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When the fertile regions of south Louisiana were devoted to the growth of sugar cane and the production of raw sugar on a commercial scale, resident farmers converted from cotton to the new staple, and planters from neighboring regions invested heavily in the new commodity. One such adventurer was Stephen Minor, whose one plantation in Ascension Parish was expanded into three in Louisiana by his son, William J. Minor. Waterloo plantation, as the Ascension land was called, and the two Terrebonne Parish plantations, Southdown and Hollywood, were operated on an absentee basis by William J. Minor until 1856, when he established residence in Terrebonne Parish. This Natches, Mississippian, was able to acquire property worth $1,000,000 by 1860.

William J. Minor was typical of the sugar planters of Louisiana. He planted, harvested and manufactured his crop according to the established methods of the time. He found it necessary to borrow heavily to continue operations, yet made a reasonable return on his investment. He purchased and sold slaves, secured supplies through the use of a factor, and sold his produce through agents in New Orleans, New York, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and other port cities. The management of his plantations through overseers was typical, though his attention to detail may seem unusual. Successful management enabled him to expand through the purchase of additional land and slaves. He attempted experiments in planting, harvesting sugar cane and making sugar, and sought satisfactory solutions to the multitude of problems with which sugar planters were faced.

This study is an attempt to present the phases of plantation management, production, sale and operation which an examination of the records kept by Minor and his overseers has shown. Its writing has been governed by the author's desire to contribute to the monographic material available regarding the economic aspects of sugar plantation management under the slavery regime.