In Their Own Words
April 05, 1822
Plantation Life Described
New England lawyer Jeremiah Evarts traveled through Georgia in the late spring. From the coast, he wrote on April 5:
“I have resided now three days on a sea island plantation, where I was treated with all the hospitality which the owner was master of. The house was large, the rooms airy, the furniture costly, the provisions of the table profusely abundant. I had a horse to ride, and spent my time principally alone and with Mr. Eddy. The master of the house was incapable of society from drinking brandy and consequent stupidity and ignorance. He had been educated at Princeton College and is probably somewhat under forty. Every evening he is so far overcome with strong drink as to be silly, every morning full of pain, langour [sic] and destitute of appetite. The state of the slaves, as physical, intellectual and moral beings, is abject beyond my powers of description, yet the state of the master is more to be pitied!
“At Mr. Mongin’s table there are always a number of visitors and generally some retainers. Food is provided in most abundant quantities and in great variety. I observed not fewer than ten or twelve hot dishes for breakfast and supper, besides many cold ones. These dishes were generally excellent in their kinds. The bill of fare was as follows: beef steaks broiled and others fried, three times a day, cold ham and sliced corn beef also at every meal, often stewed or roasted oysters, boiled and fried fresh fish, crabs and shrimps, coffee and tea, both morning and evening, waffles, buckwheat cakes, hominy, toast and wheat bread at breakfast; the same at tea, omitting hominy and buckwheat cakes and adding corn meal and wheat flour cakes. How all these things could be cooked would puzzle a Northern man … .
“The furniture of this mansion was expensive, but was little attended to. The general aspect of things indicated slackness and listlessness. Nothing like cheerfulness was seen.”
Source: Edward J. Cashin (ed.), A Wilderness Still the Cradle of Nature: Frontier Georgia (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1994), pp. 63-64.