The Women During the Civil War
They did not, however, adopt slavery to the same degree as the plantation-economy South.

Various sources refer to the relative isolation of this part of the Southern terrain from the rest of the Deep South. Mr. Whitelaw Reid, a Republican travel journalist from Ohio who toured the South after the Civil War, observes in his journal that people in the Knoxville, Tenn., region, "had not been accustomed to depend for support upon their slaves; they suffered the less, therefore, from the sudden disappearance of slaves." According to John Spencer Bassett's 1899 history of slavery in North Carolina, those who did own slaves in the western counties often worked side by side with their slaves in their fields, making slavery there "a milder type" than elsewhere in the South. In that regard, Mrs. Emma Shoolbred, a widow whose sons were serving in the C.S.A. in Virginia, wrote to "Colonel" Joseph Cathey, prominent in Haywood County, North Carolina, asking to buy corn "at a reasonable price." She explains that "the war has greatly reduced my circumstances, and I find it hard to live. I have many small negro children besides their parents to feed."

There were practical reasons that North Carolina's western counties had fewer slaves than other places in the South. The topography and cultural mind-set of the Smoky Mountains region during the 1860s contrasted with the vast bottomlands of the Deep South, which w

 
 
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