CRACKERS HOUSES BY JOHN HANCOCK


CRACKERS' HOUSES

PAGE 1


Photographed by
JOHN L. HANCOCK
while residing in Swainsboro, Georgia





These photographs cannot be duplicated in any form without permission.




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Cracker's House
and
A Bit of Historical Perspective

by
Audrey (Shields) Hancock
of Portage, Michigan


A Cracker's House was a small cabin usually built in a rural area by an often poor, self-sufficent, independent native or resident of Georgia and Florida. Some were built of clapboard while others were made of logs. Sheet metal roofs were common to this type of house, and for some, tar paper was used first until the family could afford and graduate to the metal roof. Many of these pioneer, historical homes are dilapidated and disappearing into the landscape of years gone by. Others have been renovated and occupied at this time.

The people who originally resided in them were frequently known as CRACKERs. They provided a home and necessities for themselves and their families. It appears those of early habitation were of the white race. In some cases, the term "cracker" is considered a derogatory word, a slur and even racial remark, which was attached to backwoods country folks of those two states, much like the word "hillbilly" is applied to other folks of other states. Some observe that the term "cracker" referred to poor tenant farmers, sometimes of mixed race, who were not schooled people and who made a living as best they could from the land, and perhaps made a little "moonshine" on the side. Some people are proud of their heritage and the terms connected with it, while others abhor the utter mention of the word and its connotations.
(Contributor: Mary at GenealogyStar@aol.com)

I have also been told that the "crackers" were the poorest of the poor white folks living in Georgia. They were frequently illiterate (unable to read or write) and lived on the edge of starvation. They were used as the butt of many jokes from the white elite, and they were also ruthlessly exploited politically.
(Contributor: Alvis at Reb612000@aol.com)

Another person wrote that Georgia raised two main crops. Cotton was grown by the wealthy and those well off enough to have slaves to do the picking. Others were share croppers (farming land renters) with many raising peanuts as their main crop. When times were bad or there were a lot of share croppers, these farmers subsisted on their own crop---PEANUTS.  THEY CRACKED THE SHELLS, so they became known as "crackers." Also, there is a chance that the empty shells were left around, so that they would crack when walked on...hence, "crackers."
(Contributor: Bob BINSTEIN at just-bob@pacbell.net)

Other contributors of information state that the Florida "Crackers" nickname came about for another reason, besides some of its inhabitants living in such houses. Years before, bulls and cows were brought from Spain to Florida, and eventually most became wild living in the brush of the wet lands. As the U.S.A. population increased, a railroad was built, and meat became a viable crop in the north. Cowboys, vaqueros, and cattle hunters began corralling and driving cattle to market. While guns were utilized for protection and herding, the large bull whip was most common. The herd leaders were trained to the command of the cracking bull whip on an ear or rump, as they were rounded up for transport. These herd gatherers were called "Crackers."
(Contributors: Sue at suelefan@home.com and Dr. Robert Hopkins at BOBHOP@aol.com)

Another contributor indicated that the poor itinerant farmers used platted cowhide whips about 10/15 feet long that they would pop over the heads of cattle, and/or mules, when they were being driven along. Therefore, the name "Crackers" was a result.
(Contributors: Bill at BigBill4@aol.com)

Some Crackers' Houses looked like two cabins together which were connected by a roofed porch called a "dog trot." And...today, like the Cape Cod design used in modern architecture, Cracker style homes are designed for modern use.




    Scottish Hillbillies and Rednecks: CRACKER   







Emanuel County, Georgia





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Emanuel County, Georgia





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Emanuel County, Georgia





Emanuel County, Georgia





Emanuel County, Georgia



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Crackers' Houses, Page 2

Crackers' Houses, Page 3

Crackers' Houses, Page 4






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    Emanual County, Georgia Website   





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Webpage by:
Audrey (Shields) Hancock
of Portage, Michigan




Created: 25 November 2001
Revised: 3 June 2003






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