previous next
[11] under the direction of the master and the mistress, or the trusted overseer, either in the household and its surroundings or in the fields. Each of these home communities had its own mechanics, or trades people of nearly every kind, from the carders, spinners, weavers, knitters, seamstresses and trained servants of the household and its attached flower and vegetable gardens, to the shoemakers, blacksmiths, wagonmakers, and other craftsmen of the home shops, and the wagon and cart drivers, plowmen, cattle and sheep herders, and others who conducted all the different labors of the large plantations. Especially were there large numbers of highly-skilled laborers on the great tobacco plantations, who, under but light supervision, pitched, cared for, cut and cured the large crops of tobacco, for the quantity and quality of which Virginia was famous in all parts of the world. One need not hesitate to say, that a better trained, better ordered, better cared for, happier and more contented laboring population nowhere existed within the limits of the Union.

The occupations of the people of Virginia were greatly varied in consequence of the great variety of the surface features of the State and their adaptations. Her oceanic waters abounded in shell and scale fish, and gave employment to large numbers of oystermen and fishermen. The large plantations of Tidewater were devoted to the production of wheat and corn, and those south of the James to peanuts and cotton; the cultivation of sweet potatoes was a specialty in the more easterly regions. Eastern and Central Midland raised large crops of wheat, from which a superior quality of flour was manufactured, especially at Richmond, for the South American trade. Western Midland, then as now, added the production of large quantities of tobacco. The Piedmont country in its northeastern portion, within the limits of the growth of natural grasses, was devoted to the production of cereals and the rearing of cattle and horses, while the large plantations of the central and southwestern parts not only produced corn and wheat, but great quantities of what is known as heavy shipping tobacco. The elevated pasture lands of the Blue ridge were mainly given up to grazing and dairying. The Great Valley, from the Potomac to the Tennessee line, the paradise of the farmer, the grazer and the dairyman, produced bountiful crops of all the cereals, especially wheat and corn; large numbers of

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: