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In Their Own Words

July 09, 1866

Life on Plantation Described

Frances Butler, daughter of coastal planter Pierce Butler, wrote a letter to a friend or relative only designated as “S” from her father’s plantation about life after the Civil War:

“I am just learning to be an experienced cook and doctress, for the Negroes come to me with every sort of complaint to be treated, and I prescribe for all, pills and poultices being my favorite remedies. I was rather nervous about it at first, but have grown bolder since I find what good results follow my doses. The other day an old woman of over eighty came for a dose, so I prescribed a small one of caster oil, which pleased her so much she returned the next day to have it repeated and again a third time!

“We are living directly on the point in the house formerly occupied by the overseer. Of course, it is all rough and overgrown now, but with the pretty water view across which you look to the wide stretch of broad green salt marsh, which at sunset turns the most wonderful gold bronze color. The fishing is grand, and we have fresh fish for breakfast, dinner and tea… .”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.) Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), pp. 209-210.