L.B. Glover Journal, 1895-1897
| Manuscripts Gifts 2009 | Front Page 2009 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
A gift to SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2009
Manuscript volume, 17 February 1895Ė10 March 1897, of Fort Mill farmer L.B. Glover (1846Ė1910) constitutes a detailed record of daily life in the outlying community near this small town in York County, S.C. In addition to the ever present notations on weather, Glover predictably reports his planting and harvesting activities - cotton, corn, cane, oats, potatoes, and garden vegetables - and frequent trips to the nearby market centers of Pineville and Charlotte, North Carolina, to sell butter, eggs, poultry, and sundry fruits and vegetables. While the 1900 census does not indicate the size or value of Gloverís land holdings, he owned his farm but it was mortgaged. His diary points out that his cotton crop in 1895 was five bales, and prices realized for goods taken to market were modest. In 1896, for instance, he noted that he was selling a dozen eggs for twelve cents and a pound of butter for fifteen cents. Chickens sold at market brought little more per bird than a dozen eggs or a pound of butter.
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There is evidence that Glover was also involved with bee keeping and tried his hand at digging for gold ore. Substantially more time was spent in digging graves at Flint Hill Baptist Church, however, and the diary proves a rich source for information on area illnesses, deaths, and burials. On 8 November 1895, for example, he wrote of the death of Whitfeld, son of cotton gin proprietor Steven P. Blankenship, who "got cut up in his gin this morning & dide in three quarter of and hour after he got in gin the saws cut his juglar vain...." Glover helped dig the grave for Whitfeld Blankenship at Flint Hill and noted that a large number of persons from the community attended the burial the next day. Barely three months later, on 14 February 1896, the manuscript chronicles the demise of Whitfeldís motther, Mrs. Nettie Blankenship, who died as the result of measles and congestion of the brain.
Other entries focus more on celebratory civic events. That of 18 May 1895 notes, "This is the day for the picnic at old Flint Hill to decorate the [graves of] Confederate dead soldiers 41 men have been buried in this yard...there was a committee appointed to attend to decorating their graves I donít think I ever saw a nicer picnic any where every thing was conducted as well and every thing behaved as nice." A short note on 20 October 1895 mentions the dedication of the Baptist church in town, while entries of 28 December 1895 and 24 April 1896 report that the Masons had sponsored an oyster supper and lecture and that a magic lantern show was held at Flint Hill schoolhouse.
The dedication of monuments to African Americans and women at Fort Mill on 21 May 1896 finds its way into the diary too, but it is uncertain whether Glover attended since the diary entry reads only, "today is a big day at Fort Mill 2 monuments to be unveiled one in memory of the dear and brave women of the south time of the Confederate war & One to the negro in honor or memory of the negro in time of the confederate war..." The same holds true for his observation regarding the appearance of presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan in Charlotte on 17 September 1896. The event is only announced, along with the anticipation that fifty thousand persons were expected, but there is no indication that the diarist attended.
Gloverís perceptions of race, as reflected in pages of the manuscript, are particularly intriguing. Throughout the volume, the names of African Americans - always recorded with both given name and surname - are followed parenthetically by the initials "pc," meaning person of color. Intermixed among other entries are references to African Americans as "negro" and "black," there is evidence that Glover loaned farm supplies and equipment to his black counterparts, and at least one entry, that of 28 May 1896 noting that he had been to Fort Mill to register as a voter in accordance with the state of South Carolinaís new constitution, includes the comment, "The negro is nearly all debard from voting on account of not being able to read & write..."
This somewhat egalitarian tone may stem from the fact that Glover was disabled, according to one source "a lifelong cripple." Mentioned sporadically in the diary are visits he made to cobblers in and around Charlotte who were adapting shoes orthopedically. Given Gloverís own physical challenges, his words recorded on 2 October 1895 take on added significance. "...just at night," he penned, "an old crippled man [k]nocked at my door and wanted to stay all night I took him in let him sleep on the cotton....He has a bad sore foot has and old sore on one foot for 30 years frost bit both feet he donít wear any shoes at all just pads and rags a object of pitty."
The diary also records the digging of a well on Gloverís farm, an intricate and multi-phase project that spanned several months in late 1895, and the tenth anniversary of the Charleston earthquake. There are several references to Gloverís charitable works throughout the community - writing letters on behalf of others and attending to needs of the aged, including Miss Sallie Burns, a resident at the Womenís Home in Charlotte before her death on 23 July 1896.