“Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton, Old times there are not forgotten. Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land!” ~ Dixie lyrics ~
Since we were not meeting up with Motormaids for our motorcycle adventure until lunch on Friday of the Memorial Day weekend, we decided to cross the Natchez-Vidalia bridge into Louisiana and visit a plantation. For those arriving early for “Maids on the Trace”, a well-prepared list was provided for sights in the area, as well as along the Trace. Frogmore Plantation and Gin was highly recommended, so we added it to our itinerary.
Frogmore Plantation and Gin is a working cotton plantation. We were greeted by the owner’s wife, Lynette Tanner, in costume from the period. She took us on a tour of the property and explained the whole cotton process. This building pictured is the one that housed the cotton gin. And did you know that gin is short for engine? We went upstairs in this building and learned the process of cotton, one step at a time, from picking the cotton, sending it through the historical steam engine to remove the seeds, to baling it for transport.
Aside from the buildings used for the cotton process, there were also preserved buildings from the area that the slaves had used – housing, laundry building, overseers house, to name a few. Mrs. Tanner had done a tremendous amount of research and had written a book based on interviews with slaves. Her interpretation of the life of the enslaved people was very informative; Mrs. Tanner shared quite a bit about southern planters, overseers duties, slave labor, and how the Civil War impacted plantation life.
We did not see the modern part of the working plantation in this visit. That would be another tour, another time. If you’re in the area, allow two hours and take a step back into some history of the old south. There is more to learn here than you’d imagine.