What Northerners Thought of Southerners in 1864
“ L. S. Packard, Pine Bluff, Moore county, N. C., formerly of Warrensburg, N. Y. Few persons realize from passing through the South what the soil is capable of producing under careful cultivation. After a stay of several years among Southern people I have learned much about them and their modes of work, the care the lands ought to have and the yields that can be expected under good cultivation. I give in brief my observations: Southern men and women are justly entitled to the credit they get for being the most hospitable people in the United States. The majority of them live easy, enjoy life and are contented to go forward in the quiet ways of their fathers. Some, however, are branching out, learning to make money and are accumulating fortunes on the farms and in the factories. It is the general belief of the Northern people that Southern people cannot succeed. To show an instance where a Southern born man has succeeded I shall confine my article to one man and to one farm, and in my future letters give the names of Northern men who have come South. Within a mile of the Seaboard Air Line in the county of Clark and State of Georgia, Mr. John Smith has a farm of several hundred acres. He started with small means but has improved, buying more land and stock, building larger barns and better houses each year until he has one of the finest and best equipped and regulated farms in the United States. His grain, clover and grass fields are as fine as any in Pennsylvania or New York. His stock is well kept and creditable in number and quality; they will compare favorably with the best in Ohio, Michigan or any part of the Northwest. His cotton fields are beautiful beyond description. He has every convenience in the way of modern machinery. He has built and equipped a railroad from his farm to Athens, Ga., and has erected a cottonseed oil mill, fertilizer factory and conducts a general mercantile business to supply tenants and employees. The farming operations of Mr. Smith were enough to convince me that all the soil needed was careful cultivation and constant attention to yield three times the profit of any in the Northern or New England States. Recently I met Mr. J. T. Patrick, of Southern Pines, N. C., who is a noted worker for Southern development and perhaps one of the best posted men in the South in regard to the developments going on in that section. I spoke to him about Mr. Smith. Mr. Patrick said: “I have seen his farm and it is a credit to Mr. Smith and the South, but there are many more Southerners who are doing as well as he, but I suppose you have not seen their farms. Major R. S. Tucker, of Wake county, Dr. W. R. Capehart, of Bertie county, and thousands of others scattered over the South are owners and managers of as fine farms as you can find in any part of the United States. You Northern people do not get out from the line of railroad to see what our people are doing, and we are generally judged, condemned and sentenced by people who ride through our country at the rate of forty miles an hour on a Pullman palace car and do not know the difference between a cotton plant and a stalk of buckwheat.” There is a great deal of truth in what Mr. Patrick said. Northern men who come South to learn ought to come down prepared to stay long enough to go into the country and see the farms and not judge the South from a poorly conducted farm, but from those managed with intelligence.” Source: Letters from Northern and Western Farmers, Giving Their Experience in the South; The Southern States, March 1864 by Richard H. Edmonds.