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My Alabama Shaw Family on My Father’s Side From 1861-2014

Granddaddy Adam understood that he worked in the widespread tar industry

Posted Sept 28, 2016

Annie Shaw-Barnes, Ph.D.
Author and Speaker
Cultural Anthropologist
Family Specialist
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Hi everyone,

Tar was not a new industry in America in the 1930s and 1940s.

The industry had existed earlier in Europe, especially in Scandinavia and Sweden. When America was colonized, the British encouraged colonists in North America to produce tar and ship it to England. The colonists shipped large amounts of tar to England, until the American Revolution, in 1776. Later, in 1850, the South had a monopoly on tar production, especially North and South Carolina. In time, however, in the 19th century, tar, pitch (pitch is made by adding to tar certain filler materials, such as rabbit droppings, hardwood ash, sawdust, animal hair to thicken tar and fat, including tallow or beeswax to make tar workable without getting too brittle), and turpentine manufacturing, as it was called, spread to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Florida. By 1900, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida were major tar producers.

Hence, tar was a cash crop industry in our Alabama, my Shaw family.

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