Tag Archives: South Georgia Agriculture
If you’re from Georgia, you probably don’t associate these images with tobacco barns but these aren’t just any tobacco barns. They’re among the last remnants of a highly specialized segment of the tobacco industry. Shade tobacco.
Shade tobacco was grown for cigar wrappers in southwest Georgia, northwest Florida, and the Connecticut River Valley of Connecticut and Massachusetts. Wood-framed arbors and later, cheese cloth tents, filtered sun and kept insects away to achieve the higher grade of tobacco required for cigars.
Shade tobacco was grown in the United States from the 1840s until 1975. Most production in Grady County was finished by 1965, though, as Imperial Tobacco (previously American Sumatra) ceased operations.
Few shade tobacco barns survive in Georgia in any condition and well-preserved examples are rare. Thanks to Gaile Eubanks for help with the location.
I haven’t been able to locate any information on Clark’s Mill, but it’s obviously an important landmark in Jefferson County.
Like most old mills today, it’s located on private property and is not accessible to the public. There’s also what appears to have been a modern restaurant located on the property.
Carol Harper writes: My Grandaddy, John Henry Harris, built this cotton gin along with gins in Jesup, Cordele, and Sylvester. My father, William H. (Bill) Cooper, managed the Patterson Gin and was chief ginner there for many years. After my Grandaddy’s death and the devastation of cotton crops by the boll weevil, the gin was dismantled, my parents purchased the business, and what was once a cotton gin became a farm supply and custom fertilizer spreading operation. My two younger brothers, Bill Jr. and Charlie, and I considered ourselves very fortunate to have grown up surrounded by the sight and smell of King Cotton. Our Mother, Jean Harris Cooper, managed the gin office while Daddy ginned the cotton. Today, once again, I am proud to write cotton grows on my farm in Pierce County.
The O. A. Hall Store opened in 1929 and was operated by Mrs. Hall for many years. In fact, it’s better known as the Mrs. O. A. Hall Store. It’s the oldest in Emanuel County. Though no longer a general store, the business is still in operation as a pecan buying point and agricultural supply. I spoke with the son-in-law of the present owner who’s a grandson of O. A. Hall, and he related that the business is still profitable though it’s changed with the times. He said the biggest item in the store today is pine straw twine.
Twin City Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
I first thought this to be a commissary but Hugh Harris West writes that this was not a commercial structure. It was a shotgun cotton mill house and I knew the families who lived there in the ’40’s and ’50’s. There was an identical house to the right of this. I do not know what is stored, if anything, in this structure now. The exterior window treatments were changed when it ceased to be a dwelling.