Sharecropper Cabin

Most of us today don’t realize how good we’ve got it.  Sure, we may struggle with debt, or with the loss of a job, illness or some other challenge.  But when all things are considered, we really have a great deal to be thankful for.

Take the subject of today’s photo.  This picture was taken at Stately Oaks Plantation in Jonesboro, GA a couple of weeks ago.  The main house on the plantation is two stories, large, and fairly well appointed given the fact that it dates back to the 1850’s.  It was, of course, the house of the plantation owner, where he lived with his family.  You can tour the house and it is an interesting place to visit and to hear the stories about the various accoutrements in the place.

Outside are a variety of outbuildings, including the sharecropper’s cabin.  This wasn’t a slave cabin – it was better than that.  It was where the sharecropper lived – the person who worked on the plantation for a percentage of the crop.  This was essentially a one-room shack with a bed tucked in one corner, a stove in another, a table in another…and that’s about it.  The cabin in the picture has obviously been restored and updated (note the electrical box by the head of the bed).  Still, it gives you an idea of the living conditions.  As I see things like this, I am also impressed with how hardy the people who lived in these places and in those times had to be.  The walls had no insulation and there were often rotting boards or cracks in the walls and floor (of there was a floor instead of a dirt floor), there was no central heat or air.  The cold and heat must have been nearly unbearable.  We have it good!

Notice the ropes on the side of the bed.  The mattresses were usually packed with straw or leaves and there was no box spring underneath the mattress.  Instead, there were ropes that ran across from one side of the bed to the other side for the purpose of providing support for the mattress.  You might have guessed that the mattress wasn’t all that comfortable, and during the course of the night it would compress from the weight of the people sleeping on it.  It would sag towards the floor.  What was one to do about this dismal state of affairs?  You’d tighten up the ropes to help restore a firmer “base” for the mattress.  We still have a saying today that is related to the tightening of the ropes on these old style “beds”.  When  you wish someone to “sleep tight”, that originally referred to tightening up the ropes so one could sleep better!

Sharecropper cabin...bed corner

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1924, King Tut’s sarcophagus was opened for the first time, 15 months after it had been discovered.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  there are 142,000 recognized species of moth that have been identified, and scientists believe there are thousands more species to be discovered.

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