination of the cattle

about leaving their swampy fastnesses, and whether they were easy to

drive. This was a business in which the men and boys liked to engage.

The cracking of the long whips could be heard a long way off, and with
the big "cow holloa", which the cattle seemed to understand and like,
it was thrilling. As they approached the home all the family came

out to see. "There they come Oh, see the calves I were glad exclam-

ations at sight of the moving herd, with the men and boys and their

faithful allies, the dogs.

The big cowpens had been made ready and the battle were driven in.

It there were too many cattle for the pens, they were driven into a

field. Then came the counting and the dividing off. The dry cattle


were turned back on the range, while the mother, and young calves were
kept. There was always a large member of young calves. Some of them
had come as early as January, so, by the time they were brought hme

the cows were ready to yield a part of their milk for the family but

only a part, as it was important that the calves had plenty of milk
and were not stunted in their growth.
The cows were milked n the open cowpen. While the milking was

going on, the calves had to be "minded off" so that they would not

get more than their rightful share. This duty fell to the children of
the family, who felt rewarded by being permitted to claim as their own
any cow and calf in the bunch that they saw fit. If the father acted

in good faith with the children, which most of them did, the increase
from the gift went to the child and laid the foundation of his future
prosperity. Besides, the children were taught lessons in stock-raising
and given and incentive to work.

The cows ei*r kept in the cowpen at night and turned out on the
grass in the daytime. This order was reversed with the calves, who
were kept in a little pasture of their own in the day as well as at
night, and were not with their mothers except at milking time. The
older cattle were already marked and branded and the marking and
branding of the calves was done Just before the milk cows were turned
back upon the range, which was about the first week in August. Through-

out the winter the cattle men looked after the stock and kept account
of them. If 6 cow did not get enough to eat and became thin and weak
she might fall into a ditch or bog. In that case she would have to be

propped up and fed until strong enough to be brought home where there
was more feed to be given. A calf one yar old was a yearling, while
one two years old was a "herdic", often called a "harrydic", Nobody

XX1 r S.

then and there had ever heard of a "maverick".*

Breaking Oxen.

Oxen were useful on a place forthe heavy hauling of logs and
timber or lumber. Most farmers had one or two pair that were turned

out on the range with the other cattle when not needed for work. They

were not expensive to keep. Oxen at work needed plenty of corn and
hay and good regular care; they could get their own living like the

other cattle when on the range. When the farmer needed to break in

a new pair of oxen there were plenty of men and boys who liked to take

part, as spectators at least; but the real work had to be done by men
who knew. their business and were cool, level-headed and alert. Strong

healthy young steers were selected. These were driven into the barn-

yard or horse lot, oe with a high fence was all the better. It might
have to be resorted to as a place of safety before the business was


The first step was to lasso the steer with a good strong rope of
the proper sise to hold without being too clumsy. Precuation had been

taken that the animal should not be unduly excited in the beginning;

but when he felt the rope around his horns he did become excited and
protested his treatment by very vigorous action, bowing and shaking
his head violently, roaring, bellowing, pawing the earth and plunging

wildly about. Noting the fire in his eye and the sharpness of his

horns, it seemed best to keep out of his way. But the repe was held

by strong determined hands. The animal was allowed to tire himself
out without receiving any bodily injury. That was the purpose, to

let the creature know there was a force too strong for hi1 to buck


XXI 4.

Having subdued the animal to the degree that he could no longer
resist, the next step was to complete.the conquest by kindness.

Shortening the length of rope, the men would approach the steer and
rub him gently on the back and about the head and face until the

animal began to understand that his captors meant to be kind. Talk-
ing in gentle tones and stroking were kept up until the response seemed

complete. When it was found that the confidence of the animal was
completely gained, it was easy enough for the men to proceed. Another

steer, apparently equal in every way, selected to be the running mate,
was secured in similar fashion. Then the two hed the yoke placed

across their strong necks and secured by the bows fashioned on each
yoke, %he big gate of the barn lot was now opened, and the two men,
one on each side, lengthening but still holding to the ropes, the

animals were brought out. A heavy drag, either a log or a ladder-like

construction prepared for the purpose, was attached and the oxen were
taught to pull and draws Much kindly and encouraging talk was kept

up during the trial.

f the oxen were intended for plowing, which was the case in the
earlier days, ~Esiead of the yoke, the steer would have a pair of
"hames" and a collar around his neck attached to trace chains for his

lesson in pulling and drawing. Plowing oxen had to get used to the

rattling of the trace chains as well as learn to pull and draw. The
plow was introduced later.

As the training progressed with the pair, the animals showed much
docility and intelligence. With a rope on each pair of horns, and a
man on each side they were guided alonr. One man supplied with aheavy-
handled braided leather whip with a buckskin cracker on the end, en-

forced commands with a crack of the whip. The animals soon learned

XXI 5.

to follow the sound of the whip t that "Gee" meant Right, and "Haw"

meant Left, and "Wshoa" rmst Stop. A failure to stop brought a flick
on the I5SB nose that was not disregarded. The load was increased

from time to time until a reasonable limit was reached. Then came the
attaching of the oxen to the big timber cart with the load of logs
or timber; the this last trial was delayed perhaps until the next day
and the animals rested until then.

When the timber to be hauled was very heavy more than one pair
of oxen was needed, indeed there were often several pairs of oxen

requited for some unusual undertaking. Oxen were better adapted for
hauling thru the woods than mules, particularly where logs and heavy

timber had to be brought from swampy places. The woods was the natural

habitat of the oxen and they could be relied upon to do the work where
mules would bog. 'iMJle.- were all right In the smooth woods or upon the
roads. Horses were not at all fitted for the hauling of heavy logs

from the woods, not even the big draft horses. The size and shape of
the feet and hoofs of domestic draft animals had to be taken into
account. The ox was the first domesticated beast of burden of civili-


iulia E. Haa

Fam ly fe


Development of the sawrdll industry and the manufactu of
building material became a business of gigantic proportions in the
backwoods at a later time, but in the earlier days the people wee
greatly handicapped by the lack of building matelral. -awmills and

manufacturing plants were scarce and far awanl and transportation
facilities inadeute. Most of the homes in Canoochee Precinct were

built of logs; and the chimneys nerally of clay and Lpa k instead
of brick. All the farms were fenced with home-split rails formed into
the worm fence pattern, which proved satisfactory in every way for the
fields, besides, the rails lasted a long time. For the front yard
fence were pickets were not available, long strips riven by hand were
neatly nailed to upright posts.
Garden Spalinges wre very necessary to keep out rabbits and other
maruding animals. Chickens also had to be protected. Some fantlies
let the large grown fatls roost in the tops of the trees. Where this
was done there was an obstruction nailed around the body of the tree
to Ieep away skunks (polecats), illy Possum, or any other animal with
a taste for stolen chickens. For the garden palings, which had to be
some six feet or more in height, long blocks were riven with the maul
and wedge and finished by hand into long boards like shingles. The
garden posts were set these were generally lightwood posts found
about Soode or fields, or maybe cedar posts. Srips were nailed at
intervals between the posts, and the long paling boards were wattledd",

or woven in an out close together so as to leave no cracks between for


the rabbits to get thbr. The tope of those paling boards having

been sharply pointed bafo building thae Into the fence, the vege-
tables growing in the garden were well protected. ouise shingles,
usually of pine, were also riven by had fro blocks.
The young pine trnee growing so tall and straight and beautiful
in the woods furnished logS for houses, and there was no dearth ot
the material. tiPnes are specially adapted because they grow so tall
without projecting branches thri umch of their length, and are of
nearly uniform diameter for several feet. A lLogbose built with proper

regrd for its requirements and with a neat and syametrical finish is
both attractive ti appearance and very comfortable. The manner of
building the chimney was to form the chimney proper throughout of
sticks fashioned for the purpose, then daub the structure both inside
and out with clay. the hearth was built up from the ground. With a
wide he and a fireplace of proper height in front, and a neat

abve, the chimney was an attractive-m well as desirable
feature of the house. In those country homes there were great glowing
fires in winter which made a delightful resort for the family. In
sumner time the fireplace was kept filled with green boughs from the
The house rested upon heavy pine blocks, et well off the ground
there were many reasons why thiaswas desirable. Here it was possible,
manufactured lumber from the nearest saw mill was brought for floors,
and na ny of the finishing of the house, altho there were not always
glass window panes in the windows.
An enterprising man among the citizens would sometimes set up a
turning lathe down by the mill site for the manufacture of wooden wre
of many kinds, churnas, water pails, barrels, and furniture. With the

XXII- a3.

aid of hi* turning lathe, he could manufacture earthenware ugs and

bowls. The blacksmith and wheelwright shop wre an indispensable
adjunct of every baekwooda neighborhood. There was a time when every
part of the wagons, arts and other vehicles had to be manufactured
completely by hand with the aEd of the turning lathe and whatever iron
tools could be secured.

Wnhn a new house was to be built the trees were selected from the
forest, felled, out into proper lengths and the pine bark, both the
outer bark and the sap, would be removed. All this having been made
ready, invitations were sent out to the neighbors to the house raising.
Nearly every nan able to contribute anything toward the project would
respond. Bright and early the work was started. With so many strong
men working with a will and the knowledge of just what to do, they would
get results in an incredibly short time.

The women of the neil6boardl d also -took part in the work. Certain
of them would come the day before and assist the housewife with the
Cooking, for it goes without saying that a great quantity of food would
be needed. Perhaps some woman would contribute something in the way
of cooked food from her own Iome. This was all done in such a friendly
fashion; kindness and good will prevailed.
It was so planned .that the work would not consume the entire day,
and there would be a great social good time all around, a--At
hearty dinner, jollity and feasting interningled. The whole affair
would end up with a party that night. To see those fine healthy young
swain in the dance and the folk plays, with all the pretty girls of
the neighborhood was a delight. They had worked so hard for most of
the day, but no one would gaess it now.

XXaI 4*

' A similar gathering to ttat of the house-raising would be the

log-rolling. "You help me and IU11 help you" was the ida. Is the
ppltticiaS idea of "log--rlling" the flese If a farmer wanted to
clear an old field of standing timber or to take in an extwa piece of
land, the neighbors came, the trees were felled, and with long pikes
several men at each log would oll and pile them into reat heaps and
set fire to them while there, or else the farmer would ft-T the logs
later. A 9t'party of young people followed the log-rolling and big
Women in those days made a great masy patcwork quilts, some of
them beautiful. When the time oare to quilt the patchwork into a
finished product, women and girls from the neighborhood would come
and do the work. This was another time for Jollity and -frolt*'Sig.
Sometimes there would be young men at the quilting ahead of time under
the pr#'frt of threading the needles for the girl. All this irregu-
larity led to more fian. apply, Eappy rays!