"One Peck of Meal": Food Rations and Social Conditions at St. Inigoes, The Mobberly Diaries, Part I, 1820.

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"One Peck of Meal": Food Rations and Social Conditions at St. Inigoes, The Mobberly Diaries, Part I, 1820.


Slave labor; Slaves--United States--Social conditions; Master and Servant; Jesuits--Missions-Jesuits. Maryland Province


Br. Joseph Mobberly offers a detailed account of the amount of food allowed to each slave at St. Inigoes as well as their types of clothes and medical attention.


Joseph P. Mobberly, SJ Papers



Georgetown Slavery Archive

The Mobberly Diaries were previously hosted by the Jesuit Plantation Project.




Adam Rothman, Elsa Barraza Mendoza, Jesuit Plantation Project


Georgetown University Library









Text Item Type Metadata


State of the farm when I left it 

Bushels of wheat sowed ------------- 223 1/2

The two young horse colts were from a fine full blooded Virginian horse Oscar ----- 4 of the mares were supposed to be with foal again by a large 1/2 blooded horse -- When I speak of a Statement of St. Inigo's farm, I mean the home farm & the two smaller farms which were then attached to the home farm. I left the farm about the 1st of June 1820 ----------

I left about 220 Barrels of Indian corn for the support of the farm & much more bacon, pickles, pork & corned beef than was necessary for the people, allowing 2. lbs to each working hand per week. When I first went to the farm, the people had never been allowed more than 1 1/2 lbs. for each labourer per week -- After some years as I found we had an abundance, I raised it to 2 lbs. per week.

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State of the farm when I left it

One peck of meal a little heaped was always allowed each labourer per week and a half peck to children. Old people who were passed labour were allowed as much per week as a labourer. One peck per week was always found to be a plenty, and some of them did not use it all. What they did not use was preserved for the raising of poultry. Each family was allowed to have a good garden, its extent being in proportion to the family. They raised cabbages, cotton & c. but their chief crop was in sweet potatoes. + (of these a family commonly raised

[f11] +Doctor Tabbs Junior of St. M. Cty formerly observed to me that sweet potatoes are so pernicious to health that he was strongly opposed to them, & was determined that not one should ever be raised on his farm. I find that the same opinion is put forth in Major Long's expedition to the Rocky Mountains, and

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State of the farm when I left it

from 30 to 50 bushels. They were sold at $1.$1.25 cts., and sometimes at $1.50 cts. per bushel. Each family generally raised 100, 150, or 200 chickens, which they sold at 25 cts. each, seldom at a lower price. They were in the habit of selling some cabbages & a great many eggs. They also, in defiance of authority, gathered oysters on sundays and holidays which they sold to ships & c. The father of each family generally made from $80 to $100 per Annum. This was clear gain to him, as he depended entirely on the manager for working clothes and provisions. Each labourer received 

[f12] I have taken notice that aques & fevers commenced on St. Inigo's farm, when the people began to eat their sweet potatoes. During the noviciate the white family amounted to 17 in number -- at other times, it frequently amounted to 5 or 6. Yet but two cases of aque and fever ever

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State of the farm when I left it

from the farm for summer, 2 shirts, and one pr. of double soaled shoes, one pr. of stockings, one pr. of pantaloons and a round-about coat, all made on the farm from the crops of wool and flax. --The women received 2 shifts and 1 habit for summer, and for winter 1 pr. of double soaled shoes, 1 pr. stockings, 1 petticoat, & 1 short gown. Hats & sunday 

appeared there in the white family, in the course of 12 years, and they arose from imprudent exposure. The sweet potatoes seldom or never appeared on our table, but the Irish potatoe was in common use the whole year, with the exception of 2 or 3 months. However, I do not think that Black will be easily brought over to the above opinion. They love money & they love the Sweet potatoe. If they sicken, Master must cure them, for their uniform doctrine is: "Master's property -- master's loss." In judging, their criterion is not reason, but sense. They do not act from principle.

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State of the farm when I left it

app al, they provided with their own funds. When sick they were served with medicine from the house by the Manager & furnished with sugar, tea & c. if necessary. In extraordinary cases a Physician was called in, & all possible attention paid them in their illness.

Original Format





Joseph P. Mobberly, SJ Papers, “"One Peck of Meal": Food Rations and Social Conditions at St. Inigoes, The Mobberly Diaries, Part I, 1820.,” Georgetown Slavery Archive, accessed July 16, 2024, http://slaveryarchive.georgetown.edu/items/show/150.