The delegation of such important roles to enslaved workers denotes a level of trust, and perhaps respect, that helps us to understand of the complexities of slavery in early South Carolina. 15) 4 shades of indigo from last quarter of 19th century, dark blue to a synthetic plaid from 1920s Women used roots and vegetation to make dyes to give color to their material” (Ruff, c. 2000, 3-1). Doctor Ramsay had known Mrs. Pinckney personally and obtained biographical details about her through Eliza’s sons, but he purposefully distorted the story to portray her as an idealized model of American feminine ingenuity. The growth of sugar plantations moved indigo to South Carolina by the early 1700s. The first of these imitation purple dyes was called "Stockholm Papyrus." Those who had sheep sheared the animals, carded the wool into strands and spun the strands into yarn. To my knowledge, there is no surviving evidence that the indigenous Native Americans of early South Carolina cultivated indigo, so the local Indians could not have introduced it to the early settlers, as they did with maize and tobacco elsewhere. The dried cubes or squares were then packed into wooden barrels, which were then transported (usually by boat) to the port of Charleston and loaded onto cargo ships bound for England. The first and most logical variety is, of course, the native species of wild indigo now classified as Indigofera caroliniana. They grew plants, collected local plants, and wrote reports about their plants. In a June 1755 essay published in the Gentleman’s Magazine of London, a South Carolinian named Charles Woodmason stated that indigo planters needed one set of vats for every six or seven planted acres of the crop. From that point onward, South Carolina’s indigo exports increased rather steadily over the next twenty years. This derives from the ancient use of urine (which is produced copiously by the human body after drinking alcohol) in dyeing cloth blue with woad or indigo. There was food to prepare, candles to make, cows to milk, butter to churn, and animals to feed. St. Peter’s Catholic Church School, South Carolina, 2009 Teaching American History in South Carolina Project. The indigenous tribes of the Americas used indigo for painting and as mummy shrouds. Because of its hardy nature and beautiful dye, this Latin American species became the principal species of commercial indigo cultivation in South Carolina. In the second vat, often called the “battery,” laborers agitated the clear liquid with paddles or bottomless buckets to induce a chemical change. Prior to the lesson, the teacher should cut the muslin cloth into the desired size (approximately 9”x12”), gather goldenrod and black walnuts, and purchase blue dye. When Britain’s war with France and Spain ended in late 1748, the price of rice quickly improved and continued to be South Carolina’s primary export. The cultivation of indigo eventually spread to the southern American British Colonies where it became one of the most profitable crops. Natural dyeing can be done using many materials. [7] See South Carolina Gazette, 16–23 August 1760. This is a subtropical species that is found from southern Virginia to Louisiana along the eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast of North America. In response, many South Carolina indigo planters abandoned the blue dye and began growing cotton. There wasn’t any cost in getting this material which is always a plus in gathering materials. Some species are native to subtropical climates, however, and flourish in places like the coastal regions of the American southeast. What didn’t work and what I would do differently: I used plastic garbage bags to cover their clothing. To this list of plant-based dye, weld was added, for it was a source for yellow dye. Descriptions of Eliza Lucas Pinckney as a heroic agricultural pioneer too often ignore the important contributions by her contemporaries, including such local men as Andrew Deveaux, Charles Hill, Thomas Mellichamp, and James de la Chappelle, not to mention the enslaved people of Native American and African descent who performed the bulk of the dirty work for Eliza and others. The students could take the flowers from the plant and place them into the pot to be cooked. Besides cultivating the crop, they also built and maintained the vats and other apparatus used in the production process. I had the students go the playground area, which they enjoyed completely but it was hard to monitor both the dying and the playing. I would have marked the cloth with the student’s name before dyeing. The deep blue dye they extracted from its leaves was dried into a powder or small cakes and exported to the east and to the west. An early South Carolina planter named Robert Stevens (died 1720), for example, described the process of extracting the blue dye from the plant in the autumn of 1706. The first two, indigo and woad, were and are plants. Two thousand years ago, the Romans called this product indicum, and that name formed the root of the later English spellings, indico and indigo. The social studies portion of the lesson is described below. But she was certainly not the only person undertaking such work at that time, and she certainly had help from a variety of sources. Collection of the Greenville County Museum of Art, gift of The Museum Association, Inc. 2-1.2 Compare the historic traditions, customs, and cultures of various regions in the United States, including how traditions are passed between and among generations. Anthropologists believe that early ways of coloring may have had their origin in accidental staining. It seems likely that the effects of colored juices from berries, nuts, and roots were noticed by primitive peoples and copied (Grae, 1974). [8] See Henry Mouzon Jr., A Map of the Parish of St. Stephen, South Carolina (London, 1773). To encourage planters to experiment with the production of wine, olive or sesamum oil (see Episode No. The French Protestant (or Huguenot) immigrants who came to early South Carolina probably arrived with a greater familiarity with indigo than their English neighbors. In North and West Africa, indigo-dyed cloth symbolizes wealth and fertility; powerful people use indigo for clothing and skin dye. 2-2.2 Recognize characteristics of the local region, including its geographic features and natural resources. Indigo seeds (either I. tinctoria or I. suffruticosa) came to South Carolina with the first English settlers in 1670, along with the seeds of a variety of other plants. Indigo, in existence for thousands of years, was traded in the Mediterranean and in medieval Europe. Each cloth has a name based on its pattern, and it usually tells a cautionary story full of folksy wit: "When my husband goes out, I go out," "Attending school does not mean one would be wise," or "My head is correct.". There were a few South Carolina plantations that focused almost exclusively on indigo production, but they were a rare exception that existed for just a brief moment before the American Revolution.

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