Archive for the ‘Enslaved Population’ Category

CVHR Meeting (April 5, 2018): What’s Happening on Monticello Mountain?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

Interpreter Aurelia Crawford, Community Engagement Officer Gayle Jessup White, and Niya Bates, Public Historian of Slavery and African American Life, joined us to report on current initiatives at Monticello.  We heard about the ongoing work of the Getting Word oral history project, which preserves the oral traditions of the descendants of Monticello’s enslaved families.  Getting Word’s 25th anniversary will be celebrated in June.  We learned about Black History Month events and the ways Monticello is collaborating with local organizations, such as in sponsoring events like the community history fair, Memories Matter, in February.
Niya Bates described the major restoration project in the South Dependencies, scheduled to open in June.  There will be spaces dedicated to Sally Hemings and the Getting Word project, and the two levels of the South Pavilion will tell the stories of Martha Jefferson and cooks Ursula Granger and James Hemings.  The exhibition, Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty, which first opened in 2012 at the Smithsonian, is being updated and readied for travel to a number of museums around the country.


CVHR Meeting (May 4, 2017): Researching Montpelier’s Enslaved Community

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Elizabeth Ladner, Director of Research at Montpelier, reviewed the evolution of research relating to the large enslaved population that supported the Madison family, including the stories of a number of enslaved individuals.  She also provided a sneak peek at Montpelier’s upcoming exhibit, “The Mere Distinction of Colour.”

CVHR Meeting (May 5): Looking at the Trees, to Understand the Forest

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Robin Patton and Elaine Taylor of the Louisa County Historical Society demonstrated an exciting new project for putting historical information into a spatial context.  With a focus on the Green Springs area of Louisa County, they are using ArcGIS as a container for both individual and scholarly research about slavery to better understand antebellum communities. This project has great potential to be of benefit to other historical societies and non-profit organizations.  See what they are doing and explore the results at



CVHR Meeting (March 3): The Rushes of Chestnut Grove: One Family’s Journey from Slavery to Freedom

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

Starting with fragments of information she heard from family members, Regina Rush set off on a quest to trace her ancestors and found a rich source of information at the Small Special Collections Library at UVA, where she is Reference Specialist. She told us about what she has learned about Nicey and Isham Rush, enslaved at the Rives plantation Oak Ridge in Nelson County (including Nicey’s runaway attempt), and the path of their descendants to landownership in southern Albemarle County. Since some mysteries remain, CVHR members were eager to suggest further avenues to follow. For more information, see Regina’s blog post from 2014 ( Also, her story was featured in last month’s UVA Today (

CVHR Meeting (Nov 6): An Enslaved Woman and her Dressmaker Daughter

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Noted author and textile scholar Kathleen Curtis Wilson* will share with us new and important information about cloth and clothing production by an African American woman.  Nineteenth-century textiles with an African American provenance are rare nationwide and unheard of in Appalachia.

Thus the discovery of two quilts and other items made in Bath County, Virginia, by the daughter of an enslaved woman was “extraordinary,” Wilson says.  She will tell the story of Elizabeth Morris Bolden (1872-1948), a highly-skilled seamstress who lived in Warm Springs all her life and was married to Charles Bolden (1856-1919) of Charlottesville.

Lizzie Bolden’s great-granddaughter, Perlista Henry, who preserved the textiles and family stories and photographs, will join us for this exciting presentation.

*Wilson’s books include Irish People, Irish Linen and Uplifting the South, the biography of Mary Mildred Sullivan, who among other things was active in the Southern Industrial Education Association.


** The African American Heritage Center is located in the Jefferson School City Center in Charlottesville, 233 Fourth St. NW.  There is plenty of parking.  It is on the second floor at the south end of the building. We meet at 4pm.

CVHR Meeting (Sept 11): Looking Fowards and Backwards

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Philip Cobbs and Sam Towler will take us northeast to Barboursville and west to Afton Mountain.  Philip will give us a look at the Cobbs family of Barboursville, which he calls a journey from Echo Valley to entitlement. Sam will present his research on the now-vanished community called New York at the foot of Afton Mountain in Albemarle County.  Founded by Sam’s ancestor, James Hays, in 1799, it existed as a town until about 1856.  He will also cover neighboring farms around New York and provide information on the African Americans at the Brooksville, Crobarger, and the Cedars farms in Greenwood.

** The African American Heritage Center is located in the Jefferson School City Center in Charlottesville, 233 Fourth St. NW.  There is plenty of parking.  It is on the second floor at the south end of the building. We meet at 4pm.


CVHR Meeting (June 6th): Exploring the Plantation at James Madison’s Montpelier

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

The Montpelier Archaeology Department is in the middle of a multi-year study of the homes for the enslaved community on the estate. Matt Reeves will talk about their four-year NEH study of four house sites within the historic visitor core as well as the larger property surveys for outlying quarters. With both projects, they are involving the public though one-week excavation programs—which have resulted in some great partnerships for promoting archaeology and Montpelier. Stefan Woehlke (University of Maryland grad student) will also discuss his GIS mapping project for placing this information into a larger geographic context.

NOTE: the CVHR meetings are being held in a NEW location: The African American Heritage Center (AAHC) is located in the Jefferson School City Center in Charlottesville, 233 Fourth St. NW.  There is plenty of parking.  The AAHC is on the second floor at the south end of the building.

CVHR November Meeting (3rd): Carter G. Woodson and the Woodsons of Buckingham County

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Joanne Yeck, our Ohio member, will be in town this week, so we can get her to tell us about how her research on white Buckingham County residents led to discoveries about Carter G. Woodson’s enslaved ancestors. Her resources include our beloved post-Civil War personal property tax records, white church records, and birth records.

CVHR October Meeting (6th)

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Topic: Enslaved Community at Bremo

We’ll have updates and announcements until 4:30. Then Andi Cumbo will tell us about her work on the people who were enslaved on the Bremo Plantations, established in the early nineteenth century by Gen. John Hartwell Cocke. She is writing a book that blends formal historical essays and creative personal essays in an attempt to tell the stories of these families. As part of this project, Andi has been seeking out descendants of the Bremo slaves.

And we’ll also discuss a good time to take up Andi’s generous invitation to us: an opportunity to visit the grounds of Bremo.

June 3: Next CVHR Meeting

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Topic: Part Two: Commonwealth vs. Judy (slave), 1859

Alice Cannon will reveal what she has learned since her presentation in March 2009. She then told us about Judy, aged eight, who was tried and convicted of attempting to murder her mistress, Margaret Rogers Terrell of Glen Echo. Judy was condemned to hang, pardoned by Governor Wise, and sent to the State Penitentiary in Richmond. The document indicating Judy had been delivered to the prison was the last known trace of her.

In the past year Alice researched Judy’s family, the Woodfolks, following them through Emancipation and afterward. In the process she has learned of Judy’s return to Albemarle County and her family.

Next meeting of Central Virginia History Researchers: Thursday, June 3, 4 PM, at the Jefferson Library