COTTON

 

Elisha Cromwell was the first successful planter of cotton in the county.  He began with a few acres.  He was born in 1823 at the home of his father, Elisha Cromwell, who then lived in Edgecombe, having been one of the early settlers in the county.  He farmed on a large scale, owning a hospital for the care of his many slaves.  He sent Dink Hammond’s father, Wiley, to Richmond to learn the blacksmith’s trade and established his own blacksmith shop, carpenter shop, tin shop on his plantation.  Mr. Cromwell was consulted by many of the farmers as to the method of cotton culture.  He also began the two-crop-a-year system by which one piece of land would be planted in cotton or corn in the spring and harvested in time to be planted in oats, peas or some soil building crop.  In this manner a diversified crop was commenced, allowing the land to regain its fertility.

Extract from the book, History of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, written by J. Kelly Turner and Jno. L. Bridgers, Jr., page 336, published in 1920, found on the website, Internet Archive (http://archive.org), accessed 19 January 2021.   

LIVESTOCK

 

The raising of hogs was perhaps the most profitable and most widely known of any phase of farming.  Pork was a more certain money product and naturally led to closer attention and greater production.  Efforts were made later to improve swine so that their meat would command a good price.  The farmers, however, depended upon the natural grass and wood range for the hog in summer.  This generally succeeded in giving good growth.  The woods abounded in oak, pine, and beech trees, the chinquapin, ground whortleberry, and moss from trees.  This method, however, made little improvement for the settler in the early eighteenth century.  It was less expense and less trouble, while all that was produced was that much made.  The fact that pork commanded immediate cash when carried to a Virginia market, and was more easily transported by those in remote sections of the county, stimulated its greatest production.  The farmers living in the vicinity of Tosniot and Contentnea depended upon pork and cattle for their entire money crop.

Extract from the book, History of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, written by J. Kelly Turner and Jno. L. Bridgers, Jr., published in 1920, page 329, found on the website, Internet Archive (http://archive.org), accessed 19 January 2021.   

TOBACCO

 

Tobacco was one of the earliest crops produced in Edgecombe County.  In 1760, the same year Tarboro was established, the town commissioners designated a site between Tar River and Hendrick’s Creek for a tobacco warehouse.  In 1766, another warehouse was constructed at Tarboro.  In addition to storage purposes, it was used as a convenient location for inspecting and grading tobacco.  After the Revolutionary War, the demand for tobacco declined due to the loss of England as a market.  The industry fluctuated in popularity over the next one hundred years due to soil conditions, labor, and prices.

Abstract from the book, History of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, written by J. Kelly Turner and Jno. L. Bridgers, Jr., published in 1920, found on the website, Internet Archive (http://archive.org), accessed 16 January 2021.   

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