Cover image for Dwelling place : a plantation epic
Dwelling place : a plantation epic
Publication Information:
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, c2005.
Physical Description:
xiii, 601 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
Liberty Hall -- Riceboro -- Sunbury -- The Retreat -- Carlawter -- Savannah -- Scattered Places -- Princeton -- Solitude -- Montevideo and Maybank -- The Stations -- The Mallard Place -- The Arbors -- Columbia -- Carlawter II -- South Hampton -- Midway -- Maybank -- Arcadia -- The Retreat II -- Columbia II -- Philadelphia -- Carlawter III -- Arcadia II -- Maybank II -- Slave Market -- Patience's Kitchen -- Montevideo -- The Retreat III -- Southern Zion -- Indianola -- The Refuge -- The Promised Land.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 305.896 CLA 1 1

On Order



Published some thirty years ago, Robert Manson Myers's Children of Pride: The True Story of Georgia and the Civil War won the National Book Award in history and went on to become a classic reference on America's slaveholding South. That book presented the letters of the prominent Presbyterian minister and plantation patriarch Charles Colcock Jones (1804-1863), whose family owned more than one hundred slaves. While extensive, these letters can provide only one part of the story of the Jones family plantations in coastal Georgia. In this remarkable new book, the religious historian Erskine Clarke completes the story, offering a narrative history of four generations of the plantations' inhabitants, white and black.
Encompassing the years 1805 to 1869, Dwelling Place: A Plantation Epic describes the simultaneous but vastly different experiences of slave and slave owner. This "upstairsdownstairs" history reveals in detail how the benevolent impulses of Jones and his family became ideological supports for deep oppression, and how the slave Lizzy Jones and members of her family struggled against that oppression. Through letters, plantation and church records, court documents, slave narratives, archaeological findings, and the memory of the African-American community, Clarke brings to light the long-suppressed history of the slaves of the Jones plantations--a history inseparably bound to that of their white owners.

Author Notes

Erskine Clarke is professor of American religious history, Columbia Theological Seminary.

Reviews 2

Choice Review

Clarke's magisterial, multiperspective study of the antebellum South describes two family groups, that of Charles Colcock and Mary Jones, and those of their slaves. Jones, a staunch Presbyterian minister, saw himself as a biblical patriarch and used slavery as a structure to convert his slaves. His domestic missionary endeavors, made credible by his slaveholding, allowed Jones and other southern white Evangelicals to see southern slavery as morally superior to the antislavery North. Phoebe and Patience, among a welter of enslaved persons, did in fact respond to and become members of a biracial community in Georgia. But as Clarke (religious history, Columbia Theological Seminary) describes it, Jones's initial moral reservations about slavery were corrupted by his long association with the system and, as he aged, he found his need for profit and control as great as his desire to practice slavery in a biblical fashion. His slaves used Jones's own patriarchy to resist slavery and maintain their own independence from its assumptions. Clarke's study surpasses Robert Myers's The Children of Pride (CH, Sep'72) and achieves what Orville Burton's In My Father's House Are Many Mansions (CH, Jan'86) attempted for a region: a "total" history of interconnected people divided by race, legal status, and gender. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. E. R. Crowther Adams State College

Library Journal Review

Epic in the depth and sweep of its scholarship and the force and beauty of its writing, this book returns us to low-country Georgia and the "family" (black and white) of Charles Colcock Jones (1804-63), Presbyterian minister and major slaveholder. Jones was famous in his day for trying to bring Christianity to slaves and famous in ours for the Jones family letters, edited by Robert Manson Myers as Children of Pride: The True Story of Georgia and the Civil War, which won the National Book Award. Here, Clarke (American religious history, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA; Our Southern Zion) builds on those letters by drawing on every imaginable source relating not just to the Jones family and its slaves but also to the region's religion, politics, agriculture, and more to unravel a history of black and white lives bound and yet divided by circumstance, interest, and faith. The book grips the reader much as did Gone with the Wind, except in this real-life telling, the slaves' perspectives get full and honest play. So, too, do the tragic ironies of religious masters oppressing slaves and of slaves seizing on their masters' professions of piety to resist oppression. No one else has so deeply probed the everyday worlds that masters and slaves made together. A work of astonishing power; highly recommended.-Randall M. Miller, Saint Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
1 Liberty Hallp. 1
2 Riceborop. 10
3 Sunburyp. 19
4 The Retreatp. 33
5 Carlawterp. 44
6 Savannahp. 55
7 Scattered Placesp. 67
8 Princetonp. 82
9 Solitudep. 97
10 Montevideo and Maybankp. 111
11 The Stationsp. 125
12 The Mallard Placep. 140
13 The Arborsp. 152
14 Columbiap. 167
15 Carlawter IIp. 180
16 South Hamptonp. 190
17 Midwayp. 202
18 Maybankp. 216
19 Arcadiap. 233
20 The Retreat IIp. 247
21 Columbia IIp. 260
22 Philadelphiap. 278
23 Carlawter IIIp. 300
24 Arcadia IIp. 317
25 Maybank IIp. 330
26 Slave Marketp. 345
27 Patience's Kitchenp. 362
28 Montevideop. 374
29 The Retreat IIIp. 386
30 Southern Zionp. 397
31 Indianolap. 408
32 The Refugep. 422
33 The Promised Landp. 443
List of Principal Charactersp. 467
Genealogical Chartsp. 495
List of Plantationsp. 505
Notesp. 509
Index of Namesp. 577
General Indexp. 590