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Friday, August 9, 2013

The Plantation Office


The plantation office was literally the office. Imagine yourself running a plantation, purchasing goods,  exchanging Personal Notes (promise to pay) with your neighbors, bartering, importing and exporting, dealing with factors in London and other cities to handle your cotton shipments and maintaining inventories of farm essentials, costs and expenses related thereto.  If you think that Georgians were uneducated, you are mistaken. From the earliest settlers, sons were sent abroad to further the education they had received in field schools. To get an idea of how extensive this was, peruse some of the real life biographical accounts in "Memoirs of Georgia" (published 1895). And for shame on us, examine some of the old diaries to discover that the older generation was better educated and more literate than we are today. The expression keep up your letters equated into a frequent correspondence with friends and relatives, taking care to write the old-style calligraphy artfully and carefully taking precaution that the India ink would not bleed. The plantation office was stocked with accounting books wherein extensive entries were written. Ultimately, some of these inventories would be included in the estate of a planter upon his death and filed at the court house. Occasionally, you might see an old homeplace accounting book in an antique store and wonder what it is.  You might even think that it was a physical store like we have today.  Discovering your ancestor's old accounting books would be a jewel indeed.  Therefore, we must examine all the court house records during his lifetime.  Especially the old wills and estates. Luckily the Chatham County records survived intact, and the average estate written in the clerk's book contained at least 50 pages!  To see a list of Chatham County records published on Georgia Pioneers click here

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