Monthly Archives: March 2016

Warren County, North Carolina: Gone But Not Forgotten

Gone But Not Forgotten Warren County NC Nadia Orton copyright 2016

Gone But Not Forgotten, Warren County, North Carolina

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Filed under North Carolina, Portsmouth, Slavery, Warren County

Protected: Isle of Wight County, Virginia: Following family roots

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Filed under Civil War, Isle of Wight County, Norfolk County, North Carolina, Portsmouth, Slavery, Virginia

Surry County, Virginia: The slave and tenant house at Bacon’s Castle

Slave/tenant house at Bacons Castle, Surry County, October 6, 2012

Slave/tenant house at Bacon’s Castle, Surry County, October 6, 2012

 

Photos of the slave and tenant house at Bacon’s Castle (ca. 1665). We had the opportunity to visit during an event a few years ago. I’d suffered a bilateral lower leg fracture some months prior, so those present would remember my fashionable orthopedic boot. Physical discomfort aside, it was an amazing experience. There were a few descendants of slaves and former tenant workers present. One descendant, Lucy, recounted memories of growing up at Bacon’s Castle. Her family had once lived in a similar structure, and she could vividly remember the sound of the rain on the building’s tin roof. It’s in these stories that history becomes a tangible thing, and connects with our present day.

A historical wayside marker in front of the house reads:

This building was first constructed in 1829 by the Cocke family, descendants of Arthur Allen. There was a single entry door and a porch. In 1834 there were eighty slaves working on the property, some of whom were probably housed in this building. The Hankins family, who owned the property during the Civil War, added an addition and possibly removed the porch in 1849. The floor plan today matches what would have been present in the late 1800s.

In the 1940s, several families were still living on the Bacon’s Castle property. The slave house was wired for electricity and a small kitchen added to the back of the building. Although three or four enslaved families would have lived here prior to the Civil War, the interior was modified to accommodate only one or two tenants after the war. The kitchen addition was removed in the 1990s, returning the building to its antebellum appearance.

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Bacons castle slave/tenant dwelling, 2012 Orton

 

Bacon's Castle Historical Marker, Colonial Trial, Surry. June 9, 2012

Bacon’s Castle historical marker, Colonial Trial, Surry County, Virginia. June 9, 2012

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Chesapeake, Civil War, Slavery, Surry County, The Descendants Corner, U. S. Colored Troops, Virginia

Warren County, North Carolina: Exploring an old Rosenwald School

Warren County NC Rosenwald Orton

A view of an old Rosenwald School, Warren County, North Carolina

Exploring an old Rosenwald School in Warren County, North Carolina. Our 83-year old guide, a former student of the school, is a newfound maternal cousin. We’re related through the same set of great-grandparents, my great-great-great-great grandparents, and his great-great-great grandparents, who are buried in a slave cemetery we visited last year. ♥

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Filed under North Carolina, Slavery, Warren County

Protected: Portsmouth, Virginia: The Leon A. Turner Family and interconnections, Mt. Olive Cemetery

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Filed under Anne Arundel County, Brunswick County, Delaware, Maryland, New Hanover County, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Portsmouth, Prince George County, Slavery, Stories in Stone, U. S. Colored Troops, Virginia, Wilmington

Elizabeth City, NC: Elizabeth City State University’s Beginnings, 1891

Elizabeth City State University historical marker. North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1973.

Elizabeth City State University historical marker. North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1973. Nadia K. Orton, November 2, 2013.

 

Principal Peter W. Moore and students at what’s now Elizabeth City State University in 1899. Image from ECSU Archives. (Source: NC Culture)

“On March 3, 1891, legislation passed creating a Normal and Industrial School in Elizabeth City. The school was founded with the express purpose of ‘teaching and training teachers of the colored race to teach in the common schools of North Carolina.’

The bill began in the House of Representatives and was championed by Hugh Cale, an African American who represented Pasquotank County. Cale, who was a free person of color before the Civil War, had been involved in African American education immediately following the Civil War and served on the Pasquotank County Board of Education.

The campus of what’s now Elizabeth City State University, circa 1938-39. Image from ECSU Archives. (Source NC Culture)

The Normal School extended its mission under the guidance of its first principal, Peter Weddick Moore. In 1937, it expanded from a two-year program to a four-year teacher’s college and received a new name to reflect that change–Elizabeth City Teachers College. The first bachelor’s degree was awarded by the school in 1939 in elementary education.

In 1972, the college became part of the consolidated University of North Carolina system and was renamed Elizabeth City State University. To commemorate the school’s centennial in 1991, the General Assembly honored Cale and the university with a bill setting a special mock session.”

Source: Elizabeth City State University’s Beginnings, 1891


 

I visited Oak Grove Cemetery (est. 1886), on November 2, 2013. Included below are photographs of the gravestone of Hugh Cale (1829-1909), Oak Grove Cemetery’s entrance gate, and the historical marker and street sign placed in honor of Hugh Cale.

Gravestone of Hugh Cale (1829-1909)

Gravestone of Hugh Cale (1829-1909). November 2, 2013, Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

 

Hugh Cale Elizabeth City Orton 2013

“Hugh Cale – Pasquotank County Commissioner and North Carolina Legislator. Introduced legislation to establish Elizabeth City State Teachers College. Bill passed March 3, 1891.”

 

Gravestone of Hugh Cale

Gravestone of Hugh Cale

 

Hugh Cale Historical Marker Orton Elizabeth City NC 2013

Hugh Cale historical marker. North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1994.

 

Street sign in honor of Hugh Cale. Elizabeth City, NC, 2013

Street sign in honor of Hugh Cale. Elizabeth City, North Carolina, 2013

 

Oak Grove Cemetery Elizabeth City, Orton 2013

Oak Grove Cemetery entrance, Elizabeth City, North Carolina. November 2, 2013

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Filed under North Carolina, Pasquotank County