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Collection Number: 00041

Collection Title: Everard Green Baker Papers, 1848-1876

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 4 items)
Abstract Everard Green Baker (b. 1826) of Jefferson County, Panola County, and Hinds County, Miss., was the son of Thomas Baker and Elizabeth Green. He married Laura Lavinia Alexander (1834-1860), daughter of Amos and Lavinia Alexander of Moss Hill, Adams County, on 6 September 1849. After Laura's death, he married Sallie Flemming around 1863. He had at least 13 children. The collection consists of several volumes containing the diary Everard Green Baker kept between 1849 and 1876, and a volume containing remedies for illnesses, recipes for food, and instructions for growing vegetables, curing meat, etc. Plantation life, social life, and agriculture are prominent themes in the volumes, some of which include descriptions of slaves owned by Baker, life on the homefront during the Civil War, and trying to work with freedmen after the war. Also included is a genealogical table of the Baker family of Jefferson County, Miss.; a copy of the will of Elizabeth Green, 1833; and typed transcriptions of the volumes.
Creator Baker, Everard Green, b. 1826.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Everard Green Papers #41, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection is available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of the Records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series J.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Victor Baker and Francis Baker of Natchez, Mississippi, and from Robert Baker of Napoleonville, Louisiana, sometime before 1940.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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Everard Green Baker (b. 1826) of Jefferson County, Panola County, and Hinds County, Miss., was the son of Thomas Baker and Elizabeth Green. He married Laura Lavinia Alexander (1834-1860), daughter of Amos and Lavinia Alexander of Moss Hill, Adams County, on 6 September 1849. After Laura's death, he married Sallie Flemming around 1863. He had at least 13 children:

Everard Green Baker married 1849 Laura Lavinia Alexander

--Walter (b. 1850)

--Everard (b. 1853)

--Edith (b. ca. 1855)

--Lolly (1856-1861)

--Eliza (b. 1858)

--Thomas Francis (b. 1859)

Everard Green Baker married circa 1863 Sallie Flemming

--Fred (b. 1863)

--Carrie Louisa (1865-1866)

--Alice Jeannette (b. 1867)

--Robert Lee (b. 1868) Martha (b. 1868) (twins)

--Son (name not known, b. 1870)

--Daughter (name not known, b. 1872)

Baker was probably a small cotton planter before the Civil War and appears not to have owned a large number of slaves. He moved several times and occupied Bryant Place in Panola County during his most prosperous period. He lived for a while in the Natchez area, probably in Jefferson County, and had family there, including his brother, Thomas Francis Baker (1825-1892), and his brother's wife, Martha Young Payne Baker.

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The collection consists of several volumes containing the diary Everard Green Baker kept between 1849 and 1876, and a volume containing remedies for illnesses, recipes for food, and instructions for growing vegetables, curing meat, etc. Plantation life, social life, and agriculture are prominent themes in the volumes, some of which include descriptions of slaves owned by Baker, life on the homefront during the Civil War, and trying to work with freedmen after the war. Also included is a genealogical table of the Baker family of Jefferson County, Miss.; a copy of the will of Elizabeth Green, 1833; and typed transcriptions of the volumes.

Volume 1 contains remedies for illnesses and recipes. Volumes 2, 3, and 4 contain diary entries. Volume 2 covers the period January 1849 to 4 July 1854; volume 3 covers the period July 1854 to February 1858; and volume 4 covers the period March 1858 to January 1876. Typescript 1 contains volumes 1, 2, and 3, and typescript 2 contains volume 4.

The diary begins with Baker moving to his new home, Richland, believed to be in Jefferson County, Miss., on 21 January 1849. He described his daily activities, particularly social ones such as hunting, dining, and visiting with neighbors, and events in his neighbors' lives such as marriages and deaths. Baker also wrote about his personal beliefs and feelings on many different subjects. In 1849, he was reading works of Dr. Johnson, and he analyzed these in his diary.

Baker had relatives in the area whom he visited frequently. His brother Thomas lived close by and married Martha Payne on 5 June 1849. He also mentioned an Uncle A. and Aunt S. (Sarah?). His uncle and aunt had a young woman named Laura staying with them, and, in March 1849, Baker began recording in his diary his love for Laura. On 6 September 1849, he married Laura Lavinia Alexander of Moss Hill in Adams County. In their early months of marriage, they went on frequent visits to Moss Hill and to his brother Thomas's house.

Several times in 1849, Baker mentioned going to visit an Indian camp in the neighborhood. One time, he escorted a party of ladies there, and they met Chief Billy Hunt, apparently the leader at the camp.

During the first few years of his journal, Baker occasionally mentioned farm work and slaves; however, he wrote much more about his social events and activities. He wrote more personally about his slaves than is typical in many farm journals, including such items as the description of the deathbed of a young girl slave who died of worms in 1850.

After the first year of marriage, Baker wrote that he intended to live with his brother Thomas for a year and allow him the use of his slaves, as neither had enough slaves to make large farming operations profitable. Thomas also owed money to Baker, which he hoped to pay back under this arrangement. Laura and Baker had their first child on 30 June 1850.

In 1852, Baker and Laura moved to a new home, probably in Panola County, Miss. Baker described the surrounding country as a swamp. He wrote increasingly about farm operations after the move. The chief crops were corn and cotton. He was interested in medicines and remedies and included detailed descriptions in his diary of illnesses and treatments that were tried on his family and slaves. He continued to include personal information about slaves in his diary, such as his efforts to make their Christmas holiday pleasant, their good work during one of his illnesses, and an obituary for an older slave who died of diarrhea and dropsy. On 26 May 1854, he recounted a story about a slave who stabbed an overseer twice because the man was going to whip him, and how the overseer in turn had stabbed the slave 25 times.

In July 1854, Baker purchased a residence in town and moved his family there. He felt it was better than living in the swamp where there was no social life. On 30 December 1854, he wrote that he had exchanged plantations with Thad Sorsby, a neighbor of his in the swamp, also getting his house in town. This apparently allowed him to move his slaves from the swamp closer to town. He was happy about this, since it would afford his slaves the opportunity to go to church. Baker became increasingly pious during these years, frequently writing long entries on his religious feelings. He also recorded the text and the preacher from Sunday services in his diary.

By 1855, Baker and Laura had three children, Walter, Everard (Nevy), and Edith. Baker wrote about their growth and development in his diary. Periodically he would weigh and measure his family.

On 7 September 1856, Baker wrote that he had purchased the Bryant Place. The family moved there, and, after this time, his farming operations were on a larger scale. He described picking, ginning, and pressing cotton. He also raised cattle and hogs. He continued to write about the health of everyone on the plantation and remedies to treat them. On 20 September 1857, Baker mentioned that two of his slaves were getting married. He performed the ceremony and played the violin while they danced.

In 1858, Baker ran for the office of policeman in Beat Number 4 and won. During 1859, he periodically mentioned attending police court. Around this time, he made references to going to hear preaching at the campground. On 11 September, he mentioned a slave meeting at the campground. Baker frequently wrote in his diary about trying to lead an upright, Christian life.

In the spring of 1860, there was a great deal of sickness at the plantation. Baker's wife, Laura, died on 2 July. This was a great source of grief to Baker, and, for several years afterwards, he wrote in his diary about his depressed state. He had six children, and initially thought of giving the youngest, Franky, to Mrs. A. (his mother-in-law?) as he felt he could not be properly taken care of at the plantation. However, this plan ended with an argument between Mrs. A. and Baker. He eventually took Edith, Lolly, Eliza, and Franky--the four youngest children--to his brother Thomas's house to be cared for, with two servants to look after them. Lolly died in September 1861, and Baker moved the remaining three children to Mrs. A's house.

It was about this time that Baker began writing frequently about his resolve to be moderate in his eating habits. He had always had a weak digestive system, and he felt by eating only certain foods and by eating lightly he could cure his disorders. He mentioned different diets he tried. This was part of his larger philosophy that following the natural order of things would result in a longer, happier life. Eating too much, or eating bad foods, was not following the natural order.

In diary entries written between 1861 and 1865, Baker occasionally mentioned the Civil War. In 1862, he became fearful that the Union army would cut him off from contact with his children, so he moved them back to his plantation. Also in 1862, his horses were taken by the Union army and his cotton was burned by the Confederate army. In 1863, he served in the Confederate army. He was worried about the miserable condition of the country and saw ruin ahead.

Sometime during the Civil War, Baker married Sallie Flemming. He eventually had seven children with her, although one girl died in infancy. By the end of the diary, Baker had had 13 children, two of whom had died.

In 1865, Baker wrote a little about emancipation and his efforts to use freedmen to work his plantations. This apparently did not work. Initially, his former slaves remained with him but eventually they left. The rest of the diary documents his efforts to improve his financial situation. In 1866, he sold his plantation and moved to Hinds County. He and his older boys worked in the fields to produce cotton. He mentioned in July 1872 that he had learned more about the practical aspects of planting during that year than in any other.

On 21 July 1867, Baker mentioned that he had attended a "negro preaching & ordination," where he heard some "excellent" remarks by Marion Dunbar, a black man from Jackson.

The last entry in the diary is dated 30 January 1876.

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