A Place Called Home
Finally, they stumble upon the old Wigglesworth estate. Morris Dees
to purchase 110 acres of the land. Though 110 acres seemed to be a lot,
much of it was of no use to the Dees. There was an abundance of timber
but they had no timber rights so they couldn't touch the trees. A lot
of the land was swamp, which was of no use for farming. But there were
acres of land perfect for cotton farming and cattle grazing.
Morris Dees Sr. settled his family down ona piece of land they could
finally call their own. It was a happy time. The Dees build their house
and began to farm the land.
The planting of cotton started in April, but the tenant farmers and
farmhands were working long before planting season. In February, Morris
Sr. went out with the farm hands and plowed the fields. Plowing prevented
the erosion of the land. Even though winter had just rid them, it was
imperative to plow the land at the first signs of spring. In early March,
they began breaking the land. The land was turned over and over and
isles were created and each was fertilized. In April the planting came.
Planting could be done by women and children as well. As soon as Morris
Jr. was old enough, he was out there with his father and the farm hands.
As soon as the cotton plants spout, they are immediately endangered
by many elements of mother nature, such as other vegetation and the
growth of weeds. The weeds could strangle the young plants and ruin
the crop for the entire season. So Morris Jr. 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.
Debt and Misfortune
That June, disaster struck the family. It rained the entire month. The
rain drowned the majority of their cotton crop. What survived, the Johnson
grass strangled to death. In order to make a profit for the season,
the Dees family needed to produce a bale of cotton for every acre of
their land. But they only came up with 50 bales and this put the Dees
family $30,000 in debt.