The Plantation Journal of Alexander James Lawton

As promised a few posts ago, here’s a transcription of relevant pages for you Lawton family researchers.  I know who you are, even when you’re not wearing the T-shirt…



June 15                 Began 4 hoeing

June 25                 Saw Cotton blossoms in both fields, red & white

July 9                     Began 5 hoeing –

July 26                   Began 6 hoeing –

Aug 7                     Finish’d 6th & last hoeing.  Planted 26

acres & made 11155 weight seed cotton &

sold it 505 $

May 19                 Planted ½ acre Rice made about 2 Bushels

June 6 & 7           Planted Peas in (faded)

Sept 13th              Had 742th Cotton p (faded)

Decr. 30                                Adaline, our (faded) was born 15 (faded)

2 Oclock in the (faded)  it was on (faded)

Bad Season this (faded)

Commenced work on Parsonage House, I am

to build it in a plain manner with shed to

it; the whole house & lumber to be completed

for 400 Dollars –

house 32 feet long –

18 feet wide

shed 12 feet wide

had fathers negroes Preston & Martin to work

on it; Christmas Carted Lumber —  They worked

in all put together 90 ½ days at 50 cents

per day amt. $45. 25/100



Feby. 14               I forgot to mention that on this day

my Brothers Joseph & Benjn. & Sister

Thirza Polhill set off with their

Families for the Mississippi Territory.

Oct. 28 & 29        Dug slips in, made three good Banks out

of 2 ½ Tasks they were very good.

Made out of the 27 acres planted as a

crop 12000 seed cotton & out of a piece

I got of W. A. Lawton 1000 more making

for my crop of cotton this year in all

13000 which I sold to Messrs R. Richardson & Co.

for Thos. D. Jaudon; on acct. noges.

Beverley bout. of him & at ten cents

when gin’d & pack’d amounting to about

three hundred & seventy five Dollars –

Nov. 1                   About this time dug Potatoes made Seven

good banks of Roots & three of slips-

Decr 24                 Finished picking cotton-


Jany 1                    This year I have agreed to put my hands

with my father & work in Co. at the follow-

ing Rates to wit.  I am to have five

shares in the crop & he to have nine count-

ing all the hands as fourteen – he is to (end of page)



Jan.y                      My Father & self plant together as last

year; we plant for 19 hands, & I draw

one third of everything; in other re-

spects our agreement as last year.  We

planted this year in due time the follow-

ing, to wit 60 acres corn, in Barn field

Brickkiln fields big hand 80 acres

Cotton – 50 of which is new ground, the

rest in grave yard field & field by

Washing Branch – 9 acres Rice-

10 acres Potatoes – in poor land  This

has been the worst year for making

crops, I have experienced since I have

been planting- I shall make but a

sorry crop; there was a very serious

drought and in the fall excessive rains;

on the 12 & 14th days of October had

a frost which stopt the growth of cotton.

On the 13 June I marched for a tour of

duty in Beaufort in a Military way:  to

command in the rank of first Lieutenant.

I remained in camp of Charleston sitting

on a Court Martial until 28 August-

19 March, in this year my Brothers Joseph

I Lawton & Benjn. T. D. Lawton & Sister

Thirza Polhill’s bereav’d Daughters re-

turned from the western country, after a


                                disasterous journey to that country

for the purpose of settling there –

they calculate they sunk about 1500

Dollars each.  My poor sister Thirza

died in that country 3 Decr. 1811

Decr. 21                                This day finished picking cotton.

The proceeds of the crop this year are

seed cotton                        24.000

5 stacks rice equal to         1.500


Bushels corn                             450

20 banks eatable potatoes

equal in corn to                        150


besides feeding negroes 5

weeks before they were dug



This year my Father & self plant in Co.

as usual, with 18 ¾ hands, out of

which I draw 1/3 of every thing – This

was a good year for crops, the best I

have experienced since a planter-

Planted Barn field 14 ½ acres

made lbs —                                        11703

(Gate field transp 17                          9224

(Field by R. Cole 16                             9416

(Middle field 18 ½                               9250

(New ground 10 ½                              4670

(76 ½ acres –                       lbs.          44263

equal to an average 580 per acre all at Transpine



                                Planted 75 acres corn made 850


29 Sept had pickd. 3100 lbs. Cotton

finishd picking 23 Jany. 1815



This year I planted with my Father

as usual, we planted with nineteen hands

besides the driver, out of which I draw

Eight shares  We planted this year 64

acres corn- 3 acres of Potatoes – 2

acres Rice & 90 acres of cotton the

last all at Transpine-

5 March                This year the 5 March – my hon’d &

affectionate Father departed this life,

after an uncommonly severe inflammatory

attack of four years duration in his

62nd. year of life – he evinced great

religious firmness, which he had pro-

fessed many years; & no doubt he has

exchanged this for a better world-

this was a very bad year for crops

the second worse I have known since a


Sept. 12                Commenced picking cotton

Sept. 15                had picked                          3000 lbs

Oct. 1                    had pick’d                           12000 lb



                                …than good seasons required –  My Uncle

John Robert, now 74 years old, told me

he never saw so much rain in one year

before-  We were visited by the black

rot also, which destroy’d from one fourth

to one half of the planters crops of green

seed cotton; it did not affect black seed

cotton.  I & my Mother were more favor’d

as to crops than our neighbors it is allow-

ed by them all that we made the best crop

in the neighborhood, of cotton – but this

to myself, was the most awful year I have

yet experienced in sickness – out of about

fifty sould, white & black on the plantat-

ion not one escaped the fever, and I lost

my lovely & interesting daughter Thirza

about five years old & two likely young

negroes, one a young wench, who died in

child bed with her first child, the other

a boy eight years old – Phillis & Monday

Sister & Brother – So awfully dreadful

was the yellow & bilious fever in Beau-

fort, that it is said one Sixth (1/6) of

the population of whites died this year,

& 200 persons died in Savannah in the

month October –





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