tv American History TV CSPAN April 16, 2016 7:11pm-7:31pm EDT
sites showcasing the rich history. tuscaloosa is home to the university of alabama, rounded in 1831. learn more on american history tv. >> welcome to historic tuscaloosa and the historic jemison-van de graaff mansion. it was built between 1859 and 1862 by robert jeminson jr. we're looking at a way to showcase his wealth and the wealth of the region. he wanted to showcase that alabama was not a backwater. he was trying to move the state forward. all the different kinds of wood .ork comes from alabama it is an incredible show of the resources. designed by a
philadelphia architects who was building the state insane asylum . he was a proponent of mental health reform and was a proponent of the asylum and the asylum in tuscaloosa. so we had him design a residence for him as well. spacescan see, wide-open . it is for entertaining and built to impress. that isa large arch marrying the roman-styles with the arches and the greek revival style with the columns. it was new and different. it looks wood, but this is faux-graining, very popular in the 19th century. we have the original faux-grai ning. that is plaster painted to look like wood. we painted that to actually original finish. it was painted in the 1840's by noted portrait authority at the town. time.
we do have the necklace she was wearing in her portrait on display. and hererokee jeminson dog. a lot of people say, the portraiture at this time was not very good or impressive. details,look at the they are not trying to showcase the person as much as the wealth of the family in showing the flowers and tassels. there is more detail in the lace then in her face. it is about what the family had. library,minson family it is restored back to its 1862 of parents. -graining. this empire box sofa is on display as well as these two bookcases that were built for the house.
books and education are a item in the 19th century. to have leather bound greek classics is very important to showcase for the wealthy class. farms.rich from he can make it on farming, but he is wealthy from business interests. he had a mill in mississippi and is turning out decorative houses. to go onto he is building structures on campus, working for the state doing different projects. he has people who work on these structures. he makes money off of them, the roads and of the toll bridges. he is in partnership with anyone who makes money. he is a businessman. and he has the farms to borrow against. every now and then he dips too the and you will see him on verge of bankruptcy, then his
big idea will pan out. we are thinking of tuscaloosa in the deep south in the black belt region. the head of the greek revival, square houses, square plans. the same downstairs as upstairs. classical columns. jeminson takes a step away with the italian villain style. -- villa style. the houses built over an english basement that pulls in air and naturally cools it. there's a belvidere at the top that acts like an air vent pulling the warm air out. in the hottest days of the summer you can open the warmest vents and it will give you a sense of air-conditioning. in the dining room, we are pleased to showcase the dining table from about the 1900s. the later generations, but still a family peace. piece.ly
the portions to cut class and services, you have to remember that it is built on one form or another. this is a room where we can showcase more than any other the role of people who are serving. to the waiter. in the 19th century, slaves would have been coming in to cook and serve. here we see the planter class at its most decadence. the long table, the silver. there were people who provided this. underneath the house, the early house to have arekitchen attached, they working, cooking, and cleaning. one person's job was to go around and adjust the windows and shutters to provide for the sun and heat around the house.
there were 17 people living on the property as slaves to maintain the residence. to put that in perspective, all of the work that it takes to thatthis up, how much of is now done by modern systems. we do not think about the amount of work it would have taken to maintain this. you can see the original woodwork, walnut and china berry . at the landing, we have a pair of doors. one is false doors persimmon tree. then we have the servant's passage. here, the state of alabama's first held in that stuff. woodenon tin with a surround.
it is hard to imagine hot and cold running water, but this house was ahead of its time technologically. the roof collected rainwater and it was pumped up by hand to the tank room in the attic and said act down like a water tower. an addition to be because of the interior windows, but it was built all at once. they are for air ventilation to go in to rooms in the house. this is a statement for the 19th century. if you are pulling leads in the .arden, that his work if you are clipping iv tendrils, that is a hobby. have enoughhat you people, and in the deep south, you owned enough people for them to do the work that you can have a refined hobby like growing rare and exotic plants and flowers.
this would have also had the steam heating to heat the house. it was never installed due to wartime embargoes. he begins his service as a representative in the house of representatives and in this whent in the 1820's tuscaloosa is the state capital, and even when it does to montgomery. he runs his business and building from here while traveling to montgomery to serve as the senator. senator jeminson is at the secession convention in montgomery. we have so many of his letters. he writes to his daughters, and one is addressed from the senate floor that is powerful, he is writing that this is a newsworthy item. it is lighthearted, but there is an undertone of severe worry. he is watching the nation fall
apart. he voted against secession. yancey is carrying on about how we are going to see what will happen to those who do not agree. jeminson is frustrated and asks, how will you do this? round of the people that are the dissenters? he said we will do it by voting district, county, city, and family line? will you tell people that oppose you? will the birth of this new nation beyond the spilled blood of our countrymen? it is a foreshadowing of what will happen at the end of the five years in conflict. it continues to roll on. jeminson votes against the secession several times, but when it is clear the state will secede, he travels with it and votes for it. we have a copy of the ordinance of secession. there is a long list of names.
top hereat the very the second to last name at the bottom and scribbled is jeminson . and thehouse, jeminson civil war, it is a fascinating microcosm of what is going on in the deep south. you have the planter class hurtling forward. someone like senator jeminson cannot fathom a world where he will not own other people. 's wealth is built on this. he is constructing this house. he had northern performance over the house that say, i understand you need to go home, but we will pick back up shortly. they finish the house by correspondence. jeminson's workman banished the house. missing details. they would have been a steam heating plant and elaborate masterwork. all in all the houses completed by 1862.
the civil war it very difficult on the jeminson family. particularly in jeminson's hesitance to understand the grasp of what is happening. you cannot blame him, no one did in the early times. he goes to montgomery, then to richmond to serve as a confederate senator. he is watching this and trying to tell his wife and his daughter how to run the house and what to keep dealing. they start sending him letters about the shortages. he says, i'm sure it will get better shortly. it doesn't. one thing i found fascinating from the woman's perspective was mrs. jeminson's daybook. the plantation and lead era. we imagine her wandering around in a ball gown. that is not what day to day life is. it starts in 1850's with chores
and inventories. it has recipes. before the war they have sugar, .ream, and eggs they're wonderful things. you see the recipes evolved over the course of her diary through the war. she starts to create other ways to make these foods with less sugar, more flour, less eggs. in the end, what was the delightful cooking, it is basically a ritz cracker. everything has been taken away. you start to see nuts and roots being added as well. you have a big wine house filled with fine things. they have a stunning gas line system. there are running out of things. a bedroom set up like it might have been in the
19th century. we have a bed similar to the style that we know that cherokee jeminson had based on records, although it is not original. we have several pieces here. a bedroom was your own apartment within the house. one thing to remember is that within me jeminson mansion, when you came downstairs you had to be dressed and ready because senator jeminson may have colleagues in the house. it is not a private world the way that you can wander around in your pajamas. joe davis, jefferson davis' older brother, came here with his grandchildren and lived here is refugee touring the civil war. we found out during his amnesty agreement that this is where he had been. after he left jackson, he came here. we found out one half of the house was not our nation, because by the time it was going to be shipped, the embargo had
started and mobile had fallen. lose the grandeur of the idea of what the old south is versus the reality. union forces are on the other side of the river. they can see us, we could see them, but we did not cross the bridge. in the evening, one sentry on the bridge was knocked out, they cross the bridge, they arrived in downtown tuscaloosa. there is one structure that is completely lit up. jeminson has gas fixtures. for the record, the union military records say that they went to the opera house. a large structure on the main street of town. it was this house. it was such a large and opulent home that some of the foot soldiers believed it to be a public building. jeminson and the city leaders were there to attempt to
surrender the city peacefully. they said if you're not bring the structures and warehouses we as wend this as beasley can. please, do not burn down the university. at that time it was the news does a military purpose. they said we will turn down all of the military purposes. they did destroy the arsenal. it was a fire downtown, but that was not caused by a battle or strife. otherouse and several homes had a federal marshal guarding them. had union forces guarding the houses. the unionh from forces coming in, but of neighbors being upset that it had gone down peacefully. saying, we will not go out without a fight here the city leaders saying, and no, we actually are. jeminson is worth a lot of money
on paper, but is liquid asset were in confederate stocks and bonds which were worthless. his highest value before the war was in owning people, and he no longer owned people. he delivered a speech at one of his plantations. he wrote it down so we have a fascinating document. the founding era of what would become sharecropping. you are free, i'm not denying that. here is what we can do. there is still work to be done. there's really go back to him being a businessman. you may be free, and i have accepted this, but there is work to be done and if you want to be a part of it there is a place for you. interesting, he says right now everybody needs to make that decision. if you are back to leave i would like for you to go now. you cannot come back.
it are and going, the system won't work. he is asking people to make tough choices. if you stay, this is what we are going to do. you can farm this percentage for yourself and this percentage for me. all of the provisions and we will split the profits. you have the beginnings of sharecropping. not work. when people ask is why we preserve things, take care of this, isn't this a temple to slave ownership or anything like that -- i disagree. this is a house of craftsmanship that showcases slave skills and the work done. it encompasses a time period. some good, some bad. the only way to and capture this is with our three-dimensional history. there is no slide or textbook that can give you the grandeur and sense of place as being in
the home where senator jeminson surrender the city to union forces. it is fascinating to be here. >> our cities tour staff recently traveled to tuscaloosa. learn about tuscaloosa and other stops on c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> up next, johns hopkins university history professor fursenberg talks about five aristocrats that fled the french revolution in the early 1790's and settled in philadelphia. their influence and the relationships these men formed with political figures of the early republic. c-span's american history tv aterviewed mr. furstenberg
the 20 16th annual meeting of american historians in providence, rhode island. this is about 15 minutes. fursternberg, your book focuses on five french aristocrats. who are they? prof. furstenberg: these were upper-level aristocrats. they descended from a highest level of the french nobility. all of them were liberals who had participated in the early stages of the french revolution. until it became too radical for them and were forced to flee the country. for the 5 that are focused, all who came to the united states, the most famous is one who later became the french foreign minister under napoleon. he spent a couple years in the united states. he had been an archbishop in the french church. he was the person that imposed the nationalization of church land. another figur