This week’s seventh assignment deals with maps; their usefulness and their ability to be misleading. In this assignment, we examining the 1860 and 1881 maps of the Barrow Plantation in Oglethorpe County, Georgia. The original use of these maps was to show how a southern plantation when from being a consolidated system prior to the American Civil War to an atomized series of tenant farms during the Reconstruction.
The Barrow Plantation map as it is traditionally shown has an error. From its current orientation, most readers will assume incorrectly that the plantation is situated on a river with a north-south flow. However, the Little River actually flows east-west. The map is sideways. It was first printed by David Crenshaw Barrow in a Scribners Monthly magazine article in 1881, entitled, “A Georgia Plantation.” In my search for the actual location of the plantation, I searched the census records for the author of the above article. David C. Crenshaw, (Jr.) was born on his father’s plantation, Syll’s Fork Place, on October 18, 1852. He became the Chancellor of the University of Georgia in 1905 and he was honored by the State of Georgia by having a county (Barrow County) named after him. On the 1860 census, the post office was listed as Lexington, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. I entered that location into Google maps. I zoomed in as much as it would go and turned on the terrain feature, which gave the names of all the rivers, creeks, and bodies of water and dragged the map around until I found the Little River which was about 16 miles southeast of Lexington, Ga. The Syll’s fork (map) is currently called Slys Fork; Branch Creek is Andrew Branch; Wright Creek is White Creek; Little River is North Fork Little River and the unnamed road is Jackson Place Rd NW, just off of GA-22/Lexington Road NW.
From an extreme close up satellite view, I was unable to determine it the plantation house still existed. There were large roughly cleared areas which were not smooth enough for farming. The next patch to this one appeared to contain juvenile pine trees planted in neat rows. If I had to venture a guess, I would say that this was now some sort of sustainable timber business and not a working farm.
From the 1860 Slave census, David C. Barrow, Sr. was reported to own eighty slaves; of which four of them were above 70 years old and six were fugitives from the state (runaways). They lived in twenty slave cabins on his plantation. He owned $95,670 in real estate and $240,000 in personal property. By the 1870 census, he owned $100,000 in real estate but only had $20,000 in personal property. The significant drop in wealth shows us in real terms how much slaves were intrinsically worth. Barrow Sr’s household contained 19 domestic servants; of which twelve were mulattos and 7 were black. Their surnames are Tucker, Payne, Smith, Morton, and Pope. On the 1880 census, I was able to locate a few of the names listed in the 1881 map of Barrow Plantation. (i.e. Tom Thomas, Ben Thomas, Reuben Barrow, Isaac, Tom Wright, Lem Douglas, and several Popes, but none with first names that matched the map)
David Barrow Sr will: