Mar 01, 2012 - Sale 2271

Sale 2271 - Lot 20

Price Realized: $ 3,600
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 4,000 - $ 6,000
(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) FROG MORE PLANTATION. Six pages from the Frog More plantation overseer's ledger plus two letters from the overseer to the owner with an inventory of the plantation's 183 slaves. Three folio leaves, written on both sides and two letters, 4to, one 2 pages and the other 1 page, all written by George Woodruff, the plantation's overseer; paper toned; the ledger leaf from 1860 has been roughly removed from its binder and has a uneven margin, not affecting text. Frog More, Louisiana, 1858-60

Additional Details

Six pages of ledger notes on the workings of the Frog More Plantation and the lives of its slaves, with two letters, all in the hand of George Woodruff, the plantation's overseer. Two of the leaves from the ledger, as well as the two letters are from 1858, and the third ledger leaf is from 1860. The pages from the ledger and letters contain reports of the everyday workings of one of the largest and most famous Louisiana cotton and cane plantations. Much of the reports contain what one might expect from a large busy farm:
"10 March, 1858. Mr P.P. Bowman. Dear Sir: We have three waggon loads of cane to plant on the opposite side of the bayou in the new ground, when that is planted we have planted about 23 acres. . ." He ends up his letter with a request for more tools: "We actually want three dozen hoes, the same kind you bought last year, which is the Planters hoe and 24 Yankee axes. . . " But then there are such dark reports as the following, delivered in the same dry, matter of fact tone: "The doctor thought yisterday that Simon would die and that soon we treated him very promptly yisterday and last night & this morning about 10 feet of tapeworm came from him & he's much better this evening, he has neumonia in the left lung. . On Sunday morning, I was sent for to Chas's house to see Manda's youngest child. I went in and on examining I found the child was perfectly dead and had been most evidently for some hours & it was smothered certain. Respectfully, G. Woodruff." Woodruff cites the temperature and weather of each day's entry in the ledger as well as who happens to be sick that day "Wednesday 15 Fby, 1858. Clear a bit, shower last night and cleared off West North West wind. 2 teams & four men went to the depot and hauled out 100 brls of pork, then Aline (?) brought it this evening free of charge & the balance of the force ploughing & planting cane, lining the stables in bayou shallow cut &c. Sick Julia, D-Mariah-Nancy-Liza-Harrison-Hetty brought forth a child." In another entry for Sunday, 4th February 1860, Woodfuff writes "Clear. Mercury 55 this morn 76 at noon hauled out 82 hogheads sugar & 16 brls molasses. Mr Frazee preached to the Negroes this evening &c &c."
A rare look at life on one of Louisiana's largest ante-bellum plantations, from the pen of its overseer. Frog More is one of several old Louisiana plantations that have opened their doors to tourists today.