Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shirley's Shirley Plantation

Shirley at her Plantation
Old southern plantations from the pre-Civil War era are scattered all over the South. We decided to visit the "Shirley Plantation", owned originally by relatives of Civil War general Robert E. Lee. "I guess you've heard of him?" asked a tour guide a little sarcastically when I told I was Canadian and ignorant of some American history. I was tempted to ask if she knew about Generals Wolff and Montcalm but thought better of it. The grounds were extremely tidy, very hot and dry. The fields are still farmed, but now with corn and not cotton.

The owner is a 13th generation descendant of the original family and offers tours, I suppose, as a way of keeping the place going. Lots of out-buildings were arranged geometrically around the grounds. The kitchen was a vast brick building larger than most houses.

Check it out.

The kitchen

The mansion house
I wondered how many slaves worked here and where they lived? I didn't see any slave homes or indication of their lifestyle pre-emancipation. Obviously there needed to be plenty of help to run a place like this.

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