Living in the urban south: A study of antebellum Macon, GeorgiaShow full item record
|Living in the urban south: A study of antebellum Macon, Georgia
|Jernigan, Scarlet Faith
|Doctor of Philosophy
|Founded in 1823 on the fall line of the Ocmulgee River, Macon was an ¿urban pocket¿ in the cotton belt, crossroads town in central Georgia, and home of one of the first municipal rural cemeteries in the nation. The founding and peopling of Macon came at a time of rampant migration within the U.S., and the city immediately drew both mercantile and agricultural settlers. When river transportation proved unreliable, Macon was an early convert to the railroads. The city diversified its economy, providing opportunities for a wide range of people, making Bibb County the only in central Georgia with a majority white population in the antebellum period. Despite southern stereotypes of resistance to progress and preoccupation with agriculture, the white southern-born majority worked alongside smaller numbers of northerners, Europeans, and free blacks to enhance both their own wealth and the fortunes of the city. White Maconites adroitly adapted slavery to suit their needs in the city, and enslaved labor was vital to the city¿s businesses and transportation networks. When it came to slaveholding, church adherence, and local leadership, white males born in both the North and South intermingled largely indiscriminately in the ¿Central City,¿ with socio-economic status trumping nativity in importance in these categories. In the geographically confined city, there was a great deal of spatial overlap concerning socio-economic status, denominational adherence, slaveholding, and nativity in 1860, with white residents living side-by-side with a wide variety of people. While wealthy planters in particular tended to reside in an enclave ¿uptown,¿ no white group, whether native or foreign born, was segregated from the remainder of the city. Most people of color lived on the margins, their residence information absent from the city directory. In Macon¿s rural cemetery Rose Hill, white Maconites again intermingled, though they were more likely to cluster in natal, socio-economic, and denominational groups than in the city. Epitaphs, monument choice, and lot layout reveal how Maconites dealt with migration, family, slavery, and religion. The city¿s people of color found rest elsewhere, including Rose Hill¿s sister cemetery, Oak Ridge, which offered an unadorned version of the picturesque.
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- Doctoral Dissertations