"There's a lot of people that see the old mansions along the river and think that they were great cotton plantations there. When you start researching using the U.S. Census and things like the slaves schedules of the U.S. Census, industrial and agricultural schedules and so forth, you find that very few of those properties actually answer to the definition of plantation," said Scott, who hopes to pen a book about this subject. "A plantation on average was 500 or more acres and 20 or more slaves.
"And if you go through the records, you find that sometimes there were a lot of slaves, but when you look at the product that was being made by that plantation, you can't figure out what they were doing with all that labor because the product did not equal in magnitude what labor like that would have produced. ... I would say if you really go by the definition of 500 acres and 20 slaves producing staple crops, like cotton, sugar, rice and so forth, which in our area would primarily have been cotton, there were probably about four or five along the river in Bartow County. But there were people along the river that owned many more slaves, but I think that they were leasing them out or renting them out for industrial purposes, either the iron works or the railroad."
Co-sponsored by the Bartow History Museum and the Etowah Valley Historical Society, the free program will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the 7 p.m. lecture at the BHM, 4 E. Church St. in Cartersville.
"The program was initiated by the Historical Society," BHM Director Trey Gaines said. "This is new research that he's done, so I think he just wants an opportunity to present it, get it out in the public and talk about this new research he's done for the last several years. He's from this area originally and still has connections here [so] he's always been interested in the area and has done research on various topics in the area..
"... I think [this topic] would be interesting to people in the area. I think there's a big interest in what was going on here prior to the Civil War as far as just daily life, where people lived, how they lived, what it was like on some of the bigger farms and plantations in the area. He has spoken here at the museum, the Bartow History Museum, a couple of times in the past primarily on 'Pretty Boy' Floyd. He's a very interesting speaker, has lots of good information based a lot on research he's done."
For the EVHS, Scott's lecture will mark the beginning of several events the society and other local organizations will help organize and promote to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
In addition to Tuesday's lecture, some of the other offerings will include an event spotlighting the contributions of Uriah Stephens -- the station master in Kingston who confronted James Andrews during the Great Locomotive Chase -- on April 12 in Kingston, a bus tour tracing the Great Locomotive Chase route in Bartow County on June 9 and the Battle of Allatoona Pass observance on Oct. 6 and 7.
For more information about the lecture, which will be free and open to the public, call the BHM at 770-382-3818.