|About the Book|
Emily Wharton Sinkler was only eighteen years old when she began to write to distant relatives, chronicling her experiences on an antebellum cotton plantation. The daughter of prominent Philadelphia lawyer Thomas Wharton, Emily had married Charles Sinkler of South Carolina and moved south to begin a new life. Emilys letters ring with keen insights into Southern society and offer a definitive account of a young woman transplanted to the South in 1842 through the Civil War. This frequent and thorough correspondence conveys the rich and varied details of a time divided between North and South.Her urban background contrasted greatly with her daily duties as a rural plantation mistress, and she describes creating a world of culture in the midst of the swamps of South Carolina. She writes of fabulous lancing tournaments, exciting horse races, and vivid evenings full of games, dancing, and music. At the same time, she was pioneering her way in a rural, isolated environment, inventing alternatives for everyday necessities, and managing the resources of a plantation. She also tells of her interest in religion and African American culture and how she established a church where she taught reading to African Americans. Determined and inventive, Emily Sinkler lived very successfully in two different worlds. Her passionate account of the antebellum period re-creates a time in American history when both regions were setting a perilous course.