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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Falmouth in Stafford County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Sow…Tend…Harvest

 
 
Sow…Tend…Harvest Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 6, 2010
1. Sow…Tend…Harvest Marker
Inscription. For most of its existence, Chatham had an unchanging rhythm: sow, tend, and harvest, each according to the crop. Most of Chatham’s slaves lived out their lives to this seasonal cadence, year after year. More than 50 enslaved workers—sometimes more than 100 tended to Chatham’s 1,300 acres.

Slaves in these fields managed huge swaths of wheat or long rows of corn. Some of the crop went to feed the plantation’s cattle. The rest was ground into meal at Chatham’s mill on nearby Claiborne Run and sold to merchants in town. Slaves received none of it, except in the form of rations.

Instead, slaves received shelter in small cabins, a bundle of clothes each year, and enough food to keep body and soul together. Holidays and Sundays assumed huge importance in the slaves’ lives—they were the only days of rest.
 
Erected 2010 by Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
 
Location. 38° 18.548′ N, 77° 27.298′ W. Marker is in Falmouth, Virginia, in Stafford County. Marker can be reached from Chatham Drive near Chatham Heights Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 120 Chatham Lane, Fredericksburg VA 22405, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking
Sow…Tend…Harvest Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 6, 2010
2. Sow…Tend…Harvest Marker
distance of this marker. A Changed Landscape (here, next to this marker); Beyond the Big House (within shouting distance of this marker); Chatham (within shouting distance of this marker); Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park (within shouting distance of this marker); A “Picture of Desolation” (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bombardment (about 500 feet away); Beleaguered Town (about 500 feet away); Pontoon Bridges (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Falmouth.
 
More about this marker. On the bottom is a painting with the caption, “A 1798 painting of slaves working under the gaze of an overseer near Fredericksburg. This is the only known image of Fredericksburg-area slaves at work.” Courtesy Maryland Historical Society
 
Also see . . .  Chatham Manor. (Submitted on September 7, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
 
Categories. African Americans
 
A remnant of Chatham's fields in the distance image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 6, 2010
3. A remnant of Chatham's fields in the distance
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 7, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 602 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 7, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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