Frank Owsley's Plain Folk Of The Old South

1372 Words6 Pages
In the southern part of the U.S. during the early European settlement history, much of the records come from Plantation owners and government officials who had enough time and money to write down their stories. Unfortunately millions of other people who lived in the south never got to tell their tale. Frank Owsley’s book Plain Folk of the Old South, attempts to tell the tale of the majority of people in the south who were not planters. Using records such as censuses, church documents, tax documents…etc., Owsley finds the hidden lore of the plain folk and brings it to life. The author gives a voice to those who did not have the luxury to write down a personalized history. The book talks about not only who the plain folk were, but what life was like for them and just how they survived. Owsley’s look into the South focuses on the largest group of whites he calls the plain folk. His statement “the core of the social structure was a massive body of plain folk who were neither rich nor very poor”, gives the reader a good definition of who Owsley is looking at. This large group of people did what they had to do to survive, being many occupations, Owsley looks more toward the frontier farmer and…show more content…
Usually the plantation owners not only controlled the majority of the land, but also had a stake in the local or even state government. Working with the local yeoman farmers, he made sure he had the best farm land and the best crops. If a squatter or a family had gotten to a prize piece of land before him, he would use his connections to have them moved and buy the land out from under them. This pushed a lot of families west. “It was agriculture, then and not slavery—as has been said repeatedly in discussion … of the frontier—that drove the herdsmen from frontier to frontier and finally into the pine barrens, hills and mountains.” Herders moved west with their families, pioneering the frontier so they can make a

    More about Frank Owsley's Plain Folk Of The Old South

      Open Document