The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

standing survey of its subject, and makes a happy beginning for
the ten-volume series of which it is a part.
J. HARRY BENNETT, JR.
The University of Texas
Hugh Davis and His Alabama Plantation. By Weymouth T. Jor-
dan. University, Alabama (University of Alabama Press),
1948. Pp. 168, bibliography, index. $3.oo.
Many aspects of the Southern ante-bellum period still remain
more in the realm of fiction than of fact, and the famed and
fabled planter and his plantation is not the least important of
them. But archivists and other manuscript collectors have re-
cently rescued from oblivion diaries, account books, letters, and
other records of those who tilled the Southland from the estab-
lishment of the Federal government in 1789 to the firing on
Fort Sumter in 1861. Professor Jordan has used such records in
writing a detailed account of one planter, and his various pro-
saic, undramatic plantation activities.
Hugh Davis was an Alabama lawyer who in 1848 assumed
active management of his plantation located along the Cahawba
River in Perry County on the northern edge of Alabama's black-
belt. From this time until his death in 1862 he led the life of a
typical Southern cotton planter. He faced the usual, every-day
plantation problems. He contended with floods, droughts and
frosts, worms and bugs, squirrels and raccoons. He attempted to
make his plantation self-sufficient in grain, fruit, garden truck-
age, and meat; in one year his Negroes planted "3,311 collard
and 2,050 cabbage plants." He tried to improve cotton produc-
tion. He studied marketing problems and conditions and con-
stantly strived to sell at a higher profit. He was "one Deep South
planter who was a success. For him plantation slavery was profit-
able."
Professor Jordan begins his account with the "Maturing of
Hugh Davis and His Region," a tightly-woven chapter which
traces the development of Perry County from the frontier stage
when every man wanted either "to buy a 'nigger' or take a drink"
until the dawn of the Civil War when it had become one of the
most important cotton-producing counties in the South. Con-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/. Accessed July 24, 2014.