|Date(s):||May 16, 1856|
|Location(s):||KING WILLIAM, Virginia|
|Course:||“Rise and Fall of the Slave South,” University of Virginia|
On May 16, 1856, John Cooke posted an advertisement in the Richmond Whig and Public Advertiser to sell his farm in King William County, Virginia. His farm was a desirable property, as it lay alongside the Mattapony River, only one mile from the county court house. Cooke stressed the fact that along this steamboats river ran straight to Norfolk, Virginia, optimal for farmers who wanted to move grain. Cooke's farm consisted of 681 acres, 350 of which were in cultivation. Cooke said that the rest of his acreage was timbered, and was good for chopping wood. At the time of Cooke's article there were about 544 farms in his county, only about 29 of which were comparable to his size. In the entire state of Virginia, which had hundreds of thousands of farms, there were only about 2,882 of a similar size to Cooke's farm.
The grounds of Cooke's farm consisted of barns, stables, and a dwelling house, which could comfortably fit a large family, barns. John Cooke described that the slave quarters were in good condition and some had been recently built. The farm had been worked for two years, and the land would be transferred in the fall in time to plant a crop of wheat for the new owner. The cash value of this particular size farm would have been about 2,580,250. Cooke wanted to stress that his farm was prosperous and on resource rich grounds, to show that this property was desirable in the agrarian based economy of the south. As was one of the biggest farms in King William County, it would have provided a good home for a farmer looking to expand his land and cultivation or accommodate a larger size family.