Bothwell: The Golden Leaf
In August, the days start to get shorter, the nights become cooler, the sound of cicadas’ singing can be heard and the sweet smell of curing tobacco wafting through the air. Combined, these sensations bring memories to mind. Unfortunately, some of these sensations will be just that – memories.
Whether you are for or against the sale of tobacco, the industry has been a huge part of the history of Bothwell. With the demise of the oil industry, tobacco replaced the “black gold” boom with a green one, starting as early as the 1930’s. Unfortunately due to the changing governmental policy on growing tobacco, many of these farms have recently disappeared after multiple generations of family members farming them. With only a few growers today, this industry is fading quickly from our landscape.
Just as everything in history, we must remember the people who have made up that “history”. Many growers have come and gone over the years, but some of the families still reside in the Bothwell area, including such family names as Coone, Cosyns, Covemaker, Demaiter, De Pelsmaeker, Dewulf, Feys, Hauspie, Herr, Huszka, Kulak, Lambrecht, Meersseman, Mezenburg, Pynaert, Sarapnickas, Staels, Stenger, Van Braeckel, Van Damme, Van Dyke, Vannieuwenhuzen, Verecken, Verhelle, and Verstraete.
These are their stories.
Visit Tobacco: The Green Gold of the Bothwell Sand Plains for an on-line tour of the history of tobacco in Bothwell.
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