October 24th 1855 in Prince George’s County: Vaguely Familiar Gleanings from the Upper Marlborough Newspaper, The Planters’ Advocate
Prince George’s County was a divided land in the autumn of 1855. The long rows in tobacco fields vied with grains and fruits which in turn were in laced with pastures filled with cattle, sheep and poultry. Agriculture was and had been the only industry of consequence for over 150 years. Large plantations were interspersed with small freeholder and tenant farms both struggling to make a profit. The rich soils of an earlier Prince George’s were growing tired for tobacco cultivation drained the soil of its vitality. The destructive nature of tobacco farming on the land was multiplied by the corrosive practice of slavery which provided the manpower to plant, grow and harvest botanical gold for the planter families.
The divisions of its industry, in some sense, were reflected in the growing disintegration of expected social, economic and political norms. Whispers of abolition swirled around ancient suspect religions. Enfranchisement of voters intertwined with suspicion of immigrants. Fear grew as change came faster. As the men and women of the Revolutionary Generation grew fewer and fewer, the fabric of their times began to unravel.