Stinking Stones and Rocks of Gold
Phosphate, Fertilizer, and Industrialization in Postbellum South Carolina
South Carolina Historical Society George C. Rogers Jr. Book Award
"A solid contribution."--Journal of American History
"An insightful analysis of the rise of the phosphate and fertilizer industries in the South Carolina lowcountry."--Business History Review
"Places the rise of these industries in the context of the struggle for southern economic leadership in the years following the Civil War. . . . A well-written, engaging history."--Journal of Economic History
"McKinley posits that the fertilizer industry emancipated former planter elites from the slave-based antebellum economy. . . . Ultimately, manufactured fertilizer contributed to fundamental changes in southern agriculture."--American Historical Review
"A significant contribution to the story of industrialization in the New South."--Choice
"Illustrates how South Carolina’s abundant phosphate deposits bred vibrant mining and fertilizer industries in Charleston and adjacent environs that helped reshape land, labor, and economy in the heartland of the former Confederacy."--Journal of Southern History
"A finely layered and important study that fills in gaps in the industrial history of the New South and especially low-country South Carolina."--Sidney Bland, author of Preserving Charleston's Past, Shaping Its Future: The Life and Times of Susan Pringle Frost
"Skillfully blurs the old, comfortable line between Old and New South economies and paints a nuanced picture of the new labor relations in the post-slavery era."--Charles Holden, author of In the Great Maelstrom
In the first book ever written about the impact of phosphate mining on the South Carolina plantation economy, Shepherd McKinley explains how the convergence of the phosphate and fertilizer industries carried long-term impacts for America and the South.
Fueling the rapid growth of lowcountry fertilizer companies, phosphate mining provided elite plantation owners a way to stem losses from emancipation. At the same time, mining created an autonomous alternative to sharecropping, enabling freed people to extract housing and labor concessions.
Stinking Stones and Rocks of Gold develops an overarching view of what can be considered one of many key factors in the birth of southern industry. This top-down, bottom-up history (business, labor, social, and economic) analyzes an alternative path for all peoples in the post-emancipation South.