Vinnie’s Cabin: shades of the past

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Madison Lingerfelt, Writer

Vinnie’s Cabin is an original slave cabin still standing in Cartersville. Historians indicate it was one of approximately ten on the property.

Elijah Murphy Field and Cornelia Maxey Harrison Field were the original owners of the main house that sits at the front of the cabin. At one point in time, the cabin was connected to the main house, which is now a hair salon located on North Erwin Street. This was not the Field’s main house,  but a town home. They had a larger plantation on Pumpkinvine Creek, which housed several enslaved peopleMrs.Fields lived at this smaller house with their seven children. 

At one point, the house was used as a  post office for general Benjamin Harrison of Indiana, who served with General Sherman during his march through Georgia. 

The cabin has recently been restored (in 2018) after the roof and floor collapsed. The walls remain as they were during the time of slavery. The inside walls are slat-like pieces of thin wood. The outside walls are made of thicker wood. There are gaps between the inside slats and outside boards where residents would stuff newspapers and other scraps of paper to insulate the cabin from the cold. Some newsprints from earlier times are still visible. 

The cabin is named after Vinnie Salters Johnson and her son, Cafaries Johnson, who lived in the cabin after the Civil War.  Vinnie worked as a paid cook for the Fields family while living on their property 

While Vinnie was a paid worker (and her son, as well), her days were probably not much easier than prior to emancipation. She would have worked from sunup to sundown in the small cabin. It offers little protection from extreme heat or cold. 

Vinnie lived and worked on the property for roughly 30 years. By 1910 she had saved enough to live by herself nearby on Bartow Street.  

Vinnie’s legacy of hard work and independence can be seen today through the success of her descendants, which include doctors and major business owners.