A Girl’s Life in Virginia Before the War
A record of plantation life as it truly was, from one who lived it. Dedicated by the author to her descendants, to fill out more accurately their view of the Virginians before the civil war.
The volume includes 16 full page illustrations, skilfully drawn by William A. McCullough and Jules Turcas.
Beautiful hardcover book with gold stamping.
From the Dedication of the Book by Mrs. Burwell:
“Dedicated to my nieces, who find in English and American publications such expressions applied to their ancestors as: “cruel slave-owners”; “inhuman wretches”; “southern taskmasters”; “dealers in human souls,” etc. From these they will naturally recoil with horror. My own life would have been embittered had I believed myself to be descended front such monsters; and that those who come after us may know the truth, I wish to leave a record of plantation life as it was. The truth may thus be preserved among a few, and merited praise may be awarded to noble men and virtuous women who have passed away.”
A Portion from Chapter One:
That my birthplace should have been a Virginia plantation, my lot in life cast on a Virginia plantation, my ancestors, for nine generations, owners of Virginia plantations, remain facts mysterious and inexplicable but to Him who determined the bounds of our habitations, and said: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Confined exclusively to a Virginia plantation during my earliest childhood, I believed the world one vast plantation bounded by negro quarters. Rows of white cabins with gardens attached; negro men in the fields; negro women sewing, knitting, spinning, weaving, housekeeping in the cabins; with negro children dancing, romping, singing, jumping, playing around the doors, these formed the only pictures familiar to my childhood.
The master’s residence – as the negroes called it, “the great house” – occupied a central position and was handsome and attractive, the overseer’s being a plainer house about a mile from this.
Each cabin had as much pine furniture as the occupants desired, pine and oak being abundant, and carpenters always at work for the comfort of the plantation.
Bread, meat, milk, vegetables, fruit, and fuel were as plentiful as water in the springs near the cabin doors.