Thursday, February 21, 2013

Child Mortality on an Alabama Plantation


From History Engine, "Child Mortality on an Alabama Plantation: June 25, 1846 to December 31, 1849," in GREENE, Alabama -- Disease was rampant among the slave population in the Antebellum South. Poor diet, less than adequate clothing, and exposure to the elements, caused the immune systems of the over-worked laborers to break down, making them susceptible to contracting a variety of illnesses. A demographic that was particularly at risk were children age nine and under. Fully 45 out of every 10,000 slave children aged nine or younger died of diseases in the late 1840s. This compared compared to 11 out of every 10,000 white children of the same age. Dropsy, congestive chill, pneumonia, and fever are diseases that slaves would often battle in the Antebellum South. While doctors were often called in to give aid to sick slaves on plantations, medicine in the 1840s was lacking in its effectiveness, and slaves were not given the same level of treatment as white citizens. The Cameron family of North Carolina and Alabama detail in their correspondence with one another, the sickness and diseases of their slaves, many of whom are children.


Sick children are mentioned at least nine times in the Cameron family letters, with several more instances of sickness among the adults mentioned on both the Stagville and Greene County, Alabama plantations. Diley was a slave on the Cameron’s Alabama plantation in the 1840s. He is mentioned several times in various letters written from Charles Llewellyn, the overseer of the Cameron’s Alabama operations, and Paul Cameron, owner of the Stagville plantation. Diley has a child, whose name is unknown, who is first mentioned as being sick on June 25, 1846. During the summer, slaves on cotton plantations would spend time chopping the cotton plants, and keeping the middles of the cotton rows free from weeds and other unwanted vegetation. This meant spending countless hours outside in the fields, with exposure to the elements and disease carrying insects. Children often worked alongside the adults in the cotton fields, assisting with these duties. 


While the cause of sickness is officially unknown, it is likely that Diley’s child fell ill due to insect-born disease. There is another mention of a child of Diley’s, perhaps a different one, being ill on May 1 of the following year in a letter authored by Charles Llewellyn and sent to Paul Cameron. In a letter from Charles Llewellyn to Paul Cameron on May 21 1847, Llewellyn writes that “Diley has lost his youngest child, the Doctor was not sent for to it, nor I have not sent for a doctor but once since you left; when sent for, Doctor Ring, my reason for sending for him is I wanted a doctor as soon as he could get here or not at all.” This death occurs nearly one year after the first case of sickness among Diley’s children is mentioned. One could assume that this death is that of the previously mentioned sick child in Llewellyn’s letter to Cameron on May 1st 1847, though this cannot be certain. It is possible that Diley had more than one sick child. This is just one of several cases of child fatalities mentioned in the letters. There are several other slaves sick on the Greene County plantation, so a child with a compromised immune system exposed to sick adults who have endured a hard winter themselves, would easily fall ill. Illness on plantations often meant death, especially among the child slave population. [http://historyengine.richmond.edu/episodes/view/4802]

7 comments:

  1. One of the best things that you can consider,
    for good health and the health of your loved ones, is
    to quit smoking. While you should not smoke marijuana regularly,
    you can save your health by knowing that its grown organically in
    safe soil and using a Vaporizer instead of a smoking device.
    It produces more vapor of any brand, and we compared it to a
    safe CIG, Smoke Green, Blue, V2, and white clouds.

    ReplyDelete
  2. One of the best things that you can consider, for good health
    and the health of your loved ones, is to quit smoking.
    While you should not smoke marijuana regularly, you can
    save your health by knowing that its grown organically in
    safe soil and using a Vaporizer
    instead of a smoking device. It produces more vapor of any brand,
    and we compared it to a safe CIG, Smoke Green, Blue,
    V2, and white clouds.
    my page: Vaporizer

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in
    your content seem to be running off the screen in Safari.
    I'm not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I thought I'd post to let you
    know. The design look great though! Hope you get the issue resolved
    soon. Many thanks

    Here is my blog: gratis spiele

    ReplyDelete
  4. Unlike the traditional vaporizers, digital vaporizers have
    a more advanced interface which gives an enjoyable experience.
    Since bright lights also trigger this particular nerve in some people, think of how this might be applicable to you.
    Normally annual routine maintenance contacts are not included
    in quotes; if you are looking for a Portland Heating and Cooling business that provide this, make certain you ask about this.


    Feel free to surf to my blog - Vaporizer

    ReplyDelete
  5. Be intellectual enοugh to sеe that youг ad doеs not go on
    air οn a unseemly ѕhοw ; a
    Chгistian booκ going on air on a show
    that is аbоut handlіng seхual issues would
    bе rіԁiculοus. Αlѕo, by
    haνing а raԁіo іnteгnshiρ
    іn youг rеsume, there iѕ a better chance for
    you to bесοme a DJ when you apрly fοr
    a job in any raԁio station in the nаtion.
    Even toԁау, I go big game huntіng
    anԁ all thiѕ, аnԁ the moгe dangerοus somethіng
    is, the happier I am.

    Here iѕ my pagе - More inspiring ideas

    ReplyDelete
  6. Exploring delicious.com I noticed your site book-marked as:
    Blogger: US Slave. I'm assuming you book-marked it yourself and wanted to ask if social bookmarking gets you a bunch of visitors? I've been thinking about doing some social bookmarking for a few of my
    sites but wasn't certain if it would yield any positive results. Thank you very much.

    Feel free to surf to my web blog: offshore-company.co

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, I stumbled onto this blog serendipitously and I'm so glade that I did, it's intellectually and emotionally explosive!

    Thank you for you work.

    ReplyDelete

There was an error in this gadget

HOME

HOME
Click here to return to the US Slave Home Page