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Cabins

 

Levi Jordan
Plantation

Description of the Site

by Kenneth L. Brown and Doreen C. Cooper, 1990. "Structural Continuity in an African-American Slave and Tenant Community". Historical Archaeology 24:7-19. (4).

go to site maps for some drawings of the site

"…the main house – a major portion of which is still standing, the original plantation hospital and house slave residence, and a few small outbuildings were built of wood. The bulk of the buildings constructed on the plantation, especially those having to do with the slaves and the plantation’s production [the sugar mill] were made of brick. Of the major buildings, only the sugar house currently has above-ground walls.

The slave and tenant quarters were located approximately 400 feet northwest of the main house [sketches of these buildings will be included in this web site sometime in early 1998.]. The quarters were occupied from their construction beginning in late 1848 through their forced abandonment around 1891. Thus, the archaeological deposits were produced over a 42-year time span that encompasses both slavery and early tenancy. The quarters consisted of eight long, barracks-like structures built in groups of two.

Each of these sets of structures shared a common central hallway probably with a single roof. Entrances into the individual cabins were located in this central hallway. Archaeological evidence demonstrates that from three to four individual cabins were built within each of the long buildings. The 1860 population census lists the plantation has having 29 slave cabins for the 141 slaves (U.S. Bureau of Census 1860) (31). This configuration would fit within the defined area noted above. Archaeological evidence also supports the hypothesis that several of the so-called cabins may have been larger and served as dormitories. At its height, approximately 150 slaves lived in the plantation (Brazoria County Tax Records, 1862) (17). Unfortunately, records do not exist to indicate the number of wage labor tenants who lived on the plantation*. Excavation within the individual cabins demonstrates a reduction in the number of cabins occupied. The archaeological evidence suggests that this change occurred after the Civil War, and this that the number of tenants might have been lower than the number of slaves."

* [More recent research has given some indication of who was working on the plantation after the Civil War. Ken Brown has obtained copies of plantation ledger books, and we will attempt to include copies of entries from those account books on this site in the future. One is already available on the page discussing Hester Holmes.].

 


 

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Carol McDavid 1998