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Plain Folk's FightThe Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods Georgia$
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Mark V. Wetherington

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780807829639

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877043_wetherington

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on the cotton frontier

on the cotton frontier

(p.11) 1 on the cotton frontier
Plain Folk's Fight

Mark V. Wetherington

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the cotton frontier in the lower Ocmulgee River in southern Georgia during the 1860s and the role played by white plain folk in the growth of cotton production in the region. It examines how the boundaries between pineland and river bottoms became contested areas pitting the “piney woods against the world” and helped both define and unify plain folk. The chapter looks at the rise of plantations dedicated to the production of cotton and rice in the wiregrass country, the plain folk's increased involvement in the market economy and slavery, and how they coexisted with planters and slaves in an increasingly commercial economy. It also discusses antebellum trends other than cotton production and slaveholding that threatened to make the wiregrass country more similar to the black belts surrounding it and in the process destabilize backwoods neighborhoods, such as evangelicalism and the construction of railroads.

Keywords:   cotton production, Ocmulgee River, Georgia, plain folk, piney woods, plantations, market economy, slavery, evangelicalism, railroads

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