Though cotton was the crop of the South, the life was not easy. It
too was a occupation of uncertainty. The smallest factor could ruin
your crop for the season and put your family into severe debt.
In 1918, the king crop began to lose its value to the farmers in Montgomery
County. In that year, there was a severe boil weevil infestation like
never before. The land was quickly destroyed and the years crops gone.
Many farmers turned away from cotton farming and turned to peanut farming.
Others turned to use the land for raising cattle. Cotton was too risky
of a crop to grow.
When the cotton plants spout, they are immediately endangered by many
elements of mother nature. One such element is vegetation and growth
of weeds. The weeds could strangle the young plants and ruin the crop
for the entire season. So Morris went out and helped get rid of nut
grass, cottonweed, and Johnsongrass, all of which were fatally harmful
to the crop. Another danger was army worms and weevils.
Cotton Farming System:
The Civil War was not fought because of slavery. Slavery became as issue
during the war. However, slavery did not survive the Civil War, legally
anyway. But the plantation system of the south still existed. The farmers
of the south no longer had access to the free labor they did prior to
the south. However, they still managed to use the blacks to their advantage.
The plantation system survived the war. What was slavery now became
tenant farming. In those times tenant farmers were those who "paid rent
to farm a portion of the plantation or sharecroppers who didn't pay
rent but turned over the lion's share of the cotton they grew to the
plantation owners, or field hands who worked for pennies a day." The
lifestyle and living conditions of some of these tenant farmers was
sickening. Tenant farmers were black and white alike, but in central
Alabama they were mostly black.