Jackson Historic Plantation Site 

Founded in the 1840's, the Jackson Plantation was the second of three plantations developed by Abner Jackson. Formerly known as “Lake Place,” the site was once a bustling sugar plantation that stretched over 4,642 acres with more than 80 enslaved workers. 

Significant to the history of industrialized sugar production in Brazoria County, it has been designated as a State Antiquities Landmark by the Texas Historical Commission. Visitors can explore this historic site, most notably those of the main house and sugar mill.

Abner Jackson

Circa 1890s 

Photographer: Unknown 

 

The following photograph was taken before the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, and it is the only image of the Jackson Plantation main house. ​

The following image is that of the Jackson Plantation after the 1900 Galveston Hurricane. 

Today the Jackson Historical Plantation is in ruins. The above image depicts what is left of the main house. 

Sugar Mill 

The sugar mill at the Jackson Historic Plantation site. 

A plantation is a large-scale estate meant for farming that is specialized in producing a cash-crop or crops. Enslaved workers worked the plantations and often experienced harsh working conditions. On Abner Jackson's 4,642 acres of land, livestock, cotton, and sugarcane were sold and produced; however, sugarcane became a key crop for the Jackson plantation - and made it one of the most profitable sugarcane plantations in Texas. 

Central to Jackson's success was the plantation's location in what we now call Brazoria County. The combination of the humid subtropical climate and fertile and soil allowed for an almost year-round growing season for sugarcane. Although producing sugar all-year was profitable for the Jackson family, it meant that enslaved workers were forced to work year-round without rest. 

The production of sugar was a difficult, dirty, and dangerous task. Because sugarcane fields grow in tropical to subtropical climates, any open wounds had a high chance of becoming infected. The hot, humid environment, allowed microbes to thrive and, at times, resulted in the amputation of a limb or even death. 

The job started by cutting down the sugarcane at its roots usually a machete was used. Enslaved workers would wear protective gear such as gloves to protect their hands from the thick sugarcane leaves, and padded material was used on the legs, ankles, and feet as protection from possible injuries. 

Next, workers removed the sugarcane leaves and carried the sugarcane trunks to the sugar mill, where cane rods were squeezed to extract the sucrose or sugar. Following the step, the sucrose was sent to build to crystallize the material. 

From cutting the sugarcane from the fields to extracting the sucrose was all done under 24 hours. 

 

 

 

About Sugar Production

The Process of making sugar 

Follow the steps below and learn how sugar was made. 

1

EXTRACTION:

First, the stalk of sugar cane sent to the sugar mill was crushed to extract the juice from the cane. When the plantation was first founded, horsepower wooden rollers were used to crush the cane. It is believed that in 1858 a steam engine was installed with a metal crusher. The juice then flowed from the crushers down to a series of large to small kettles. 

Animal-powered sugar Mill, Martinique, 1885

Print Title: A Representation of the sugar-cane and the art of making sugar, 1749. The following print is a depiction of small sugar production in the West Indies. However, the image gives an example of the process of sugarcane production, from pressing the cane to boiling it. 

2

REDUCTION:

Next, the cane juice was reduced to a syrup through a train of kettle heated by fire. The heat from the fire was pulled through a flue, a long funnel located under the kettles, by the draft from ta chimney. Excavations at the Jackson sugar mill have uncovered the opening of the flue chimney and its foundation along with the circular brick remains of the kettle settings. Sometime in the mid-1870s, steam replaced fire to heat the kettle. The use of steam resulted in a finer quality of sugar. 

3

Sugar Boiling House, Trinidad, ca. 1830

GRANULATION:

Finally, the syrup was taken into the perjury where molasses were separated from the sugar crystals and allowed to cool. They were separated by taking the syrup from the final kettle and pouring it into wooden troughs about 10’ long by 5’ wide and 1’deep. The molasses was drained into barrels leaving the crystallized sugar on the troughs to dry.

Tools like the ones displayed below were used to produce sugar.  

Circa 1800s

Collins and Company made machete Slaves harvested sugar cane with a machete, like this one. 

Machete

Artifact at Lake Jackson Historical Museum

Tools used 

Cog Wheel 

Uncovered at the Sugar Mill site by the Texas Archeological Society in 1994. 

The cog pictured here, and seen on display was found at the sight of the Lake Jackson plantation it is believed to be part of a steam-powered mill. The mill was used to extract juice from the very thought fiber of the purple ribbon variety of cane grown at the plantation. 

The Cog

Artifact at Lake Jackson Historical Museum

Copper tub 

The copper tub pictured here is considered similar to tubs used by enslaved workers on the Lake Jackson Plantation to transport milado, or unpurged sugar to the purging house. Notice the curved area on the bottom of the tub. Its believed that this indention allowed the slaves to carry it on their heads more easily. 

Enslaved Period 

Despite the lack of paper evidence documenting the lives of the enslaved workers of the Jackson Plantation, it is still possible to piece together some of who they were and what their life was like. Below are different sources containing information about individual and groups of enslaved people owned by Abner Jackson.

 

About the sources:

many of the documents contain original language appropriate to the time it was written. In an attempt to maintain historical objectivity, the language has not been changed.

Circa 1840s 

Bricks made by enslaved laborers at the Jackson Plantation with finger impressions. 

Artifact at Lake Jackson Historical Museum 

Poldo Sanco 

Poldo Sanco was one of many victims of the  Atlantic Slave trade. According to the article below, Sanco was born in Africa and brought to Charleston, South Carolina as a slave. He remained in Charleston for fifty-years and was later sent to Georgia, where he stayed for six years.  Eventually, Poldo Sanco was bought by Abner Jackson and brought to Texas to work on the plantation. Sanco stayed in Lake Jackson for forty-three years.  The following documents allow us to get a glimpse into the life of Poldo Sanco. 

The following document is the census that begins on June 1, 1879, and extends to May 31, 1880. In this document, Poldo, his wife, and their son are recorded as living in Brazoria County. 

Replica of a plantation-style dress. 

Name - Age - $ Value 

1. Margaret - 35 - $600 

2. Andy - 18 months - $150 

3. Mary - 20 - $900 

4. Maria - 39 - $600 

5. Arics - 19 - $800 

6. Lydia - 2 - $150 

7. Big Ellen - 48 - $500 

8. Little Ellen - 25 - $900 

9. Emma - 2 - $150 

10. Elizabeth - 39 - $600 

11. Parthinia - 5 months - $100 

12. Edie - 14 - $700 

13. Francis - 20 - $900 

14. Fanny - 60 - $250 

15. Hannah - 60 - $250 

16. Sally - 49 - $250 

17. Sarah - 19 - $650 

18. Angeline - 18 - $900 

19. Adaline - 20 - $900 

20. Becky - 15- $900 

21. Louisa - 15 - $900

22. Lucy Harry - 60 - $250 

23. Little lucy - 22 - $800 

24. Lucinda - 14 - $800

25. Viney - 39 - $800 

26. Charlotte - 50 - $400 

27. Caroline - 20 - $900 

28. Cheney - 15 - $800 

29. Devey - 25 - $850 

30. Dliash - 18 - $400 

31. Rose - 50 - $200 

32. Rickter - 29 - $750 

33. Charles - 1 - $150 

34. Rhoda - 25 - $900 

35. Kate - 1 - $100 

36. Jane - 50 - $100

37. Julia - 25 - $850 

38. Marshall - 18 months - $200

39. Parthenoneo - 18 - $850 

40. Palace - 14 - $600 

41. Feliz - 13 - $800 

42. Ernest - 12 - $900 

43. Boston - 600 - $100 

44. Armshead - 40 - $900 

45. Adam - 16 - $1000

46. Bill jack - 35 - $900 

47. Jim Mitchell - 29 - $1000

48. Jim Ray - 20 - $1000

49. Mose - 24 - $1100 

50. Pete - 26 - $1000

51. Joe - 28 - $1000

52. Wise - 22 - $1050 

53. Walton - 25 - $1050 

54. Wash - 20 - $1050 

55. Sam - 22 - $950 

56. Henry - 26 - $1100 

57. Little Henry  - 13 - $800

58. Harry - 13 - $800

59. Daniel - 22 - $1100 

60. Hiram - 40 - $800

61. Dennis - 12 - $600 

62. Old Harry - 50 - $700 

63. Darse - 45 - $800 

64. Gilbery - 32- $1100 

65. Charles - 32 - $1100 

66. Old Armstead - 60 - $100 

67. Solomon - 100 - $00 

68. Tony Bluit - 16 - $200 

69. Patsey - 44 - $500 

70. Peggy - 60 - $250 

71. Rhoda - 58 - $150 

72. Andrew - 12 - $800

73. Dorse - 11- $700 

74. Tilla - 60 - $000

75. Emma - 70 - $000

76. Sylva - 55 - $000

77. Old Charles - 70 - $000

78.  Elvern - 60 - $200 

79. Levenia - 8 - $450 

80. Sophy - 8 - $450 

81. Pinkey - 10 - $450 

82. Dilsey - 12 - 4400 

83. Rhody - 12 - $300 

84. John - 10 - $500 

85. Arie- 10 - $400 

86. Betsey - 7 - $400 

87. Virginia - 6 - $350 

88. Hiram - 6 - $400 

89. Pathe - 8 - $400 

90. Aleck - 5 - 4300 

91. Martha - 4 - $250 

92. Dicie - 5 - $250 

93. Ben - 22 - $100 

July 1, 1862  Inventory 

The following list of names were taken from the property inventory of Abner Jackson after his death. 

Sources Used

Brazoria County Historical Museum 

Sugar, Planters, Slaves, and Convicts by Joan Few 

Library of Congress

http://www.slaveryimages.org/s/slaveryimages/item/1112 

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Contact us:

249 Circle Way 

Lake Jackson, TX 77566 - Map 

Phone: (979) 297 - 1570

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