Salt a Necessity During the Civil War, as Union Soldiers Raided Plantation

Sisters marry veterans of the Civil War; Tennessee plantation raided by Union soldiers.

| Good Old Days

Susan Elizabeth James and her twin sister, Rachel, were born September 8, 1847, in Georgia. The family moved to Tennessee when the girls were 8 years old. The James family lived in a two-story brick house on a plantation in Jefferson County, Tennessee. During the Civil War, while some of the battles were fought near their home, the Union soldiers frequented their home, carrying off chickens, cows, hogs and anything they wanted or could use. Salt, a necessity, was $18 a pound. Those who could not afford to buy salt boiled the dirt from the floor of the smokehouse and drained the water for the salt. Calico was the most expensive material to buy; Susan paid $22 for calico material to make a dress after the Civil War.

At the age of 18, they married brothers, both Civil War veterans. Susan Elizabeth married Anderson Putman, who fought for the South, and Rachel married John Royner Putman who fought for the North.

By Effie Slater
Submitted by Margaret Kenyon
Guthrie, Oklahoma

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 

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