Excerpts from Bennet H. Barrow's diary


Dec. 26 House Jerry & Israel chained during Christmas bad conduct - for a year and better - Israel bad conduct during cotton picking season


Sept. 4 ... had a general whipping frolic

Oct. 2 More whipping to do this Fall than altogether in three years owing to my D[amned] mean Overseer

Dec. 31 ran two of Uncle Bat's Negroes off last night-for making a disturbance - no pass - broke my sword cane over one of their skulls


Jan. 23 my House Servants Jane Lavenia & E. Jim broke into my store room - and helped themselves very liberally to every thing - I whipped [them] ... worse than I ever whipped any one before

Sept. 28 Dennis and Tom "Beauf" ran off on Wednesday - . . . if I can see either of them and have a gun at the time will let them have the contents of it ...

Oct. 12 [Tom ran off again] will whip him more than I ever whip one, I think he deserves more - the second time he has done so this year ...

Oct. 20 whipped about half today

Oct. 26 Whipped 8 or 10 for weight today -those that pick least weights generally most trash ...

Oct. 27 Dennis ran off yesterday - & after I had whipped him

Nov. 2 Dennis came in sick on Tuesday - ran off again yesterday - without my ever seeing him -will carry my gun & small shot for him - I think I shall cure him of his rascality

Nov. 7 Dennis came in last night - had him fasted - attempted to escape. ran as far as the creek but was caught - the D[ammedest] rascal on the place

Dec. 30 Demps gave his wife Hetty a light cut or two & then locked her up to prevent her going to the Frolic-I reversed it turning her loose & fastening him


Jan. 4 Whipped every hand in the field this evening commencing with the driver

April 27 My hands worked very badly-so far general whipping yesterday

July 19 Gave L. Dave a good whipping for some of his rascality intend chaining him & Jack nights & Sunday till I think they are broke in - to behave

Sept. 9 whipped G. Jerry & Dennis for their shirking

Sept. 30 Had G. Jerry T. Fill & Bat's Nat up here washing all yesterday as punishment - generally dirty & ragged

Oct. 2 Lewis still out. no doubt but he is down at Uncle Bat's where his father lives -which proves the impropiety of having slaves off the plantation

Oct. 3 Told Dennis I intended to whip him. [Dennis fled] ... started Jack after him - to give him $50 if he catches him - I had rather a Negro would do anything else than runaway. Dennis & his brother Lewis & G. Jerry the only ones that gives me any trouble to make do their part

Oct. 4 Boy Lewis came in last night -gave him the worst whipping I ever gave any young Negro. I predict he will not runaway soon. Building a jail for him Dennis & Ginny Jerry - intend jailing them for Saturday nights 'til Monday mornings

Oct. 13 Put Darcas in jail last night for pretending to be sick, repeatedly - the first one ever put in the jail & G Jerry

Oct. 20 Gave my Negroes about my lot the worst whipping they ever had

Oct. 23 Gave every cotton picker a whipping last night for trash & of late my driver has lost considerable authority with them

[Dec. 23 Dennis caught]

Dec. 24 Intend exhibiting Dennis during Christmas on a scaffold in the middle of the Quarter & with a red flannel cap on

Dec. 25 Let Darcas out of jail - Dennis confined in jail


Jan. 9 Darcas began to shirk again -let her out of jail Christmas she promised to do well &c.

April 18 gave my driver a few licks this evening, not knowing who had done bad work

April 19 had a general whipping among the House ones & two carters for stealing, &c.

July 5 had Jack rigged out this evening with red flannel on his ears & a feather in them & sheet on, "in the Quarter." every Negro up. Made Alfred and Betsey ride him round the Quarter dismount and take a kiss, for quarreling, Jack & Lize, Frank & Fanney the same.

July 30 [The cook Lavenia had run away and was found] Lavenia thought she had been whipped unjustly owing to Jane (the Cook), let Lavenia give her a good drubbing, &c. I think my hands have picked cotton worse this year than in several years picked it very trashy & not better weights nor as good as common, intend whipping them straight

Oct. 15 am satisfied the best plan is to give them every thing they require for their comfort and never that they will do without whipping or some punishment


Jan. 3 [Barrow gave the Negroes a dinner] and afterwards inspected their manners in the ballroom several acted very rude as usual. put them in jail

Aug. 16 Ginney Jerry has been shirking about ever since [he] began to pick cotton. after whipping him yesterday told him if ever he dodged about from me again would certainly shoot him. this morning at Breakfast time Charles came & told me that Jerry was about to run off. took my gun found him in the Bayou behind the Quarter, shot him in the thigh

Sept. 16 Ginney Jerry ran off Last Thursday today a week, after being shot, Will shoot to kill him should I be fortunate enough [sic] to meet him, Will sell him &c.

More hands attempting to shirk for two weeks past than I ever knew, Gave a number of them a good flogging


June 15 [Ginney Jerry ran away again] will shoot to kill him if an opportunity offers.... has not been touched this year, nor have I said a word to him, pray for a shot at him.

Nov. 6 Friday night Jack Let Jerry slip for purpose of getting a pig thinking as Jerry was jailed at night there would be no suspicion of him - for some reason told Alfred Jerry had a pig in his house A. went and found it as Jack thought. put him in jail & in the stocks in the morning there was nothing of Jerry stocks Broke & door - no doubt some one turned him out - one concerned in the pig - gave about a dozen severe whipping in the Yard & all -Jack old Jenny & Darcas the most severe hand sawing


Nov. 28 Whipped all my grown cotton pickers today

Nov. 29 [Dennis ran off and was then caught] gave him the worst whipping he ever had - & ducking


May 27 [Darcas cut her husband with a hatchet in the hip. Very dangerous cut - will make her sick of the sight of a hatchet as Long as she lives

June 4 missed several of my young hogs, found 8 or 10 guilty, ducked & gave them a good thrashing, Mr. Ginney Jerry next morning felt insulted at his treatment & put out, would give "freely" $100 to get a shot at him. The Negro hunters came this morning, Were not out long before we struck the trail of Ginny Jerry, ran and trailed for about a mile, treed him, made the dogs pull him out of the tree, bit him very badly, think he will stay home a while.

Oct. 18 Fell quite unwell for two days past, effect of Negro hunting

Oct. 27 Went with the Negro dogs to hunt Ruffins runaways, & his small house boy Ed. ran off still out, 12 years of age- no Luck-Negro dogs here - tired of them

Nov. 11 the Negro dogs to Mrs Wades Quarter.... dogs soon tore him naked, took him home before the other Negro, & made the dogs give him another overhauling, has been drawing a knife & pistol on persons about town