In 1838 a young British naturalist named Phillip Henry Gosse traveled to Dallas County, Alabama, to study the flora and fauna there (especially the insects). He supported himself by teaching the children of local planters in their log cabin schoolhouse in a forest clearing. While much of the book is dedicated to the plants and animals he saw, there are also some vivid descriptions of life on the frontier, not all of them flattering.
He stayed in Alabama for about eight months and published "Letters from Alabama" in London in 1859.
While I don't have any ancestors who lived in Dallas County, my fourth great grandfather Henry Avery had moved to Alabama by 1819 and died in Bibb County in 1836. I feel certain that his style of life wasn't that much different from Gosse's neighbors.
It's possible to get a copy of this book from many vendors, including Amazon.com, but it's also available as a Google book for free.
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