slate river ramblings . . . .

Buckingham County: The Winter of 1872, Part II

Click here for Buckingham County: The Winter of 1872, Part I

In December 1872, Richmond’s Whig printed a letter from Buckingham County, M. B. D.  Following a description of lasting drought, the author (whose education included the ability to quote Shakespeare’s Hamlet) condemned irresponsible black men, whom he saw abandon their families to winter’s cruel winds.

Winter In The Country.

     Big log fires are very comfortable, and in this well-wooded country they cost little but the trouble of making. Still, they do not answer for clothing or glass and shattered windows. They will not rehang a door swagging on broken hinges, or daub a wall “to expel the Winter’s flaw.” Nor, yet, answer for food for the hungry, nor medicine for the sick, and families there are about the country who know and suffer these privations. In many cases this is the result of the most abject laziness, but instances have come within my observation of negroes who have left their families destitute of food and clothing (and in some cases almost without shelter) and have gone off to the railroads, from whence they only return to vote for some Radical office-seeker and hurry back to the railroad again, perhaps leaving a few dollars to be expended in frippery at some auction stand on court days, leaving wretched, ragged children at “home” to starve to death or burned alive in the flames that often consumed their wretched hovels.

In his final comment, M.B.D. names several honorable black men in Buckingham County, while condemning others.

Coming Next: “About the Crops”