|Driving along the old plantation|
The old plantation house:
Visiting Eliza's House
This house was named "Eliza's House", in memory of Eliza Leach. She was an African-American born around 1891 and was the last person to live here. She lived here until she was 94 years old. The plantation history says that the original people to live here were former slaves, a married couple, named Ned and Chloe. They belonged to William and Susan Middleton. Chloe was one of many slaves that Susan brought in her dowry when she got married in 1849. Ned and Chloe had three children over the years.
The space was divided into two rooms, a "general" room, like a living room, and a bedroom.
There is a loft area upstairs which was probably used to store food, although children often slept up there as well. There were no windows, so it was very hot up there.
This is Eliza:
The slaves that lived here had handmade furniture and household items, and cast-offs from the big house. The house is made of mill-sawn weatherboard and both the outside and the inside were white washed. The families shared the porch.
Cooking was done over a big hearth indoors, or sometimes outside.
Certain brooms were used for the floors inside the house and a different one for the porch. There was also a "yard broom" used specifically for the yard. The yards were swept neat and clean, and grass wasn't allowed to grow, because snakes could hide in the grasses.
|I peeked in here and yes, there were lots of chickens!|
The duplex housed two families, and in most months except winter, the windows were open for the breezes. There were no screens.
Living here was not easy. The house was open to the extreme heat and humidity of the South Carolina summers, and most likely leaked when it rained. There was no electricity or plumbing, no water from a faucet. Water had to be carried pail by pail, from down at the Spring house. Wood had to be chopped year round, not only in the winter for heat, but all summer long to use to cook with. Chloe and her daughter did all the washing and ironing for the Middleton family, and Chloe was a nursemaid for Susan Middleton's son. Ned was a driver and a field supervisor.
Below is a picture of wash day.
Sure makes me appreciate my washer and dryer. We do have a clothesline though....and I LOVE to hang wash out to dry on a hot windy day, especially sheets and pillow cases!
I remember playing underneath clean wash on the line at both home and both my Ma-Maw's houses--darting under towels, aprons, and heavy blue jeans and overalls my Grandpa worked in. And when my own children were babies, I hung out freshly washed diapers to dry in the hot sun.
How bout you--clothesline or not?