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In Their Own Words

October 24, 1739

Farming DIfficulties and Hopes Recorded in Journal

This day’s entry in the journal of William Stephens showed the difficulty of farming in colonial Georgia, yet also his determination to make it work:

“…I devoted this Day almost wholly to look into what my People were doing abroad, and what Product was to be seen off the Land that I had planted this Year, which now was pretty near got together: And what I before had observed, relating to the uncommon wet Summer we had, (vide Sept. 21.) appeared now too well verified; for all the low Lands had suffered extreamly; among which, those Lots happened which I occupied, and Abundance of the Corn was utterly spoiled, partly by the Stalks rotting ere it came to Maturity; and most of that which ripened, was infested with the Worm, that did great Damage; whilst the dry Lands threw out a plentiful Crop: Nevertheless, communibus annis the Summer Heats here are such, that I would, in my own Judgment, always prefer the low Lands to the high; and though it October happened that they failed this Year, through such excessive Wet, yet most undoubtedly they are less apt to do so than the other. The General having lately confirmed the Grant of five hundred Acres, which he partly put me in Possession of on the 19th of April last, at the Mouth of Vernon River it was now my Desire, with all convenient Speed, to set some Hands at Work there, and make what Improvements I could, as the Season was proper; taking Care at the same Time, that those Lots I had been cultivating for two Years past, should be occupied; so that what Labour had been bestowed, should not be thrown away…”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 436-437.