Farm Life 1850s – A.R.H. Ranson Tells, Opines

by Jim Surkamp on June 15, 2011 5839 words.

https://web.archive.org/web/20190710015217/https://civilwarscholars.com/2011/06/the-unreconstructed-a-r-h-ranson-of-charles-town/

“Reminiscences of a Civil War Staff Officer By A Confederate Staff Officer, First Paper: Plantation Life in Virginia Before the War.”
The Sewanee Review. Vol. 21, No. (4 Oct. 1913), pp. 428-447.

By A. R. H. Ranson

(This series does not endorse the views in this or any writings from the period of study. In reviewing such writings, we give precedence to and include the results of direct observations of the writer. The writer’s loose suppositions on the inner workings, character or motives of another human being, especially someone he/she has not had sustained, direct experience of is not considered reliable and is, by best efforts, not used in these posts-ED)

About A. R. H. Ranson

A. R. H. Ranson

Ranson was born in Jefferson County. His six-part series in “The Sewanee Review” positioned him as a somewhat unreconstructed spokesman for a Southern Planter lifestyle, His essay here on pre-Civil War Jefferson County is one of the most vivid and descriptive accounts of daily life from that time and place, albeit couched in faintly apologetic disclaimers regarding enslavement practices.

He is best known for an essay entitled, “Robert E. Lee As I Knew Him,” having been on the General’s staff, published in “Harper’s”, 122 (Feb. 1911), pp. 327–336.

The Sewanee Review
Vol. 21, No. 4 (Oct., 1913), pp. 428-447 (First in the series)
Vol. 22, No. 1 (Jan., 1914), pp. 1-23 (Second in the series)
Vol. 22 No. 2 (April, 1914), pp. 129-150 (Third in the series)
Vol. 22, No. 3 (Jul., 1914), pp. 298-318 (Fourth in the series)
Vol. 22, No. 4 (Oct., 1914), pp. 444-457 (Fifth in the series)
Vol. 23, No. 1 (Jan., 1915), pp. 75-83 (Sixth in the series)

Ambrose Robert Hite Ranson was born April 12, 1831 in Jefferson County, then-Virginia. His father James Lackland Ranson from Kentucky married Fanny Madison Hite from a very old family related to the Washingtons in the County. He married Elizabeth Beverly Frame of Jefferson County, had four daughters. He graduated 22nd out of 24 in the Virginia Military Institute Class of July 4, 1849. The account in the archives of VMI continues: “Appointed 2nd Lieut. in the Provisional Army of Confederate States. Infantry Nov. 5, 1861; Assigned as Adjutant to then Lt. Col. J. Pegram; Captured at Rich Mountain July, 1861; Exchanged, then assigned to ordnance duty at Briarfield Arsenal, Columbus Ms., but probably never reported there; Appointed Major in the Provisional Army of Confederate States. and assigned to Pegram’s staff as Commissary Officer; resigned as Major of PACS Dec. 12, 1863; Assigned to duty with Lt. Col. B. G. Baldwin, Chief of Ordnance as 2nd Lieut.; In hospital with Camp Fever Sept 21-Oct. 12, 1864; Promoted to Captain Oct. 28, 1864; Paroled at Appomattox. Careers: Farmer before the war; Merchant after the war. Died – May 12, 1919 in Baltimore, Md.”

SOURCE:
“A. R. H. Ranson”. VMI Archives. Virginia Military Institute. 2 Sept. 2007. Web, 23 May 2011.

From ”Reminiscences of a Civil War Staff Officer By A Confederate Staff Officer,
First Paper: Plantation Life in Virginia Before the War”: PP. 430-439.

“The north-easternmost end of the Valley of Virginia embracing the counties of Jefferson, Clarke, Frederick, and Berkeley was

Williamsburg

“settled by families mainly from eastern Virginia attracted by the fertility of the soil. These people brought with them the manners, habits and social customs of old Virginia including the institution of slavery up to the time of which I am writing (1859). I knew of no more refined cultivated and hospitable people anywhere and

“I have had some knowledge of the people of this and foreign lands. They brought with them the institution of slavery which no matter what faults it may have, gave to the people a phase of social life, an immunity from the drudgery of existence, a leisure for the cultivation of mind and manners very favorable to the making of a gentlemen and gentlewomen. People opposed to slavery did not believe this because they were simply ignorant of the subject.

“They said slavery was brutal therefore slave-owners were brutal. Bad men are brutal often and some slave owners were brutal but that they were brutal as a class, I deny . . . Cruelty in our section was the exception and was universally condemned . . .

NOTE: The statement – “Cruelty in our section” – is a very significant distinction by Ranson, since he came from a county in which one in four was enslaved, with no cotton cultivation, with seasonal crops, and proximity to northern states. Conditions were universally considered less harsh than those in the lower or deep South that had mono-cultures, year-around work weather, and greater difficulty escaping to freedom.

“I remember one man in our neighborhood who was cruel to his slave. He was not a bad-looking man, was always well-dressed and his manners were courtly in the extreme, but I have seen that man walk the streets of Charlestown on court days when the streets were crowded without having a friend to speak to.

“. . . One of my slaves followed for four years through the war and though given his freedom twice by our being captured, refused to be free and came back to me. And why should this not be so? I was the best friend he had in the world and he knew it . . .

“Before the railroad was built, Frank drove the wagon of flour to Baltimore and even after the railroad was built, still Frank went every year before Christmas to Baltimore with a load of flour, bringing back a load which made everybody, white and black, happy at the festival (Christmas-ED). He generally arrived after dark, and

“his big canopied wagon was driven to the front door and left there during he night, the six great smoking horses having been led away to the stable. After supper the wagon was unloaded and the treasures revealed to us, the children.

“In those days, the ‘factor’ or ‘commission merchant’ had duties that are unknown to us now. When he sold the flour, he filled orders for every conceivable want of the family. I met an old factor after I came to Baltimore to live who told me he had, with the assistance of his wife, bought and had made up the entire trousseau of his many-a-bride besides outfits for the entire families of his friends in the country. The reader can imagine what an event Frank’s arrival with his wagon was to us. I have now a handsome service of china which was brought from Baltimore on Frank’s wagon.

“One Christmas observance the Negroes had . . . which was very punitive and peculiar.

“When the hogs were killed in December they preserved the bladder and inflating them and tying the necks tightly to retain the air, they hung them up to dry and on Christmas morning while the stars were shining they laid them on the frozen ground under the windows of the white folks and exploded them by stamping on them, thus awakening the family and saluting them on the arrival of the great festival . . .

NOTE: This specific tradition and prank was done by children of all colors in many rural areas. Ranson may be reflecting a prejudice. – ED

“I remember part of one of the songs which the ox driver sang in a slow monotone, sitting on the pole of his ox-cart and keeping time to the slow, swinging steps of the oxen:

‘See the bull go to school hooie, hooie, hooie, hooie
See the bull go to school hooie, hooie, hooie, hooie
See the bull go to school with his book on his horn
And that is the last of old blind John

‘See the cow build the mill hooie, hooie, hooie
See the cow build the mill hooie, hooie, hooie
See the cow build the mill water running up the hill
And that is the last of old blind John . . .’

“The verses were endless and seem to have been extemporized as he drove along.

“The kindly relations that existed between a master and slave were quite natural. The Negro in a state of slavery was docile, gentle, and easy-going.

“His freedom has given him the bumptious arrogance with which the present generation is familiar . . . NOTE: The article was published in 1913-ED.

“In slavery he was content as long as he did not suffer fire to warm him in winter and goods to satisfy his hunger were the limits of his ambition. He loved to laugh and dance and sing songs. He loved approbation and would do far more and better work for his masters smile than his frown.

“And the master’s part was not difficult. He was kind because kindness paid him well. He took care of his slave because it was money in his pocket to do so, and money out of his pocket if he did not. Of course there were other and higher motives in individuals, but we must look for a motive for the multitude . . .

“That the Negro was better housed better fed, better clothed and better looked after in sickness than now (1913-ED) was simply because the owner had money at stake. He had warm clothing, plenty of wholesome food, and a good doctor when ill because of that money.

NOTE: The better health of those enslaved when compared to freed persons in the 1850s in Jefferson County is not fully supported by County and Federal records. Mortality from 1853-1860 for those enslaved was a rate of nine percent of the averaged enslaved population for the decade of 1850-1860 compared to 5.6 per cent for the averaged freed population for the same time period. – Jefferson County Death Records 1853-1872, County Census 1850 and 1860. – ED

“In September, the cloth and yarn for his winter were brought home from the factory and the work of making up began and was only finished at Christmas. In every household there was a woman who could cut out the garments and all the younger girls had been taught how to sew and knit. During the year, all the girls in clean frocks assembled in some room in the great house every morning and the class of sewers and knitters was presided over by

NOTE: Sojourner Truth, leader in the underground railroad. The image is referenced, however, regards her knitting and appearance.-ED

“some bespectacled old Negro woman whose word was law to the girls. The work of making up the clothing and knitting yarn socks went on under her supervision, and at Christmas every man and woman on the place appeared in new clothes and new shoes and warm woolen stockings. How many laboring people, white or black, have this provision now? Every man had an overcoat every four years and a flannel hack jacket called by the Negroes the “warmus” to wear under his waistcoat in cold weather. His tobacco was issued to him once a week, and when a boy, I loved to be distributor.

“Sometimes it was bought in kegs of about 100 pounds and was called black-strap and one strap, sometimes two, was the ration. Some of them chewed it and some of them smoked in their corncob pipes. This was before the days of fertilizers when tobacco was raised on virgin soil. Every year a farmer would clear a small patch of ground sufficient for the wants of his farm and plant it in tobacco. The fragrance of the Negroes’ corncob pipe was notorious and was due to the fact that no fertilizer had been used in growing his tobacco.

After the harvest was ended, each hand was paid for one day’s wages in gold and silver.

The History of Haying. If the neighbors had not finished their harvest, the force was allowed to go and help them out, receiving for themselves the usual wages. In all the fields of corn, the outside rows were planted in a broomcorn for the Negroes’ use and they spent the long winter evenings in making brooms, baskets, hampers and split-bottom chairs all of which found a ready sale in the country stores. The chairs were of all sizes from the large porch chairs down to low, sewing chairs and chairs for children. They managed to make them very comfortable and they were substantial and lasted a lifetime.

“There was often on the farm an old rheumatic Negro who had learned to make shoes and he made boots to the knee and nailed in the soles for all the men and shoes for all the women and children, and the master paying for his work a moderate sum.

“Each man on the place was allotted a piece of ground which he planted in anything he liked, generally in melons and the Negroes’ watermelons were always the best the farm produced. The thrifty Negro was never without money in his pocket and some have been known to have money enough to buy their own freedom or that of a wife or children who was in danger of being sold for the debts of their owners.

“In hot weather a ration of whisky steeped in

“tansy and, in malarial season, a gill of whisky with five grains of quinine was issued to each man every morning before he went to his work.

“It is all over now and, I for one am glad of it, but the fact remains that
the slave did his work, and was moderately comfortable and happy and the master took care of him.

“In those days, the kitchen was generally detached . . . only connected with the house by a covered way. The meals were brought in by detachments and put down in front of the fire, inside the brass fender.

“When all was ready, the meal was announced. The family took their seats, and the viands were served hot from the fire. There was also a plate-warmer, which stood on the hearth in front of the dining room fire. The advantage of these arrangements was two-fold – you got a hot meal on a hot plate and you knew what your dinner was to be without a menu card.

“I remember well my mother’s attitude toward our slaves. She had a school here. All the young ones were taught (contrary to law) she taught them herself and the Sunday school was always full.

“All our young slaves could read and some of them could write. My old Mammy always wrote to my father when she was away from home. When we (the children) gathered around the table to study our lessons at night, she always took her place at the table with pen, ink and paper.

‘Now children,’ she would say, ‘I am going to write to your Ma and I don’t want to give a bad account of any of you.’ I can remember the times I laid my weary head in Mammy’s lap and said my sleepy prayers, and I remember her sitting body by my bedside until I should fall asleep; and I remember Mammy’s funeral for I was almost a man then we were living in Charlestown and Mammy was old and lived in a cabin at the bottom of the garden walk and never came to the house. On good days she sat in the door in the sun with her Bible on her knees.

“My mother was old and feeble, but on good days she would walk down to the cabin, while in bad weather she would go on the back porch (of the main house-ED) and looked down the walk until the two saw each other, and then they would wave their hands at each other.

“When Mammy died, my father determined to bury her in the Episcopal graveyard at Zion church. Although a vestrymen, he could not get permission; but the procession moved up the back street about half a mile in the August sun; the coffin carried by eight strong men, my father with his hat off walking immediately behind it. When we came to the gates they were locked, but after a little delay they were opened somewhere and Mammy, the only Negro, lies buried in Zion churchyard . . .

“The most remarkable feature of the situation in our section was that refinement and even elegance could exist on such very small means. A man with a small farm, say 300 acres worth about $12,000 and a few slaves, was really a prince – a prince of the kind that no millionaire of the present can even emulate.

NOTE Ambrose Ranson owned a farm with 290 acres, according to the 1860 Agricultural Census.-ED

“His butler, his coachmen, his cook were all his property. They could not strike for higher wages. They could not give notice of leaving. They were there and there to stay. Knowing this, the head of the house was free from some of the carking cares, which beset the most favored people of the present age (1913-ED).

“He had leisure to think, to read, to cultivate his mind and manners and to indulge himself in social pleasure. He was a better-educated man, a better-read man in current and ancient literature, and he was a better-mannered man than the man of the present age.

“Freed from little worries, his temper was better, his heart was softer, and his disposition more sunny and genial. Social intercourse, therefore, was on a plane which is now unknown. There was little attempt at grandeur or extravagant display, a beautiful simplicity pervaded life and gave it its greatest charm. Of course there were degrees of wealth; the man with thousands of acres and hundreds of slaves, the man with a few hundred acres and a few slaves, but the latter was all the same a prince and was so recognized by the former. The man with the smaller fortune was just as independent as the other, and in some respects was in a rather more favored position. His fares were fewer certainly and his time was more his own, while social position was as good as anybody’s. He was received in all social functions, his financial status not being considered in the least.

“His intellectual and educational advantages were of great importance and his manners also. As a consequence, he was careful to cultivate these, and was generally entertaining and agreeable.

“It is well-known that the Man I am describing was well-posted in political and other matters of his own and antecedent epochs.

I have known men of this stamp who knew well their Homer and their Thucydides, their Bacon and their Shakespeare and were ready and apt in quotations, and at the same time were not lifted above current events, but rather forgave them the preference in conversation, using their knowledge of the past in illustration of events of the present day. A friend of mine told me of a dinner in New York the other day at which twenty-five hundred millions of dollars were present. He told me nothing of the people, what they said or what they did. He only told me in bated breath of their money. Such a dinner in olden times was of course unknown and in comparing them, words cannot express my preferences for the old. I can remember some of those dinners when the ladies had retired, and the decanters of old Madeira went circling round over the polished mahogany, and am filled with regret that those days have passed away forever.

“In reading Sir Ronald Gower’s book descriptive of the manner of living in England especially at the court of Queen Victoria, where he was an intimate of the royal family, I was struck with the similarity to life in Virginia in the olden time. It was before the days of course dinners, a Russian innovation I believe and the queen would ask a guest to carve the pair of fowls in front of him, the cloth was removed and the decanters of wine put on in the coasters, and in many other respects the customs were identical in the two countries. In the country life in England today, many of the customs of the olden times are kept up, while in this country they are only a memory.

“In our neighborhood, there was a debating society which met at the different farm houses in winter every Saturday night, the host of each meeting being ex-officio chairman. The neighborhood was composed of people of much more cultivation than will be found in a farming country now and the debate was of unusual excellence, although there were the usual ridiculous failures. The farmers were not the only people who lived in the country. In our neighborhood, old lawyers, who had won their spurs, and some doctors lived in farms and went every day to offices in town. There were two judges and four members or ex-members of Congress, two novelists and two poets of some ability, and also two artists, notably David Hunter Strother (afterwards General Strother of the Federal Army); who in the late forties and early fifties under the nom de plume of “Porte Crayon” wrote for ‘Harpers Magazine’ and illustrated his writing;

NOTE: Many of the illustrations to this article are by him.-ED

“Alexander Boteler who was in Congress at one time and was an orator as well as a caricaturist whose efforts we thought would compare favorably with those of Leace and du Maurier; and

“Henry Bedinger, orator, poet and wit who during his short life represented the district in Congress and had been also minister to Denmark and a friend and favorite of the king.

“And the parson (the rector of our church) lived on a farm and reared a family of twelve children, among them eight of the wildest boys in the county. While some few of the best people lived in the town, yet the town was a place to go for shopping and business. The country was the place to live.

“One Saturday, the debate was at our house and I remember it well though only eight years old, from an amusing incident. We had staying with us a cousin who had lately taken a wife and had brought her to make our acquaintance. During the day, he told my father he thought he would like to speak on the question of the evening. He was posted on it and he thought much upon the subject. My father told him that after the regular debate was over, anyone could speak and if he arose, he would recognize him. When the regular debaters had finished their very able efforts, my cousin George sprang to his feet. He was usually a mild amiable sort of young man, but now he looked quite fierce and determined and stretching out his right arm, began: ‘Mr. president, it strikes me . . .’, but somehow he stuck there. My father bowed and smiled encouragingly and he began again: ‘Mr. president, it strikes me . . .’, and still the words did not come. And yet a third time he took on an attitude of defiance and stretching out his right arm, said: ‘Mr. president it strikes me . . .’

“now his little wife was sitting over in the corner behind some other ladies and when he came out for the third time with his ‘Mr president, it strikes me,’ she learned forward and said very quietly, ‘dumb, George.’ Instantly he turned and looked at her, his fierce face breaking into a smile, as he said: ‘My dear, you are quite right, it strikes me dumb’- and down he sat, and this was my cousin’s speech. I have often thought I inherited some of my cousin George’s talent for public speaking, for whenever I have been called upon, no manner how full I thought I was of ideas upon the subject – a very ocean of impending eloquence – a rapidly receding wave swept all away, leaving me (intellectually) a stranded wreck, and as dumb as my poor cousin.

“On the evenings of debates the company always adjourned to the dining room where a supper of cold turkey, ham, etc. was washed down with good old Madeira.

“And the women – the matrons and the maids of that time – their soft voices and their gentle ways. They did not belong to women’s clubs, they did not ride bicycles and horses astride, and they did not drive automobiles or lecture on platforms. They were brought up without coming in contact with the rude outer world; they were generally educated at home by governesses. Every girl had her maid, who waited on her, and she was a stranger to drudgery. One would suppose from this that they would be useless toys as wives, and poor companions for educated and stirring men, but the supposition would be wrong.

“I have seen a girl of thirteen take the head of her father’s table, in her mother’s absence and play hostess in such a simple and sweet fashion as would charm her father’s guests. She had watched her mother in these trying ordeals, and had insensibly learned her lessons, and when it came to her turn to preside at her husband’s table and take upon herself the cares of a family, she had little to learn. And when the great Civil War came, with what splendid heroism she stood at her post at home and sent her husband and her sons to battle! And when the struggle was ended with what uncomplaining cheerfulness she undertook the drudgeries of her altered circumstances!

“These are not merely the tales of a fond old man, reveling in the visions of his youth; they are parts of the immortal history of the Southland. Upon these people living peacefully and happily in that beautiful valley, the Brown raid came in October, 1859, as a clap of thunder from a clear sky.”

Main References:

The Sewanee Review

Vol. 21, No. 4 (Oct. 1913), pp. 428-447 (First in the series)
Vol. 22, No. 1 (Jan., 1914), pp. 1-23 (Second in the series)
Vol. 22 No. 2 (Apr., 1914), pp. 129-150 (Third in the series)
Vol. 22, No. 3 (Jul., 1914), pp. 298-318 (Fourth in the series)
Vol. 22, No. 4 (Oct., 1914), pp. 444-457 (Fifth in the series)
Vol. 23, No. 1 (Jan., 1915), pp. 75-83 (Sixth in the series)

“A. R. H. Ranson”. VMI Archives. Virginia Military Institute. 2 Sept. 2007. Web, 23 May 2011.

Green, Linda L. (1963). “West Virginia 1860 Agricultural Census, Volume 2.”
West Virginia State Dept. of Archives and History. pp. 82-90. Print.

Green, Linda L. “West Virginia 1860 Agricultural Census, Volume 2.” Google Books. 19 July 2008. Web. 29 Dec. 2010.

“Ambrose R.H. Ranson.” Confederate Soldier Services Records. fold3.com. 11 Nov. 1998. Web. 10 May 2011. (NOTE: fold3.com is a for-fee service.)

Fisher, H. L. (1888). “Olden times: or, Pennsylvania rural life, some fifty years ago, : and other poems.” York, PA: Fisher Bros, publishers. Print

Fisher, H. L. (1888). “Olden times: or, Pennsylvania rural life, some fifty years ago, : and other poems.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 24 Dec. 2010.

“Hay in Art: A Collection of Great Works in Hay.” Hayinart.com. 17 April 2006. Web. 27 May 2011.

“History of Early American Brooms.” Broom Shop.com. 18 Aug. 2000 Web. 28 May 2011.

Jefferson County Death Records 1853-1872,
County Census 1850 and 1860

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Surkamp, Jim. (1997) “Haying: Swing That Scythe.” (Video). Retrieved
May 10, 2011 from

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Strother, David H., “Virginia Illustrated.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, New York, NY: Harper and Bros. Volume 10, Issue: 55, (Dec., 1854). pp. 1-25. Print.

Strother, David H. (Dec., 1854). “Virginia Illustrated.” Harpers Magazine. 7 May 2008. Web. 29 May 2011.

ranson.leisure.jpg (not used)
“The Great Labor Question From a Southern Point of View.” Harpers Weekly. Vol. IX. No. 448. New York, NY: Harper & Bros. (29 July 1865). Print.

“The Great Labor Question From a Southern Point of View.” Harpers Weekly. Start date unavailable Web. 27 May 2011.

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Strother, David H., “Virginia Illustrated.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, New York, NY: Harper and Bros. Volume 13, Issue: 75, (Aug., 1856). pp. 303-323. Print.

Strother, David H., “Virginia Illustrated.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. 7 May 2008. Web. 29 May 2011.

shakespeare cover page
North, Thomas; Brooke, Tucker, (1909). “Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616; Caesar, Julius; Brutus, Marcus Junius, 85?-42 B.C; Antonius, Marcus, 83?-30 B.C; Coriolanus, Cnaeus Marcius.” Vol. 1. London, UK: Chatto & Windus. Print.

North, Thomas; Brooke, Tucker, (1909). “Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616; Caesar, Julius; Brutus, Marcus Junius, 85?-42 B.C; Antonius, Marcus, 83?-30 B.C; Coriolanus, Cnaeus Marcius.” Vol. 1. Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 28 May 2011.

homer.jpg (not used)
Gladstone, William Ewart. (1878). “Homer.” New York, NY: MacMillan. Print

Gladstone, William Ewart. (1878). “Homer.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 28 May 2011.

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Gower, Ronald S. (1908). “Sir David Wilkie.” London, UK: G. Bell and sons. Print.

Gower, Ronald S. (1908). “Sir David Wilkie.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 28 May 2011.

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Duke University, Perkins Collection.

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Duke University, Perkins Collection.

wife.George.jpg
Strother, David H., “Virginia Illustrated.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, New York, NY: Harper and Bros. Volume 13, Issue: 75, (Aug., 1856). pp. 303-323. Print.

Strother, David H., “Virginia Illustrated.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. 7 May 2008. Web. 29 May 2011.

dhs.va1.leisure.jpg
Strother, David H., “Virginia Illustrated.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, New York, NY: Harper and Bros. Volume 10, Issue: 55, (Dec., 1854). pp. 1-25. Print.

Strother, David H. (Dec., 1854). “Virginia Illustrated.” Harpers Magazine. 7 May 2008. Web. 29 May 2011.

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Collection of James Surkamp. justjefferson.com 21 March 2004. Web. 28 May 2011.

TAGS: Strother, David Hunter, Porte Crayon, tobacco, strap, corncob pipe, broom-making, leisure, woman’s role, 1850s, mid-19th century, America, Civil War, John Brown, spinning wheel, covered wagon, “Olden Times”, Fisher, sewing, knitting socks, warmus, Tansy and Queen of Spain, Jim Surkamp, A. R. H. Ranson, Charlestown, Charles Town, West Virginia, Shenandoah Valley, slavery, cruelty, whipping, read and write, Zion Episcopal Church, Jefferson County, Virginia, VMI, James Lackland Ranson, broomcorn, haying, manners, debating societies, Henry Bedinger, Alexander Boteler, W.E.B DuBois, Gower, Ronald S., Jim Surkamp, American Public University System, https://civilwarscholars.com , http://justjefferson.com