Good morning everyone! This will be a short blog post. I am just posting to let everyone know that the final letter to the current landowner has been edited, revised, and sent. It is my hope that with the letter, the landowner will understand the intentions and importance of my research. Dr. D and I have requested an opportunity to sit down and discuss my findings, along with an opportunity to view the cemetery on the property. With that being said, everyone please keep your fingers crossed that we will get a response and be granted an opportunity to get access to the property. This is crucial not only to my research but to the ultimate goal of getting this historic and significant African American burial site recognized and preserved as yet another landmark in Hanover County.................let's see how this goes!!!!!!
Hello everyone! Today was a very good day I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to an informant associated with the Montpelier area, who also had some very valuable information about the T.C cemetery. With this meeting, I was able to get information that will allow me to start putting some of the missing puzzle pieces from the T.C cemetery together. We sat down for a while talking about the Montpelier area, the T.C cemetery, and other things associated with the area. During our conversation, it was also brought to my attention that the informant may have descendants who were slaves on the T.C. plantation and some other plantations associated with the Morris Family. This piece of information helped to clear up the question about the plantation that came up in my research a few days earlier. If you remember from my previous post, I mentioned that another plantation had come up as being owned by a descendant of the original William Morris. This plantation was known as "Clazemont" and was located relatively close to T.C. It is my initial assumption that slaves were not buried at "Clazemont," instead, they were sent to T.C to be buried at the cemetery. This would add to the numbers at the T.C cemetery making it as large as assumed. This assumption was somewhat confirmed through my conversation with my informant. I was informed that information down through oral histories in the area says slaves were not buried at Clazemont. With this piece of information I believe it is fair to assume that if the property is in fact associated to T.C and is owned by a descendant of William Morris, the slaves of the property were sent to T.C to be buried in the "large cemetery" at T.C. The informant seemed very interested in my research and asked that I keep them updated on my progress. To end the meeting, I thanked the informant for their time and agreed to keep them updated on my progress. I also invited my informant to the SURF Symposium on August 4th, where I will present my final findings. My informant also agreed to meet with me as needed to discuss new developments and to answer any questions associated with my research. All in all, today was a very good day.
Good morning everyone! I decided to blog this morning to give everyone a quick update on some progress being made throughout my research. I have started to make key connections, along with finding some critical information as I work on uncovering the past of the T.C slave cemetery. These key connections and critical finds have been a much needed boost to my confidence throughout my research. I would like to take a moment to thank everyone that has taken the time to read my blogs, you all have shared in this journey with me, and for that I am truly grateful. Along the lines of key connections, I have been able to trace the property at T.C as it has passed through the Morris family and I am on the verge of tracing it to the current landowners. By tracing the property through the family, it gives me more information on which members owned the land during critical time periods(beginning of slavery/pre and post civil war). With this information, it maybe possible to narrow down an estimate on how many slaves were on the plantation at a certain time. Also, it provides answers to the questions of some of the names associated with the Morris family that have come up throughout my research. I have also been able to make the connection between the Morris family and plantations in Louisa County at a location known as "Camp Creek,"(C.C) along with plantations in Kentucky, and Louisiana. With these connections, I believe that the Morris family exchanged slaves between the plantations they owned. It is also my belief that the owners of the C.C. plantation sent their slaves to T.C to be buried in the cemetery. If this assumption proves to be correct, then it will validate my initial belief that the T.C slave cemetery has a significant number of slaves buried at the cemetery. Another plantation has also appeared throughout my research as being owned by a descendant of the 1st William Morris..............I will let you guys know more details about this plantation in my next blog. The journey continues...........until next time everyone!
Hello everyone! It has been a couple of days since my last post, so I would like to take the time this morning to provide a quick re-cap of my research from Day 8 up until today. Since my last post I have taken another trip out to U.V.A's library, gotten lost in U.V.A's library, gained another contact from B.B.C, and started to make some key connections in my research. My last trip out to U.V.A was very successful, I was able to pick up some copies I requested from my first trip out to Smalls special collections library. The copies were of slave list owned and signed by Richard and James Morris and Anne Watson. These list are very crucial because they provide me with names and a pretty good estimate to how many slaves were at the plantation. One of the questions that has come up so far is the location of the plantation. As I continue my research, I am finding that it could be a strong possibility that Richard and James Morris along with Anne Watson owned land in Louisa County, which means that these slaves were not at T.C. Now I have to find the link between the land owned in Louisa County and tie it back to T.C. At this point my initial reaction is that even if these slaves were in Louisa County, they still could have been buried at the T.C cemetery. This is all of the information I gathered from last trip out to U.V.A. Like I mentioned earlier, I also got lost in U.V.A's library. In order to pick up the copies I requested, I had to go to the main library's copy center. I was under the impression that the copy center was on the main floor, that is until I went to the circulation desk and was informed that the library had five floors and the copy center was located on the very bottom floor. This was very new to me being that McGraw-Page Library at Macon is only two floors. In short, I was lost for about 5 minutes and during those 5 minutes I could only think of how much I missed McGraw-Page Library. U.V.A has a great library but I would pick the two floors of McGraw-Page and Randolph-Macon every time!! Finally, I have gotten another B.B.C contact who is willing to help me in my research. This contact confirmed that the cemetery is on the T.C. property. He is also willing to sit down with me and give me as much information I need, along with identifying on a map where the cemetery is on the property. So besides getting lost in the library, my research seems to be heading in the right direction! Keep your fingers crossed, I know I am.....talk to you soon!
Hello everyone! Today was a very interesting day to say the least. The day started off on a positive note with a very exciting and much needed e-mail from Dr.D. He informed me that one of the contacts who he had worked on a previous project with(who also has a connection to both B.B.C and T.C.) called him last night with some very good news. The contact informed Dr. D that he has some information that will be very useful in my research. The contact informed us that he understands my research and the potential importance it can have on recognizing and preserving this historic African American site. With this information, Dr. D and I decided that we should call our B.B.C contact to ask for his help in identifying one of the possible contacts. Here is where the day went down hill. After telling our B.B.C contact of the information that the contact brought to our attention, he told us that yes he knew about the cemetery. If you remember from earlier post, a B.B.C contact said that he knew nothing about the cemetery. After saying now he knew about the cemetery, he stated that he too was invited to visit the cemetery with the group but declined the offer and that no one was supposed to know about the visit. He also made it clear that he did not want to be contacted anymore about my research and that he wanted nothing to do with me or my research. His tone over the phone was completely different from the tone he had with Dr. D and I when we met him out at B.B.C, something was different and I have no clue as to what it was. In short, the 1st B.B.C contact hid his knowledge of the cemetery. I say today was interesting because we gained a strong lead to the estimated numbers of graves being correct, that the burial site is there somewhere on the property, and that people know about it's existence. With that being said, many questions remain unanswered but the positive of the day is that people have seen the cemetery and realize that it is significant. It is my hope that I have not lost the B.B.C connection with him refusing to help me out with my research. He is a crucial figure in the church and I believe he has a pretty significant influence on the members, but I hope this does not hurt my research.......let's see how this plays out.
Hello everyone!! Today was a very exciting day, Dr. D and I made a trip to the University of Virginia's Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections library. While I was researching last week I came across a collection of the Morris Family papers that were located at U.V.A's special collections library. From the description online, the Morris Family papers contained many letters, business and legal documents, wills, and other papers belonging to three generations of the family. Before coming to the library, I was unsure of what I would find but I was very happy after the trip as you can tell! Looking through the papers that were in 9 Hollinger boxes, I was able to find crucial information to help drive my research. For example, I was able to find a slave list/record of the slaves that Anne Watson owned at the time all of the slaves in the Southern states were proclaimed free. According to the list, Anne Watson owned 70 slaves after Lincoln's issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation. I was also able to find that the Morris family owned slaves and property in Kentucky, which was a piece of information I did not know. Even though I found a lot of information, a lot of questions came up with the information that was uncovered. For example, who is Anne Watson?(I have to make this connection and figure out where Anne Watson lived on the property) The positive to finding all of this information is that it gives me so much more to work with and now I have another prime location to conduct my research. I also have access to Morris family information that will not be given to me by the current landowner. All in all, today was a very good day and it was a much needed boast to my confidence after learning of the landowner's feelings towards research of any kind including mine.........until next time everyone!
Hello Everyone! Today my research took me out to the Page Library in Montpelier. The Page Library is located at the historic Sycamore Tavern in Montpelier. Prior to the visit Dr. D and I contacted the librarian at the Page library informing her of the topic of my research allowing her time to pull information that could help me throughout the summer. The librarian was able to pull a "Cohabitation Lists of Former Slaves in Goochland, Hanover, and Lousia Counties as recorded by the Freedmen's Bureau," "Church Cemeteries of Upper Hanover County, Va," and the "Death and Marriage Registries from the Herald Progress." Everything that the librarian was able to pull will be crucial pieces in figuring out the puzzle that is "The Slave Cemetery at T.C." The librarian was also very knowledgeable about the area, had done a lot of research on her own on the history of Montpelier county, and also knows the current landowner of the T.C property. Even before taking the trip to the Page Library, it was my understanding that the current landowner has no interest in letting anyone come on the property to do research. With that being said, the landowner has not been contacted at this point for a final decision on letting me conduct my research on her property. This was a blow to my confidence because the ultimate goal of my research is to work with the current landowner in order to get the land preserved and recognized. With being said, the librarian did suggest writing the current landowner a letter expressing the intent of my research and what I hope to achieve with my research. This was a very good idea and it is something that I will do to see if I can have any luck in gaining access to the property. It will be very hard to be completely successful throughout my research with little to no cooperation from the landowner one of the most crucial pieces of "The Slave Cemetery at T.C.".................until next time.
Hello everyone! Today was the 1st day out in the field for my research. Dr. Dunkel and I went out to Bethany Baptist Church(B.B.C), which will be one of the prime locations for my research. Here's a quick history of B.B.C and the connection it has to my research. B.B.C. was founded in 1869 and the land for the church was originally within the boundaries of the Taylor's Creek Plantation and was given to the church by a son of William Morris(the original owner of Taylor's Creek). I have reason to believe that B.B.C is significant because, some of the bodies buried there could be those of former slaves and some of the members of B.B.C may have ancestors who are buried at the cemetery on the Taylor's Creek(T.C) property. If and when I find this information out, I can start to create family histories that will allow me to create a possible list of slaves buried on the T.C property.
While we were out at B.B.C, I was able to go inside the church and do some investigating. Entering the church I relied on my knowledge and own experiences in the church to obtain some key information for my research. For example, in the sanctuary I was able to create a list of possible families who have been in the church for sometime. I created this list by 1st looking at some of the stained glass windows in the church along with some of the "pews" or church benches. Like I suspected, majority of the stained glass windows had been donated by the same families who had donated some of the "pews". From growing up in the church, I have always noticed that families who have a strong connection to a church donate money to the church and this tradition gets past down through generations, it was no different in B.B.C. Through this observation I was able to get an idea of the possible families that have been attending B.B.C for a number of years. I also found a "youth field trip list" in the sanctuary. I used this list to somewhat cross-reference the last names I found on the stained glass windows and "pews" and noticed that the last names were still prevalent in the church. While I was doing some investigating in the sanctuary, a memeber of B.B.C arrived at the church. Dr. Dunkel(Dr. D) and I sat down and talked to the member for about an hour and obtained a lot of information from him making him a key contact for the reminder of my research. The member was very knowledgeable about the church and the area, and offered to help me in anyway he could throughout my research. The one negative I felt about talking to the memeber was the fact that he had no idea about the cemetery in question. I expressed this feeling to Dr. D and he felt the same way, we both felt that with the size and estimated numbers of slaves who could be buried there, it was hard to live in the area as long as he had and not know anything about it. With that being said, today was still a great day and I feel that my research is heading in the right direction. See you all later......................the journey continues!
Hello everyone my name is Kenneth White, I am senior History major here at Randolph Macon(time goes by fast feels like I just stepped on campus as a freshman). I have the great opportunity to spend the summer doing research on campus through Macon's SURF program. I am really excited to have this opportunity and I am looking forward to a summer of intense but fun research. This summer I will be doing research at several locations including Bethany Baptist Church and Taylor's Creek Plantation. In short,I have reason to believe that the Taylor's Creek Plantation could be home to a slave cemetery containing a large number of slaves. The goal of my research is to obtain as much information as possible that will allow me to estimate the possible number of bodies, dates the cemetery was used, and the possible boundaries of the cemetery. I will also use both the historical and sociological information found to create a social history of the Taylor's Creek Plantation. With that being said, I will work with the current landowner to get this historical African American site recognized and preserved. Now the journey begins!