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Charity Begins at Home: Some Beliefs of Antebellum South Carolina Laboring People

John C. Calhoun and state rights are symbols of South Carolina.[1] They received the attention of antebellum newspapers, educators and clergy. The process of remembering those at the top such as Calhoun can result in minimizing the majority or assuming their beliefs reflected the top.[2] Another symbol of South Carolina would be laboring people like Charity Stafford (1768-1840) and their belief in family and labor. Charity and many like her nurtured and kept their families together by great personal labors. This article is about the family preservation and labor values symbolized by Charity and one of her daughters. Both generations had a parent die early, leaving small children and a battle to preserve home and family.

Joshua and Charity Stafford married in 1786. For the next 30 years they farmed corn, cotton, wheat and garden crops in what is now Dalzell in northwest Sumter county but what was designated during much of the 19th century as Providence township.[3] Joshua got the land in 1797 as the result of a state grant which was signed by the federalist Governor Charles Pickney.[4] Close by the farm on the Sumterville-Camden road in Providence was the general store where the family did its trading, the mill where its corn was made into meal, the cotton gin and the Woodville Academy, which the children attended. The closest post offices were in Sumterville and Stateburg. On Sundays and for funerals and weddings the family did Bible reading and hymn singing at home or at the home of neighbors. Once each month a circuit rider preached a service at the Green Swamp Methodist (Bradford's) Chapel, which the family would sometimes attend. The Green Swamp Chapel dated from the 1780s. By the 1820s, if not earlier, there was a chapel to which the family belonged at Providence. It had the same location as the present-day Providence Methodist Church and graveyard and it is where some of Joshua and Charity Stafford's descendants are buried.[5]

When Joshua died of natural causes in September 1817, he left an estate of $1489.75, which included a single slave named Hannah valued at $500.[6] Sumter county land sold for $3 to $8 per acre depending on its productivity. The 100-acre farm at the time of Joshua's death was worth about $700.[7] It was a typical small farm both in size and value.

In addition to his widow and estate, Joshua left three minor children.[8] Charity had the choice of breaking up what remained of the family or keeping it together: she could have farmed out the children to relatives or sent them off to an orphanage.[9] She and her children were not eligible for poor relief because they were not indigent, but the older children (12 years and older), could have been apprenticed.[10] They would have boarded with their employer. But Charity chose to keep the family together and to do it by the one option that was available, her brains and muscles. This was not an easy job. She had to contend with both her own children and an economic system that had little concern for family preservation.

Charity did not write a book about her beliefs because, as she put it, "I had no learning."[11] But she left a record of them in several legal cases in which she gave testimony.[12] Illustrative is an 1829 case in which she described with pride how she had "worked in the fields as a laborer and in the house did chores proper for a free woman."[13] In her view she did more work and got more results than most women would have even attempted:

I was able to purchase the slave, houses, etc. in consequence of the most personal industry which I presume few if any other white women in the county would have attempted or could have sustained.[14]

She remarked on her success at keeping her family together in the manner to which it had been accustomed prior to her spouse's death:

I was deprived of the entire benefits of the estate of my husband for two years after his death due to it being taken by the executor. But after that I got the benefits and raised my family well in the manner it had been accustomed.[15]

Charity's belief in and labors for family preservation did not start with her spouse's death but when she got married. Successful small farming was labor intensive for both husband and wife.[16] More specifically, as Stephanie McCurry documents, women and children starting at age 12, as well as men normally did field labor.[17] The introduction of cotton farming in South Carolina's middle country coincided with the early part of Joshua and Charity's marriage and was an economic benefit to them.[18] The extent of the benefit can be gagged by looking at the typical farm budget. After the Revolution there was a large migration to the middle country. The Camden district, of which the Sumter area was a subdivision, grew from 300 white men in 1781 to 30,000 white men by 1790.[19] These were small farmers from the Atlantic states and Europe, who made cash incomes averaging $150/year from the production of corn, wheat and pork. This was the same as a laborer's wages, which were $.50/day or $150/year.[20] The addition of a cotton crop often doubled the income of these small farmers. In the 1790s with the first wide-spread use of the rolling gin, the farm price for short-staple cotton rose from near zero to $.30/lb.[21] A farmer with little capital could make $300/year by growing 1000 lbs of cotton (3 bales) on seven acres of land.

A description of the type of work Joshua and Charity did in cotton production on a small farm was left in a diary kept by South Carolinian James Sloan. Sloan, his wife, son (age 15) and two daughters (ages 13 & 14) worked in the fields from late spring to the end of picking in early December. They were sometimes out from 6:00 in the morning until 7:00 in the evening. At midday when the heat was intense there would be a prolonged (2 hours or more) rest period, when lunch (dinner) would be eaten and a nap taken. On Saturdays they would work half a day and in slack seasons there would be no Saturday work. In March the father and son harrowed the cotton and cornfields and the women planted and hoed. In June the women thinned out the cotton. In July the whole family hoed corn and thinned the cotton fields. The children went to school in August and part of September, but by September 15 the cotton opened up. The whole family picked from then until November 30. January and February were for raking manure on the fields, mending fences and cutting down and picking up corn stalks.[22] Besides cash crops, the normal family chores, depending on the season, included cutting and splitting cords of wood, soap and candle making, milking, churning, butchering, sausage making, preserving meat in the smoke house, canning and gardening the tomatoes, peas, beans, watermelon, peppers, pumpkins, cucumbers, herb, turnips and carrots.[23] There was also cooking, bread making, biscuit dough kneading, bringing water from the well, washing, house cleaning and child rearing.[24]

After 1800 as American production increased, the price of cotton leveled off and then with Jefferson's embargo fell. During the War of 1812, the price bottomed at $.09/lb.[25] In order to maintain their income cotton farmers like Joshua and Charity expanded production. They got paid less per pound, but by producing more, they could still support a family. Increased capital (slaves and land) was often necessary for increased production. This demand resulted in the doubling of land and slave costs at the same time that cotton prices were declining.[26] In general adults in the first part of the nineteenth century cultivated about 10 acres per person. This included corn, cotton and garden acreage. Joshua and Charity cultivated 20 acres, which they had doubled by 1817 with the help of adult sons, Lunsford and Hartwell, and the purchase of Hannah, the slave.[27]

When Joshua died in 1817, Charity was able to continue production as usual because of her own increased labor and that of her son Hartwell and daughter Barbary (age 18). Table 1 illustrates a hypothetical budget using data from Charity's farm. On such a farm with four adult workers, 40 acres (40%) were fenced and under cultivation. This acreage expanded or contracted with the number of children or slaves available to work. On the cultivated land 14 acres of corn were planted. The yield was 240 bushels (20 bu./acre), half of which was consumed on the farm (20 bu./person) and the other half sold for $87 ($.60/bu).[28] One of the weekly chores during much of the year was to shuck and shell a bushel or two of corn, half of which was for grits and half for meal. It was ground by handmill or taken to the mill in Providence. From 1815 to 1850 when it was outstripped by cotton, corn was South Carolina's most important product.[29] Another 26 acres of the cultivated land was planted in cotton. This yielded the $197 cotton income which Charity reported for 1817.[30] The uncultivated 60 acres was used as pasture for the cows and for woodland in which the hogs fed. It was not unusual for farms to have 15 hogs, some weighing up to 300 lbs. From this came a production of 200 lbs. of pork, a quarter of which was sold as slabs of bacon to the general store and the rest consumed by the family.[31]

Table 1:

Hypothetical Annual Budget Incorporating Data from Charity Stafford's Farm: 1817

cash: education
general store
tools and implements
farm (mason, carpenter, housing)
stock and seed
Expenses (total)


cash: cotton
corn (140 bu)
Income (cash subtotal)


non-cash: corn (140 bu.)
Income (non-cash subtotal)


For a decade after Joshua's death Charity continued production as earlier, despite losing the help of son Hartwell and slave Hannah. Lunsford was already emancipated at the time of his father's death. He had married in 1813 and farmed rented land in the Providence area. By 1821 with three small children, he took Hannah as his inheritance from his father's estate. To fill in for Hannah and Hartwell, Charity's three minor children did more work.[33] Two years later Charity also bought a "Negro girl" named Judia for $400.[34] One of the jobs of her youngest son, James, was looking after the hogs. Charity mentioned that in 1824 she bought a mare (colt) for $28 and traded it to her son James for his hogs. James had raised the hogs from a sow which a friend had given him. This gave them pork during the winter months.

Besides maintaining production, Charity undertook some capital improvements. She built a dwelling house costing $250 and outbuildings costing $40. The typical house on a small farm was a one-story, three room, ceiling-exposed structure built of rough-sawed lumber. Roofs were high pitched for coolness in the summer. The rooms often led straight into other rooms, because walls inhibited the multiple use of rooms. A single room might serve as office, parlor, dining room, workshop, kitchen and bedroom, as needed.[35] In the front of the house was a covered porch and in the back was a kitchen set off in a separate building.[36] Farmhouses had little ornamentation, only what served a purpose.

After 1825 Charity began to cut back on the acreage she planted. By 1829 her cotton crop was down to one bale (300 lbs), which was worth $15.[37] There were several reasons for the reduction. Daughter Barbary married in 1825 and moved away. The three remaining children were old enough but unable and/or unwilling to do the work which Barbary had done. For example, son Elijah, who had been born in 1807, accepted the view of the idle landlords that labor was negative and that alcoholism and the consumption of luxury goods was positive.[38] Charity, that is, Joshua Stafford's estate, was sued in an equity case by several merchants for Elijah's expenses on February 26, 1828. Elijah had "absconded secretly" at age 18 in 1826 "to seek his fortune" and to avoid his debtors. Typical of the $39 debt he owed to Stuart Dutton's general store was:

January 5, 1825, one quart whiskey ($.35); January 15, one bottle of whiskey ($.37), one coffee pot (8), one fourth pound tobacco, one half Port Brandy ($.58); February 7, two ginger cakes ($.12), fine tooth comb (18); March 4, three bottles of whiskey; March 15, one set tea spoons; March 28, one quart whiskey; April 16, one Turk cap (37); April 17, one ribbon, calico, one loaf sugar; May 13, sugar and coffee; June 4, pocket knife ($1.50), one tobacco, one razor, one fancy handkerchief, one pair kid gloves; August 31, one pint whiskey; September 6, one razor, one razor strop, one pint whiskey; September 12, pad lock; September 2, four skiems silk, one half pint whisky, one tobacco.[39]

Daughter Sarah shared in the same anti-labor ideas as Elijah and was even more of a problem than her brother. She married a dead-beat who came to live with the family and added both his and his horse's mouth to feed without doing any work. When Sarah and Ruben Long sought a portion of Joshua's estate, Charity counterclaimed against Ruben "for one year of board, during which he had lived with her or lived at her expense" without rendering any service and for keeping his horse there for three months. Of Sarah's suit, Charity commented, "It is ungrateful. Sarah has been the least assistance and the most expensive and I have been most indulgent."[40] Finally, as Charity put it concerning the labor of her youngest son, "James was always sickly and unable to do hard labor."[41]

Government and Market Difficulties. Besides domestic labor problems, federal and state politics were involved in Charity's production cutback. The mid-1820s was a time when the cost of manufactured goods was increasing, due in part to the federal tariff. At the same time, the price of cotton was again decreasing while the cost of slaves and lands was increasing.[42] Households that had borrowed to purchase land and slaves were often unable to pay their debts. The Sumterville and Camden newspapers were filled with notices of sheriffs' sales. Bankruptcies and foreclosures destroyed many small farmers.[43] The 1827 protest of Thomas Cooper, president of South Carolina College, is illustrative of the resentment against the monopolistic forces behind the market economy:

The motto of a manufacturer now and always, here and everywhere, is monopoly: to put down all competition and to command exclusively every market. To compel every one to buy at the manufacturer's prices and to sell at the manufacturer's prices.[44]

Laboring people resisted the squeeze in part by increasing the goods they made at home. This decreased their need for manufactured goods and their need and time to grow cash crops. For Charity, the reduced cash crops did not mean reduced labor, but sometimes more of it. The family had always in some measure produced its food, clothing and other necessities on the farm. But this increased with the reduction of cash crops. For example, most of the cloth used on Charity's farm was made from cotton and wool grown on the farm. During rainy weather and in the winter months Charity and the other adults carded and spun thread from cotton or wool, then wove it into bolts of "jean cloth" on a loom and then stitched it into clothes, bonnets, stockings, curtains, mattress covers, diapers, and cotton-picking bags.[45] Home spun in the 1820s became a symbol of protest against the market system and the people wore it not only at home but to political meetings, church, school and to market and court days.[46]

From the small farmer's perspective state as well as federal politics added to the burden of family preservation. The big landowner and merchant minority monopolized land, slaves and the state government. The south was superior to the rest of the United States in agricultural resources, but the benefit to the white majority, not to mention the black, was limited.[47] The slave aspect of the system drove down the value and return on white labor. Small farmers such as Charity who were able to hold on saw their children forced out. Several of Charity's adult children and grandchildren ended up migrating out of the area. Others stayed in Sumter County but owned no land and worked as laborers, overseers, tenants or took up a trade.[48] Beginning with the 1810 census a net out-migration of whites from South Carolina was recorded. This was repeated in each census up until the Civil War.[49] Those without the capital or who failed to expand production were marginalized.[50] The out-migration of whites is often pictured as benevolent, especially in comparison to the forced migration of blacks.[51] But the market system was coercive. White as well as black families were broken up.

The monopolistic control of the government was resented by the white majority.[52] The 1808 state constitution, which based representation half on property and half on the white population, gave thirty men in a low county parish as much weight in the legislature as 3500 small farmers in the middle country. A farmer-politician criticized the constitution:

The constitution of South Carolina is more aristocratic in its fundamental principles than that of any other state in the union. The basis of representation in this state is as unwise and as anti-republican as it is possible for it to be.[53]

The lack of government services such as decent roads and transportation, and inexpensive and near-by courts and schools was one of the complaints in the Declaration of Independence.[54] When the South Carolina assembly finally completed the 110-mile road between Columbia and Charleston in 1829 (now US 176), it was a toll road. A one-way stagecoach fare was $10 or almost as much as a laboring person could make in a month.[55] Similarly, court costs were so high that small farmers could not use them. Patrick Brady described the problem:

The operations of the court system were of little benefit to citizens lacking a large stake in the economy. Court costs were prohibitive for farmers with small claims. . . Debtors were forced to pay court fees as high as the original debt.[56]

When the assembly enacted a public education law in 1811, it provided free education only for paupers.[57] Even these schools were under funded and limited in number.[58] There were no free schools to serve Charity's children.[59] She had to rely on self-help, that is, on the high-priced Woodville Academy and private tutors.[60] A laboring family with a $300/year income spent $25/year/child on education. With three children, someone like Charity spent one-quarter of their income ($75) on education. For daughter Sarah's and son James' education in the 1828 winter quarter at Woodville, Charity paid $12.50 on Jan. 14, 1828. She also paid $2.90 for a private tutor named John Parbus on July 22, 1828.[61] It has been alleged that poorer farmers "kept their children at home for farm work, which inhibited the development of public schools throughout the southern states."[62] If Charity's experience is any indication, it was the system that was at fault, not the laboring people. Their children were educated despite the system.

South Carolina's big landowners and merchants in the federal legislature also promoted policies that were negative for small farmers. From colonial times forward laboring people had sought an agrarian reform program that would give land to those who worked it rather than to speculators.[63] Southern and northern monopolists defeated all attempts at federal homestead laws in the antebellum. Only in 1862 with the withdrawal of the south, did Congress finally pass the Homestead Act.[64] Southern capital did not want land reform in part because it did not want white laboring people to leave the state. Black labor gave a better return on investment, but capital needed the whites to keep the blacks down. For example, by 1810 because of the white out-migration and black in-migration, 61% of the Sumter county population were slaves, up from 54% in 1800. By 1860 it was 70%.[65] This was dangerous. Capital had lost everything in the 1791 Haitian slave revolution and it did not want a repeat.[66] The problem concerned Governor Stephen D. Miller enough that in 1829 he brought up to the South Carolina legislature the possibility of enslaving or ensurfing the white population to keep them from migrating:

The right to set limits to emigration is an original principle in the body politic. The right to incorporate strangers into a government and to defend them when incorporated does not imply a right on the part of the citizen to secede.--The assent of an infant to be governed by the law is a political fiction without which government would be dissolved. Every convict in this state is supposed to be a party to his own execution; nor is it a greater exertion of municipal law to cut off emigration than to punish by imprisonment for debt.[67]

The difficulty with ensurfing or enslaving white laboring people was that they were a majority in the militia. For example, during the 1820s the capital-intensive farmers were agitating for nullification of the tariff and succession from the union. But small farmers were not against the development of U.S. manufacturing, especially in the south. Economic diversification and tariffs limited the big slave owners but were not as big a problem for laboring people.[68] When a call went out from the monopolists for a state convention to ratify dismemberment of the union, the Sumter county militia took a vote. They did this in September 1830 at their annual countywide muster to elect the colonel of the Sumter regiment. After the speeches and debate, a majority of the 131 militia present voted against nullification or dismemberment.[69] Charity was not in the militia, but her son Lunsford was. For small farmers separation from the union meant increased power for the South Carolina monopolists. Had they sought to ensurf or enslave the whites, the monopoly would have been overthrown 30 years earlier than they were, by a union of whites and blacks.

Charity's experience in family preservation is similar to what most of South Carolina's history was about during the first third of the 19th century. Capital dominated the economy, the legislature, and the newspapers, but not the people. For the most part, they successfully maintained their values and beliefs despite the obstacles.

Barbary Stafford Jones' Beliefs

The experience of Charity's daughter is illustrative of an achievement during the second third of the 19th century that is similar to her mother's. Barbary (Stafford) Jones (1799-1884) was one of Charity's older children, being 18 years of age when her father died in 1817.[70] Like her mother, Barbary's beliefs were tied to family preservation and labor. This resulted in resistance to the market system and to a government that was more interested in charity for monopoly than in providing services for working people.

Barbary continued to live with her mother after her father's death until about 1825, when she married Eli Jones. When Eli and Barbary married, they had no capital. This situation changed only to a limited extent before Eli's death in 1839. In 1829 after four years together and two children, Eli and Barbary had saved $300 and bought a 100-acre farm of mainly clay soil in Providence about one-half mile north of Charity's farm just off the Sumter-Camden road.[71] The farm on the north bordered what is now Red Lane Rd.[72] On the east it bordered Providence Methodist church to which the family belonged.[73] What is now the Lee Branch, but which in Mills Atlas was designated the Gum Branch, flowed or trickled, depending on the time of year, through the property.[74] A federal soldier who camped out on the night of Apr. 15-16, 1865 at a site (crossroads of old U.S. Highway 521 & S.C. Highway 441) about 400 yards from the farm described the area as "hilly and rolling country sparsely settled with poor whites."[75]

Like Charity, Barbary had six children. They ranged in age from 3 to 12 at the time of Eli's death. They were younger than Charity's had been. It took Charity about 10 years (1817-1827) before her youngest child reached adulthood. It was 16 years (1839-1855) before Barbary's youngest (Mary Placida) married at age 20 and left home. Barbary had the same options her mother had had when her spouse died. She could have farmed out the children to relatives, put them in an orphanage, apprenticed the older ones or even remarried, if she could have found someone willing to marry a 39 year-old with six children and no property. Possible foster parents were Barbary's youngest brother, James and his wife Marianna, or her oldest brother, Lunsford, or several of his married children, who were in the area.[76] But Barbary believed in keeping the family together. She did this by the one option available. She continued to run Eli's farm.

To run the farm without Eli meant more work for Barbary. But farm labor was nothing new for her. Throughout their 15-year marriage, Eli and Barbary's labor had run the farm. They did not have enough capital to buy a slave. But just before he died in 1839, Eli, perhaps in anticipation of death, did acquire a "Negro boy."[77] Like Charity after 1825, and like many other laboring people, Eli and Barbary and later Barbary alone emphasized production for self-consumption as much as for the market.[78] Cash crops and dependence on the market for manufactured goods were believed by laboring people to be inequitable and dangerous for the small farmers, who had to go into debt to plant. A poor harvest, drop in produce prices or rise in the price of manufactured goods resulted in frequent bankruptcy and the loss of the farms during the 1840s and 1850s.[79] John Belton O'Neal, a judge who sometimes presided over foreclosure cases in Sumter gave voice in 1844 to his belief in subsistence farming as a resistance strategy:

Raise my countrymen your own hogs, sheep, cattle, horses, and mules, clothe your own household by domestic wheel and loom. . . Supply your own tables with flour, potatoes, butter, and cheese of your own crops. . . and you can bid defiance to all tariffs in the world.[80]

Barbary did field labor. Depending on the season there was plowing, hoeing and the harvesting of fields. She did cooking, clothes making, washing, soap making, corn husking and shelling, milking, butter churning, hog and chicken feeding, wood chopping, and gardening.[81] Besides cash crops of cotton and corn, she raised hogs which she slaughtered and cured in a homemade smoke house. She sold bacon to R. Solomon's general store in Providence for $1.75 per slab ($.10/lb.).[82] Since she and her family frequently purchased goods from the general store, she got no cash from her produce but rather credits against purchases.[83] In addition to the normal farm work, Barbary made capital improvements. The original house was two bedrooms separated by and opening onto a six-foot wide hallway that ran from the front to the back porch. This was called a shotgun construction because a shotgun could be fired through the front door and go out the back door without hitting a wall. As the children got older Barbary added a third room in 1845 to the south. This allowed the boys to have a separate bedroom (the middle room) from the girls (the north room). The north room doubled as a guest room when there was overnight company. Barbary contracted with Ozias Mathias, a neighbor, to build a chimney for $3 in the addition.[84]

In keeping her family together Barbary had help from several sources. Most important, she had the use but not the ownership of Eli's estate, which was valued at $611 and included the young slave and the land.[85] As administratrix of Eli's estate, Barbary took only a heifer named Sully.[86] The rest of it, including a plough and loom she gave to the children, which served the entire family.[87] It was not until after her children had grown up and departed, that Barbary was able to buy the farm from the sheriff for $350 on Apr. 4, 1860.[88] In addition to the use of Eli's estate, a second source of help was the labor of Barbary's children as they grew older. Historian Philip Racine commented with admiration on the work of a similar family of the period. This family kept a journal of its achievements. Racine's remarks might apply equally to Barbary's children:

David and Emily Harris and their children worked with their hands every day, much of the time long and hard to maintain what they had. Farmers were not lazy, nor were they casual about their work. There is no evidence that they lacked either energy or ambition. What historians have recently been suggesting about southern farmers--that they valued leisure more than hard work may have been true for some, but not for most.[89]

A third source of help in keeping the family together was a gift from Charity's estate. Charity died in 1840 about a year after Eli. Her estate was valued at $549.93.[90] From it Barbary received, in time, a life estate in an adult slave and her children, that is, in "Molly and her increase."[91] In 1840 Molly was between 24 and 36 years of age and had two sons and two daughters, all of less than 10 years of age.[92] If they were similar to other slave families in the area, they lived in a two-room house with a shed porch.[93] They had their own poultry and garden. Part of their produce they consumed themselves and part they sold or bartered.[94] A contract made by a slave was not enforceable in a court.[95] But slaves had their own system for exacting accountability. Their tactics included faking injury and illness, work slow downs, theft, arson, injury to animals, poisoning and suicide. If a husband was sold away from his family, it was common for him to take the law into his own hands, abscond and return to his family. If owners wanted work done, they had to pay: food, clothing, shelter, including liquor and cash. Typically in 1849 South Carolina enacted a law requiring that slaves be properly fed. This was not out of benevolence but because of slave militancy, as the assembly stated, "It is necessary to protect property from the depredation of famished slaves."[96]

Table 2 illustrates a hypothetical family budget for 1840 using data from Barbary's farm. There were three adults engaged in agriculture according to the census that year: Barbary (age 40), her oldest son, Ellerbe (age 13), and the "Negro boy" (aged between 10 and 24).[97] There were 20 cultivated acres. This expanded during the 1840s as more children became adults. In 1840 the farm had 10 acres of corn, which yielded 200 bushels.[98] Of this, 140 bu. were consumed by the family and 60 bu. were sold for $36 ($.60/bu.). There were also 10 acres of cotton, which yielded 5 bales or $75.[99]

Table 2:

Hypothetical Annual Budget Incorporating Data from Barbary Jones' Farm: 1840

cash: education
general store
tools and implements
farm (mason/carpenter/house)
stock and seed
Expenses (total)


cash: cotton
corn (60 bu.)
Income (cash subtotal)


non-cash: corn (140 bu.)
Income (non-cash subtotal)


In 1850, ten years after Eli's death, the farm's real estate was worth $500, which was about what it had been when Eli died.[100] All 5 of Barbary's children that had lived to adulthood were still under her roof and helping with the farming. However the older ones were mainly doing wage labor off the farm and contributing part of their income. Ellerby H. (age 24) was working for a merchant. Washington Nicholas (age 22) was working as a laborer on the new South Carolina Railroad (Charleston-Columbia) branch line that ran between Stateburg (Manchester) and Camden.[101] The three younger children, Elizabeth Charity (age 20), Charles H. (age 18) and Mary Placida (age 14) confined their work to the farm.[102] The slave family was also helping.[103] Molly was 34 to 46. She had a son (age 19) and two daughters (age 15 and 17). She also had a granddaughter (age 2).[104]

Barbary kept her family together "in the manner it had been accustomed." They did not lack for food. There were hominy and biscuits for breakfast and turnip greens, cabbage, rice, peas, blackberries, vegetables, milk, cornbread, conserve cake (with pecans), fish, pork, rabbit, chicken, and eggs for dinner. Since they had little money, they generally stayed at home, worked in the fields, sat on the piazza and talked, read the Bible, books and the weekly Sumter newspaper, visited the neighbors and relatives, chewed tobacco, fished in Pebble Creek and Rembert's Pond, trapped and swam. There were high-backed cain rocking chairs on the porch for the warm months and before the fireplace for the cold months. On special days such as George Washington's Birthday, the Fourth of July and court, election and market days, they went to Sumterville or further afield. During the 1850s in Sumtervile on the Fourth of July there was a parade of the Claremont (Sumter) militia troop which included Barbary's three sons, Ellerbe, Nicholas and Charlie.[105] After the parade there was a barbecue, fire works, band concert and square dance.[106] On Sunday and for funerals, weddings and baptisms, they did Bible reading, hymn singing and prayer at home or at Providence Methodist church, which neighbored their farm. Less frequently they went in the wagon to Sumterville for Sunday school and services at the First Methodist Episcopal Church (later called Trinity) or to the other evangelical churches (Baptist, Presbyterian) when a special preacher would visit.[107] An interdenominational, interracial weeklong camp meeting was held yearly in the fall at the Providence Springs campground.[108] The meeting was a mixture of singing, praying, education, fishing, business and politics. Tents housed the people and wagons served as rostrums. Sermons were given by a variety of preachers. The rank and files' preference for the Arminian doctrines of "free grace," universal salvation and interdenominational communion were said to trouble those with a clerical bent.[109] Another annual attraction was the traveling circus which came to Stateburg and Sumter. It included a lion, boa constrictor that was 15 ft. long and 2 ft. around, clowns and a band.[110]

Starting at 11:00 am on Aug. 17, 1848 Barbary and her children attended a celebration which honored her oldest son, Ellerbe (age 19 at the time he enlisted in 1846) and the other 86 men who had served in Company A of the Palmetto Regiment during the Mexican-American War.[111] A procession of "some 2000 persons" with the Salem Riflemen, Claremont Troops and Cold Water Army escorted the "remnant of the Palmetto Regiment" to "the Grove near the old Methodist Church" where "some 500 or more of the beautiful daughters of Sumter" were waiting.[112] After listening to speeches by local politicians and receiving a blessing by the Rev. H.D. Green, the crowd sat down to a sumptuous meal followed by 13 regular and about 60 volunteer toasts accompanied by cheering.

After her children grew up and had their own families, Barbary helped them keep their own families together in difficult times. By 1870 her daughter Elizabeth Charity (Jones) Barkley (age 39), who had married William R. Barkley, was a single parent with three children and living in an outbuilding on Barbary's farm.[113] In addition to her own children, Barbary provided housing for several indigents. In both the 1850 and 1860 census Betsie (Elizabeth) Jones (age 47 and age 57) was living alone in an outbuilding on Barbary's farm. Betsie may have been Eli's sister.[114] In 1860 Sarah Graham (age 45), a pauper who had been Barbary's neighbor, was living under Barbary's roof.[115]

When Barbary was about 75, she started to get infirmities. Her oldest son, Ellerbe, who had been working out of state, moved back to Providence in 1875. He and his wife Kate moved in with Barbary and worked on the farm with her. They stayed with her until she died at age 84 in 1884.[116] Several of her children went out to stay with her and help Ellerbe during her last illness. She died in her bed. Afterwards her body was put in a casket in front of the fireplace in her room. The children put violets in her hands because she liked them. The next day, after the funeral service at Providence Methodist, she was buried in the churchyard.

Government Difficulties. Family preservation for Barbary by necessity was based on charity beginning at home. South Carolina's economy and government were not much more sympathetic to laboring people in Barbary's day than they had been for her mother. The type of charity which the government provided was that which accommodated landlords. For example, the assembly provided that when slaves were executed by the government for insurrection, their owners were compensated by the government. But the assembly, unlike in some states, resisted the enactment of a homestead exemption to protect a debtor's land or farm equipment from confiscation by creditors.[117] For small farmers, it was creditors, not slave insurrections that were a threat. Small farmers like Barbary had their own labor. To survive they needed to protect their land and tools from confiscation. They did not need slaves. It was only in 1851 that the legislature enacted a Homestead Act which allowed small farmers to exempt 50 acres of real estate and $500 of personal property from levy and sale.[118] The act was meant to keep whites from being forced out of the state. The legislature was increasing its military spending and needed laboring people to fight the upcoming war.[119]

Another example of the charity which capital provided for itself at the expense of the small farmer was the state militia system. Providence in the 1840s and 1850s was part of the Upper Battalion, 44th Regiment, S.C. Militia.[120] Barbary's three boys and all white males between 18 and 45 years of age except ministers, school teachers and newspaper editors by law had to report to the muster grounds at 8:00 am on the second Saturday of each month for a full day of marching, drills and mock battles. They had to provide their own muskets, bayonets, ammunition, drums, food rations and knap sack. Those who failed to appear were fined one dollar.[121] For the rank and file the musters were a drain from farm work. The beneficiary was capital which needed an armed force to keep the slaves down. When the big slave owners and merchants agitated for succession in 1850, the common objection of the middle country small farmer militia and the women was that the rich should fight their own war.[122] The Sumter Watchman commented in 1855:

The militia system compells a poor man to leave his little crop in the busiest season, and walk from 15 to 30 miles to a review or if sick and unable to attend, to walk 20 or 30 miles to be tried by court martial.[123]

The Sumter grand jury in the April term of 1855 characterized the militia as "odious and oppressive in its operations and a nuisance."[124]

A third area where the government failed the small farmer was in education. Barbary received no government help in educating her children. She had to pay even more than had her mother, since more of her children were of school age and for longer periods. In 1845 the children were being instructed by John P. Cook and William Evleigh.[125] Tuition was $6 per quarter per student. According to the 1850 census Barbary still had two children in school more than 10 years after Eli's death. They were Charlie (age 18) and Mary (age 14).[126] Like her mother, all of Barbary's children learned to read and write. A testimony to being a reading family were the books in the 5 ft. high bookcase with swinging glass doors that was in the girls' room. The family's literacy contrasted with some of the other families in the neighborhood, including the 11 children of her youngest brother, James. Neither they nor their mother, Mariann, were literate.[127]

Lack of agrarian reform was a fourth area where the government added to Barbary's work in keeping her family together. In the 1850s during the period when Barbary's children were reaching adulthood, only one of her three sons were able to farm in the Sumter area and he filed for bankruptcy and eventually quit and became a butcher. The cost of land and slaves made it difficult to start a farm. Between 1845 and 1860 there was a boom in cotton prices and the cost of slaves and land rose steadily. In the 1850s the average cost for a male slave was $1000, which was three times what a small farmer grossed in a year.[128] Soon after he married, Barbary's oldest son, Ellerbe, went out of state, probably to Alabama, to improve his economic chances.[129] Her next oldest son, Nicholas, worked on the railroad and after the war took up farming at Bonneau in Berkeley county, S.C. Her youngest son, Charlie, married in 1852.[130] After the war, under the influence of his wife and the general economic revolution of the time, Charlie sought to maximize market participation. This required going into debt and devoting a large proportion of acreage to cash crops.[131] This resulted in July 1868 in his filing for bankruptcy in Charleston.[132] He probably lost his farm, if he owned one, or at least the crop standing in the field. Nevertheless he continued to farm for several more years.[133] About 1874 he gave up farming, became a butcher in Sumter town and finished raising his children.

When their government was overthrown in the 1860s, the big landowners and merchants fell on relatively hard times. But for small farmers such as Barbary the new system was less of a problem. The annual state budget doubled from $1 million before the war to $2.2 million by 1868.[134] This helped expand government services such as roads, public schools, juvenile reform schools and county poorhouses. A Board of Land Commissioners was established which purchased land and resold it on credit to laboring people.[135] By 1870 Sumter County had a state-supported poorhouse and Barbary had placed her long-term indigent border, Sarah Graham, in it.[136] Barbary was getting older and the poorhouse relieved her from having to care for her neighbor.

Conclusion. Charity and Barbary believed in family preservation and labor. In spite of burdensome family problems and an indifferent or hostile economy, they kept their families together by hard work and were proud of it. At the same time their belief in family preservation had limitations. When she died at age 72 years in 1840, Charity left an estate of $549.53. In it was a slave named Molly and her four children. The uncompensated labor squeezed from Molly (and earlier from Hannah and Judia) for Charity's benefit and later for Barbary's benefit, added to the slaves' difficulties in preserving their own families.[137]

In religious terms, the belief that "charity begins at home" as reflected in 1st Timothy 5:8 was not enough when it resulted in hurting the home of others.[138] Charity and Barbary's Methodism accommodated to the economic system. Initially, in the 1790s as the system expanded, laboring people had fought it. Unlike South Carolina Episcopalianism, Methodism was a religion of laboring people. A majority of the Santee circuit's members, of which Providence and Sumterville were a part, were black.[139] They were in disagreement with the Claremont district Baptist cleric, Richard Furman, who advocated slave-owner notions about subordination being God's idea:

The order of providence is that a considerable portion of the human race must necessarily move in a humble sphere and be generally at the disposal of their fellow man.[140]

Women, slaves and laboring people in general had their own ideas about the order of providence. In the Methodist church, especially in the early years, there was a lack of distinction between clergy and laity. Slaves and women are said to have preached, exhorted and disciplined.[141] The church was paid for and controlled by the members. They ministered to their less fortunate neighbors.[142] Their doctrine condemned slavery as theft.[143] Some Methodist congregations dismissed pro-slavery clergy.[144] In turn the monopolists had contempt for Methodism because of its egalitarian doctrines and the dominance of black and laboring people.[145] But as capital came to dominate, those who resisted risked economic survival. Having a thick skin, racism and fear became a virtue.[146]

In addition to their belief in family preservation, Charity's and Barbary's belief in labor had a similar shortcoming. The shortcoming was not that possessed by landlords who since the period of the Roman Empire had claimed that labor was denigrating.[147] Not only did Charity and Barbary do their fair share of labor, they boasted of it in the public record. Those who maintain that the anti-labor values of the South Carolina's big landowners and merchants were the only ideas accepted by "all classes and races of society" are out of touch with such laboring people.[148] Similarly misled are those like Samuel DuBose, a South Carolina farmer who in 1858 minimized the nature of women's agricultural work:

The small farmer's success at short-staple cotton cultivation results because it is a labor in which wives and daughters may conveniently and safely share with the husband and father. While he traces the furrow, they protected by their sun bonnets, eradicate the weeds with a light hoe.[149]

As Charity and Barbary demonstrated, women as well as men did what it took to raise a crop.

South Carolina's laboring majority had their own beliefs, which arose from their everyday experience: the producer ideal and what the classical economists called the labor theory of value.[150] The agricultural historian Eric Jones has remarked on the "passion" which farming people had for the belief that their work was the source of value and the basis of economic progress.[151] As they labored in the fields, they sang songs and ballads which celebrated their crops set in straight rows, their well-kept homesteads and the satisfaction of completing the day's labor. But the labor theory of value also maintains that labor be compensated for the value which it produces.[152] Slavery was an obstacle to Charity's and Barbary's labor belief.

The belief that charity begins at home was commonly voiced but limited by the economy. In doing an analysis of beliefs some historians of black history have maintained that South Carolina's slaves to the extent they went along with the system, lacked the heroic beliefs, prophetic eschatology and idealism of their African ancestors.[153] Some feminist historians have likewise held a low regard for the belief in charity beginning at home. In their view, antebellum laboring people should have risen up against a system which was hostile to their families and their labor.[154] This criticism does not do justice to labor's accomplishments. Social revolution and egalitarian societies were rare. African and feminist history provided few examples. Under hard conditions, having charity start at home was reasonable. The big landowners are symbols of the south, but as Charity and Barbary would have pointed out, it was the brains and muscles of whites and blacks who often worked side by side in the fields that were the South's economic and spiritual backbone.[155]


Appendix 1: Diagram of Eli and Barbary Jones' House at Providence, S.C. (1830s-1880s)[156]



Appendix 2: Topographical Map of Providence (Dalzell), S.C.[157]


Appendix 3: Map of South Carolina


Appendix 4:
Providence area of M. H. McLaurin's Map of Sumter County,
State of South Carolina
(Columbia: n.p., 1878).


Appendix 5:
Providence area of Robert Mills's
"Sumter District," Mills Atlas (1825).


Appendix 6: Graphics



[1]John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) was a U.S. senator and vice president (1825-1832) in the administrations of John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. He led the fight to nullify the federal tariffs that protected northern industry but drove up commodity prices and encouraged reciprocal tariffs in Europe on South Carolina exports. See John Niven, John C. Calhoun and the Price of Union: A Biography (Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State University Press, 1988).

[2]Illustrative of the tendency to minimize the majority in the 19th century were writers like D. R. Hundley. He characterized South Carolina laboring people as lazy, illiterate, alcoholic and their beliefs as superstition. See D. R. Hundley, Social Relations in Our Southern States (New York: Henry B. Price, 1860), pp. 259-294.

[3]When the branch railroad line linking Sumter to Camden was built through it in the 1890s, Providence's name was changed to Dalzell. See Ann Gregorie, History of Sumter County, S.C. (Sumter: Library Board, 1954), p. 481. In Charity's day, northwest Sumter county was part of Claremont county, which was a subdivision of the Camden District (1785-1800) and later a subdivision of the Sumter circuit court and election district (1800-1868). See South Carolina Department of Archives and History, "Guide Maps to the Development of South Carolina Parishes, Districts and Counties from Maps Made by the WPA Historical Records Survey" (Columbia, S.C.: n.d.). The family farm was the one designated "Stafford" in M.H. McLaurin's Map of Sumter Co., State of South Carolina (n.p., 1878). On the map the Stafford farm is near the 18th-century road from Sumterville northwest to Camden in Kershaw county (old U.S. Highway 521). The Tirzah Presbyterian church which dates from the 1870s, now borders the farm on the north, Green Swamp was to the east and the Jennings and Haynsworths had land to the west and south.

[4]"Grant to Joshua Stafford" (Dec. 4, 1797), State Grant Book (Sumter Co. Courthouse, Sumter, S.C.) [hereafter, SCC], vol. 43, p. 235. The grant reads:

According to law of Feb. 19, 1791, 104 acres is granted Apr. 8, 1797 in Camden District in Claremont Co., near a head branch of Green Swamp, called Green Branch, waters of Black River, bounded by lines running N NW by John Mitchells land, NE by John Watson Brownfield, SE and NE by Issac Gleyn, SE by the estate of John Jennings and W by Hansworths. Signed Charles Pickney, governor.

A "Joshua Stafford," not necessarily the same person as above, was also granted 320 acres on Oct. 15, 1784 in Granville. See "Grant to Joshua Stafford" (Oct. 15, 1784), State Grant Book (SCC), vol. 3, p. 324.

[5]Thomas Stubbs, Early History of Sumter Churches (Sumter: n.p., 1980), pp. 10-11, 18; Cassie Nichols, Historical Sketches of Sumter County: Its Birth and Growth (Sumter: Sumter County Historical Commission, 1981), vol. 2, pp. 333, 420-421. The chapel was part of the Santee Circuit. After 1827 the chapel was moved to Sumterville where the congregation consisted of 300 blacks and 151 whites. In 1844 it relocated to Liberty St. and took the name First Methodist Episcopal Church and still later (1885), Trinity Methodist. In 1845 it became part of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and in 1968, the United Methodist Church.

According to Robert Mills, "Sumter District," Mills Atlas: Atlas of the State of South Carolina, 1825 (Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press [1825], 1980), there was a "church" in 1825 at Providence on the southeast corner of where present-day State Highway 441 and old U.S. 521 intersect. In 1834 a Methodist chapel was built or re-built at this location. See James Burgess, Chronicles of St. Mark's Parish: Santee Circuit and Williamsburg Township, 1731-1885 (Columbia, S.C.: Clarendon Co. Historical Society, 1968), p. 105 (contains the copy of a receipt dated April 8, 1834 for $25 given by John Jennings and William L. Brunson as part payment for building the church at Providence).

[6]"Will of Joshua Stafford" (July 26, 1817), Wills (SCC), Bundle 101, no. 2. Also in the estate was an iron trunk and a pack of cards. The executor was Tyre Jennings, who was a neighbor. A copy of the will and discussion of it are also in "Elijah Stafford & Charity, Sarah, James Stafford v. Stuart Dutton" (1827), Equity Court Rolls (SCC), Old Series no. 436.

[7]River bottom land was the most fertile and expensive. See Philip Racine (ed.), Piedmont Farmer: The Journals of David Golightly Harris, 1855-1870 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Pres, 1990), p. 4; Charles Bolton, Poor Whites of the Antebellum South: Tenants and Laborers in Central North Carolina and Northwest Mississippi (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1994), pp. 22, 73.

[8]His minor children were named: Elijah (b. 1807), Sarah, and James (b. 1809). Three other children had reached majority. They were Lunsford, Hartwell and Barbary (b. 1799).

[9]As early as the 1780s there was an incorporated orphanage society in Claremont and Clarendon counties (Sumter District). Gregorie, History of Sumter County, p. 175. Poor houses, almshouses and workhouses were common in America from the colonial period forward. They carried on traditions of caring for orphans and destitute families and providing work for the able bodied which dated back even before the sixteenth century Elizabethan poor laws. See "An Act for the Relief of the Poor, 43 Elizabeth 601," The Statutes at Large from the Magna Charta to the end of the eleventh Parliament of Great Britain, ed. Joseph Bentham (London: Charles Bathurst, 1763); June Axinn, Social Welfare: A History of the American Response to Need (New York: Harper & Row, 1982), p. 10; B. J. Klebaner, "Public Poor Relief in America, 1790-1860," (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1952), pp. 73-4, 86, 89; Susan Down, "The Orphan Asylum in the Nineteenth Century," Social Service Review 57 (June 1983), 272-290; Camden Orphan Society Minutes, 1786-1794, South Carolina Library (hereafter SCL); Rachael Klein, "Unification of a Slave State: The Rise of the Plantation Class in the South Carolina Backcountry: 1760-1808" (Ph.D. dissertation, Yale University, 1979), p. 277.

[10]Orville Burton, In My Father's House are Many Mansions: Family and Community in Edgefield, S.C. (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina, 1985), p. 50, discusses the South Carolina poor relief system during the 1820s. Those who could work were given jobs by a superintendent who was supported by an appropriation from the general tax. Some areas of the state had workhouses for indigent families. See Michael Hindus, Prison and Plantation: Crime, Justice and Authority in Massachusetts and South Carolina: 1767-1878 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980), p. 147.

[11]"Ruben Long et al v. Estate of Joshua Stafford" (1829), Equity Court Rolls (SCC), Old Series no. 441.

[12]Ibid. See also, "Will of Joshua Stafford," Bundle 101, no. 2; "Estate of Charity Stafford" (Feb. 16, 1839), Wills (SCC), Bundle no. 132, p. 2; "Elijah Stafford & Charity, Sarah, James Stafford v. Stuart Dutton" (1827), Equity Court Rolls (SCC), Old Series no. 436.

[13]"Ruben Long," Equity Court Rolls, no. 441.



[16]Middle country laboring people used the terms farm and farmer, not planter and plantation, in referring to themselves. They seem to have not wanted to ape the landlords. See Stephanie McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds: Yeomen Households, Gender Relations, and the Political Culture of the Antebellum South Carolina Low Country (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 285.

[17]Ibid. p. 79. See also, Marli Weiner, Mistress and Slaves: Plantation Women in South Carolina, 1830-1880 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997), p. 8.

[18]In the pre-Revolutionary period, the middle country had been settled by rice farmers who got the choice farmland along the large fertile river bottoms. These were capital-intensive agriculturalists. It took 30 slaves and $25,000 in non-human capital to compete in rice production. Joshua and Charity's families were not connected with rice farming. See McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, p. 33. Philip Racine, Piedmont Farmer, p. 14, found that a family had to own 20 or more slaves to personally not be involved in field labor. Only 3% of the South Carolina farmer population were in this category. In the 1790 census about 10% of the 378 households in the Claremont (Providence) section of Camden district had 10 or more slaves. This unequal distribution remained a constant throughout the antebellum. See U.S. Census Office, "South Carolina Manuscript Census: Sumter County," First Census, 1790 (Washington, D.C.).

[19]Evarts B. Greene & Virginia Harrington, American Population Before the Federal Census of 1790 (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1966 [1932]), pp. 177-179.

[20]U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, History of Wages in the U.S. from Colonial Times to 1928 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1934), p. 225; Elmer Johnson (ed.), South Carolina: A Documentary Profile of the Palmetto State (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1971), p. 263.

[21]Lewis Gray, History of Agriculture in the Southern U.S. to 1860 (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institute, 1933), vol. 2, p. 681; Louis Wright, South Carolina: A Bicentennial History (New York: W.W. Norton, 1976), pp. 149-150. Prior to the 1790s the South Carolina low country had exported long-staple, silky cotton with smooth black seeds from which the lent came off with ease. In the middle and upper country the only cotton that would grow was the hardier short-staple with green seeds to which lent stuck tenaciously.

[22]James Sloan, Journals (June 24, 1854 to Mar. 27, 1861), South Carolina Library, Columbia, S.C. See also, Plowden Weston, "Management of a Southern Plantation," DeBow's Review (New Orleans), vol. 32 (1857), 38-40.

[23]Burton, In My Father's House, pp. 47, 131.

[24]Ibid., pp. 5, 10, 12, 191, 199.

[25]Gray, History of Agriculture, vol. 2, p. 681; Lacy Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism: The South Carolina Upcountry, 1800-1860 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 14.

[26]Gray, History of Agriculture, vol. 2, p. 663.

[27]"Will of Joshua Stafford," Bundle 101, no. 2. In the 1800 census the family owned no slaves. The family does not appear in the 1810 census. See U.S. Census Office, "Manuscript Population Schedules of the Second Census of the United States, 1800: Sumter (Claremont) County, S.C.," (Wash. D.C.: National Archives Microfilm Publications, 1965) [hereafter U.S. Census, 1800], p. 885; U.S. Census, 1810 (Sumter County, S.C.).

[28]Gray, History of Agriculture, vol. 2, pp. 815 (yields in bu./acre of corn); 812 (cost/bu. of corn); McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, p. 67 (corn consumption of 20 bu./person/year); Raymond Battaglio and John Kazal, "The Structure of Antebellum Southern Agriculture: South Carolina, A Case Study," Agricultural History, 40 (1970), 25-37; Nicholas Hardeman, Shucks, Shocks and Hominy Blocks: Corn as a Way of Life in Pioneer America (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981).

[29]Bolton, Poor Whites, p. 20.

[30]The figure for the amount of acreage planted is based on the assumption that the farm price was $.05/lb., and that 150 lbs./acre were produced, and that each of the four adults made 1000 lbs./year (3 bales). See "Ruben Long et al," Equity Court Rolls, no. 441; Gray, History of Agriculture, vol. 2, pp. 708 (cotton yields in lbs./acre); 709 (price/lb. and poundage/person). Cotton prices fluctuated even within a single year. The $.05/lb. figure is meant to be illustrative only and is on the conservative side. When the price was double or triple $.05/lb., then the amount of pounds to make the same income would be reduced or the income increased.

[31]Bolton, Poor Whites, p. 26.

[32]Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism, p. 310, discusses the tax system. The annual tax on land was $.30/year/$100 of land value and $1/slave. The land on which Charity paid taxes was valued at $700 and she had one adult slave and, in time, some slave children.

[33]"Ruben Long et al," Equity Court Rolls, no. 441.

[34]Ibid.; Estate of Charity Stafford," Bundle 132, no. 2. In time Judia had a son named Bluford.

[35]Burton, In My Father's House, p. 38; Ben Robertson, Red Hills and Cotton (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1960).

[36]McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, p. 73.

[37]"Ruben Long et al," Equity Court Rolls, no. 441.

[38]Louis Wright in South Carolina, pp. 106-109, describes the aping of the English gentry by big landowners and merchants. They imported English furniture, silver, linen, pictures, architecture, politics, religion and beliefs about alcohol and labor.

[39]"Elijah Stafford & Charity, Sarah, James Stafford v. Stuart Dutton" (1827), Equity Court Rolls (SCC), Old Series no. 436.

[40]"Ruben Long et al," Equity Court Rolls, no. 441. In general an estate (both profit and principle) devised to a child went to raise the child. If anything was left, it went to the child on coming of age. See Jacob Wheeler, A Practical Treatise of the Law of Slavery (New York: Negro Universities Press, [1837], 1968), p. 185.

[41]"Ruben Long et al," Equity Court Rolls, no. 441. The doctor bills which Charity had to pay for James and Sarah "were considerable." Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism, p. 28, found that erosion and soil exhaustion caused by shallow soil preparation and indifference to proper drainage often accounted for a decline in cotton production. But this was not a problem for Charity.

[42]The federal tariff on imported manufactured goods in 1816 averaged 25% of value. It went to 33% in 1824 and 50% in 1828. It was reduced to 20% by the late 1840s because of the opposition against it. At the same time the cost of cotton (at the port of Charleston) dropped from $.31/lb in 1818 to $.14/lb in 1821, to $.10/lb in 1826 and to $.08/lb in 1831. The cost at port included the price paid to the farmer and the cost of transportation to Charleston. See William Freehling (ed.), The Nullification Era: A Documentary Record (New York: Harper Torchbook, 1967), pp. x, xii; Gray, History of Agriculture, vol. 2, pp. 663, 666; Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism, p. 14.

[43]See Camden Southern Chronicle (Jan. 8, Jan. 12, & Mar. 12, 1823; Dec. 8, 1824, Mar. 19, 1825); Camden Journal (July 22 & Aug. 26, 1826; Oct. 11, 1828); Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism, p. 15

[44]Thomas Cooper quoted in Freehling (ed.), The Nullification Era, p. 22. South Carolinian James Hamilton, "Annals of Congress," The Great Tariff Debate, 1820-1830 (Boston: D.C. Heath, 1953), p. 23, in April 1824 remarked on the "public spirit" of the monopolists who were behind the tax on some 300 items:

The avarice of the monopolists invariably approaches under the guise of public spirit. They have public meetings and the press--more prolific than the herrings of Norway--are all united in the alliance."

[45]"Estate of Charity Stafford," Bundle 132, no. 2. A worker could make 100 yards of homespun cloth (worth $.08/yd) in a winter. See "Dorcas Brown v. U.S.A.: A Petition to Recover Losses Incurred during Potter's Raid," (Columbia: South Carolina Library, University of South Carolina, 1868), lists the costs of homespun in the 1860s.

[46]McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, p. 78.

[47]Gray, History of Agriculture, vol. 2, p. 611. Throughout the antebellum the south was the leading agriculture region of the United States. It had 30% of the land and 40% of the population but produced all the cotton, rice, sugar, sweet potatoes, 85% of the tobacco, half the corn and 30% of the wheat and rye.

[48]Charity's son Elijah Stafford ended up in parts unknown. Son Lunsford C. Stafford lost his property as the result of a sheriff's sale in 1833. See "Deed of Lunsford C. Stafford to Sheriff William G. Richards" (1833), Deed Books (SCC), Book I, no. 41. Grandson Washington Nicholas Jones (b. 1828) moved to Bonneau in Berkeley Co., S.C. where he worked on the railroad and farmed. Granddaughter Juliann Stafford (Allen) (b. 1815) married a carpenter, lived in the town of Sumter, and raised 8 children. Granddaughter Marian Stafford (Folsom) (b. 1816) married a boot and shoemaker and raised 4 children in the town of Sumter.

[49]Patrick Brady, "Political and Civic Life in South Carolina 1787-1833," (Ph.D. dissertation, University of California at Santa Barbara, 1971), p. 120, table 10. Between 1800 and 1810 some 49,000 left the state.

[50]In 1810 54% of the whites in the Camden district owned no slaves and 20% owned from 1 to 4 slaves. See Klein, Unification of a Slave State, pp. 296-297.

[51]Burton, In My Father's House, p. 180.

[52]Patrick Brady in Political and Civic Life in South Carolina, p. 196, described South Carolina's political-economic division in the antebellum:

The main economic division within South Carolina was not between competing market interests but between those who were and those who were not part of the market economy. Farmers. . . were simply neglected.

[53]Benjamin Perry quoted in Lillian Kibler, Benjamin Perry, South Carolina Unionist (Durham: Duke University Press, 1946), p. 229.

[54]Klein, Unification of a Slave State, p. 130. A Joshua Stafford from South Carolina took up arms and provided supplies to the Continental Army in 1779 and 1782 during the Revolution. He may have been Charity's father-in-law or other relative. See "Joshua Stafford," Revolutionary War Claims, no. AA 7284 (June 5, 1785 & Sept. 1, 1785), South Carolina Archives, Columbia, S.C.

[55]Patrick Brady in Political and Civic Life in South Carolina, p. 151, quotes a small farmer's letter to a middle country newspaper that the failure to provide decent transportation was hurting agriculturalists who would "as many are doing and have done years past, be compelled to abandon the soil for situations in other states where the effects of labor afford a more certain and profitable return." Circuit-riding, Methodist preacher Francis Asbury who traveled lite, covered 50 miles per day on horseback in the early part of the century. See Albert Shipp, The History of Methodism in South Carolina (Nashville, Tenn.: Southern Methodist Publishing House, 1884), p. 359.

[56]Brady, Political and Civic Life in South Carolina, p. 176.

[57]Ibid., p. 161.

[58]As Brady, ibid., p. 165, puts it, "without provisions for boarding (or transportation), the free school system was only a perfunctory gesture toward the goal."

[59]As early as the 1780s and 1790s the legislature had incorporated a society in the Claremont district for the purpose of educating poor and orphaned children. The 1811 act provided for the establishment in each electoral district such as Claremont of free elementary schools equal to the number of representatives in the lower house from the district, with an appropriation of $300 for each school. The subjects to be taught were reading, writing and arithmetic. Between 1811 and 1850, 720 free schools (whites only) were established and the budget in 1850 was $74,000. There was a board of seven free school commissioners for each election district who managed the schools. See Klein, Unification of a Slave State, p. 277; John Thomason, The Foundations of the Public Schools in South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.: The State Company, 1925), pp. 126-175.

[60]Woodville Academy was established about 1816. Among the subjects taught were Latin and Greek. One of its founders was a "Ruben Long." Charity's daughter (Sarah) married someone with that name, perhaps a son or relative of the founder. See Gregorie, History of Sumter County, p. 178. Sumterville Academy, which existed from 1837 to 1867, and which was similar to Woodville, charged $6 per quarter per child to learn reading, spelling and writing. The cost went to $10 per quarter for modern languages, music, painting and needlework. Corporal punishment was permitted until the boys were 14 and girls were 12. Then they were expelled. There was one month of vacation per year and two public exams. There was also an additional $.50 per quarter during cold weather for firewood. See Thelma Magalis Gaston, "A History of the Sumter Secondary Schools Prior to 1888 and Since 1935: The Sumter Academy" (MA thesis, University of South Carolina, 1950).

[61]"Ruben Long et al," Equity Court Rolls, no. 441.

[62]Klein, Unification of a Slave State, p. 282.

[63]Gustavus Myers, History of the Great American Fortunes (Chicago: C.H. Kerr & Co., 1910).

[64]Roy M. Robbins, Our Landed Heritage (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1942), pp. 101-116; Bolton, Poor Whites, p. 67.

[65]U.S. Census Office, "South Carolina Manuscript Census: Sumter County," Third Census of the United States, 1810 (Washington, D.C.: 1811), p. 79; Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 (Washington, D.C.: 1864); John S. Otto, "The Migration of Southern Plain Folk: An Interdisciplinary Synthesis," J. of Southern History 51 (May 1985), 183-200; McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, p. 45.

[66]Alfred Hunt, Haiti's Influence on Antebellum America: Slumbering Volcano in the Caribbean (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1988). South Carolina's most famous slave revolt was in 1822. Included among the revolutionaries were four whites. The goal was to liberate Charleston with the help of Haiti and the north. See John Lofton, Insurrection in South Carolina: The Turbulent World of Denmark Vesey (Yellow Springs, Ohio: Antioch Press, 1964). Another slave conspiracy and trial took place just up the road from Sumterville in Camden in 1816. See Steven Channing, Crisis of Fear: Secession in South Carolina (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1970), p. 21; Gregorie, History of Sumter County, p. 133.

[67]Quoted in Brady, Political and Civic Life in South Carolina, p. 128. Landlords commonly believed that slavery was the proper status of both black and white laboring people. See William Jenkins, Pro-Slavery Thought in the Old South (Gloucester, Mass.: P. Smith, [1935] 1960), pp. 283-295; Eugene Genovese, The World the Slaveholders Made: Two Essays on Interpretation (New York: Pantheon, 1969), pp. 156-234.

[68]Kibler, Benjamin Perry, pp. 218-219. The great nullifier himself, John Calhoun, had voted as a member of the U.S. Congress in 1816 for a protective tariff. See Wright, South Carolina, p. 163.

[69]McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, pp. 253, 267; Sumter Gazette article, reprinted in Charleston Mercury (Sept. 13, 1830 & Sept. 14, 1830). Despite small farmer opposition, South Carolina big landowners and merchants held a nullification convention in November 1832 and adopted the Ordinance of Nullification, which declared the federal tariffs of 1828 and 1832 null and void. They warned that any attempt to collect it would result in secession. About the same time there was a minor battle in the streets of Sumterville between the nullifiers and those who were questioning the slave system, such as the readers of the Sumterville Southern Whig newspaper. See Gregorie, History of Sumter County, pp. 149-150; Freehling, The Nullification Era, p. xii; William Freehling, Prelude to the Civil War: The Nullification Controversy in South Carolina, 1816-1836 (New York: Harper, 1965), pp. 83-85.

[70]Barbary's granddaughter (Mary E. Barbara Jones Fowler, b. 1865) was called "Babs." Perhaps her grandmother had this nickname as well.

[71]"Deed of Tyre Jennings to Eli Jones" (Dec. 7, 1830), Deed Books (SCC), Book H, p. 439, contains a plat of the farm and states:

Eli Jones late of Sumter District paid $300 to Tyre Jennings for 100 acres, a part of land originally granted to Asa Dinkins, on the headwaters of the Black River, bordered by Jesse Heartwell, Capt. Thomas Baker, Dr. Haynsworth and Josiah Haynsworth.

The farm is described with its neighbors in 1839 in "Estate of Eli Jones" (1839), Wills (SCC), Bundle 113, no. 13:

100 acres, near Peocola E. Gaillard, C.C. Jackson on S, James R. Spann on N and James D. Graham on the W, on the waters of the Black River, platted by John Ballard on Feb. 10, 1829 and attached to a deed of conveyance of Tyre Jennings to Eli Jones, recorded in Book H, p. 439 on Dec. 7, 1830.

The land bordering the farm is again mentioned in "Deed to Robert F. Jones" (1891), Deed Books (SCC), Book DDD, p. 580:

At Providence to Robert F. Jones bounded on and by land of Misses Spann, by lands formerly of Eli Jones, S and W by R.F. Jones land; R.F. Jones formerly had bought all from James D. Graham, Feb. 3, 1864.

[72]Red Lane Rd. (State Highway 278) was near the intersection of old U.S. Highway 521 and State Highway 441. State Highway 441 (Peach Orchard Road) was the old route leading northeast from Stateburg to U.S. Highway 15 and Bishopville. The land has continued to be farmed by Eli and Barbary's descendants to the present but the size has varied as tracts have been added to by purchase or subtracted because of distribution among heirs. See Deed Books (SCC: Sept. 3, 1947), Book 5, p. 13; ibid., Book OO, p. 314; ibid., Book P-6, p. 315; Plat Books (SCC: Nov. 20, 1900), Book Z-8, p. 31.

[73]Providence Church became part of the Southern Methodist Conference in 1939. Before that it was part of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. See Emory Bucke, The History of American Methodism (New York: Abingdon Press, 1964), vol. 3, p. 592. Barbary and a number of her descendants are buried in the church's cemetery.

[74]See Robert Mills, "Sumter District," Mills Atlas. The family farm was in the area designated H. Mathi's on Mills Atlas. The Lee Branch connected with the Rocky Bluff and Black River watershed.

[75]Luis F. Emilio, Brave Black Regiment: The History of the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, 1863-1865 (New York: DeCapo, [1890] 1995), as quoted in Allan Thigpen (ed.), The Illustrated Recollections of Potter's Raid, Apr. 5-21, 1865 (Sumter: Gamecock City Printing, 1998), p. 524.

[76]James Stafford at age 17 had married in 1836 and brought his wife home to live under Charity's roof. See U.S. Census, 1840 (Sumter County, S.C.), roll 515, p. 1. By the time Charity died five years later, they had two children and were still living with her. She willed the farm to James's infant daughter "for the benefit of her father." See "Estate of Charity Stafford," Bundle 132, no. 2. By 1870 James had died. His widow, Mariann (age 53) and 6 of his 11 children (ages 10 to 21) were running the farm. See U.S. Census, 1870 (Sumter County, S.C.), roll 1509, p. 173. In 1880 Mariann (age 64), her son Hartwell (age 32) and his wife and 4 children, plus several of Mariann's other children were running the farm. See U.S. Census, 1880 (Sumter County, S.C.), p. 198. Lunsford Stafford, aged 50 or older, was a widower by 1840 but still farming in Providence. He had no slaves. Single-handedly he was also acting as the foster parent of a grandson, who was less than 5 years old. Lunsford was in poor health and died in 1842. He had three adult daughters in Sumter Co., two of whom married about 1840. Juliann (age 25) married a carpenter, Jesse Allen. Marian (age 24) married a boot and shoemaker, Benjamin Folsom. Placida married William Duncan. See U.S. Census, 1840 (Sumter County, S.C.), roll 515, p. 8.

[77]"Estate of Eli Jones" (1839), Wills (SCC), Bundle 113, no. 13.

[78]One-half the South Carolina cotton growers in the 1850s produced only one bale each. See Racine (ed.), Piedmont Farmer, p. 2.

[79]Gregorie, History of Sumter County, pp. 165-166, 233; Bolton, Poor Whites, p. 24; Klein, Unification of a Slave State, pp. 288-291.

[80]Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism, p. 53.

[81]Bolton, Poor Whites, p. 25, describes the work required on a farm.

[82]"Administratrix's Report of Barbary Jones" (Nov. 7, 1845) in "Estate of Eli Jones," (1839), Wills (SCC), Bundle 113, no. 13.

[83]Barbary's typical expenses in 1845 included the blacksmith who got $.93 for one job, W.F. Wright who was paid for work done in his "shop," Noah Graham, who was a clergyman and tutor, John Ballard, Wm. Bell and H. Watts. She paid $11 to her brother, James Stafford for "sundries." See "Administratrix's Report of Barbary Jones" (Nov. 7, 1845) in "Estate of Eli Jones," Bundle 113, no. 13.


[85]The value of Eli's estate was less than half what Barbary's father's estate had been. The inventory listed the "Negro boy, five head of cattle, one lot bed steads, crockery, one chest, two trunks, kitchen furniture, ploughs, loom." See Ibid.


[87]Barbary Jones and Lauringdon R. Jennings administered the estate. According to a report, which she filed with the court on Nov. 7, 1845, Barbary's daughter Elizabeth got three yearlings valued at $11, Ellerby H. got a white cow, Washington N. got a cow and Mary P. got two head of cattle. See "Administratrix's Report of Barbary Jones" (Nov. 7, 1845) in ibid. There is no mention of the "Negro boy" in the report. He may have continued as part of the estate until his emancipation in the 1860s.

[88]"Estate of Charity Stafford" (Feb. 16, 1839), Wills (SCC), Bundle 132, no. 2; see also, "Deed of Barbary Jones to Elizabeth M. Jones" (December 1883), Deed Books (SCC), Book YY, p. 149; and "Deed of Sam Watson to Barbary Jones" (Apr. 6, 1860), Deed Books (SCC), Book QQ, pp. 212-213, which included an order against William A. Jones, who may have been a brother or other relation to Eli. According to Steven Hahn, "The Yeomanry of the Nonplantation South," Countryside in the Age of Capitalist Transformation: Essays in the Social History of Rural America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1985), p. 44, local customs required closed rather than open bidding so that the immediate family could buy up much of the property auctioned at prices well under the legal appraisal.

[89]Racine (ed.), Piedmont Farmer, p. 17.

[90]The 1840 census lists Charity as having five slaves. In Charity's estate were also mahogany tables, two pine tables, one lot of copper ware, a trunk, oven, pan, skillet, kettle, and iron bound trunk. See U.S. Census, 1840 (Sumter County, S.C.), roll 515, p. 1; "Estate of Charity Stafford," Bundle 132, no. 2.

[91]"Estate of Charity Stafford," Bundle 132, no. 2. When Charity died she probably had 5 slaves. Judia and her son Bluford are named in her will but nothing is said as to what became of them. The will grants three unnamed slaves to Barbary and her children. Documents from other court proceedings give the name of these three as "Molly and her increase." More specifically, Charity's will grants a life estate in three "Negroes" to Barbary and at her death, to three of Barbary's children, Heartwell E. [Ellerbe], Charity Elizabeth and Mary F. [Placida] Jones. The grant is mentioned in "Grant of William R. Barkley to Charles H. Jones, Trustee," (1855), Deed Books (SCC), Book PP, p. 63, which states: "Charity Stafford by her last will deeds to Barbary Jones for life the following slaves, Molly and her increase with remainder after to Elizabeth Jones, daughter of Barbary." The grant is also mentioned in "Deed of James M. Ross and Mary Placida (Jones) to Washington N. Jones" (Sept. 6, 1855), Deed Books (SCC), Book PP, p. 127:

A marriage is soon intended. Mary is entitled under the will of her grandmother, Charity Stafford, at the death of her mother, Barbary Jones, to certain slaves. Mary puts into trust with Washington to hold for her life and use, and then to her children. Witness Charles C. Jackson, J.M. Bracey and W.I. Norris.

Mary (and the slave?) did not want her slave to become part of her future spouse's estate.

[92]U.S. Census, 1840 (Sumter County, S.C.), roll 515, p. 1.

[93]Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988), p. 177.

[94]John Drayton in A View of South Carolina as Respects her Natural and Civil Concerns (Charleston: W.P. Young, 1802), p. 145, wrote that "slaves are encouraged to plant for emolument; raise poultry for their own use or for sale; and are protected in the property they thus acquire." See also, Robert Olwell, Masters, Slaves and Subjects: The Culture of Power in the South Carolina Low Country, 1740-1790 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998), p. 204.

[95]Wheeler, A Practical Treatise of the Law of Slavery, p. 196.

[96]Wahl, The Bondsman's Burden, p. 149. For similar reasons (slave-owner self-protection), the selling of children away from their mother was outlawed. For example, in probate cases whoever got the mother in a division of property also got the children. The person that got the mother had to compensate the other heirs for the cost of the children. See Wheeler, A Practical Treatise of the Law of Slavery, p. 188.

[97]U.S. Census, 1840 (Sumter County, S.C.), roll 515, p. 39.

[98]Gray, History of Agriculture, vol. 2, pp. 815 (yields in bu./acre of corn); 812 (cost/bu. of corn); McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, p. 67 (corn consumption of 20 bu./person/year).

[99]This figure is based on a yield of 150 lbs./acre or a 1500 lbs. yield total, selling at $.05/lb. See Gray, History of Agriculture, vol. 2, pp. 708 (cotton yields in lbs./acre); 709 (price/lb. and poundage/person). By way of comparison the Harris family in the Piedmont area of South Carolina in 1860 grew 420 lbs. of cotton and sold it for $43.26 ($.10/lb.). Their total income was $310. This included $231 from pork sales and $36 from corn (48 bu. at $.75/lb.). See Racine (ed.), Piedmont Farmer, p. 5.

[100]U.S. Census, 1850 (Sumter County, S.C.), p. 392.

[101]Gregorie, History of Sumter County, pp. 166-167.

[102]U.S. Census, 1850 (Sumter County, S.C.), p. 392.

[103]U.S. Census, 1850 (slave schedules, Sumter County, S.C.), p. 175. Several of Molly's sons (ages 18 and 20) seem to have been living on Charity's old farm, which son James was running. See ibid. 172.

[104]The U.S. Census, 1870 (Sumter County, S.C.), roll 1509, p. 186, lists a "Molly (Maly?) Butler" who was married to Monroe Butler living close to Barbary.

[105]Gregorie, History of Sumter County, p. 229.

[106]ibid.; McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, p. 253.

[107]Nichols, Historical Sketches of Sumter County, vol. 2, pp. 333, 420-421; Racine (ed.), Piedmont Farmer, p. 9.

[108]Gregorie, History of Sumter County, p. 223; Dickson D. Bruce, And They All Sang Hallelujah: Plain-Folk Camp-Meeting Religion, 1800-1845 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1974), p. 75; Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism, p. 25. According to Porcher G. Rembert in "The Bradford Spings," The Illustrated Recollections of Potter's Raid, p. 510, Providence Springs was located at the crossroads of old U.S. Highway 521 and S.C. Highway 441, near the present Hillcrest School. This is also near Providence Methodist Church.

[109]Bruce, And They All Sang Hallelujah, p. 43; Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism, pp. 27-29.

[110]Gregorie, History of Sumter County, p. 218.

[111]Jack Meyer, South Carolina in the Mexican War: A History of the Palmetto Regiment of Volunteers, 1846-1917 (Columbia, S.C.: Dept. of Archives and History, 1996), p. 125; Sumter Banner (July 26, 1848).


[113]Elizabeth Barkley's three children were Ellinora (age 23), who was working as a seamstress and who may have been a stepdaughter to Elizabeth; Mary (age 21) and Alice (age 8). See U.S. Census, 1870 (Sumter County, S.C.), roll 1509, p. 186. In 1880 granddaughters Mary Barkley (age 30) and Connie (age 26) and Connie's husband John W. Yates (age 23) were living in the outbuilding. See U.S. Census, 1880 (Sumter County, S.C.), p. 197.

[114]In the 1880 census Elizabeth Jones (age 75) was living with Nele (Neal?, b. 1823) and Elizabeth (b. 1818) Bradford and their nephew. She was listed as not being related to them. Next door on Charity's old farm was Mariann Stafford (James's widow) and three of her sons, including Hartwell, his wife, and four children. See ibid., p. 198.

[115]U.S. Census, 1860 (Sumter County, S.C.), p. 152. Sarah had never married and lived with her mother until her mother died in the 1850s. See U.S. Census, 1840 (Sumter County, S.C.), p. 37; U.S. Census, 1850 (Sumter County, S.C.), p. 391.

[116]U.S. Census, 1880 (Sumter County, S.C.), p. 197.

[117]In 1838 Texas enacted the first homestead exemption law. It protected 50 acres of land and $500 worth of improvements from seizure for debt. See Bolton, Poor Whites, p. 82.

[118]Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism, pp. 322-323, speaks of the intense popular hostility toward banks, financiers and moneylenders. In 1857 the "usurers, merchants, and money-changers hereabout clamorous against the law" gained the retraction of the Homestead Act.

[119]Under Governor John Hugh Means, South Carolina's defense spending and taxes went up by 50% between 1850 and 1852 to $350,000 in preparation for succession. See Jean M. Flynn, The Militia in Antebellum South Carolina (Spartanburg: Reprint Co., 1991), pp. 16, 141; Gregorie, History of Sumter County, p. 161; "Militia Law of 1794," Acts and resolutions of the General Assembly, of the state of South Carolina, passed in April, 1794 (Charleston: Timothy & Mason, 1794); Thomas M. Cooper & David J. McCord (eds.), The Statutes at Large of South Carolina (11 vols., Columbia: A.S. Johnson, 1836-1873); John H. Franklin, The Militant South: 1800-1861 (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 1956).

[120]Manuscript Census of South Carolina, 1849 (SCL).

[121]Flynn, The Militia in Antebellum South Carolina, pp. 148-149.

[122]McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, pp. 284-285, 288, 294. When succession finally did come in the 1860s, it was from the top down. There was little debate or voting and vigilantism against those who opposed the war. See Channing, Crisis of Fear, p. 292; Ralph Wooster, The Secession Conventions of the South (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1962).

[123]Sumter Watchman (1855), quoted by Gregorie, History of Sumter County, p. 202.

[124]Sumter Co. Grandjury (April Term, 1855), quoted in Gregorie, History of Sumter County, p. 202.

[125]"Administratrix's Report of Barbary Jones" in "Estate of Eli Jones," Bundle 113, no. 13. In the 1840 census teacher William Eveleigh (age 40 to 50) was listed as having a wife, three children, and no slaves. Teacher John Cook (age 45 and older) was listed as having a wife (age 45 and older) and a son (age 16 to 26). See U.S. Census, 1840 (Sumter County, S.C.), p. 5. The tuition paid by Barbary was similar to the $12/month ($108/year) paid by the well-documented Harris family. See Racine (ed.), Piedmont Farmer, p. 5.

[126]Barbary's oldest son did get a geography lesson at government expense. Western expansionists led by President James Polk (1845-1849) from Tennessee wanted to add Texas to the union. To promote that end, they fraudently claimed that U.S. blood had been spilt on U.S. territory by the Mexican army. On May 9, 1846 war was declared on Mexico. As a trickle down from this policy, Ellerbe (age 19) enlisted as a soldier on December 7, 1846. He joined Captain Francis Sumter's company (Co. A., Palmetto Regiment, S.C. Volunteers) at Sumterville. In several weeks he was in Charleston and then went on to Mexico. He was involved in battles at Vera Cruz, Puebla and Mexico City. He rose from private to second corporal by the time he was mustered out on July 3, 1848 at Mobile, Alabama. As a result of the Mexican-American War, Mexico lost half of its territory to the U.S. Ellerbe did not accumulate anything from his wages, which were $3.50/month (irregularly paid) with a six-month advance of $21 upon enlistment into service. See Meyer, South Carolina in the Mexican War, pp. 20, 266. By 1850 he was back under his mother's roof. See "Service Record of Ellerbe Jones," Mexican War and Florida War Service Records, U.S. Archives (Wash. D.C.); U.S. Census, 1850 (Sumter County, S.C.), p. 392; Gregorie, History of Sumter County, pp. 154-161.

[127]See U.S. Census, 1870 (Sumter County, S.C.), roll 1509, p. 173. In the 1850s the state legislature started to increase its expenditures for social services such as education, poor relief and care for the sick and insane. The more capital needed labor to do its fighting, the more willing was it to make concessions to labor's demands. See Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism, pp. 311-313. In 1857 there were 52 public schools in Sumter district with 589 students. The town of Sumter had 8 of the schools. Each school had a single teacher. Each student had to pay $.05/day or $3/quarter ($6/session). See Gregorie, History of Sumter County, pp. 175-176. The politicians, media, clergy and educators, following the lead of the big landowners and merchants, attached a stigma to the public schools in the same way a stigma is now attached to those who live in public housing or receive welfare.

[128]Gray, History of Agriculture, vol. 2, p. 666. A female slave was 75% the cost of a male. The yearly profit from a slave was $61 or 6% on invested capital. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 709; Bolton, Poor Whites, p. 22. According to McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, p. 71, the market concentration of wealth in land and slaves in some areas of South Carolina forced from one-fourth to one-half the population to move out.

[129]"Estate of Eli Jones," Bundle 113, no. 13, mentions Ellerbe as being out-of-state.

[130]The family of his 21 year-old wife, Lizzie (Margaret Elizabeth David), had been more integrated in the market system than had Charlie's. Lizzie's father, George David died about 1850 at age 60, leaving 7 children (aged 2 to 20), along with large debts and a 527-acre farm with 22 slaves worth $7840. Much of George's estate had been inherited from his father, Isaac David. George had gone insane by 1846 and was incapable of doing business. His wife, Lucy (Macon), age 38 at the time, ran the farm. The U.S. Census, 1850 (Sumter County, S.C.), p. 331, listed the family as having $1200 in real estate. The farm was described in "George B. David (by Sheriff) to Henry D. Chandler" (Feb. 8, 1859), Deed Books (SCC), Book Q, p. 532:

527 acres owned by George B. David in fork of Black River known as grant from Isaac David to George B. David, bounded on N by land of Samuel E. Plowden, E by Dr. R.R. Durant, W by children of James Mack, and S by J. J. Nelson.

See also, "Thomas V. Walsh, Ellen J., Isaac M. David, et al" (1868), Equity Court Rolls (SCC), no. 488; "Estate of Isaac David" (Nov. 3, 1846), Equity Court Rolls (SCC), no. 96; "Will of Isaac David" (Jan. 24, 1833), Wills (SCC), Bundle no. 31, p. 7.

In the first years of their marriage Charlie and Lizzie farmed outside the area. Having made or inherited some money, they came back to Sumter about 1860 and bought or rented a 144 acre farm near Cane Savannah Swamp. The farm was described in "Deed of Charles H. Jones" (Dec. 23, 1868), Deed Books (SCC), Book SS, p. 193:

Bordered on the N by the land of Robert S. Mellette, on E by Robert S. Mellette and R. J. Dick, on the S by the Run of the Cain Savannah Swamp and on the W by John S. Bradford and Robert S. Mellette, which was deeded by Emily S. Dargon on Jan. 24, 1860 in Book QQ 575 and 576.

The farm is also described in Deed Books (SCC), Book RR, p. 674.

During the war Charlie was in Virginia from 1862 to 1865 with Co. I, Seventeenth Regiment, S.C. Cavalry. See Toby Terrar, Family History Information about Charles H. Jones and Elizabeth Margaret David and Related Families in Sumter Co., S.C. (Silver Spring, Md.: Self-Published, 1988), obtainable at Sumter County Public Library.

Perhaps from his $12 monthly wages or from his wife's inheritance, Charlie bought a 15-acre lot in Sumter town on Aug. 3, 1863. See "Lawrence M. Brunson to Charles H. Jones" (Aug. 3, 1863), Deed Books (SCC), Book S, p. 149, read:

Deed for 15 acres in Sumter town bordered on W by Main St., N by L.M. Brunson's lot, E by Road to Pocotaligo, S by land of Thomas Hoyt, with a plat attached, recorded Feb. 1869.

[131]In the spring of 1867 Charlie borrowed $2000 to plant a cotton crop. See "Lien of Charles H. Jones to L. G. Pate" (Apr. 30, 1867), Deed Books (SCC), Book RR, p. 52, which read, "For $2000 loan a lien is given on crops to be planted on land of Mrs. Anne M. Bradford."

The following April 1868 he and Lizzie made a loan of $1000 to plant another crop. See "Lien of Charles H. Jones to L. G. Pate" (Apr. 10, 1868), Deed Books (SCC), Book RR, p. 441, which read, "L. G. Pate loaned $1000 to Charles H. Jones to grow a crop on a farm know as Miss Anne M. Bradford. In return C. H. Jones gives a lien of one-third of the crop."

[132]See "Petition for Bankruptcy of Charles H. Jones" (July 6, 1868), Deed Books (SCC), Book RR, p. 545, which read:

Charles H. Jones filed a petition for bankruptcy on July 6, 1868 at the office of R. B. Carpenter, register in bankruptcy, no. 72 Broad St., Charleston, S.C. with David J. Winn appointed assignee of the estate, including deeds, bills and papers under the "Act to Establish a Uniform System of Bankruptcy throughout the U.S., March 2, 1867."

The 1867 Bankruptcy Act exempted some of Charlie's property from his creditors.

[133]The following spring of 1869 he borrowed $200 cash and $50 worth of supplies to plant his 15-acre plot located in Sumter town. In return he gave a lien for $350. See "Lien Given by Charles H. Jones" (Feb. 27, 1869), Deed Books (SCC), Book S, p. 140.

At about the same time he made another loan at 12%/year. See "Lien by Charles H. Jones on a Crop to George W. Williams & Co." (Feb. 8, 1869), Deed Books (SCC), Book S, p. 109.

In Oct. 1869 he bought a 100-acre farm, which he deeded away a few months later. See "Deed of Charles H. Jones to Stephen Richardson" (Jan. 3, 1870), Deed Books (SCC), Book SS, p. 703, which read:

100 acres bordered on the N and E by Porcher Gaillard's land, S by lands of Dr. Rembert and W by John Philips, which was conveyed to Charles H. Jones by Thomas J. Coghlan, Oct. 4, 1869.

In January 1870 he got a loan for $1000 to plant a cotton crop. See "Loan to Charles H. Jones from George W. Williams & Co." (Jan. 1, 1870), Deed Books (SCC), Book SS, p. 307.

In the spring of 1871 he borrowed $600 to plant a crop. See "Lien of Charles H. Jones to Oliver Hoyt" (Apr. 20, 1871), Deed Books (SCC), Book TT, p. 187 and Book TT, p. 188.

Each time he took a loan he gave a lien on the crop or on his other possessions. For example, in 1871 in exchange for a loan he gave a lien on his cotton lint ( 1 bail weighing 466 lbs.), 1 bay horse, 1 bay mare mule and 44 stockhogs. According to the 1870 census, Charlie's farm was worth $1000 and his personal property was worth $500. See U.S. Census, 1870 (Sumter County, S.C.), roll 1509, p. 56. Shortly before she died, Barbary deeded for $450 her farm to her daughter-in-law Elizabeth M. Jones, who was the wife of her youngest son, Charlie. See "Deed of Barbary Jones to Elizabeth M. Jones" (1883), Deed Books (SCC), Book YY, p. 149. The deed read:

For $450, 100 acres of plantation, bordering lands formerly owned by Jesse Hartwell and now owned by Cook, and lands formerly of Thomas Baker and now owned by Carson and lands formerly of Josiah Haynsworth and by Dr. James Haynsworth, and now owned by Mrs. R.L. Jones and other lands of Boykins.

In the 1860 census the farm was valued at $6500. U.S. Census, 1860 (Sumter County, S.C.), p. 152. The jump in value from $500 in 1850 to $6000 in 1860 reflected Molly's "increase" and the inflation in slave values. Several of her adult daughters and their 6 children (all 11 years of age or younger), but not Molly, were living on Barbary's farm. See ibid., 195. One of Molly's daughters had a mulatto daughter who was age 4 in 1860. This child may have been Barbary's granddaughter as well.

[134]Kibler, Benjamin Perry, p. 463; Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism, p. 311.

[135]Kibler, Benjamin Perry, p. 465.

[136]See U.S. Census, 1870 (Sumter County, S.C.), roll 1509, p. 298. Others in the poorhouse were several white children (unrelated to Sarah), and 7 blacks, including a 101-year-old male named Mack Lennes. The live-in superintendents were Addison Troublefield (age 25) and his wife Julia.

[137]The value of a slave's labor per year ranged from $50 to $400. See Bolton, Poor Whites, p. 17.

[138]On the positive side, Charity gave a life estate in her slave family to her daughter Barbary. This made it difficult for Charity's heirs or debtors to split up the family during Barbary's life. It was a felony criminal offense for a life tenant to move a slave out of the state. By the time Barbary died in 1884, 44 years after her mother, the family had long been emancipated. See Jenny Wahl, The Bondsman's Burden: An Economic Analysis of the Common Law of Southern Slavery (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 149.

[139]McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, p. 161. Francis Asbury, the first American Methodist bishop complained in 1804 that the Baptists got the rich and the Methodists got the slaves. See John Boles, The Great Revival, 1787-1805: The Origins of the Southern Evangelical Mind (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1972), p. 169.

[140]Richard Furman, quoted in Larry Tise, Proslavery: A History of the Defense of Slavery in America, 1701-1840 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987), p. 40. In 1803 Thomas Sumter, a landlord, donated land to Furman in Stateburg for a Baptist church. Stateburg neighbored Providence to the west. Furman owned 6 slaves. Both he and Sumter ran into economic problems because of their involvement in the get-rich-quick market system. Capital (the Bank of the State of South Carolina) was no respecter of persons. Despite being a Revolutionary war hero and advanced in years, Sumter ended up imprisoned for debt. See Gregorie, History of Sumter County, p. 199; Harvey Cook (ed.), A Biography of Richard Furman (Greenville, S.C.: Baptist Commission, 1913), pp. 12-15; Klein, Unification of a Slave State, pp. 263-265.

[141]McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, pp. 139, 142.

[142]Burton, In My Father's House, pp. 23, 60.

[143]Donald Matthews, Religion in the Old South (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977), pp. 35, 142, 152; Matthews, Slavery and Methodism: A Chapter in American Morality, 1780-1845 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965), pp. 3-61; Ira F. McLeister, History of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of America, ed. Roy Nicholson (Syracuse, NY: Wesley Press, 1951).

[144]Anne Loveland, Southern Evangelicals and Social Order: 1800-1860 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1980), p. 197.

[145]Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism, p. 24; Bruce, And They All Sang Hallelujah, p. 43.

[146]Methodist bishop Francis Asbury accepted donations of land and slaves from slave owners. He ended up using his office to keep anti-slave clergy out of the pulpit. At his suggestion the Methodist General Conference of 1804 dropped all condemnations against slavery from the book of discipline. See Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism, p. 24. See Matthews, Religion in the Old South, p. 122.

[147]McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, p. 83; Weiner, Mistress and Slaves, p. 193.

[148]For such reductionist views, see Eugene Genovese, The World the Slaveholders Made: Two Essays in Interpretation (New York: Vintage Books, 1971), p. 96; and Channing, Crisis of Fear, p. 293. Channing writes:

For the people of South Carolina perpetuation of their lives beyond 1860 meant the steady and irresistible destruction of slavery, which was the first and the last principle of life in that society, the only conceivable pattern of essential race control.

Charity and Barbary's history and that of the South Carolina majority would suggest that the first and last principle of life was labor.

[149]Samuel DuBose, Address Delivered at the Seventeenth Convention of the Black Oak Agricultural Society (Charleston: A.E. Miller, 1858), p. 21. Betram Wyatt-Brown, Southern Honor,Ethics and Behavior in the Old South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), pp. 229-230, is similarly wide of the mark. Wyatt-Brown maintains that "Feminine dependency was women's fate" and that women "strained for security in marriage." If Charity and Barbary are any indication, the majority of women, whether or not married got security by their labor and were more depended upon than dependent.

[150]McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds, p. 78.

[151]Eric Jones, Seasons and Prices: The Role of Weather in English Agricultural History (London: Allen & Unwin, 1964), p. 7; Bruce, And They All Sang Hallelujah, p. 27.

[152]Ronald Meek, Studies in the Labor Theory of Value (London: Lawrence and Wisehart, 1973).

[153]See Orlando Patterson, "Review of Slavery and Social Death," Journal of Negro History, 68 (Spring, 1983), no. 2, p. 214.

[154]See Fox-Genovese, Within the Plantation Household, pp. 203-204, 438.

[155]Bolton, Poor Whites, p. 44.

[156]The diagram is based on a physical survey of the house. The house is still standing but unoccupied and in poor condition. It is also based on the oral history of Elizabeth (Lizzie Jones) Troublefield (1886-1971), which was recorded by Lena (Jones) Hill in 1969 and is now in the possession of Toby Terrar. Lizzie Troublefield was born and lived much of her life in the house that Barbary and her family occupied. Lizzie's mother, Francis (Fannie) Ellen Jones (1858-1931) was Barbary's granddaughter and Lizzie's father, Robert Frederick Jones (1854-1935) was the first cousin once removed of Barbary's spouse, Eli Jones. The house, facing west, sat on a small hill and was raised three feet off the ground in the front and one foot in the rear. It had a high pitched roof and there was a covered porch in both front and back. During the summer a number of high-backed, homemade, cain rocking chairs were put on the shaddy front porch. In the winter they were moved to the back porch to catch the heat of the southeast sun.

At the south end of the house outside Barbary's bedroom window were two large rose bushes which climbed up the side of the house. One was an American beauty (deep red). The other was a white rose. In the front yard was a flower garden with violets, four o'clocks, butter cups and narcissis. One of Barbary's boys tended the flower garden. Shrubs and a vine with white flowers ran the length of the front porch railing. In the back of the house was a grape arbor with blue grapes that ran half the length of the house and under which one could walk. There were fig, pecan, black walnut and hickory trees that gave shade in the summer and fruit and nuts in the fall. A vine with blue grapes ran up one of the pecan trees. There was a big barn with a hayloft for the hay and individual stalls for the horse, mule, cow and pigs. Also stored in the barn were the farm implements such as the plow and a hand-powered corn mill that shelled corn from the husk. The pigs could eat dried corn on the cob, but not the cow and horse. There was both a fenced lot connecting to the barn and a large fenced pasture to the west. In addition to the barn there was a chicken coop and vegetable garden near the cookhouse. Some of the children had another garden at the north end of the house and the slave family also had a garden.

Inside the house each room measured about 16 ft. by 16 ft. The floor was of tongue and groove, six-inch wide wood boards. Kerosene lamps were used for lighting. Woodburning brick fire places provided heat. Barbary and the boys' room shared back-to-back fireplaces with a double chimney on the roof. There were a number of high-backed cane rocking chairs that sat before the fireplace in Barbary's room. She roasted sweet potatoes in the coals. On the mantle in her room was a clock and in the corner was a washbowl and water pitcher on a stand. There were no single-sized beds; all were double-sized with homemade feather mattresses. Sometimes there were three or four children to a bed. The cookhouse and dining room were located in a building that was separated from the main house by about 20 feet. It was raised one foot from the ground and had a wooden floor. In the kitchen was a stand for water and wooden bins for rice, corn meal and flower. In her later years, Barbary had a four-burner cast iron stove on which to cook. By the door was a wood box. In the dining room was a safe for the china and a sideboard for the linen. An oilcloth covered the dining room table. Outside the cookhouse under a mulberry tree for shade to keep it cool was a safe raised on four legs in which the milk was kept.

[157]"Map of Dalzell, S.C.," based on "Ashwood, S.C. Quadrangle Topographic Map," (Wash. D.C.: U.S. Geological Survey, 1957).