In this magnificent book, Edward Ball tells the story of Southern slavery through tracking the histoy of the Balls, prominent landowners and big slave owners in southern Carolina and Charleston from 1698 to emancipation - thereafter a family in dispersal and decline. In 1698 a planter named Elias Ball arrived in South Carolina from Devon, England, to claim an inheritance to one half of a plantation. By 1865, the Ball family owned over a dozen plantations along the Cooper River near Charleston. The crop was Carolina Gold - rice. By the time the Civil War ended, nearly 4,000 people had been enslaved by the Balls. Descendents of the Ball slaves may number as high as 11,000 today.