Plantation Life In Texas
Elizabeth Silverthorne is a free-lance writer/researcher who lives in Salado, TX. She has written many articles and stories for people of all ages including writings for children. Her main topics
center on Texas and Southern history. Elizabeth leaves no stone unturned in the telling of Plantation Life In Texas.
Every detail is included and you live the daily life from page to page such are the details. “Details of the food, shelter, clothing and recreation of plantation master, mistress, and off spring, as well as of the slaves who worked in the big house, on the grounds, or in the fields” this is a direct quote on the fly cover and it is highly accurate.
Why, aside from being Texan myself, was this book such a draw – Henry Ware and his Oak Grove Plantation. While other plantation owners were being destroyed either by worms eating the cotton or results of the Civil War. Henry was one of the few who prospered. His property located near Elysian Fields in East Texas housed an enterprising and foresighted man who prospered year after year. He sold cotton to England before the war started and at the end of the war he was $250,000. richer, the money waiting for him in England.
Henry also was into manufacturing, building a business during the war and adding an industrial complex on the property. 1860’s found him giving Oak Grove to his daughter and he in turn bought Belle Grove, which was more stately and located on the Mississippi River, a marble and brick edifice which was reported to be the most expensive house on the Mississippi.
Many of those who failed turned to other sources such as raising cattle to keep from failing. Today it is told that the thousands of acres of cotton or cane fields are again woodlands or part of ranches.
The story continues with the happenings of freed slaves, those who stayed on the plantations with the owners now paying them, giving land and cattle to help them start a new life. In “1910 when the first comprehensive data on black employment was published, “60 percent were still working in agriculture”.
Plantation life in Texas lasted approximately fifty years and during that time it was the South of “Gone With The Wind” and it can be found in the daily life, detailed descriptions on every page. You are there, such are the details. You are there, such are the human stories.
A very good historic read of a time in Texas unknown to most and in which Henry Ware played an important role.
Review by Cleo Holden