By Lynn Willoughby
Fair to Middlin' is the recipient of the 1992 Mrs. Simon Baruch college Award of The United Daughters of the Confederacy.
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Extra resources for Fair to Middlin': The Antebellum Cotton Trade of the Apalachicola Chattahoochee River Valley
7 But rivers could not take one everywhere one wished to go. Soon visionaries began building canals to link interior areas to the country's riverine network. The most successful such project was the Erie Canal, completed in 1825, which allowed one to travel from the Page 3 Great Lakes region of the Midwest to the port of New York via water alone. The success of the canal partly explains why New York became the nation's financial and commercial hub by 1860. 8 Eventually the railroad would further augment the nation's waterways by joining river systems to each other and moving into new areas never serviced by water.
All day long their clerks bent over the precious accounting books that brought order to the entire operation. Long into the night, lamplights glowed from the upstairs windows of the counting rooms on Water Street. These people were as obsessed with the staple as were their counterparts in Mobile, where one visitor claimed: "people live in cotton houses and ride in cotton carriages. They buy cotton, sell cotton, think cotton, eat cotton, drink cotton, and dream cotton. They marry cotton wives, and unto them are born cotton children.
It permeates through every department of civilized, and it may be, uncivilized life. . Wonderful! most wonderful! is the power of cotton! " 16 The Cotton South was not monolithic in its development. Instead, it was more a patchwork of separate economies, each developing at its own pace, each based on cotton but reliant on a different river system as its major transportation artery. Because roads in the modern sense did not yet exist to join each river system to each other, each of these river economies within the South could more easily communicate with other regions by salt water than through the forests that separated them.
Fair to Middlin': The Antebellum Cotton Trade of the Apalachicola Chattahoochee River Valley by Lynn Willoughby