By Melanie Pavich
Anna Matilda web page used to be reared with the expectancy that she may marry a planter, have young children, and have a tendency to her family's household affairs. Untypically, she was once additionally schooled by way of her father in all facets of plantation administration, from seed cultivation to development development. That grounding may serve her good. by way of 1842 her husband's homes have been seized, due to accounts accumulated from crop disasters, fiscal downturns, and broad investments in land, enslaved employees, and the improvement of the close by port city of Brunswick. Anna and her relations have been sustained, besides the fact that, by way of Retreat, the St. Simons Island estate left to her in belief by means of her father. With the exertions of 50 bondpeople and "their elevate" she was once to try, with little reduction from her husband, to maintain the plantation solvent.
A beneficial list of King's many jobs, from accountant to mom, from health care provider to horticulturist, the letters additionally exhibit a lot approximately her courting 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 expert careers. Anna Matilda web page King's letters provide us perception into one such lady who reluctantly entered, yet still excelled in, the male domain names of industrial and agriculture.
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Additional resources for Anna: The Letters of a St. Simons Island Plantation Mistress, 1817-1859
T]he general assumption was that blacks were slaves until they could prove otherwise” (184). Savannah 26th February 1823 My beloved Mother Your very welcome letter of the 22nd I had the happiness of receiving this afternoon. Words are inadequate to express how truly rejoiced I am to hear that beloved friends at Retreat are well and I know that it will convey equal pleasure to you to hear that I am in good health. The severity of the weather has not made me feel otherwise—than a little more stupid 1 than ordinary and has to be sure conﬁned me much to the house.
I have been expecting to hear from you week after week but as each one brings disappointment, I begin to fear my letter has never reached you. I am the more anxious as my necessities had induced me to avail myself of your kind offer to procure me what I may require in Savannah. I therein enclosed thirty dollars begging the favour of you to get Hannah Page and myself a bonnet. After the letter was gone I heard that bills of the Bank of Darien and its branches were ten percent below par all the money I then had was of that description I could send no other—but thought I would wait to hear from you what amount I should again forward to make up the deﬁcientcy.
The ﬁrst ﬂoor also housed the plantation’s best horses. One of only two structures that remain standing today, it is owned by the Sea Island Company and is used as a clubhouse for a golf course built on former Retreat land. The cotton barn was made of wood and had four ﬂoors and eight windows. The ﬁrst ﬂoor held the cotton gins; the second, the equipment used to grade and bale the cotton. This building could be seen for many miles at sea and was used by sailors as a guide after Confederate soldiers destroyed the lighthouse on the island.
Anna: The Letters of a St. Simons Island Plantation Mistress, 1817-1859 by Melanie Pavich