Unloading Rice Barges, South Carolina, 1870s


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Image Reference
NW0258

Source
Scribner's Monthly (June 1874), vol. 8, p. 144. Also published in Edward King, The Great South . . . profusely illustrated from original sketches by J. Wells Champney (Hartford, Conn., 1875), p. 435; and Ernst von Hesse-Wartegg, Mississippi-Fahrten [Travels on the lower Mississippi, 1879-1880] (Leipzig, 1881). (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library)

Comments
Men and women at work carrying bundles of rice. "We wandered over perhaps 700 acres . . . . The men and women at work in the different sections were under the control of field-masters. . . . The women were dressed in gay colors, with handkerchiefs . . . around their temples. Their feet were bare . . . . Most of them, while staggering out through the marshes with forty or fifty pounds of rice stalks on their heads . . . indulged in a running fire of invective against the field-master. . . .The 'trunk-minders', the watchmen . . . promenaded briskly; the flat-boats, on which field hands deposited their huge bundles of rice stalks, were poled up to the mill, where the grain was threshed and separated from the straw, winnowed, and carried in baskets to the schooners which transported it to Charleston... (King, p. 435). The Scribner's article notes that the rice mill was located near the wharf between Morris island and Sullivan island so that the "rice-schooners" had easy access to the mill.