In "The Way It Was", 1930s & Before, Bee Stories, PHOTOS BY DECADE, POSTS BY LOCATION, Round O, S.C., STORIES on August 9, 2015 at 9:09 am

sugar cane goldens front 2

sugar cane kettle rear cover

sugar cane kettle

(Editor’s note: The topic of the “big round pot in the back yard” takes up an entire chapter in Bee / Momma / Grandma’s memoirs, because that pot was used for everything from making soap, to washing clothes, to boiling cane syrup, to boiling peanuts, to making sausage after killing hogs.

After the Round O home was unoccupied, this big round pot was stolen, so we have no photos of it or any of the activities that took place around it. In a letter Bee / Momma / Grandma wrote in 1999, she said, “There was a big utility pot in the back yard but that was stolen.. It had a roof over it and was  set in a concrete furnace and fed by fire in the opening. This pot was used for making syrup from sugar cane, lye soap from grease and lye, cleaning clothes, scolding hog, cows, deer, when in the cleaning process.”

Although we have no photos of our family’s pot, there are a number of websites devoted to the lost art of Southern syrup-making. You can find a black-and-white photo of how the kettle would have been used at the Southern Syrupmakers Association, this recent article in Garden & Gun about some good old boys in South Carolina who are trying to bring the tradition back, and a company in Greensboro, N.C., that sells old sugar kettles. Wikipedia also explains the difference between the “ribbon cane” of the Southern United States as compared to other sugarcane varieties used for making other sugars further south.

The clippings above are not from Bee / Momma / Grandma’s things, but from catalog put out in 1916 from Goldens’ Foundry & Machine Company in Georgia.  Did any of you ever see the actual big round pot? Is this what it looked like?)

  1. Carey, I think my mom’s side of the family also had one of these, and my Uncle Frank has currently made it into a fountain in their back yard. It’s ridiculously heavy and at least 3 feet in diameter across the top. I’ll dig up any pictures I have of it and send it to you so you or others can see if it’s the kind of thing you’re talking about.

  2. Michaela, that is awesome! I am copying that info from your Uncle Frank:

    “Thanks, Julie. It is unfortunate that Bee’s family “pot” was stolen, as these utility staples of yesteryear are now collector’s items and, today, have so much sentimental value and interest for families, as evidenced from the King Kitchen attachment.

    The sugar kettle I have from our Kicklighter grands is a McDonough & Ballantyne make from the very late 1800s or very early 1900s. John.McDonough and Thomas Ballantyne, of Scotch-Irish descent, established a foundry and machine shop in Savannah in 1866.They made all sorts of iron castings for farm and railroad use for many years.Our kettle is stamped with the foundry name from Savannah and the capacity is identified as 60 gallons. Here is an ad from the Savannah Morning News dated 18 Nov 1880 with the price of our kettle at $12.00:”

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