Davis Bend: Training Ground for Entrepreneurs
 
From: bernhard1848@att.net
 
The treatment of African slaves by Jefferson Davis and his brother Joseph was not unusual in the antebellum South. They not only ensured that the slaves received Christian instruction, but also training in higher callings if they excelled, and slave courts where they were tried by their own peers for infractions and crimes. This plantation reality does not fit with nor follow the antebellum fictions and nightmares of Northern abolitionist fanatics—and is obscured, minimized or forgotten by the gatekeepers of Northern historical orthodoxy.
 
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
www.cfhi.net

Davis Bend: Training Ground for Entrepreneurs:

 
“After [reclaiming Brierfield and Hurricane plantations from Northern occupation,] Joseph Davis wasted no time. Since he was unable to operate the land himself and apprehensive of some further attempt at confiscation, Joseph looked for a purchaser.
 
An unexpected buyer appeared—Ben Montgomery, a former Davis slave. Intelligent and quick to learn, Ben had proven adept in business and proficient at almost anything he tried. Recalling that she had known Ben Montgomery when she visited Hurricane after her marriage 9probably in 18440, Mrs. Roach has written a brief account of him:
 
“My first knowledge of him was as a merchant and his Master’s agent to ship cotton, and transact all his Master’s business with the steamboats of the period. Ben’s store, and dwelling house, were near the steamboat landing and warehouse. His wife lived “at home,” sewed occasionally for the ladies of the family, but usually only kept house for her husband. Ben brought goods from N.O. and Natchez in his own name; his Master having once guaranteed him, he preserved his own credit.
 
The ladies of the family used to “shop” at his store, which was well supplied with necessary dry goods of the time, as well as staple goods….in 1853 Ben sent quantities of foods, meal, eggs, and everything that could be sent to us for the yellow fever patients, and wrote your father such beautiful letters with the supplies sent for our sick.  In ’54 and ’55 he also sent supplies. His master was not at home on these occasions.”
 
(Brierfield: Plantation Home of Jefferson Davis, Frank E. Everett, Jr., University and College Press of Mississippi, 1971, pp. 85-86)