Sometime this month, 200 years ago, Frederick Douglas was born. Today in history, he passed away.
Frederick Douglas was born enslaved in Talbot County, Maryland sometime in February 1818. He never knew his true birthday, but came to celebrate it every year on February 14. Over the course of his seventy seven year life, Douglas fought for the rights of not only millions of African Americans in this country, but also for the equal rights of women. In fact, this morning in 189...5, Douglas attended a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, DC. He was received there with great applause.
During his lifetime, Douglas escaped slavery, wrote an autobiography, multiple books, and witnessed the Civil War and Reconstruction. While Douglas would not live to see the passage of the 19th Amendment (which gave women the right to vote), or even the death of racial segregation, he was a vocal and active supporter of the rights of all Americans, and is remembered today as an icon of the abolitionist and civil rights movements.
"Let no man be kept from the ballot box because of his color. Let no woman be kept from the ballot box because of her sex."
“Culturally, this rice is a hidden story of the African-American and enslaved narrative,” he said. “A lot of our ancestors were not able to read or write, so a lot of stories aren’t able to be told. But we can cook this rice, and we can tell the story.”
There were at least 146 African-American Union soldiers that came from Halifax County, NC during the American Civil War. While we may never know what some of them looked like, the stories they left behind stand as a testament to their dedication to make all Americans free.
We can only imagine the lives of the men, who, although born in Halifax County, NC, enlisted in places as far away as Natchez, Mississippi or Hartford, Connecticut. They served in all major theaters of that war, and many returned home before the age of 20.
Twenty four of these men never came home.
Today we'd like to highlight the life of Andrew Jackson (1830 -1924), who is one of the most interesting and notable African-Americans to live in our town.
Jackson was born enslaved on Christmas day in Amherst County, Virginia. At 4 years old his slave holder sold him and his mother on the auction block in Richmond, Va., to a man who intended to take them with others to be sold in Louisiana. His mother was evidently stricken with smallpox, and her dying request was that the ...sales agent, Mr. George Barnes, take Jackson and raise him. Barnes agreed and the young lad became known as Jackson Barnes. He ran a blacksmith shop in Halifax and worked on the Confederate Ram Albemarle while it was anchored in the Roanoke River in Halifax during the Civil War. Iron plates had been shipped to the depot in Halifax from the Tredegar Iron Company in Richmond, Va. by way of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. They were then hauled by wagon down Dobbs Street, which led by Jackson’s shop, straight to the Navy Yard on the west side on the Roanoke River.
After Emancipation, Jackson dropped Barnes from his name and added Andrew Joshua. He became interested in the education of freedmen and used his money and influence in securing teachers in Halifax. He was ordained in the First Black Baptist Church in Halifax in 1868. He remained in Halifax all of his life, married, and had children. He died at his home in 1924. It is for this man, not the president with the same name, that the Andrew Jackson Elementary School in Halifax is named.
Join us for a free Crepe Myrtle Pruning Workshop on Wed. February, 28th at 2 p.m. at Historic Halifax, led by Cooperative Extension at the site visitor center, 25 Saint David St., Halifax.
It is getting to that time of year again when you look around and the Crepe Myrtles have once again been topped down to awful looking nubs. How did the idea of chopping off the top of your Crepe Myrtle even get started? Well for professional landscapers it was a way to save time on jobs. ...Crepe myrtles are very resilient and can take such pruning without it causing enough injury to kill it. With homeowners seeing how the 'professionals' were pruning, they followed suit with severe top cutting. The landscapers do not technically kill the tree, but they do cause the unsightly knots to form on the trunks. Another misconception is that this type of pruning will promote flowering. This is actually not the case, this pruning results in an overall decrease of flower production. So what type of pruning should be done on your Crepe Myrtle to keep it happy and healthy? Proper Crepe Myrtle variety selection will be discussed as well as a hands-on demonstration of how to prune your Crepe Myrtles. So, plan to join us on February, 28th to learn more!
George Moses Horton was born into slavery in Northampton County, about two miles from the Halifax County border in 1797 or 1798. During his childhood he was brought to Chatham County, and it was there that he taught himself how to read and write. Around 1815, he began composing poetry, and sold romantic poems to students at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill for spare change. Using this money, he would purchase days of freedom from his slave holder for 25 cents each.... In 1829, Horton published "The Hope of Liberty" and became the very first African American to have a work published in the slave holding south, as well as being one of the first enslaved individuals to publicly protest his own enslavement through poetry.
He continued to rent his own freedom for the next three decades, using the modest income he earned from his poetry. He published two more works during his life, "The Poetical Works" in 1845, and "Naked Genius" in 1865.
Horton was considered the legal property of another man for the first 68 years of his life, and had to pay for his own daily freedom for many decades. With the end of the Civil War in 1865, Horton became a free man, and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he lived out the remainder of his life. Horton died in 1883 at the age of 86, having lived 17 years a free man.
"I know that I am old
And never can recover what is past,
But for the future may some light unfold
And soar from ages blast."
It's almost February!
Which means it's time for Black History Month! Historic Halifax will be celebrating Black History Month this February, but we tell the story of African Americans here in Halifax all year round. Come on down to our site, and check out the exhibits in our visitor center that highlight the story of the African Americans in this region, and be sure to catch our 1 o'clock Underground Railroad Tour, and learn about how Halifax was once part of a great network to freedom.
Can you guess what this is?
There are quite a few interesting patents that have come out of Halifax County, North Carolina. Some are strange, others are ingenious, and some are just common sense. From torpedo guards for ships designed during WWI, to paper cutters, to soap dishes - there are improvements and new inventions galore. But what is this item?? Have a guess in the comments! (and no cheating!)
Today in 1759, the Enfield Riot!
On January 24, 1759, a group of men from Halifax and Edgecombe Counties rode to Francis Corbin’s house in Edenton and seized him during the night. The men were ...upset because Corbin had extorted money from them when collecting rents for Lord Granville who controlled the land on which they lived.
Corbin was taken to Enfield, where he was held in jail with his co-conspirator Thomas Bodley. The pair was forced to pay a bond as a guarantee to appear in court in the spring and agree to new rules governing rent and tax collection. Furthermore, they promised not to sue their captors. During the court session, Corbin and Bodley were released after they promised to return all illegal fees and taxes they collected.
Though Corbin eventually was removed from office by Lord Granville, the Colonial Assembly investigated the incident, now called the “Enfield Riot” and punished some of the “rioters” severely, imprisoning several. In response, sympathizers and friends broke the imprisoned out of jail.
Modern historians considered the actions of the Halifax citizens as a foreshadowing to the War of Regulation.
This Day in North Carolina History-NCDNCR
Military Day at Halifax!
This Saturday, Historic Halifax will have a militia muster! There will be a squad of volunteers depicting the Halifax District Minute Men, who served to defend Halifax Town and Halifax County in the opening stages of the American Revolution. They will conduct small arms drill exercises, practice marching, and the loading and firing of muskets. Weather permitting, they will even be preparing food the same way soldiers did in the 18th century.
Come on down and check it out! The militia muster is planned to last from 10 until 4.
This crisp winter morning, we're thinking about coffee. Not just drinking it, but also the role that coffee played in american history! Coffee became very popular in British North America during the second half of the 18th century. By the time of the American Revolution, there were numerous coffee houses sprouting up across the country, and many were centers of passionate political discussion and social discourse. Shipping merchants often sold a wide array of products including coffee and tea, and coffee is advertised in some of the earliest newspapers printed in Halifax. It is probable that coffee was enjoyed by all levels of free society in 18th and 19th century Halifax - while domestic enslaved people were expected to know how to brew the perfect cup, they probably never tasted it.
Come check out our new traveling exhibit, NC Digs, which focuses on archaeology across North Carolina. It will be on display here at Historic Halifax now through February, 2018. The exhibit was developed by the Office of State Archaeology, an agency of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
NC Digs highlights the five primary types of archaeological sites in North Carolina - Native American, battlefield, plantation, trash pit, and ind...ustrial. The exhibit includes interpretive panels explaining each type of site, as well as techniques and methods used for excavating and analyzing materials that are uncovered. There are artifacts on display as well as various special tools used by archaeologists. In addition to the temporary exhibit, you can learn more about archaeology at Historic Halifax by touring the permanent Montfort House archaeology museum. The Montfort House is an exposed foundation dig of a circa 1763 house site. Joseph Montfort was one of the most prominent figures in eighteenth century Halifax, and lived in the largest residence in town during his lifetime.
The Montfort House exhibit is available as a portion of one of our several guided tours of the site. The tours that include the Montfort house occur twice daily at 11 and 3 o'clock.
The NC Digs exhibit, as well as tours of the site are available free of charge at the site visitor center, during the site’s normal operating hours: Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In the days before refrigerators (and ice boxes, for that matter) weather like today's would have been a good opportunity for taverns and larger houses to collect ice for long term storage. Freshwater rivers, lakes, and ponds were all good sources of ice, once frozen over. From the source, the ice would usually be dragged, sledded, or carted back to an ice house or cellar where it would be stored under numerous layers of insulating straw and sawdust. Several local plantations may have used ice year round, and the taverns certainly could have used it when it was available.
What's left of the garden behind the Eagle Tavern. January 5 would have been the celebration of Twelfth Night in colonial Halifax. How many people who came into town for the celebrations shared a similar view of the Eagle Tavern?
Photo credit to Stephanie Marlene Lowe.