Plantation Day Book for J. Eli Gregg showing amounts of cotton picked by slaves, 1857

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Document Description:

This excerpt from a Day Book in the J. Eli Gregg Papers contains a table that records the amount of cotton each slave picked from September 14 through November 13, 1857.  Fourteen slaves are listed with the following names: Jim, Washington, Lonow, Tom, Brunson, Wesley, Jackson, Eliza, Sarah, Roxana, Dana, Julian, Emma, and Rose.

Amounts of cotton picked per person per day vary remarkably. These varied amounts might be due to weather or other priorities that took precedence on the plantation. The individuals on this list picked as little as 18 pounds on one day (Julian on September 30) and as much as 143 pounds on another (Washington on September 19). The Day Book shows that this group picked a total of 22,826 pounds of cotton.


Gregg, J. Eli.  Day Book, 1856-1857.  J. Eli Gregg papers, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3.2: The students will demonstrate an understanding of the exploration and settlement of South Carolina and the United States.

Indicator 3.2.7 Explain the transfer of the institution of slavery into South Carolina from the West Indies, including slave trade and the rate of African American developing plantation economy; the daily lives of African American slaves and their contributions such as Gullah culture and the introduction of new foods, and African American acts of resistance against white authority.

Standard 3.4: The students will demonstrate an understanding of the events that led to the Civil War, the course of the war and Reconstruction, and South Carolina’s role in these events.

Indicator 3.4.1 Compare the conditions of daily life for various classes of people in South Carolina including the elite, the middle class, the lower class, and the independent farmers and the free and enslaved African Americans.

Indicator 3.4.2  Summarize the institution of slavery prior to the Civil War; including reference to conditions in South Carolina, the invention of the Cotton Gin, subsequent expansion of slavery, and economic dependence on slavery.

Literacy Elements: 

H- Construct maps, graphs, tables, and diagrams to display Social Studies information. 

E- Explain change and continuity over time. 

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Gregg Day Book Gregg Day Book


Lessons Using this Document:

African American Life in the Pee Dee Before the Civil War


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