Friday, May 3, 2013

Slaves - Food


Reuben G. Macy, a member of the Society of Friends, Hudson, N. Y., who resided in South Carolina. "The slaves had no food allowed them besides corn, excepting at Christmas, when they had beef.''

Mr. William Leftwich, a native of Virginia, and recently of Madison Co., Alabama, now member, of the Presbyterian Church, Delhi, Ohio. "On my uncle's plantation, the food of the slaves, was corn pone and a small allowance of meat.''

The most important practical use maize, or corn,  was as meal. To make meal, harvested maize was dried & then stored. As needed, slaves used a mortar & pestle to grind, or “pound,” the dried kernels into a powder that could be baked to make a variety of breads or soaked to make grits. Mortars & pestles were commonly called “corn pounders.”

Hon. Robert Turnbull, a slaveholder of Charleston, South Carolina. "The subsistence of the slaves consists, from March until August, of corn ground into grits, or meal, made into what is called hominy, or baked into corn bread. The other six months, they are fed upon the sweet potato. Meat, when given, is only by way of indulgence or favor.''

Mr. Eleazar Powell, Chippewa, Beaver Co., Penn., who resided in Mississippi, in 1836-7. "The food of the slaves was generally corn bread, and sometimes meat or molasses.''

A settler in Potter County, Pennsylvania, using a hominy block for crushing corn to make grits. The pestle is attached to a sapling, which allows for easier pounding.

Thos. Clay, Esq., of Georgia, a slave holder, in his address before the Georgia Presbytery, 1833. "The quantity allowed by custom is a peck of corn a week!"

The Maryland Journal, and Baltimore Advertiser, May 30, 1788. "A single peck of corn a week, or the like measure of rice, is the ordinary quantity of provision for a hard-working slave; to which a small quantity of meat is occasionally, though rarely, added.''

W. C. Gildersleeve, Esq., a native of Georgia, and Elder in the Presbyterian Church, Wilksbarre, Penn. "The weekly allowance to grown slaves on this plantation, where I was best acquainted, was one peck of corn.''

Wm. Ladd, of Minot, Maine, formerly a slaveholder in Florida. "The usual allowance of food was one quart of corn a day, to a full task hand, with a modicum of salt; kind masters allowed a peck of corn a week; some masters allowed no salt.''

Mr. Jarvis Brewster, in his "Exposition of the treatment of slaves in the Southern States,'' published in N. Jersey, 1815. "The allowance of provisions for the slaves, is one peck of corn, in the grain, per week.''

Rev. Horace Moulton, a Methodist Clergyman of Marlboro', Mass., who lived five years in Georgia. "In Georgia the planters give each slave only one peck of their gourd seed corn per week, with a small quantity of salt.''

Mr. F. C. Macy, Nantucket, Mass., who resided in Georgia in 1820. "The food of the slaves was three pecks of potatos a week during the potato season, and one peck of corn, during the remainder of the year.''

Mr. Nehemiah Caulkins, a member of the Baptist Church in Waterford, Conn., who resided in North Carolina, eleven winters. "The subsistence of the slaves, consists of seven quarts of meal or eight quarts of small rice for one week!"

William Savery, late of Philadelphia, an eminent Minister of the Society of Friends, who travelled extensively in the slave states, on a Religious Visitation, speaking of the subsistence of the slaves, says, in his published Journal, "A peck of corn is their (the slaves,) miserable subsistence for a week.''

The late John Parrish, of Philadelphia, another highly respected Minister of the Society of Friends, who traversed the South, on a similar mission, in 1804 and 5, says in his "Remarks on the slavery of Blacks;'' "They allow them but one peck of meal, for a whole week, in some of the Southern states.''

Richard Macy, Hudson, N., Y. a Member of the Society of Friends, who has resided in Georgia. "Their usual allowance of food was one peck of corn per week, which was dealt out to them every first day of the week. They had nothing allowed them besides the corn, except one quarter of beef at Christmas.''

Rev. C. S. Renshaw, of Quincy, Ill., (the testimony of a Virginian.) "The slaves are generally allowanced: a pint of corn meal and a salt herring is the allowance, or in lieu of the herring a "dab'' of fat meat of about the same value. I have known the sour milk, and clauber to be served out to the hands, when there was an abundance of milk on the plantation. This is a luxury not often afforded."

Professor A. G. Smith, of the New York Medical College; formerly a physician in Louisville, Kentucky. "I have myself known numerous instances of large families of badly-fed negroes swept off by a prevailing epidemic; and it is well known to many intelligent planters in the south, that the best method of preventing that horrible malady, Chachexia Africana, is to feed the negroes with nutritious food."

Mr. Tobias Boudinot, St. Albans, Ohio, a member of the Methodist Church. Mr. B. for some years navigated the Mississippi. "The slaves down the Mississippi, are half-starved, the boats, when they stop at night, are constantly boarded by slaves, begging for something to eat.''

Philemon Bliss, Esq., a lawyer in Elyria, Ohio, and member of the Presbyterian church, who lived in Florida, in 1834, and 1835. "The slaves go to the field in the morning; they carry with them corn meal wet with water, and at noon build a fire on the ground and bake it in the ashes. After the labors of the day are over, they take their second meal of ash-cake.''

Mr. Eleazar Powell, Chippewa, Beaver county, Penn., who resided in Mississippi in 1836 and 1837. "The slaves received two meals during the day. Those who have their food cooked for them get their breakfast about eleven o'clock, and their other meal after night.''

Mr. Nehemiah Caulkins, Waterford, Conn., who spent eleven winters in North Carolina. "The breakfast of the slaves was generally about ten or eleven o'clock.''

Rev. Phineas Smith, Centreville, N. Y., who has lived at the south some years. "The slaves have usually two meals a day, viz: at eleven o'clock and at night.''

Hon. Alexander Smyth, a slave holder, and for ten years, Member of Congress from Virginia, in his speech on the Missouri question. Jan 28th, 1820. "By confining the slaves to the Southern states, where crops are raised for exportation, and bread and meat are purchased, you doom them to scarcity and hunger. It is proposed to hem in the blacks where they are ILL FED.''

Rev. George Whitefield, in his letter, to the slave holders of Md. Va. N C. S. C. and Ga. published in Georgia, just one hundred years ago, 1739. "My blood has frequently run cold within me, to think how many of your slaves have not sufficient food to eat; they are scarcely permitted to pick up the crumbs, that fall from their master's table.''

Rev. John Rankin, of Ripley, Ohio, a native of Tennessee, and for some year's a preacher in slave states. "Thousands of the slaves are pressed with the gnawings of cruel hunger during their whole lives.''

Report of the Gradual Emancipation Society, of North Carolina, 1826. Signed Moses Swain, President, and William Swain, Secretary. Speaking of the condition of slaves, in the eastern part of that state, the report says, "The master puts the unfortunate wretches upon short allowances, scarcely sufficient for their sustenance, so that a great part of them go half starved much of the time.''

Mr. Asa A. Stone, a Theological Student, who resided near Natchez, Miss., in 1834-5. "On almost every plantation, the hands suffer more or less from hunger at some seasons of almost every year. There is always a good deal of suffering from hunger. On many plantations, and particularly in Louisiana, the slaves are in a condition of almost utter famishment, during a great portion of the year.''

Rev. C. S. Renshaw, Quincy, Illinois, —the testimony of a Virginian. "The slaves have two meals a day. They breakfast at from ten to eleven, A. M., and eat their supper at from six to nine or ten at night, as the season and crops may be.''

American Slavery As It Is
Theodore Weld
New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839.

1 comment:

Bronxstar21 said...

Great Post-I am a student of my peoples History and this is very helpful in understanding-their daily routines and food habits