Alexis Ferry, 1842-1883

Description

Alexis Ferry was a sugar planter and slave owner from St. James Parish, La. He bought Bourbon Plantation in the 1840s for sugar production. He married Josephine Roman, the daughter of Valcour Aime and his wife Josephine Roman in 1857. With a dowry from his father-in-law, Ferry bought a second plantation in 1858 for his new wife across the river from his plantation and Oak Alley Plantation, owned by Aime, and called it Home Place. In 1866, Ferry was forced to sell his plantations when a storm destroyed one of his sugar mills and economic turmoil affected the plantation economy due to the abolition of slavery. The state sold the plantation to Joseph Waguespack in 1877, and he changed the name to St. Joseph plantation.
From 1842 to 1883, Ferry wrote in his journals about his family, health, and business. Several entries contain his opinions on the issues of slavery, race, religion, and state sovereignty. He wrote about the transition of the antebellum slave and plantation economy to a free society, and commented on wage-earning freedmen and labor strikes. He also wrote about his interests in astronomy as well as several political and philosophical ideas about society. Ferry sketched ships, horses, and machines he invented for harvest on many of the pages of his journals. The journals also contain balance sheets for his plantation and weather records for anticipating the outcome his harvests.
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