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17 T H E E C O N O M Y A N D ANTEBELLUM SOCIETY OKI H CAROLINA emerged from the dark years of its Rip Van Winkle sleep, passed through a period of growing awareness of its potential, and enjoyed a brief taste of prosperity and hope for the future before it was led reluctantly into civil war. The changes that occurred in the state must have astounded those who lived through them. Many had seen the coming of steamboats and railroads, telegraph lines, cotton mills, tobacco factories, afew furniture manufacturers, new newspapers whose presses also issued pamphlets and occasionallypublished books, public schools, denominational colleges, hospitals , asylums, and orphanages serving the people in ways undreamed of by previous generations. These contributed to the well-beingand the expectations of those fortunate enough to be in a position to appreciate them. A segment of the population, of course, was hardly aware of this progress. These were the many landless whites who moved from place to place seeking employment where it could be found. Often referred to as "poor whites," they worked for wages, were only semiliterate at best, and had no voice in government . Blacks, who also composed a significant portion of the population of the state, fell into two categories: free and slave. Free black men lost their right to vote in 1835; during this period, asthe historian John Hope Franklin has shown, a number of free blacks, especially children, were seized, removed from their home community, and sold into slavery. Most free blacks, however, wereartisans who performed essentialservicesfor wages or fees. They were blacksmiths, carpenters , cabinetmakers, mechanics, tailors, barbers, commercial fishermen, or people who followed some other occupation. A notable example was Thomas Day, of Milton, who made fine furniture for over thirty years; a member of the local Presbyterian church, he owned extensive property (including slaves who worked in his shop) and trained a number of apprentices and workmen, both black and white. Several of the earliest cotton mills in the state also employed slave aswell as free black and white workers. These years, however, saw the appearance of societies that supported the 308 N! 309 The Economy and Antebellum Society Fishing wasan importantantebellum industry in North Carolina,particularly in someof the rivers of eastern North Carolina. Shad and herring fisheries on the Roanoke and Pamlico rivers in seasonwere busy and thriving sites. Here a seine is beingpulled ashore where the fish will be salted down or smoked, packed in hogsheadssuch as thoseunder the shelter in the upper left, and shippedout. (North CarolinaCollection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) abolition of slavery and sometimes advocated the resettlement of blacks in free states or territories or even in Africa. It also was a time of much agitation by members of such organizations from outside North Carolina. Blacks held in bondage continued to work just as they and most of their ancestors had done before. Their labor contributed to the completion of such public works asrailroads , turnpikes, courthouses, jails, and post offices, as well as churches, academy buildings, and private homes, and to the development of agriculture and livestock production. Some worked in mines and a fewin factories; others were employed in domestic service. But no matter what their occupation, most slaves made it possible for their owners to participate in government, to engage in creative activities, and in some cases to travel far from home. Agriculture wasthe mainstayof the state, and it flourished in the antebellum period. In the farm journals that began to appear—several of which were published in North Carolina—contributors suggested new methods of farmingas well as new crops. Farmers' almanacs had been published in the state since the 310 North Carolina through Four Centuries A street through the slave quarters of a plantation. A few slave houses still survive in North Carolina such as those at Stagville, the Cameron family plantation north of Durham. Other examples of slave quarters can be seen at Somerset Place in Washington County. (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) early nineteenth century, but now their popularity increased. Many farmers began to adopt scientificmethods and to give some thought to maintaining the fertility of the soil. Fertilizers and mulches began to be used. Annual local fairs were planned. County and even community agricultural societies were organized . In 1852 the State Agricultural Society of North Carolina was formed, and in 1853 it sponsored the first state fair. Two yearslater a chair of applied chemistry to...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469604466
Related ISBN
9780807818466
MARC Record
OCLC
966898551
Pages
670
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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