If the experience of rice cultivation at John Moultrie’s estates at Matanzas and Tomoka Rivers was the norm for East Florida, the workers at Mount Pleasant harvested two cuttings of rice each year. Rice plantations were expensive to initiate because of the labor intensity required, but once established they continued to produce as long as the dams and canals were kept intact and the fields were maintained. Had Mount Pleasant continued to operate under Grant’s ownership beyond 1784, it is probable it would have become as profitable as his indigo estate, Grant’s Villa, had previously been.
Before the end of 1784, however, all planting efforts at the Villa and Mount Pleasant Plantations had ended. East Florida had been ceded back to Spain at the Treat of Paris, and nearly all the British planters decided to evacuate the province. The enslaved men and women who created the rice estate took down the cabins they had only recently constructed, placed them on rafts along with barrels of rice and corn, and shipped it all to the Bahama Islands . The men, women and children owned by James Grant were also transported to New Providence Island, from where they were sent to South Carolina and sold to rice planters.
Pounding rice using a wooden pounding tool and a hollowed out log. Courtesy of the Georgia Department of Archives and History, Atlanta, Georgia..