Walter Lynwood Fleming Lectures in Southern History: Plain F…



First published in 1949, Frank L. Owlsey’s _Plain Folk of the Old South_ was the first book to systematically lay to rest the myth of the antebellum South’s division into three classes–planters, poor whites, and slaves. Owsley draws on a wide range of source materials–firsthand accounts such as diaries and the published observations of travelers and journalists, church records, and county records including wills, deeds, tax lists, and grand-jury reports–to reconstruct carefully and accurately the prewar South’s large and significant “yeoman farmer” middle class. He follows this history of these people beginning with their property holdings and economic standing, and tells of the rich texture of their lives: the singing schools and corn shuckings, courtship rituals and revival meetings, barn raisings and logrollings, and contests of markmanship and horsemanship such as “snuffing the candle,” “driving the nail,” and the “gander pull.” Frank L. Owsley, who died in 1956, taught southern history for many years at Vanderbilt University, and later at the Univeristy of Alabama. He was the author of _States Rights in the Confederacy_, _King Cotton Diplomacy_, and _The United States from Colony to World Power_, and was one of the contributors to _I’ll Take My Stand_.

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