Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kingsley Plantation

On Friday I had the pleasure of visiting this old plantation with my children.  It is on days like this that I love to teach my children at home.  At least at the beginning of the trip.  By the end we can be quite cranky and tired.
As you approach the plantation through a long driveway there are very old palm trees planted on either side.  It is rumored that the slaves planted them.  What is known for sure is that they were intentionally planted by someone.  They are almost lost in the hammock of oak trees, cedar trees and palmetto brush.  What is hard to believe or visualize is that when they were established nothing but sea island cotton was growing there among them.  I am thinking that the slaves who planted the palm trees had a much easier job than the ones who cleared the forest to plant the cotton.  Can you imagine?
They grew sea island cotton in this region.  It liked the sandy soil and was farm more prized than the cotton grown in the upland regions of the south.  Sea island cotton had a longer stretch.  Strands of the cotton could reach 3-4 inches.  The plants themselves were also much larger.  They grew to a  height of six feet whereas, most cotton is only waist high.  Also, it produced cotton for up to five months or the first freeze of the year.  This was much longer than the normal month that other cotton produces bolls.
None of this made life easier for the slaves.  In addition to that Sea Island Cotton could not use the famous cotton gin to remove the seeds.  So, the seeds, which are more numerous in this cotton plant, had to be removed by hand.  If you visit the plantation you can see old pictures of the fields and one of a woman sitting in a circle, with a radius of at least 10 feet, of piled cotton.  She is laboriously removing the seeds.

This is the tabby barn.  Its walls are about 1 foot thick.

The view from the front porch.  Talk about water front property!

My boy as he climbs down from a very old and twisted cedar tree.

What a trip!


Daisy said...

That is amazing! Makes me miss my folks. They live in Alabama.

Gidget said...

Savannah, have you read Treasure of Amelia Island? That story is what sent us to the Kingsley Plantation :-)

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