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Smokehouse: The smokehouse might be called "a machine for preserving meat," particularly pork. Historians have noted that hogs were as important to the southern diet as cotton was to the southern economy. In this sense, if cotton was "king," then the hog must be "queen." How many smokehouses do you find on Fox's list of buildings? Hogs slaughtered late in the fall would keep until the next year's butchering if their quartered carcasses were salted and then dried over a smoldering fire. Once full of meat, smokehouses would almost always be locked. Historians have estimated that pork constituted 75 percent of the southern diet during the mid 1800s. Between 1840 and 1860, there were 2.2 hogs for each man, woman, and child living in the southern states, translating that every southerner would have potential access to approximately three hundred pounds of pork per year. Take our Agricultural Census Challenge to find out how many hogs or swine John Fox owned on his farm in Lexington District in 1860. (Hilliard 1972, 92; Vlach 1993, 63-64) For a funny story related to smokehouse customs, click here.

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