Saturday, January 30, 2010

love, peace and liberty condemn hatred, war and bondage

Volume 34 of the Lineage book - National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (1912) gives a lineage for Minnie Roelker showing that she was eligible to be inducted into the society. The report in DAR yearbook is succinct:
MRS. EMILIE VIRGINIA ROELKER. 33483

Born in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Wife of Hugo B. Roelker.
Descendant of Ensign Thomas Lenington, of New York.
Daughter of Henry Lefman and Sarah Lenington Thorne, his wife.
Granddaughter of John Edmund Thorne (b. 1815) and Abby Lenington, his wife.
Gr.-granddaughter of Thomas Lenington and Sarah Van Sickles, his wife.
Gr.-gr.-granddaughter of Thomas Lenington and Sarah Sickerton, his wife, m. 1777.

Thomas Lenington, (1755-1829), served as sergeant under Capt. John Nicholson in the Canadian campaign; was promoted ensign 1776; was taken prisoner and confined fourteen months at Quebec and Halifax. After his exchange he was employed in the quartermaster's department and had command of a vessel on the North River. The widow was one hundred and four years old in 1848 and a pension was allowed her for over two years actual service as sergeant and ensign in the New York line. She was married in New Providence, New Jersey and received her pension in Brooklyn, N. Y.
Minnie was sister of my great-grandmother Annie Windmuller and as I recall, the family found it slightly embarrassing that anyone related to us wanted to be a part of that tainted organization. Still, Minnie's genealogical research gives some interesting stories, which my aunt Barbara collected and saved. I've summarized aunt Barbara's work here.

A bit of further research turns up a considerably more distant and somewhat more interesting relative. Both Minnie and her sister, my great-grandmother, were descended from a man named William Thorne. There have be many men of that name. This one is distinguished for having agitated for freedom of religion in Dutch New Amsterdam back when the American colonies were still young.

The story is succinctly told here and at greater length here (pdf).

In 1638 this William Thorne left England so he could practice his religion without interference and then left Massachusetts when he found he disagreed with the practices of the Puritans there. In New Amsterdam he thought he'd found the tolerance he sought, but a change in government brought new restrictions, not on his own freedoms but on those of a near-universally persecuted sect, the Society of Friends, or Quakers. Standing on principle and seeking for others what he valued so much for himself, Thorne joined with others, none of them Quakers, to request that Quakers be able to practice their religion in Flushing, Long Island, the town in which they'd settled. The government of the time refused but was, in time, overridden by the home office in Amsterdam.

William Thorne and his son, also William, both signed this request and both are direct ancestors.*

The document is untitled and has since come to be called the Remonstrance of the Inhabitants of the Town of Flushing to Governor Stuyvesant, December 27, 1657.

This is what it looks like:

{source: Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times}

It's the first formal request for freedom of religion in the American colonies and is a precursor of the freedom of religion clause in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution.

It asks Peter Stuyvesant, the governor, to "let every man stand or fall to his own Master." And it reminds him, "wee are bounde by the law to do good unto all men, especially to those of the household of faith." It also says, "love, peace and liberty, extending to all in Christ Jesus, condemns hatred, war and bondage... if any of these said persons come in love unto us, we cannot in conscience lay violent hands upon them, but give them free egresse and regresse unto our Town, and houses, as God shall persuade our consciences, for we are bounde by the law of God and man to doe good unto all men and evil to noe man. And this is according to the patent and charter of our Towne, given unto us in the name of the States General, which we are not willing to infringe, and violate, but shall houlde to our patent and shall remaine, your humble subjects, the inhabitants of Vlishing [i.e., Flushing]."

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See also:

A Colony With a Conscience an Op-Ed article in the New York Times by By Kenneth T. Jackson

The Flushing Remonstrance by Michael Peabody in Liberty Magazine, whose purpose is to honor freedom of religion ("The God-given right of religious liberty is best exercised when church and state are separate")

Flushing Remonstrance article in wikipedia

Precursor of the Constitution Goes on Display in Queens, an article in the New York Times on an exhibition to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the remonstrance

350th Anniversary of the Flushing Remonstrance: 1657-2007 a set of web pages honoring the anniversary

Roots of a Westchester Wedding Planted Deeply in Religious Freedom (pdf)

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Note:

* You can see the descendency here: Windmuller Family Genealogy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

genealogy

I like doing historical research but have wondered what genie drives people who do the genealogical kind. Both sorts of research can be frustrating, tedious, and lead more often to hair-pulling dead ends than to moments of eureka euphoria, but historical research, it seems to me, is about so much more than pedigrees. I've found it to be more intrinsically interesting.

For this reason I've accumulated some family histories but have resisted formalizing them with family-tree structures. I had resisted, that is, until this week when I installed an open source program on a server I control and began to feed it data. I started because I was dissatisfied with an html table I'd put together showing some basic generational transitions in the family of a great-grandfather and once I'd started I found I couldn't easily stop. Now I've invested many hours in the project and am pausing to reflect on how this came to be.

It's a compulsive sort of game. The program provides slots for all sorts of data and your quest, the challenge you're given, is to fill in as many of them as possible, then to find errors and omissions, then make the corrections, then clean up the messes you've made during this updating. Of course while you're checking, correcting, and cleaning up, you're also continuing to add new data and it's easy, and intensely frustrating, to lose track of where you are in each little parallel-processing task.

The resources at your disposal are many and mostly close at hand (which is to say they're on the web), but tantalizingly incomplete, ambiguous, and quite often foreign (which is to say they're written in languages you don't know having archaic usages that seem to defy translation). A family tree program is like a horrendously difficult crossword puzzle that extends infinitely in all directions.

Ambiguities reign. These two records having the same name for a person from the same time and place turn out not to be for the same person after all. This apparent misspelling of a name isn't a misspelling after all but is for a different person than you thought. You find two sources that identify the same person — you're sure of that — but they give very different information; which is right or are both partly right, partly wrong? Difficulties expand and chaos threatens. Worst, for me anyway, is the temptation to work on more than one individual at a time, taking advantage of serendipitous discoveries, but losing track of where you are, what work still needs doing. I express these complaints as if they are simply annoyances, but they're also part of the budding addiction. You, that is to say I, get irremediably hooked.

There are benefits to this state of affairs. Genealogical research has helped me uncover family linkages, notice interesting correspondences of dates, and discover ancestors that I wouldn't have found in just collecting family stories. That, and I've reacquainted myself with the php scripting language which I haven't used in a while.

That said, here are links to the web page of family stories on which I've been working and the companion set of genealogical pages. The family history page is Louis Windmuller and Family and the genealogy is called Windmuller Family. If you're interested, I welcome corrections and additions to both. There's an email link on the genealogy page which I think works ok. You could also just comment on this post, giving your email address, and I'll get back to you.

I always like to include a graphic, so here's a bookplate that my great-grandfather used.


And here are links to other posts of mine on members of this family: ---------

An afterthought: Archivist friends say most researchers are genealogists these days, which doesn't surprise. They also say these researchers are quite labor-intensive clients and likely to be somewhat unscrupulous. I hope that's mostly hearsay and not fact.

I'd forgotten that I wrote on this subject a couple times before: 1) the passion of genealogists and 2) more on genealogists.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Louis Windmüller

I've written before about Louis Windmüller, one of my great-grandpas.1 As a teenager, he emigrated from Münster to New York, all by himself, with no money and few possessions. After a succession of menial jobs he partnered with another German-American to found an import business and made a success of himself in the best Horatio Alger tradition. After he'd become a prominent city merchant, he energetically pursued liberal causes and supported the arts.2

Eventually his path crossed3 with that of Roland F. Knoedler,4 who had succeeded his father Michel as head of one of New York's most famous galleries, Knoedler and Company. Knoedler's had started out as Goupil's and in that guise it figured my recent post, five-cent den on Pearl St..

Toward the end of his life Windmüller sat for a portrait commissioned by the Reform Club whose treasurer he had long been. When completed, Knoeldler exhibited the work and the Times wrote up the occasion:
Oliver H. Perry, the well-known portrait painter, recently finished a portrait of Mr. Louis Windmüller, which is now on exhibition at the Knoedler Galleries. The portrait is a bust one, and shows Mr. Windmüller in full face, with characteristic kindly expression. The flesh tones are exceedingly good, and it is evident that the artist has painted con amore. The portrait is to be presented to the Reform Club, of which Mr. Perry is a member and Mr. Windmüller is the Treasurer.
-- THE WEEK IN ART
December 8, 1900, Wednesday. Section: SATURDAY REVIEW OF BOOKS AND ART, Page BR55, 2227 words
A couple of years later the Reform Club acquired a second portrait of Windmüller, this one by the famous artist William Merritt Chase. When it was exhibited in the spring of 1902, the Times noted the event:
It has often been noticed that artists who have begun life by painting imaginative pictures, genre pictures, historical scenes, or religious subjects, gradually work less and less in these lines, and settle down to portraiture. Whether this be forced on them or not, there are artists devoted to portrait painting who sincerely, or by way of making of necessity a virtue, maintain that the human likeness is the greatest of all the fields of art. ... The South Gallery has the smiling visage of Mr. Louis Windmüller, by William M. Chase, which is one of the ornaments of the Reform Club, a capital likeness.
-- THE AMERICAN ARTISTS.; Some Portraits at the Annual Exhibition of the Society. April 17, 1902, Thursday, Page 8.5
When the Chase portrait was shown a second time, the Times gave a fuller description:
The retrospective exhibition of the works of William M. Chase, which opened last evening at the National Arts Club, contains a number of pictures that will be of great interest to those who remember the early successes achieved by the young painter just home from his Munich studies and equipped with a facility of hand and a directness of vision remarkable enough in any one, and especially remarkable in an American painter at that time. ...

In the portraits are occasionally astonishing accounts of character. Note, for example, the crisp decision in the portrait of Louis Windmüller. In the Philadelphia, and the fine analysis in the portrait of Louis Windmuller. In the latter picture the humor in the eyes and mouth are rendered with as much psychological insight as technical dexterity. It is clear that whatever Mr. Chase sees in his subject he renders with amazing skill. His hand obeys his will with a promptitude and precision rare enough in modern art.
-- CHASE'S WORKS AT NATIONAL CLUB; Artist's Beautiful Picture, "Ready for the Ride," Was Painted at Outset of His Career. January 6, 1910, Thursday, Page 8, 1256 words; Amazing Skill Shown In His Paintings of the Rev. Sparhawk-Jones and Louis Windmuller.
I don't have images of either of these portraits unless one of the following pair of prints was taken from one of the paintings. The prints come from biographic dictionaries of prominent New Yorkers.





A few years later, the Chase portrait was lent yet again, this time to the Met for a special show. Here is the painting's entry in the exhibition catalog:
LOUIS WINDMULLER (1835-1913). Born at Munster, Prussia, he came to the United States in 1853, settled in New York, and became a successful merchant. He was one of the founders of The Reform Club and its treasurer for more than twenty years; active in charitable and civic work. Life-size, seated figure with hands clasped; he is seen to the ankles. Exhibited at the Society of American Artists, 1902; National Arts Club, 1910. Oil on canvas: h. 54; w. 44. Signed at lower right: Wm. M. Chase. Lent by The Reform Club.
-- Loan exhibition of paintings by William M. Chase (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1917)
Again the Times wrote up the event:
The exhibition of pictures by the late William M. Chase at the Metropolitan Museum is a gratifyingly prompt acknowledgment of the importance of that painter in the artistic life of the community. ... In his portraits of people not much is given to us to wonder about. Sometimes the note is that of decorative grace, as in the portrait of "The Sisters," two women against a background of architecture and landscape, an obvious essay in the English eighteenth century style; or it is that of candid objectivity, as in the portrait of Louis Windmuller...
-- The William M. Chase Memorial Exhibition; ART AT HOME AND ABROAD. Exhibitions of Modern Art. The New York Times Magazine, Page SM7.
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See also:

Louis Windmuller and Family a family history page I put together.

HONOR LOUIS WINDMULLER Members of the Reform Club Praise His Long Services. NYT, October 11, 1913, Saturday, Page 17

The Reform Club Reorganization by LOUIS WINDMULLER , NYT, September 19, 1906, Wednesday, Page 8. About the club, Windmüller writes: "Our principles [are] to promote honest, efficient, and economical government. Our rules forbid agitation by the club in favor of any candidate for any political office."

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Notes:

1 I've written about him a few times before: 2 There's a succinct biography of him on the City web site for a park that's located where he kept a summer home and where there's now a park named after him: Windmuller Playground.

3 They found themselves together on the platform of a meeting of prominent New Yorkers to promote political reform. (See STRONG AND GOFF SPEAK Monster Anti-Tammany Meeting in Cooper Union-Carl Schurz Talks of New-York's Robber Band -- Mr. Strong Says He Will Be a Non-Partisan Mayor if Elected -- Mr. Goff Pleads for Honest Government -- Speeches by Mr. Tamsen and Others. New York Times, November 1, 1894, Wednesday, Page 1.) And they served together, for example, in a political reform group called GERMANS AGAINST MAYNARD. On Maynard see the wikipedia article: Isaac H. Maynard.

4 Roland Knoedler's obit in the Times says of him:
He was reared in an atmosphere of art and, when 20 years old, entered the firm which his father, Michael, had established in 1846 as an agency of Goupil & Cie. The business first was downtown, at 286 Broadway, and kept pace with the development of New York city in successive moves to 749 Broadway, where it remained until 1865, and to 170 Fifth Avenue, marking the trend to Fifth Avenue as the fashionable area. ... Mr. Knoedler began with his father and uncle in the business and continued with his brothers, Charles and Edmond. ... He gave his support to all important movements to foster art, and aided the development of movements for the assistance of artists in times of need. Mr. Knoedler personally encouraged such talent as Winslow Homer's and many other well known artists, when they experienced difficulties.
-- ROLAND KNOEDLER, ART EXPERT; Dealer, Once With Galleries of His Name Here, Succumbs in Paris in 77th Year. ENCOURAGED YOUNG TALENT Began With His Father in Firm on Lower Broadway Helped Form Famous Collections. New York Times. October 5, 1932, Wednesday, Page 21.
5 Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events also wrote up this event: "New York, 1902: Society of American Artists. ... The twenty-fourth annual exhibition was held in the Fine Arts Society Building from March 28 to May 4. ... The exhibition consisted of 318 numbers, of which 205 were paintings. Among the exhibitors were J. McNeill Whistler, L'Andalousienne; William M. Chase, Portrait of Louis Windmüller; Cecilia Beaux, Portrait; John W. Alexander, A Mother; Winslow Homer, Northeaster; Kenyon Cox. Portrait; Thomas Eakins, Cardinal Martinelli; Augustus St. Gaudens, Medallion Portraits; and Rhoda Holmes Nicholls, My Daughter."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

looking at pictures

I like photographs that draw my eye into the frame. I like the illusion of space in ones that use converging lines to give me a pathway into the back of the picture. Just yesterday I saw this dramatic example of the type. It comes from Londonist, a popular blog in the Gothamist Network.

http://londonist.com/attachments/London_Lindsey/TCR_210110.jpg
{Caption: Tottenham Court Road Tube by cicliced}

Londonist's current front page has a varient that I like even better — the pathway that curves into the distance.


{Londonist's credit: Photo by matthew black on flickr}

I did some searching on a popular photo site called pixadeus and came up with some further examples. This gallery page of my pixadeus examples on ImageShack contains results from pixadeus searches using the terms lane, street, and village. (At bottom of this post I've put a slide show of these images.)

I'm pretty sure the clichés of converging line photography are receding rails on railways, such as these:


{Pixadeus caption: Trees bent by the weight of ice from a winter storm line railroad tracks in Hinsdale, Mass., by risto}

Clichés though they may be, rails work well in photos. For example back at the beginning of the twentieth century an employee of the Detroit Publishing Co. made these converging rail images of New York subway construction. They're from collections in the Library of Congress Prints and Photos Div. As always, click to view full size.


{Caption: 14th St. subway station, New York, c1904}


{Caption: In the subway, New York, N.Y. c1904}


{Caption: City Hall subway station, New York, between 1900 and 1906}


{Caption: 28th St. subway station, New York, between 1900 and 1906}

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Here is the promised ImageShack slideshow of the images I found on pixadeus.



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For more images of NY subway construction, see "Building New York's Subway" (1903)

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I'm including this last photo from the Detroit Publishing Co. series just because I like it.


{Caption: Concrete stairway under construction, 23rd Street subway station, New York, between 1900 and 1906}

Friday, January 22, 2010

five-cent den on Pearl St.

An illustration I showed yesterday1 has New York's crust appreciating some paintings and each others' company at a gallery located on 5th Avenue near Broadway. I used it to help demonstrate the distance between wealth and poverty in that Gilded Age. I quoted the author of a short piece on a nearby tenement on this pervasive disjunction of haves and have nots: "It is a trite saying that one half the world don't know how the other half live. A French gentleman who traveled through England reported on his return that he had seen no poverty in that favored land. Every body was rich, or at least in comfortable circumstances. He had seen only the sunny side of society. A traveler might ride through Broadway and Fifth Avenue and receive the same impression in regard to New York."

The illustration — called "An afternoon lounge at Goupil's Art Gallery" — shows a dense crowd in fine dress within a room whose walls are packed with paintings.2 The viewer's eye is first drawn to the people and their interaction with each other, but a closer look reveals a famous painting on the back wall. It's The Parthenon by F.E. Church, now hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.3 Here's a detail from the illustration showing the painting.


And here's a closer view of the painting as seen in the drawing together with a color reproduction from the Met.


The art critic of the New York Times described Goupil's temporary display of the painting as a major public event.4

Given the spirited journalism of the time,5 perhaps it's not surprising that the artist who drew the crowd at Goupil's — J.N. Hyde — also showed what life was like for those whose lot in life placed them under this top crust of society. For example, this drawing of his appeared in another illustrated weekly paper about a decade later.

{Caption: New York City - Cheap lodging-houses as nests of disease -A night scene in a "five-cent" den on Pearl Street / Hyde ; from sketches by Joseph Becker. SUMMARY: Interior view of lodging house and three exterior views. CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1882. From Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper, v. 54, (1882 March 18), pp. 56-57. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photos Div.}

This picture calls to mind images, such as the following couple, that would appear sixty and more years later showing inmates of the German concentration camps.
       
{These come from Dachau and Buchenwald, respectively}


Here are some detail views of Hyde's drawing.













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Notes:

1 From this post: a tenement on Mulberry Street

2 Goupil's was owned by Michel Knoedler. Now known as Knoedler & Company, the gallery is one of the oldest in the U.S. As they proudly explain:
For over 160 years, Knoedler & Company has had an enduring role in the history of American art dealing. The name “Knoedler” spans three centuries, and over the course of time affiliated living artists have extended from Frederic E. Church (the Hudson River School) to Helen Frankenthaler (the New York School). The gallery was established in lower Manhattan in 1846 by Michael Knoedler, who was then acting on behalf of Goupil & Company, the renowned French firm of engravers. In the beginning, our dealings were primarily in prints and artist's materials.

The gallery’s annotated sales and stock books, dating from the mid-19th century, tell a fascinating story that runs parallel to the growth of New York City and of the country as a whole. The immense industrial expansion and new era of the railroad that followed the Civil War (at a time when Knoedler traded paintings for gold) made a significant impact upon the world of art. Many of our clients, since that period, are still familiar to the current generation as founders of great American fortunes: the Vanderbilt family, the Astors, Henry M. Flagler, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, H.O. and Louisine Havemeyer, the Rockefeller family, Andrew and Paul Mellon, Robert Sterling Clark and Stephen Clark, Henry Clay Frick, and others. Their patronage, in turn, established some of our nation's most important art institutions.
3 As well as having a business association between gallery and artist, Knoedler and Church were friends and neighbors.

4 See: New York Times, Mar 30, 1872, p. 5
"The Parthenon," by Mr. F.W. Church [The Times got his name wrong; it should be F.E. Church]

Mr. Church's picture of "The Parthenon." Painted for Mr. Morris K. Jessup, it is now on view at the Goupil Gallery. The Parthenon has been justly called "the noblest monument in Athens and the World." ... Mr. Church's picture represents the Parthenon as it is today, disrupted and dismantled. In the foreground are two broken but erect columns, belonging to some other buildings, and around them are its ruins. On the hill-top, full in the sunlight, stands the Parthenon, grand in its decay. In the background is a range of lofty hills. A few patches of grass near the temple alone break the monotony of color, which would otherwise be somewhat disagreeable. So far as mere execution goes, there is little to find fault with in Mr. Church's picture. The treatment is broad, simple and effective; the color harmonious, and the gradations nicely preserved. The shadows are not quite so transparent as they might be. Like Mr. Church's "Jerusalem," it is a beautifully executed and striking picture. It will remain on exhibition at Goupils's for some few days, and we have no doubt will prove a great attraction.
5 It was, for example, the age of Thomas Nast and, although muckraking is associated the the later Progressive Era, it actually began Postbellum.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

a tenement on Mulberry Street

In 1873 Harper's Weekly showed its readers this drawing of a disreputable tenement house in Manhattan's Little Italy.

{Caption: A tenement house in Mulberry Street, drawn by C.A. Vanderhoof, wood engraving, from Harper's weekly, v. 17, 1873 Sept. 13, p. 796; source: Library of Congress Prints and Photos Div.}
The accompanying article said the building had been condemned and vacated more than once. The author described the wretched state of the place and of the people who inhabited it.

There were no drawings of the rooms and their inhabitants, but a cover illustration from Harper's a decade later gives a reasonably good idea. From it we can tell, if we needed telling, that the lot of poor immigrants had not improved.

{Caption: Homes of the poor, drawn by T. De Thulstrup, 1883; Shows an interior view of New York City tenement house room crowded with men, women, and children, some working, one using a sewing machine. From: Harper's weekly, July 28, 1883, p. 465. source: Library of Congress Prints and Photos Div.}

By 1910 great quantities of photographic evidence had accumulated showing the continued suffering of the poor. This one might have been taken 35 years before in the Mulberry Street tenement house.

{Caption: Poor home. New York City tenement, 1910; source: George Eastman House}

The author of the 1873 article opens with this: "It is a trite saying that one half the world don't know how the other half live." He or she goes on to say that "abodes of foulness and misery" like the tenement in Little Italy exist but a stone's throw from the fashionable galleries and drawing rooms of Broadway and Fifth Avenue.

As it happens, just a few months before the tenement article appeared another periodical, Frank Leslie's Weekly, had printed the following drawing of New York's upper crust enjoying themselves at an art gallery located at 5th Avenue and 22nd Street, just off Broadway. The address isn't just around the corner from Mulberry Street, but it's not a very long walk from it. It may be trite to point this out, as the article says, but it's factually accurate all the same.

{Caption: New York City--An afternoon lounge at Goupil's Art Gallery, Fifth Avenue / drawn by J.N. Hyde. from Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper, 1872 July 13, p. 280; source: source: Library of Congress Prints and Photos Div.}

As the caption states, the place was Goupil's Gallery, owned by Michael Knoedler and later to be called after him. This is what it looked like on the outside.

{Caption: Goupil at 170 Fifth Avenue (at 22nd Street), 1869-1895; source: knoedlergallery.com}

Here is an image of the full page of Harper's Weekly giving the tenement drawing.

{Caption: A tenement house in Mulberry Street, drawn by C.A. Vanderhoof. Inspection of fruit in New York markets, by order of the Board of Health, drawn by R. Lewis, 1873, from Harper's weekly, v. 17, 1873 Sept. 13, p. 79. source: source: Library of Congress Prints and Photos Div.}


Here's the text of the article on the Mulberry Street tenement.
A City Tenement-House
Harper's weekly, v. 17, 1873 Sept. 13, p. 796.

It is a trite saying that one half the world don't know how the other half live. A French gentleman who traveled through England reported on his return that he had seen no poverty in that favored land. Every body was rich, or at least in comfortable circumstances. He had seen only the sunny side of society. A traveler might ride through Broadway and Fifth Avenue and receive the same impression in regard to New York. Yet a short divergence to the right or left, into some of the side streets, would bring him to scenes of squalor and distress unsurpassed in wretchedness by the dens of any of the Old World cities. Not in Rome, nor Paris, nor London can be found worse abodes of foulness and misery than the lower class of tenement-houses in New York.

The building of which we give an engraving on this page belongs to this class. It is a rear house on Mulberry Street, was formerly a church, but is now divided into five stories, with eight tenements on each floor. The ceilings are only six feet and a half high. The front building, from which it is separated by a narrow court, is six stories in height, and effectually obstructs the passage of light and air. The house is never cleaned, and the floors and walls are saturated with offensive effluvia, the accumulation of years, and the atmosphere within is rank poison. Decaying garbage and filth of every description cover the passage-ways and the court, and sickening odors and gases rise from the choked sewers and penetrate every part of the building. On every hand are met the signs of poverty and squalor. The doors are unhinged, the windows broken, the plastering hangs in shreds, the dust and grime o years blacken the walls.

This tenement-house, when inspected a short time since by order of the Board of Health, was found to contain twenty-one families, comprising over forty adults and forty children. The tenants were of the lowest class, steeped in ignorance and degradation. At night nearly all the adults were generally drunk, and their dismal orgies were a great annoyance and terror to the neighborhood. The building has several times been condemned by the Board of Health as unsuitable for a human habitation. In December, 1871, it was vacated by order of the board, at which time it contained forty families. The following February permission was granted for twenty families to occupy it. In 1869 the mortality among the tenants was at the rate of 75 in 1000. During the twelve months ending March 1 of this year the rate was over 96 in 1000.

Our picture shows the external condition of this miserable tenement. It is a wooden structure, liable at any time to take fire, and from its position, and from the fact that it is unprovided with fire-escapes, such a casualty might involve a frightful loss of life. The Board of Health has ordered that it be immediately vacated, and the whole structure renovated and remodeled in accordance with plans submitted by the sanitary inspector.
The following maps come from Bird's-eye-view of Manhattan and adjacent districts, New York City, published between 1900 and 1910. Lacking title and legend these come from Library of Congress Map Collections.

1. This map shows the location of Goupil's in the top square and the location of the Mulberry St. tenement in the bottom on.


2. The detail shows the corner of 5th Avenue and 22nd Street where Goupil's could be found. The park to its northwest is Madison Square.


3. This shows the part of Mulberry Street where it's likely the tenement could be found.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

thirteen-year old sharecropper boy

This photo comes from a series taken in July 1937 by Dorothea Lange while on assignment in rural Georgia. She took many in Greene and Macon Counties, but this is the only one from Sumter County, which borders Macon to its south and west. Like the others,1 it comes from the FSA collections in LC's Prints and Photos Division. Click image to view full size.


{Lange's caption: Thirteen-year old sharecropper boy near Americus, Georgia, 1937 July.}


Three detailed views of this image:







Sumter, like Greene and Macon, was a county of landless families attempting to survive by growing cotton "on shares." As many have pointed out, these families had almost no chance of coming out ahead. By the time Lange took this photo, most had given up farming and moved out to find jobs in cities.

Cotton would eventually regain its antebellum status as a profitable cash crop, but only after mechanization had entirely displaced the sharecroppers of the 1930s. Seeing this photo of a plow-wielding teenager, a survivor of those times recently recalled how "my grandfather used to tell tales of walking all day behind one of these bottom plows, all day, one row at the time. There are still very many of these one-row plows stored away and forgotten sitting under barns all over Georgia to this day. Today we have air conditioned cabs and 10+ row plows that can do in less than an hour what it would probably take this boy the better part of a week to do."2

Jimmy Carter was raised in Sumter County. His memoirs tell how mechanization would eventually force sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and most wage-earning farm laborers off the land.3

They also tell how, during the 1930s Georgia landowners, like his own father, resisted this trend. Labor was plentiful and cheap and until government subsidies began to take effect, the county, like most others in the state, was cash poor but land rich. Most rural transactions of goods and services depended on credit or barter.

The town-dwelling merchants, bankers, and lawyers benefited most from this situation. Landowners were next most prosperous in the economic hierarchy of the times. They ran "commissaries" for their tenants and were likely to own the country stores and filling stations that dotted the rural landscape.4

The landless farming families were kept poor by their numbers, lack of educational opportunities, and a host of other factors, but mostly because of their dependence on landowners for all aspects of their bleak livelihood. This dependence was particularly brutal for African Americans, whose legal rights were practically non-existent. Carter tells an anecdote on this subject, one that I've seen in other sources as well. He writes:
One of the old stories told around the filling stations and stables was about the landlord who finished settling up with his sharecropper and said, "Well, Jim, you almost broke even again this year. You just owe me twenty dollars." Jim replied, "Boss, I thank the Lord for this good year! I have one more bale of cotton in the storehouse not ginned yet." The landlord said, "Well I think I forgot about the interest charges. We'll have to figure your account one more time." -- An hour before daylight: memories of a rural boyhood by Jimmy Carter (Simon and Schuster, 2001)
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See also:

Sharecropping in Georgia

Sumter County, article in the New Georgia Cyclopedia

Americus, Georgia

Sumter County, Georgia

An hour before daylight: memories of a rural boyhood by Jimmy Carter (Simon and Schuster, 2001)

Why not the best?: the first fifty years by Jimmy Carter (Bantam Books, 1976)

A Short History of Sumter County, 1825-36

A Chronology of Americus and Sumter County, Georgia 1915 - 1961

Local Black History Chronology

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Notes:

1 Previous posts in this series of photos by Dorothea Lange: 2 The comment appeared with a copy of the photo on the Shorpy blog, August 16, 2009.

3 Here are excerpts from Carter's memoirs:
.. cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee... Genesis 3:17, 18
No one bore a heavier burden than those who owned no land but worked the fields with increasing hopelessness and despair.

[The farming system of sharecropping could be and was abused.] But it would have been difficult if not impossible to devise a reasonable alternative.

Many white farmers didn't own land and had to rent or work on shares, but I don't usually think of white sharecroppers, because none of them lived on our place and my personal involvement was with the black families that I knew. The tenancy arrangements depended on the type of crops grown, the amount of manual labor required, the fertilizer used, the availability of competing day laborers, and the personal preferences of the landowners and tenants. Workers were plentiful and there were enough experienced farmers who did not own any land to provide a reservoir of eager tenant families. I was familiar with two basic arrangements that formed a framework for our economic system.

Those who did not own land, mules, equipment, or tools other than a hoe and an ax had almost the same lowly status as day laborers and usually worked "on halves." The landowner would allot the family as much land as they could work, and usually furnish two mules, a wagon, necessary equipment for plowing, fertilizer, and seed, plus a cabin and a garden plot. Depending on the size of the family they were expected to work from twenty to forty acres of land, relying almost entirely for income on cotton and peanuts. They had the right to cut firewood as well. When the harvest came in, the owner received half of everything produced on the farm, and collected what the cropper had borrowed, or "drawn," to meet the needs of his family during the year. A typical draw might be $3 or $4 a week, as mutually agreed in advance of the planting season. It was expected, of course, that almost all of this would be spent at the owner's commissary. These stores were an important source of income for landowners who could abuse their tenants by charging unscrupulously high prices and credit charges for the loans and supplies. One study in the South showed that credit and interest charges averaged about 25 percent. I presume that these rates prevailed in our area.

Unlike most other landowners around Plains, Daddy disliked this arrangement of working on halves, and traded with more dependable and competent families to work our land. They had their own livestock and equipment and worked on "thirds and fourths." In exchange for use of the land, the family allotted one-third of the cash crops and one-fourth of the corn to the landowner. Various formulas, were used to decide who furnished how much of the seed and fertilizer. Where the tenants were able to furnish all of it, a common agreement was for a specific amount of the cash crop in bales of cotton or tons of peanuts or some combination of the two, to go to the owner as "straight rent."

In all too many cases, the poorer sharecroppers failed to produce an adequate cash crop to pay their accumulated debts. They would go from one year to the next seeing their obligation to the landowner increase each time, or at best, stay the same. For all practical purposes. their negotiating freedom was lost, The planters kept the books, and in some cases the landowner's year-end settlement was unfair. Even if a barely literate tenant kept rudimentary records or carried the owner's records to someone else for analysis and found them to be in error, there was little he could do. The Influence and legal presumption lay with the owner of land, and to question his honesty was a serious matter indeed. If the tenant was black (about 80 percent in our area) and the owner white, such an accusation was almost inconceivable. In some cases an owner was known by his white peers to be harsh or unfair, and commiseration was felt with the unfortunate families who came under his financial domination. But nothing was done to help them.
-- An hour before daylight: memories of a rural boyhood by Jimmy Carter (Simon and Schuster, 2001)
4 As in Greene County: "Small town mercantile stores became the very center of commerce and life in Greene and the rest of the South during the years prior to the turn of the century. Supplies, fertilizer, provisions, and feed were all procured on credit, the loan itself often procured from the storeowner." -- History of Greene County, Georgia

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

no easy living

The History of Greene County, Georgia, by Dave Buckhout, paints a dismal picture of struggle and loss among African American tenant farmers and sharecroppers from the Civil War down to the beginning of World War II. For generations of ex-slaves and their offspring, life was hard and prospects few save for a brief period of hope during the years of Reconstruction. By the time that Dorothea Lange arrived in July 1937, most black farmers had been forced to leave the land, emigrating to Northern cities or to the few cities within the state. Those who remained on the land suffered. Many of these holdouts were aged and quite a few had been born into slavery. During her travels in Greene County on assignment from the Farm Security Administration Lange encountered some of these ex-slaves.

These photos of hers come from the FSA collections of the Library of Congress. The captions are taken from information supplied by Dorothea Lange. Unfortunately, no images in this set are available in high resolution.


{This man was born a slave in Greene County, Georgia, 1937 July.}


{Ex-slave and wife who live in a decaying plantation house. Greene County, Georgia, 1937 July.}


{Ex-slave and wife on steps of plantation house now in decay. Greene County, Georgia, 1937 July.}


{Old Negress of Greene County, Georgia, 1937 July.}


{Interior of plantation house now vacant but for two rooms occupied by an old Negro couple. Negro tenants, Greene County, Georgia, 1937 July.}


{Antebellum plantation. Greene County, Georgia, 1937 July.}


The Library of Congress also holds typescripts of interviews with ex-slaves conducted by employees of the Federal Writers' Project in the Works Project Administration. A few of the subjects came from Greene County. One, Emmaline Kilpatrick, was interviewed by Sarah Howell Hall only two months before Lange's arrival.

Hall was a granddaughter of Kilpatrick's plantation owner. She presents her interview as a story which unselfconsciously reveals the persistence of an Edenic myth of happy slaves in a parent-child relationship with benevolent owners. Beloved of white landowning families, this myth was sometimes parroted by ex-slaves in dealing with whites. This narrative gives an instance.1

Hall's little story also reveals a pernicious attitude of racial superiority that was near universal among people of her class at that time.

Read the whole narrative here.2

It makes me cringe to read it; maybe you too.

Here is an extract:
EX-SLAVE INTERVIEW: EMMALINE KILPATRICK, Age 74, Born a slave on the plantation of Judge William Watson Moore, White Plains, (Greene County) Georgia. Interviewer: SARAH H. HALL ATHENS, GA. [Date Stamp: MAY 8 1937]

"My mammy say dat whan Marse Billie cum hom' frum de War, he call all his niggers tergedder en tell 'am dey is free, en doan b'long ter nobody no mo'. He say dat eny uf 'um dat want to, kin go 'way and live whar dey laks, en do lak dey wanter. Howsome ebber, he do say effen enybody wants ter stay wid him, en live right on in de same cabins, dey kin do it, effen dey promise him ter be good niggers en mine him lak dey allus done."

"Most all de niggers stayed wid Marse Billie, 'ceppen two er thee brash, good fer nuthin's."

"Marse Billie made all his niggers wuk moughty hard, but he sho' tuk good keer uv 'em. Miss Margie allus made 'em send fer her when de chilluns wuz bawned in de slave cabins. My mammy, she say, Ise 'bout de onliest slave baby Miss Margie diden' look after de bawnin, on dat plantation. When any nigger on dat farm wuz sick, Marse Billie seed dat he had medicine an lookin' atter, en ef he wuz bad sick Marse Billie had da white folks doctor come see 'bout 'im."

"En is you got ter git on home now, Miss Sarah? Lemme tote dat hoe en trowel ter yer car fer yer. Yer gwine ter take me home in yer car wid yer, so ez I kin weed yer flower gyarden fo' night? Yassum, I sho' will be proud ter do it fer de black dress you wo' las' year. Ah gwine ter git evvy speck er grass outer yo' flowers, kaze ain' you jes' lak yo' grammaw--my Miss Margie."
Other Greene County slave narrators were not so meekly subservient. Here is an extract from the interview with a plantation-born slave a few years older than Emmaline Kilpatrick. You can read the whole transcript here.3
PLANTATION LIFE AS VIEWED BY EX-SLAVE WILLIAM McWHORTER, Age 78, 383 W. Broad Street Athens, Georgia. Written by: Mrs. Sadie B. Hornsby, Athens. Sept. 30, 1938.

William, better known as "Shug," is a very black man of medium build. He wore a black slouch hat pulled well down over tangled gray hair, a dingy blue shirt, soiled gray pants, and black shoes. The smile faded from his face when he learned the nature of the visit. "I thought you was de pension lady 'comin' to fetch me some money," he said, "and 'stid of dat you wants to know 'bout slavery days. I'se disapp'inted."
Dem houses slaves had to live in, dey warn't much, but us didn't know no better den. Dey was jus' one-room log cabins wid stick and dirt chimblies. De beds for slaves was home-made and was held together wid cords wove evvy which away. If you didn't tighten dem cords up pretty offen your bed was apt to fall down wid you. Suggin sacks was sewed together to make our mattress ticks and dem ticks was filled wid straw. Now, don't tell me you ain't heared of suggin sacks a-fore! Dem was coarse sacks sort of lak de guano sacks us uses now. Dey crowded jus' as many Niggers into each cabin as could sleep in one room, and marriage never meant a thing in dem days when dey was 'rangin' sleepin' quarters for slaves.

I 'members dat my pa's ma, Grandma Cindy, was a field hand. I was named for Grandpa Billy, but I never seed him.

Slaves never had no gardens of deir own; dey never had no time of deir own to wuk no garden.

White folks had to make slaves what b'longed to 'em mind and be-have deyselfs in dem days or else dere woulda been a heap of trouble.

Dey told me, atter I was old enough to take it in, dat de overseer sho did drive dem slaves; dey had to be up and in de field 'fore sunup and he wuked 'em 'til slap, black dark. When dey got back to de big house, 'fore dey et supper, de overseer got out his big bull whip and beat de ones dat hadn't done to suit him durin' de day. He made 'em strip off deir clothes down to de waist, and evvywhar dat old bull whip struck it split de skin. Dat was awful, awful! Sometimes slaves dat had been beat and butchered up so bad by dat overseer man would run away, and next day Aunt Suke would be sho to go down to de spring to wash so she could leave some old clothes dar for 'em to git at night. I'se tellin' you, slaves sho did fare common in dem days.

My Aunt Mary b'longed to Marse John Craddock and when his wife died and left a little baby--dat was little Miss Lucy--Aunt Mary was nussin' a new baby of her own, so Marse John made her let his baby suck too. If Aunt Mary was feedin' her own baby and Miss Lucy started cryin' Marse John would snatch her baby up by the legs and spank him, and tell Aunt Mary to go on and nuss his baby fust. Aunt Mary couldn't answer him a word, but my ma said she offen seed Aunt Mary cry 'til de tears met under her chin.

I ain't never heared nothin' 'bout no jails in slavery time. What dey done den was 'most beat de life out of de Niggers to make 'em be-have. Ma was brung to Bairdstown and sold on de block to Marse Joe long 'fore I was borned, but I ain't never seed no slaves sold.

Dey jus' beat 'em up bad when dey cotched 'em studyin' readin' and writin'.

None of our Niggers never knowed enough 'bout de North to run off up dar. Lak I done told you, some of 'em did run off atter a bad beatin', but dey jus' went to de woods. Show me a slavery-time Nigger dat ain't heared 'bout paterollers! Mistess, I 'clar to goodness, paterollers was de devil's own hosses. If dey cotched a Nigger out and his Marster hadn't fixed him up wid a pass, it was jus' too bad; dey most kilt him. You couldn't even go to de Lord's house on Sunday 'less you had a ticket sayin': 'Dis Nigger is de propity of Marse Joe McWhorter. Let him go.'

Dere warn't never no let-up when it come to wuk. When slaves come in from de fields atter sundown and tended de stock and et supper, de mens still had to shuck corn, mend hoss collars, cut wood, and sich lak; de 'omans mended clothes, spun thread, wove cloth, and some of 'em had to go up to de big house and nuss de white folks' babies. One night my ma had been nussin' one of dem white babies, and atter it dozed off to sleep she went to lay it in its little bed. De child's foot cotch itself in Marse Joe's galluses dat he had done hung on de foot of de bed, and when he heared his baby cry Marse Joe woke up and grabbed up a stick of wood and beat ma over de head 'til he 'most kilt her. Ma never did seem right atter dat and when she died she still had a big old knot on her head.

Marse Joe let his slaves have one day for holiday at Christmas and he give 'em plenty of extra good somepin t'eat and drink on dat special day. New Year's Day was de hardest day of de whole year, for de overseer jus' tried hisself to see how hard he could drive de Niggers dat day.

Marse Joe never did tell his Niggers dey was free.

[After they found out], jus' as de Niggers was branchin' out and startin' to live lak free folks, dem nightriders come 'long beatin', cuttin', and slashin' 'em up,
Here's an extract from a third narrative from Greene County slavery days from a man considerably older than the previous two, who had served as man-servant to a Confederate officer.4
Greene County, NC - Nathan Best - Slave Narrative. Age 92. Inmate of Beauvoir, Confederate Soldiers' Home, on Beach between Biloxi and Gulfport. About 5 ft. 5 in. tall, weight 115. Dark chocolate color, white mustache and hair, sight and hearing fairly good, medium intelligence, solemn in disposition.
I run away once, (he laughed) I didn' start to go nowhere jes' laid out in de woods, hidin' from de overseer. He come down de street in de Quarters dat mawnin' jes' a beatin' an' a whuppin' an' de niggahs all a cryin' an' a screamin' an' before he got to where I was, I was done lef' an hid in de woods. My ole mistis, thought dat de overseer had kilt me, an' she tole him not to bother me ef I was foun'. Ole mistis was mean too, she would tell de overseer to whup de niggahs, but she didn' low him to kill none of us, 'kase dat would lose her money. Well, dey foun' me an' took me to de Great House, but dey didn' whup me. Dey ship me off from dat place ober to her son's plantation. He was mah'ied off an his place was about 3 miles from ole mistis.

De war had been goin' on 'bout a year an' a half when I went wid my marster's younges' brother, Rufus [as a man servant]. I stayed in it den, till it ended. I was in a heap of battles, but I cain' remember none of deir names, 'cept Petersburg an' Richmon'. My marster never did get wounded - one time a bullet went under his arm an' tore a bundle away, but it didn' hurt him. My marster was a Cap'n an' dey didn' rush de riches' folks to de fron' to fight dey rushed de poor folks in firs'.

[After the war] I has seen Klukluxes an' I has run from 'em. Dey sot atter me, but dey didn' get me. Dey was atter us, jes' kase we was free. Dey killed up seberal of de cullud folks, dey would get atter 'em in de night.
For more information on this subject, see:

Slave Narratives of William McWhorter and Emeline Stepney of Greene County

American Slave Narratives: An Online Anthology

Slave Narratives and the New Debate about Slavery by Norman R. Yetman

Preface to peasantry: a tale of two black belt counties by Arthur Franklin Raper, with an introduction by Louis Mazzari (Univ of South Carolina Press, 2005)

Sarah H. Hall and the Ex-Slave Narratives: Exploring the Validity of the WPA Georgia Writer's Project

Women of the Great Depression

Arthur F. Raper, article in the New Georgia Encyclopedia

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Previous posts in this series of photos by Dorothea Lange: ----------

Notes:

1 In a study of Greene and Macon counties in the 1930s, the sociologist, Arthur Raper, showed how this servility became second-nature to poor blacks.

2 Citation: Emmaline Kilpatrick. White Plains, Georgia. Interviewer: Sarah H. Hall. 6 pages. WPA Slave Narrative Project, Georgia Narratives, Volume 4, Part 3. Federal Writer's Project, United States Work Projects Administration (USWPA); Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

3 Citation: William McWhorter. Ex-slave - age 78. Athens, Georgia. Interviewer: Mrs. Sadie B. Hornsby. 13 pages. WPA Slave Narrative Project, Georgia Narratives, Volume 4, Part 3. Federal Writer's Project, United States Work Projects Administration (USWPA); Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. I've made a full transcript of the page images. You can find it here.

4 You can read the whole narrative here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

men of Macon County, July 1937

Farmers in Macon County, Georgia, suffered hard times during the 1930s and sharecroppers had it particularly bad.1 As in Greene County, they tried and most often failed to make money off cotton. Depleted land, expensive fertilizers, low prices per bale, inefficient farming methods, and boll weevil devastations all kept them poor.2

In July 1937 Dorothea Lange took her cameras to this county. Working for the Farm Security Administration, she took wonderful photographs to document the hard lives of its inhabitants. Although she's best known for iconic images of women and of families, these few show her skill in portraying working men.

They come from FSA collections in the Library of Congress Prints and Photos Division. Click to view full size.

Although Lange generally gave full descriptions of her subjects and the shoot, she gave no more than bare essentials for this set. We'd like to know more, but we simply can't.


{Caption: Father of landless sharecropper family. Macon County, Georgia, 1937 July}


{Caption: Sharecropper. Receives five dollars a month "furnish" from the landowner. Macon County, Georgia, 1937 July}


{Detail of image given below}


{Detail of image given below}


{There is no caption for this photo (the one found with it is an obvious error)}


This photo is more typical of the work for which Lange became best known:

{There is no caption for this photo; it's located with one having this caption: Cotton sharecropper family. Macon County, Georgia}


This photo shows the documentary side of her work, as opposed to the more artistic side:

{Caption: Farm boy with sack full of boll weevils which he has picked off of cotton plants. Macon County, Georgia, 1937 July}


{Detail of this image}


Here is a low-resolution establishing shot for the above photo:

{Farm boy with sack full of boll weevils which he has picked off of cotton plants. Macon County, Georgia, 1937 July.}
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See also:

Macon County, Georgia

Sharecropping

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Previous posts in this series:

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Notes:

1 As I explained in my post on the Greene County county photo shoot, Lange found conditions in the Piedmont Region of North Carolina to be quite different. The landless farmers in that area were very poor but nonetheless reasonably content and somewhat hopeful. They had some reason. Their cash crop, tobacco, paid better then and in the coming decade than did the cotton grown in Georgia's Greene and Macon Counties.

2 Pioneering sociological research by Arthur F. Raper clearly documented the plight of these farmers. His book — Preface to peasantry: a tale of two black belt counties by Arthur F. Raper (University of North Carolina Press, 1936) — provided a statistical portrait of Greene and Macon Counties. Here's an excerpt.
GREENE AND MACON COUNTIES

The major agricultural products of Greene County are cotton and corn, with minor dairy and poultry enterprises supplementing the home production of part of the meat and other foods consumed by the county's farm families. In addition to cotton and corn Macon County's agricultural products include peaches, asparagus, melons, pecans, and peanuts in marketable quantities. The major portion of the county's farmers, however, are limited, as in Greene, to the production of cotton and corn and a part of the meat and other foods consumed.

Rank of the Counties.

The per capita value of all agricultural and manufactured products in 1929 was $239 in Greene, $233 in Macon, $327 in Georgia. The per capita value of taxable property in 1930 was $246.59 in Greene, $221.53 in Macon, $348.03 in Georgia. In 1925 there was one income tax return in Greene to every 154 persons, one in Macon to every 158, one in Georgia to every 46 persons; in 1932, in Greene one income tax return to every 350 persons, in Macon one to every 361, in Georgia one to every 87.16 The bank de­ posits per capita in 1925 were $43 in Greene, $ 50 in Macon, $116 in Georgia; in 1934, $2 in Greene, $41 in Macon, $91 in Georgia. The per capita retail trade in 1929 was $104 in Greene, $99 in Macon, $219 in Georgia.

In 1925 the population per automobile was 24.9 in Greene, 16.5 in Macon, 14.2 in Georgia; in 1934 the population per automobile was 10.4 in Greene, 15.0 in Macon, 7.3 in Georgia. In 1934 the population per telephone was 41.5 in Greene, 46.9 in Macon, 18 in Georgia. In March 1933, the population per residential electricity subscriber was 28.9 in Greene, 40.4 in Macon, 23.1 in Georgia.

The number of persons per medical doctor in 1930 were 1,577 in Greene, 1,492 in Macon, 1,034 in Georgia. The infant mortality rate per thousand live births in 1933 was 80.0 in Greene, 75.7 in Macon, 67.2 in Georgia.23

There is little need to present further data to establish the fact that Greene and Macon counties rank below the state average, as do most rural Black Belt counties. Black Belt states in turn rank at the bottom when the forty-eight states are rated on over fifty per capita measures, including those listed above.

Population Elements.

ln 1930, 99.9 per cent of all the people of both counties were native born whites and Negroes, the latter constituting 52.2 per cent of Greene's and 67.2 per cent of Macon's total population. Greene had but thirty-four persons of foreign or mixed parentage, Macon but thirty-two.

The whites are descended in main from the English, Scotch, Irish, and German stocks, although Norwegian, French, Italian, and Semitic strains are not altogether lacking. The Negroes are descended from various African peoples, including the Sudan and Bantu stocks, with a considerable admixture of other groups, particularly the Arabs, the American Indians, and the American whites. Despite the mixed heredity of the members of both races, there are almost no strangers in either county. From these rural families young men and women have migrated to cities in the South and North.

Man-Land Relations.

The agricultural ladder has four rungs: landowners at the top, renters next, then croppers, and wage hands at the bottom. Only one out of every ten Negro farmers owns any land, and scarcely half of these have enough to make a living on. Of the nine-tenths who own no land, about half are croppers, owning no work animals or plows or other farm equipment; nearly a fourth are farm wage hands, the poorest people in the community; the other fourth are renters, who own some work stock and farm equipment, and occupy a place midway between the owners and the croppers.

Although the whites own more than ninety-five out of every hundred acres, a little over half the rural white families are landless. They live as renters and croppers and wage hands in competition with the Negroes in these same tenure classes. About two-thirds of the resident whites who own land cultivate it.