|Date(s):||1817 to 1820|
|Location(s):||INDIAN LANDS, Mississippi|
|Tag(s):||Agriculture, Economy, Race-Relations, Slavery|
|Course:||“Rise And Fall of the Slave South,” University of Virginia|
In a letter received by James Ure, John Bisland, a long time friend was intent on convincing him to move to Mississippi and invest in the cotton industry because of how easy it [was] to make money here. I bought 100 acres of land which lay contiguous to my estate [and] paid 600 dollars he explained and was able to make about 500 dollars by only planting cotton on seventeen acres. Cotton was seen as an agricultural gold mine and resulted in a great hunt to search for and obtain this valuable land.
This widespread desire for cotton created an economical boom in Mississippi which led to an increased number of settlers. After the War of 1812, a substantial number of Native Americans were removed from the area which offered fresh land at a cheep price to anyone who was interested in farming agricultural products. The geographical location of this state consequently turned Mississippi into one of the leading cotton producing areas in the nation due to the fertile soils and excellent climate needed for farming this crop. Because the soil was so deep and rich, farmers could plant cotton season after season without having to rotate fields or worry about exhausting the supply of nutrients in the dirt. This newly liberated land not only became the home for rich plantation owners who cultivated cotton on large plots of land. Poorer farmers were able to purchase property and raise row crops and tend to livestock as well as middle class folk who had dreams of someday entering the plantation society by working their way up to larger plots of land as they became more successful.
Raising and picking cotton demand a great deal of hand labor, and the crop, typically, was worked by slave gang labor on large plantations. This overbearing stipulation resulted in a search by plantation owners to find more help on farms. Slaves were heavily sought after and cotton became one of the most influential contributors to the slave trade because of the number of people it took to harvest. By 1820 in cotton producing areas of Tennessee the number of African Americans populating this region had increased exponentially consisting of 80,107 blacks which formed 18.9 percent of the total residents. Slaves were so sought after in Mississippi that Natchez became the busiest slave market in the south after Algiers, in New Orleans.
The town of Natchez was often times called niggerville or Forks-of-the-road because families that were brought here were quickly separated and sold off individually. Isaac Stier, an Adams county slave remembered stories of his father being fed an' washed an' rubbed down lak race horses [then] dressed up an' put through de paces that would show off dey muscles. This new fertile land and its capability of producing mass quantities of cotton forced settlers use any means necessary in order to succeed.