Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne.

Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne.

January 12, 2014

Letters and diary of Laura M. Towne

[Diary] January 12.

As I rode to “The Oaks” I met John Driver, who is lame, and told him he might get into the buggy. As we rode along he asked me whether he was obliged by law to plant cotton on Mr. Fairfield’s land, and was forbidden by law to plant on the land he had purchased. All of “The Oaks” is now divided into lots of from five to ten acres, and our people have paid for them to the Tax Commissioners, receiving deeds. John tells me that Mr. Fairfield forbids the people’s planting cotton on their own land, upon pain of ejection from their houses, which are not on their own land, but on the schoolfarm. He says they must plant all the cotton for him and he will hire them; that they must raise on their own land only corn and potatoes enough for their own subsistence. I told him the law did not compel him to work for Mr. Fairfield, but that he had better do it for the sake of the wages, but on no account to delay planting cotton on his own land too, for it would be profitable. He said Mr. Fairfield told him he could never sell his cotton, for white men would not buy it of him, or he might be cheated if they did. He said he had asked Mr. Soule about this, and that Mr. Soule had promised that Mr. Philbrick would buy all the cotton he could raise for himself and had given him the same advice I did.

The people welcomed me with great appearance of gladness.

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