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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 182, October 31-November 2, 1853

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Identifier: DX04196205

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 182, October 31-November 2, 1853

Description: Describes the process of harvesting cotton.


31. Monday. Judge Morgan; Oliver [Kellam]’s grandfather over to see the horses. A short, stoutish old gentleman, in grey coat and felt cap; possessing an emphatic, but good-humored style of swearing. Subsequently I, with Keene Richards rode over to Mr Morgan’s house, he on his Arab, passing on our way Mr Alick Keene’s house. Arrived; the house is a very handsome, two story one, finely fitted up inside. Some company there, relatives and friends. We dine, ramble about, look over the cotton gin at work &c. Oliver appeared to great advantage. I never saw more manly, unaffected hospitality and goodfeeling. The handsome, summery house, with its free and easy “Do what thou wilt” ways, and pleasant people will not easily pass from my memory. Rode back to Keene Richards in the evening, in company with him and Yusef. This day Maurice [Keane] went off per steamboat for New Orleans.


[1. Tuesday through 2. Wednesday] Riding and rambling about. Saw the whole cotton process, from picking it in the fields. This is done very rapidly, the boll being plucked of the cotton which is part in large bags, one or two of which is attached to each person & they pass up the long rows with them. At nightfall each persons work is weighed, a record kept by the overseer. There’s a stated quantity for each slave, but its often exceeded, being put at a low estimate. One “boy” was spoken of as having picked 750 lbs in a day, but this was a thing to boast of. The Gins are spacious, steam worked buildings, always at work (save on Sundays.) Mr Wallis Keene’s recently erected one, combining a saw mill was reckoned to cost $2000 At the top of these buildings is an extensive place for drying the cotton; then in the gin it is all torn into shreds, the seed extracted, passed into a room, where

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-10-31

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Cotton
Arabian horse
Cotton gins and ginning
Agricultural machinery


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