The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950 Page: 503
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tinuing with "Plantation Management: Scientific Farming," he
establishes Davis as having been "an excellent farmer" but con-
cludes that he "possessed many weaknesses as a scientific farmer"
for he "often reverted to old, customary, time-worn practices."
The chapter on "Plantation Management: The Overseer" is
highly revelatory in several aspects of plantation management.
Though the overseer's social position is well known, somewhere
between the poor white and the small farmer, Professor Jordan
gives details not usually found. For example, one of his overseers
wrote in 1858 of the visit of a Miss Marshall to the plantation:
"Was at the table with her today twice & in the Parlor tonight &
received no introduction to her." The chapter also reveals that at
least one Southern planter wrote not one but several sets of
"General Rules & Directions" for the management of his prop-
erty and even a list of "Special Rules to the Overseer," a detail
of plantation management not usually so carefully practiced. But,
becoming disgusted with the low calibre of his overseers, Hugh
Davis tried the almost unheard of expedient of turning over the
actual supervision and management of his plantation to several
of his slaves. Wash was his "chief agent" and was assisted by Sol
and Johnson. That he was well satisfied with their activities is
shown by one of his journal entries: "The[y] have done much
work and done it well. My plantation has improved ioo per cent
in fences, roads, ditches and gates. The ploughing is very well
done-the cutting down of canes, willows and ditch banks has
greatly improved my place." But he returned to white manage-
ment within a few months.
Conforming more to the general pattern are chapters on the
"Purchase and Care of Slaves," "Management and Work of
Slaves," "Purchase of Supplies and Subsistence Farming," and
the "Production and Sale of Cotton." The volume ends with a
brief summary of the plantation's career during and after the
Professor Jordan has done an excellent job of presenting Hugh
Davis to those interested in ante-bellum agricultural life. He
has performed the extremely difficult task of marshalling and
co-ordinating the factual material contained in an extensive col-
lection of plantation records. His general research has been com-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950, periodical, 1950; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/m1/609/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.