JULIETTE, Georgia. (41NBC/WMGT) – Over 100 years ago, farms and plantations were scattered across the southeast. Middle Georgia had its fair share of plantations, too. A cotton plantation in Juliette was popular in the community during the 1800’s and is now being preserved by the state of Georgia.
Among the countryside of Middle Georgia, tucked away in the wooded hills of Jones County lies one of the state’s old cotton plantations.
The Jarrell family owned and operated this plantation for over 125 years, donating it to the state of Georgia in 1974.
The plantation’s existence dates back to 1847, when John Jarrell and his wife, Elizabeth Middlebrooks, moved to the area.
In the beginning, 19 slaves worked on the plantation, but over time that number would grow above 40.
Cotton was the main cash crop, but the Jarrell’s also found success growing sugar cane.
Throughout the years, the plantations experienced some hardships, “from Sherman’s March to the Sea, to the boll weevil destroying cotton production, to the Great Depression and soil erosion issues,” says Derek Jackson, Interpretive Ranger at the Jarrell Plantation.
John Jarrell’s son Dick Jarrell would keep the farm alive by introducing industrialization to its operations, specifically adding a steam engine to the plantation.
“They would’ve run a sawmill, a grist mill, a cotton gin and a shingle mill out here using that steam engine,” Jackson says.
With the addition of the steam engine, the Jarrell Family was able to provide the community with materials to build buildings, bridges and churches.
90 percent of everything you’ll see at the Jarrell Plantation is original to the plantation and the Jarrell Family, who donated the property to the state to become a historic site for preservation and education.
What you see at the Jarrell Plantation may be different than the images portrayed of plantations in Hollywood movies. “This is very different than what I think people would expect, but I think it’s a great representation of that time period,” added Jackson.
Visitors will be able to experience life on a plantation at the Jarrell Plantation’s Labor Day Folk Celebration on September 1, 2019. Volunteers in the community will act out life on the plantation with history demonstrations like wood carving, blacksmithing, house tours and more.
The Jarrell Plantation is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.