By 1830, America supplied the majority of the world’s raw cotton.
Plant in the spring, cultivate during the summer, harvest in August or September. Sounds easy right? Busting sod with a handheld plow pulled by mules is hard work. Chopping the dirt between the rows after every rain to keep the weeds down and the ground ready to soak up as much moisture as possible from the next downpour was almost never ending. A body does get a bit of rest after the plants canopy—that’s when they grow tall enough and its leaves grow broad enough to block the sun, hindering any undergrowth.
Now if a slave owner on a big Southern plantation before the Civil War, all you had to do was count your greenbacks as the cotton bales stacked up. Most were not, though (especially in my novels), but the working man took advantage of King Cotton, too. Because raising cotton proved so profitable and so little was needed other than hard work, most anyone in the 1800s could keep the seed from last year's crop, work himself and his family to the bone, and make enough money to support his family.
My newstory that releases in January, Silent Harmony, uses the hardships of growing cotton as a backdrop for the three Parker sisters. With their daddy and the oldest sister’s husband both killed in the war, the girls are doing all the work alone with little respite. We (my husband and I, we write together) chose cotton because of growing up on stories of grandparents and parents working the lint.
One story I especially liked was where is paternal grandfather would get his work done so he could come help his sweetheart chop her rows. At eighteen and sixteen, they fell in love between the rows of cotton. As a child, Ron’s mother had her own sack, but according to PawPaw, she spent more time riding on her daddy's sack instead of picking.
I can hardly imagine a good year being two thousand dollars for all that work? Of course, back then, spending a dollar bought a whole lot more, too. But it might be less on a bad year--too much or too little rain or letting the weeds get ahead of the chopping! Mercy, I'd rather write about cotton planting and harvesting and marvel at the tough rows our ancestors had to hoe!
(who remembers The Byrds?)
To everything (turn, turn, turn) ♪There is a season (turn, turn, turn) ♪And a time to every purpose, under heaven ♪A time to be born, a time to die A time to plant,♪a time to reap ♪ A time to kill, a time to heal ♪ A time to laugh, a time to weep
How many of you were told stories of King Cotton?
Bio : Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and a quick scroll through her novels’ rankings by Christian readers attests to the Father’s faithfulness. She loves writing almost as much as singing the new songs He gives her—look her up on YouTube to hear a few. Her high school sweetheart husband won her heart fifty-one years ago, and now they share four children and seventeen grandsugars. Ron and Caryl live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.
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