By Melanie Pavich
As the spouse of an often absent slaveholder and public determine, Anna Matilda web page King (1798-1859) was once the de facto head in their Sea Island plantation. This quantity collects greater than a hundred and fifty letters to her husband, young ones, mom and dad, and others. Conveying the substance of daily life as they chronicle King's ongoing struggles to place foodstuff at the desk, nurse her "family black and white," and hold religion with a disappointing husband, the letters provide an soaking up firsthand account of antebellum coastal Georgia life.
Anna Matilda web page was once reared with the expectancy that she may marry a planter, have young children, and have a tendency to her family's family affairs. Untypically, she used to be additionally schooled by way of her father in all elements of plantation administration, from seed cultivation to development development. That grounding might serve her good. via 1842 her husband's houses have been seized, as a result of money owed accumulated from crop mess ups, monetary downturns, and huge investments in land, enslaved employees, and the improvement of the within sight port city of Brunswick. Anna and her relations have been sustained, besides the fact that, through Retreat, the St. Simons Island estate left to her in belief by way of her father. With the exertions of 50 bondpeople and "their bring up" she was once to attempt, with little relief from her husband, to maintain the plantation solvent.
A important checklist of King's many jobs, from accountant to mom, from medical professional to horticulturist, the letters additionally exhibit a lot approximately her dating with, and attitudes towards, her enslaved staff. Historians haven't begun to completely comprehend the lives of plantation mistresses left on their lonesome by way of husbands pursuing political and different specialist careers. Anna Matilda web page King's letters supply us perception into one such girl who reluctantly entered, yet still excelled in, the male domain names of commercial and agriculture.
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Extra info for Anna: The Letters of a St. Simons Island Plantation Mistress, 1817-1859
Give orders to open the drains not haul up nor hoe but to take off all the sprouts with knives and continue to as so until the ﬁrst Nov[ember] in doing which there will be a chance to take in what may be made and to produce a late crop” (William Page to Anna Matilda Page, August 28, 1823, Thomas Butler King Papers [hereinafter tbk], shc). See Huie and Lewis, Patriarchal Plantations, 29. 20. Huie and Lewis, Patriarchal Plantations, 29; Vanstory, Land of the Golden Isles, 133; Wheeler, Eugenia Price’s South, 32–33.
I do not like them — yet as I know you to be anxious for them I have purchased them. I beg that those articles which I shall send belonging to the negros may not be given out until my return. Cousin Marys linen is with yours and my fathers—the quality will show which is hers. I must now beg that my dear Mother will use her inﬂuence with my indulgent father to permit me to remain as long as he ﬁrst promised me. You know that when I return I shall be with you as much as you can desire— and really my dear Mamma you know I am getting old and cannot much longer enjoy the pleasures of the world.
Huie and Lewis, Patriarchal Plantations, 29; Vanstory, Land of the Golden Isles, 133; Wheeler, Eugenia Price’s South, 32–33. 21. Marye, Story of the Page-King Family, 25. 22. Vanstory, Land of the Golden Isles, 176. 23. Steel, T. Butler King of Georgia, 1. 24. , 2–3. Introduction xxxiii 25. The following notice of the death of Anna’s mother appeared in the Darien Gazette and the Georgia Republican and Savannah Republican on October 14, 1826: “Page, Mrs Hannah, Consort of Major William Page died September 28, 1826, 68 years, at Retreat Plantation, St.