Edenton, North Carolina
|OWNER:||Josiah Collins, III|
|HISTORY:||Somerset Place is a
representative antebellum plantation offering an insightful view of life
during the period before the Civil War. During its 80-year existence as
an active plantation (1786-1865), it encompassed as many as 100,000
acres and became one of North Carolina's most prosperous rice, corn, and
wheat plantations. It was home to more than three hundred enslaved men,
women, and children of African descent--80 of whom were brought to
Somerset directly from their west African homeland in 1786. These were
people who had firsthand knowledge of rice cultivation. Members of the
enslaved community dug a system of irrigation and transportation canals;
built a sawmill, gristmills, barns, stables, work buildings, and
dwelling houses; and cultivated fields.
The plantation operated as a business investment for more than 40 years. In 1829 it became home to two generations of a planter family: Josiah Collins III, his wife Mary, and their six sons. Josiah III inherited the property from his grandfather, Josiah I, who along with two partners had acquired the land and planned its early development.
|SLAVE POPULATION:||Slave List: http://members.spree.com/4816pa/listof.htm|
|MISCELLANEOUS:||Book: Somerset Homecoming: Recovering a Lost Heritage by Dorothy Spruill Redford. Doubleday Publishing Co. 1988.|
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