Virginia History

African-American History of Stafford, Virginia

(This brochure was originally printed in the fall of 2002.)

Colonial Times

Africans first arrived in the Virginia colony in 1619 as indentured servants. In the late 1600s slaves were brought into the sparsely settled Rappahannock Valley, primarily to serve as agricultural laborers.

Come to an Archaeological Investigation in Falmouth

On October 17 & 18th, 2009, the public is invited to observe an archaeological dig at the Historic Magistrate's Office--Stafford County's oldest existing municipal building, dating to about the 1820s.

Archaeologists are conducting a small dig along the foundation to try to determine when the building was constructed and if there was anything present prior to this building. Visitors will learn about the history of the site and methods of archaeology.

Parking is available in the lot behind the Historic Magistrate's Office; entrance from Washington Street.

Spotsylvania African-American Church Celebrates 150 Years

On October 18, 2009, Little Mine Road Baptist Church will be marking its 150th anniversary. Founded just before the Civil War, the congregation first met in a tent. According to an article in the Free Lance-Star, the members weren't able to buy the land to build their permanent sanctuary until 18 years later in 1877, and the current structure was built in 1974. A series of special worship services October 18 through 20th will celebrate the church's long history.

Stafford County May Get New Museum at Chatham

According to an article that appeared in the Free Lance-Star on 10/10/2009, Stafford County is working with the National Park Service to place a museum on the whole of the county's history at Chatham, a National Park Service property.

John Brown and the Raid on Harper's Ferry

October 2009 marks the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry.
Born in 1800 to an abolitionist couple, John Brown was raised to believe that slavery was a sin and an insult to God. These beliefs influenced his actions throughout his life.

African-American History of Fredericksburg, Virginia

By Ruth Fitzgerald*
 
Introduction:

Blacks first inhabited Virginia in 1619. They came to the sparsely settled Rappahannock Valley long before Fredericksburg was officially founded in 1728.

In colonial times, Fredericksburg and Falmouth, across the Rappahannock River in Stafford County, were important centers of trade. The towns were considered the gateway to the mountains and the way west, and they also served as major seaports.

Walk Through History . . . Hanover Street

By the Fredericksburg Area Tourism Department

In 1714, the Stuart dynasty ended in England with the death of Queen Anne. George I, elector of Hanover, Germany, was selected to become the next ruler of England, thus beginning the long reign of the House of Hanover.

Hanover Street, named after the House of Hanover, was developed on part of a tract of land granted in 1671 to early Virginia settlers Thomas Royston and John Buckner. The street was one of Fredericksburg's original eight streets, when the city was granted its charter in 1728.

The Ghosts of Fredericksburg

By Fredericksburg Area Tourism Department

The spirit of the past still lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia. George Washington's foot-steps seem to echo on the paths and streets of his hometown. The voices of Thomas Jefferson and other colonial leaders seem to resound through the Rising Sun Tavern.

African-American History of Spotsylvania, Virginia

By the Spotsylvania Department of Tourism

From The Start ...

Blacks first arrived in isolated and sparsely populated Spotsylvania County along with white settlers in the early 1700's. Through the years before the Civil War, as slaves and occasionally as free men and women, they were an important force in area development. Occupations included labor as farm and plantation workers, as domestic servants, and as artisans, such as blacksmiths, carpenters, coopers, and fine needleworkers. They also worked in the iron industries, mining, construction, shipping on the Rappahannock River, and in their own businesses.

By the first half of the 19th century, Spotsylvania County's population reached about 11,000, over half of whom were black.
Alex Haley's award winning novel, Roots, cast his African ancestor, Kunta Kinte, as a slave of a Spotsylvania family.

Walk Through History . . . Caroline Street

By The Fredericksburg Area Tourism Department

130 Caroline
Built c. 1855. The style and design of this Greek Revival townhouse is identical to its neighboring duplexes, although this is a single family dwelling. Extensive changes have altered the architectural similarities shared with 132-138. Note bay window and wing additions.