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Plantation Sketches   By:

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PRIVATELY PRINTED AT The Riverside Press, Cambridge MDCCCCVI

[Illustration: MAMMY]




The descriptions of Southern life in this little book, as well as the accompanying stories, were written by Mrs. Devereux during the past fifteen years, in large part after she had passed her sixty fifth year. They are essentially reminiscent, and were prepared originally with no thought of publication, but merely to be read to her grandchildren, so that there might be preserved in their minds some conception of the old time lives of their grandparents. The sketches thus came to be read by me to my own children, who are of the third generation. They brought to my mind so simply, yet so vividly and in so attractive a manner, a picture of the old plantation life, they showed such remarkable memory of interesting details, that they seemed to me to merit publication. The charm of the descriptions will impress all readers, and the truthfulness of the illustrations of negro character and habits will be recognized by all who are familiar with the South. The sketches are simple, homely little tales prepared for children, and they must be read with this fact in mind; but they have nevertheless an interest and a lesson for maturer readers, to whom they are now offered.

Arthur Winslow

18 Chestnut St., Boston, Mass. April 27, 1906


Letter to my Grandchildren ix

Plantation Life 1

Going to the Plantation 40

My Own Early Home 52

Two Bob Whites 59

Little Dave 74

The Hog Feeder's Day 85

The Junior Reserve 113

Mammy 119

War Reminiscences 150


As the "New South," with all its changes and improvements, rises above the horizon, those whose hearts still cling to the "Old South" look sadly backward and sigh to see it fade away into dimness, to be soon lost to sight and to live only in the memory of the few. Hoping to rescue from oblivion a few of the habits, thoughts, and feelings of the people who made our South what it was, I have drawn from memory a few pen sketches of plantation life, based upon actual events, in which are recorded some of the good and even noble traits of character which were brought forth under the yoke of slavery.

For you, my dear grandchildren, I have tried to fix, before they fade entirely, these already faint reflections from the "light of other days."

Margaret Devereux.

Raleigh, North Carolina. December, 1905.


I am going to try to describe to you something of the lives and homes of your dear grandfather and of your great grandfather, because I want you to know something of them, because their mode of life was one of which scarcely a vestige is left now, and because, finally, I don't want you to be led into the misconception held by some that Southern planters and slaveholders were cruel despots, and that the life of the negro slaves on the plantation was one of misery and sorrow.

Before I enter upon my brief narrative I want you to realize that it is all strictly true, being based upon my knowledge of facts; very simple and homely in its details, but with the merit of entire truthfulness.

Your great grandfather, Thomas Pollock Devereux, and your grandfather, John Devereux, were planters upon an unusually large scale in North Carolina; together they owned eight large plantations and between fifteen and sixteen hundred negroes... Continue reading book >>

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