My Fredericksburg Battlefield

Just sitting here thinking about what I might say in my keynote address marking the 145th anniversary of the battle of Fredericksburg. I am going to center my remarks on how I use the battlefield to teach. I’ve brought my students to the Chancellorsville/Fredericksburg battlefields for the past 5 years. It’s always a new experience depending on where we go as well as the interests of my students. One of my favorite walks begins in the downtown area of Fredericksburg where we discuss the crossing of the Army of the Potomac and the civilian experience, including the town’s slave population. One of the more interesting stops on our route towards Marye’s Heights is the slave auction block, which is located at the corner of William & Charles Streets.

Thinking about the scope of my comments is difficult as I have an inclusive view of what a battlefield ought to include, especially when my students are involved. It’s never simply about the movement of troops, but the experiences of the men involved along with the bigger issues that defined the war, including its cause and aftermath.  I guess all I want to say is that without this auction block there is no Fredericksburg battlefield.  They are inextricably linked.

A few questions to consider: (1) How many Southern towns have preserved sites such as this?  (2) Why did the city of Fredericksburg preserve this particular site after the war?

5 responses... add one

Other than Fredericksburg, I am aware of slave blocks at Green Hill Plantation, Long Island, Campbell County, Va. and Sharpsburg, Md. (right next to a gas station in town).

There is a stone in Luray, Page County, Virginia that some claim to be a slave auction block, but the claims came from oral tales from a limited number of folk, some who weren’t even locals. Nevertheless, I became caught up in a major argument with someone (who liked to sensationalize stories surounding the stone, including making the claim that the streaks of iron deposited in the stone may be traces of blood from slaves made to stand on the stone) a few years back. I came across enough evidence to show that the stone that a few people think is a slave block, isn’t actually one at all. I also think I know where the “memory” issue started to generate “history” around the stone, but that is another issue.

I do however, have an account from one slave auction that occured near what is now Stanley, Va., in the same county.

In his regular column in the Page News & Courier titled “Home of the Birds,” Jacob Richard Seekford (1857-1939) wrote perhaps the most poignant account of slavery in Page County.

“In 1856, when the southern slave buyers would come into this county and would buy slaves and would take them to the south in large droves of colored men and women. In 1856, just in front of the door of the house where ‘Skeet’ Good lives at Marksville, was the place where they sold slaves. Mary Williams, then the mother of two little girls belonging to Paschal Graves, was with her little baby girl put on the block and sold to a man who took them away down south, then the other little girl was sold to Daniel Koontz for $400, and Mr. Koontz gave the little girl to Mrs. John P. Foltz, who lived at Newport. Mrs. Foltz being his daughter. This little negro girl grew to womanhood and married William Winston, she is still living in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Her name was Martha. Many years ago she asked me if I could find her mother and sister. I told her that it would be impossible, then she broke down and cried. I do not know how it will be in the great beyond, but I would like to be there when Martha meets and clasps hands with her mother and sister. Those were terrible days, and I have often wondered what it might some day bring upon this country.”

I am also aware of another stone in Page County that may have served as an auction block. However, the origin of the stone is in question. It was purchased (ironically) at an auction several years ago and is believed to have originated either from the auction site at Marksville or from another county in the Valley.

Thanks so much Robert. I would love to hear your thoughts on the memory side of things when you have the opportunity.

Kevin,

Instead of rewriting something that I wrote a few years ago, I offer the following. It’s probably far more than what you would want to read in regard to the stone in Luray, but I think every bit of it is essential in understanding problems with associated “memory.” I did some pretty heavy digging but I’ve never really organized it as well as it should be. All-in-all, not exactly a smooth write-up (I was all over the board in drafting this), but, I think it covers the problems behind the way the stone is being interpreted today in signage… as a slave auction block. See below…

Robert

FIRST – those who make the claim that the stone is a slave auction block:

One of the people to give “slave auction block” status to the stone was Mr. Lynnwood Berry. In interviews with the late Mr. Fred L. Hinson, Jr. (though not a native of Luray or Page County, the former chairman of the Luray Slave Auction Block Project), Berry (who appears to have been born between 1889 and 1895 and resided from time of birth through 1930 in Locustdale, Madison County, Virginia) recalled that he had been told by a former slave that the stone served as a slave auction block. In a news release from (October 20, 2003) the “Luray Slave Auction Block Project,” Mr. Hinson cited that Mr. Lynnwood Berry “is a native of Luray.” However, apart from Madison County’s census records from 1900 – 1930, nothing can be found in recent local history of Berry’s life in Luray and Page County. So, while Berry’s testimony may have been a bit shaky, it appears Hinson didn’t seem to mind.

As evidence that Hinson may have been more interested in sensationalizing slavery in the local history than caring about what was available in the facts behind local history, there was another situation in which Hinson gave an account of a house that served as a “slave holding pin.”

Dating to ca. 1834 and known in later years as the “Smoot Building” for the family of Luray Mayor Henry J. Smoot (1828-1900) this house stands on the NE corner (actually on the NW corner) of West Main and North Court Streets in Luray. As I mentioned, Hinson stated that he heard from some local elderly folks that the basement of this house served as “the main slave holding pen [that] actually had shackles embedded in the walls on up into the early 1930s.”

However, documented history actually shows that this place was the private residence and mercantile store of Nicholas Wesley Yager (1792-1869). According to the WPA Historical Inventory for Page County (information taken by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s and early 40s), the “west half was built for the Yager home, with the large room on the northwest corner a store-room, in which Mr. Yager ran a mercantile business until a few years before his death in 1869. The east half was built for store-rooms and offices . . . On the north is a frame ell (?). This was added soon after the construction of the brick. The weatherboarding is wide with large bead. The foundation is on the order of an English basement. The basement was used for the servants [of course, I'm sure this means 'slaves'] quarters, and is an interesting feature of the home.” Born in Culpeper County and reared in Madison County, Yager came to Luray and worked for Mr. Thomas Blackford as a bookeeper; Blackford owned and operated the Isabella Furnace. Following the cessation of operations there, Yager purchased the furnace in 1841. Yager was indeed one of the slave-owners in Page County, owning eight slaves in 1840, fourteen slaves in 1850 and eight slaves in 1860; but there is nothing to substantiate the claim that Hinson made in regard to the house.

In fact, the story that Hinson received from locals years ago, may have actually started in rumors about the old Sudie Jobe home at 310 West Main Street, on the north side of the street, between Court and Lee Streets. This house served as Luray’s first jail and, according to WPA records, at one time had large iron hooks that were fastened in the wall in which prisoners were fastened.

In addition to all of this, there have been stories told in the last decade (coming from those who seem to align themselves with Hinson’s beliefs) that the slaves were made to climb up on this block during the auction. Interestingly, if you have ever seen this block in person (measuring “17 by 20.5 inches in section and some 58 inches high”), one might think that standing on top of such a stone might cause one a severe degree of imbalance – something that would not be a selling point to the auctioning of a healthy slave as it would lead one to believe there might be physical infirmities associated with the person on sale on the “ol auction block.” On the other hand, perhaps the ability to balance oneself on such a block might be considered a positive quality. Who knows?

In yet another development with the stone in recent years, Mr. Hinson called upon a forensic investigative team from George Washington University. Mr. Hinson thinking that the stone may bear proof of the slave auctions in what he believed could be traces of blood on the stone. Again however, would a person interested in buying slaves really like to see his potential purchase bleeding on the auction block? While certainly, there are some well-documented stories of some rather demeaning practices (at slave auctions in other localities) displaying the high qualities of a slave on the block, certainly, making them bleed would not be considered a positive selling point. Led by noted historic forensic scientist and GWU professor James Starr, this team came to Luray and did the work necessary to help solve the mystery of the strange red stains on the stone at Inn Lawn Park. Starr initially warned Mr. Hinson that the results would probably come back as inconclusive, and, indeed, that was the case in the end. (Note that Professor Starr has been involved in numerous investigative studies as can be found on the Internet).

Another person who was identified as stating that the stone served as a slave auction block was Mrs. Rita True Rothgeb White. Interviewed (ca. 2001) by historian John L. Heatwole, Mrs. White – wife of Dr. Matthew James Walter White, Jr., was a descendant of Page County relatives going back to the 1700s. Born in 1901 (though she mentions in one of her own books, Papa’s Diary (1961) that she was born in 1902), Mrs. White was the daughter of George W. Rothgeb (1859-1954) and Mary Susan Strickler (1863-1937). George Rothgeb, along with his parents, resided in District #3, Massanutten (where, in 1860, one in every eleven families owned a slave). Later, after marriage, George and his family resided in a house in Leaksville (where, in 1860, one in every nine families owned a slave). By 1908, the Rothgeb family moved to Luray when George began working as a mail carrier. By the 1920s the family was living on North Court Street. George was the son of Solomon David Rothgeb (1832-1916) – Solomon having been a joiner/carpenter/millwright.

On her mother’s side, Mrs. White’s grandfather was Martin Van Buren Strickler (1838-1925); a farmer and Confederate veteran, having served as a captain in Co. B, 33rd Virginia Infantry. Martin Strickler was also well-known before the Civil War as a school teacher, having been educated himself at home and in neighborhood schools, and for a while in Jedediah Hotchkiss’ famous academy in Augusta County. Strickler was also known for his large and successful mercantile store in Leaksville. After having been dropped from the rolls of the 33rd Virginia Infantry in the late spring of 1862 (he was sick often), he returned to Leaksville and, in October 1864, was among those to evacuate, along with his livestock, from Page County at the coming of the Federal troops – during the period known as the “Burning.”

After a quick review of Page County slaveholders, none of Mrs. White’s ancestors appear to have owned any slaves in 1840, 1850 and 1860 (according to slave schedules for Page County).

In addition to these two oral accounts, some people attribute additional proof that the stone served as a slave auction block to former Luray Mayor Henry Bernard Dyche. However, only once was he ever cited as having said something about the block, and in that particular circumstance, it was only mentioned in the caption of a photo in 1961 in the Page News & Courier (sometimes referred after this point as PN&C), when the stone was being prepared to be moved to the Inn Lawn Park.

Harry Bernard Dyche was born in Luray in 1892, the son of Charles Bernard Dyche and Frances Virginia Griffith. Charles B. Dyche was actually a native of Morgan County, West Virginia. However, Frances V. Griffith was a native of Page County and a descendant of the families of Griffith, Viands, Sours, Prince (not Printz) and Finks – from 1840 – 1860, none of these families owned slaves. After a review of the maternal ancestors of H.B. Dyche, it is found that John William Griffith may have served in Co. K, 97th Virginia Militia, and perhaps, Co. F of the 43rd Bttn. Va. Cavalry (Mosby’s Rangers). Though John William Griffith and his family eventually moved to Luray (sometime after 1870), the majority of information about the family shows that they resided in Valleysburg, where, in 1860, the least slaves in the entire county could be found (1 in 23 families in Valleysburg, Dist. #2 owned a slave and, in Valleysburg, Dist. #3, 0 out of 29 families owned a slave) next to Waverlie (where only 1 out of 48 families that lived there owned a slave).

SECOND, as to those who say the stone was not a slave auction block, but a carriage step-down stone:

To many residents in Luray, this seems to be the most prevalent thought, most having heard this claim through parents or grandparents.

One former resident, Robert Schlatzer, is a son of Ann Holtzman Schlatzer. In turn, Ann Holtman Schlatzer was the daughter of Charles Thomas Holtzman and Mary Alice Dovel. Charles Thomas Holtzman’s grandfather, Frederick H. Holtzman, and his great-grandfather, Andrew, came to Luray from Maryland with Mr. Blackford to work at the Isabella and Elizabeth iron furnaces.

During World War II, Mr. Schlatzer lived at 127 Court Street, with his aunts Lelia Holtzman Holloway and Ruth Holtzman Vertner Deford. Benjamin Franklin Grayson was their step grandfather. He had married their grandmother, Mary Ellen Miley Holtzman, about ten years after the death of her first husband, Joseph William Holtzman, who was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville in 1863. A graduate of Luray High School (1953), Robert Schlatzer says while a resident of Luray he gained some valuable insight as to the history of the stone in the park.

Mr. Schlatzer states: “When I lived at in the old Grayson house at 127 South Court Street, there was a stepping stone in front of the house next to the street that was very similar to the stone in the Inn Lawn Park. I was told that it was used to board carriages and horses in the old days before automobiles were introduced. This stone is very similar in size and style to the stone that now rests at Inn Lawn Park. When South Court Street was widened, the stone at the house was put in the front yard. You can see that the stone had almost half of it buried in the ground when it was by the street. The way the stone in the Inn Lawn Park is presented with only a small portion in the concrete so that it looks like a high pedestal on which to display something or someone is not the way the stone was situated when it was located at the Southeast corner of Main Street and South Court Street.”

On top of this, a couple of years ago I found what may be considered one of the most remarkable pieces of documentation to show that the stone is not a slave auction block. The brief write-up was discovered in an article written by Judge John H. Booton in December 1927. In his article, Booton not only discounted any claims of a slave auction block in Luray, but provided provenance for the stone surrounding the stone now claimed by some (and sadly marked as such) to have served as an auction block. Booton wrote,

“There is not, and never was, a slave block in Luray. The large square stone at the corner of Main and North Court streets was brought to town from the Old Furnace after the [Civil] war. Mr. [Nicholas Wesley] Yager, who owned the Smoot Building (see the building mentioned in the first part of this article) and conducted a store in the corner room, brought this stone to town and used it for a gate post at the corner of North Court and North Alley streets. Later it was moved to its present location and served as a stile upon which customers who came on horseback could dismount. I can remember when two smaller stones stood beside it forming steps.”

As a follow-up to Judge Booton’s statement, the stone appears to have sat at the corner of Court and Main for approximately 70 years or more (assuming it had been moved from the corner of N. Alley and Court St. to the SW corner of Court and Main ca. 1867) until it was moved again in December 1937 (to allow for the widening of the streets. The stone was not moved to Inn Lawn Park until 1961.

Getting back to Judge Booton’s account – note that Alley Street no longer has a street sign but is located just behind the Yager House/Smoot building. Alley Street runs parallel, but north of Main Street. According to the account given by Judge Booton, this was the first site of the stone, after having been moved from the former Isabella Furnace. The stone was later moved from the corner of Alley and Court to the SW corner of Court and Main, which is next to the old Hotel Lawrence and diagonally opposite of the Yager House/Smoot Building.

Considering Judge Booton’s statement, and that many of the residents of Luray have been claiming for years that the stone at Inn Lawn Park served other than as a slave auction block, would it therefore be historically proper (considering the present interpretive marker) to “symbolically” lend “new” interpretation to something that already has a history? Or would it be more fitting to create a new monument honoring the history of slaves and slavery in Page County?

Some claim that Judge Booton was “covering-up” the truth in his remarks. Indeed, the Luray newspaper itself from the 1880s through the 1930s, as a valid resource for information pertaining to slavery, might, in some minds, fall under scrutiny considering the kinship of the editor. The editor of the Page News & Courier, from it’s consolidation in 1911 (having served as editor and publisher of the Page News since 1898) through until his death in 1934 was William Carl Lauck (1873-1934), first cousin to Judge John H. Booton (Booton’s mother was Emily H. Lauck). Lauck himself was the son of William Edwin Lauck (1832-1881) and a grandson of William Cunningham Lauck (1805-1875) who, like Judge Booton’s grandfather, Rev. A.C. Booton, was also a Baptist Minister and former slaveholder (eight slaves in 1840, seven in 1850 and three in 1860).

However, after looking at every edition of the PN&C from 1916 through the mid 1930s, I realized that there was actually no evidence of a “cover-up” whatsoever. In fact, Lauck seems to have had no problems running a number of articles about former slaves in Page County (though they are clearly condescending). Talk about the former slaves and where they were after all those years dotted the old editions of the PN&C. Articles spoke of former slaves who wrote asking how the former owners were – even coming to visit their former owners. Former slave Mary Powell, for example, wrote in September 1928, having left Page County as far back as 1867 (at about the same time that former slaves and sisters Ellen Gordon and “Happy Jane” Jackson departed the county). Conversely, there were also articles about the trials and subsequent executions of a few slaves – not limited to the hanging of “Captain” and “Martin” after the murder of John Wesley Bell. Though Lauck had ample opportunity to cover-up the history of slavery in Page County, it seems he did not hesitate in actually bringing up more about it, and, because of this, the old editions of the paper are a significant resource when studying the history of slavery in Page County.

THIRD, some informaiton that may give some idea as to how the “memory” of the stone as a slave auction block came to be:

This brings me to yet another story, offered by a grandson of Mary Delia Smoot. Mary was the daughter of Henry J. Smoot and Martha C. Yager Smoot – Martha being the daughter of the above-mentioned Nicholas Wesley Yager – the same man who, according to Judge John H. Booton, moved the stone from the former Isabella Furnace to Luray – specifically the corner of North Court and North Alley Streets. As a child, Mary Smoot observed a slave auction from the upstairs window of her grandfather’s (N.W. Yager) home – known by most later on as the “Smoot Building.” In her recollections to her grandchildren, Miss Smoot (by then, Mrs. Hudson) recalled that slave auctions were held, essentially, somewhere near where the McKim & Huffman Pharmacy now sits or, in the parking area of the same – McKim & Huffman Pharmacy is actually immediately across the street from the attic of the mercantile portion of the old Smoot Building. Of course, there is yet another complication when it comes to her story – if she was born in January 1856, would she be able to recount such events considering her age at the time and would she have recognized them for what they were. If she witnessed auctions at an age she would remember them, she probably would have seen them anywhere from 1862-1865, between the ages of six and nine.

Using a bit of historical “triangulation,” there may well be a third theory as to the nature of the stone. Remember, according to Judge Booton, the stone was moved in 1865 by Nicholas W. Yager from the old Isabella Furnace to the corner of North Court and North Alley (which runs parallel and west of Main Street) and then was later moved to the SW corner of Court and Main (on the corner of the street near the old Hotel Lawrence). Remember also that Mary Delia Smoot recalled seeing slave auction(s) take place at or near the present site of the McKim & Huffman Pharmacy (which is actually just to the east of the SE corner of Court and Main Streets). Considering all of this, even placed on the SW corner of Court and Main, the stone wasn’t even at the site of the slave auctions remembered by Mary Delia Smoot but was actually several yards west of the present McKim & Huffman Pharmacy. Nevertheless, simply for having been placed near (though several yards west of the actual site) perhaps the stone gained notoriety as a “slave auction block” simply for it having been placed in proximity to the actual slave auction(s). Perhaps the story of the stone forms a new “guilt by association” or, more specifically, “guilt by proximity” in that the stone, located near the site of the auctions, began to fall under presumption that slave auctions actually took place on the stone. Remember, there is that old parlor game, used in some elementary school classrooms today, where you have a circle of children and you tell one child something (a phrase perhaps) and allow them to pass that same thing along – whispering, from one child to the next. The most common result is, that by the time the phrase is passed to the last child, the phrase has been altered considerably. Perhaps over time, the same has happened in regard to the stone which has come to rest at Inn Lawn Park.

There is no doubt that, in Page County, there WERE SLAVES – 781 slaves in 1840; 957 slaves in 1850; and 1,850 slaves in 1860 – and SLAVE-OWNERS – 189 slave-owners in 1840 (during which time there was a total free population of 5,413, of which 216 persons were free blacks); 228 slave-owners out of 1,089 free families in 1850 (during which time there was a total free population of 6,643 of which 311 persons were free blacks); and 177 slave-owners out of 1,210 free families in 1860 (during which time there was a total free population of 7,259, of which 384 were free blacks) in Page County, Virginia from the time of its founding in 1831 through 1865. However, if one takes the time to examine the majority of those who owned slaves in the area, one might consider that many of their “high dollar” transactions – especially in regards to the purchase of slaves – probably took place in the same places where they did a large amount of business – namely Fredericksburg and Lynchburg (and other sites to include, likely, Harrisonburg and Woodstock in years before Page County was established from Shenandoah and Rockingham Counties – as those two places were county seats and were along the well-traveled Valley Turnpike). Additionally, as cruel as it sounds to us today, it would seem that any slave-owner who understood the value of dollar would not have willingly sold his slaves in Luray as such a transaction would not have yielded a high return. A good example of this (though only one documented example in relation to slaves in Page County) is the story of Bethany Veney, who was actually taken to Richmond for auction. I cite the following from Aunt Betty’s Story: The Narrative of Bethany Veney, A Slave Woman, Worcester, Mass, 1889. The following can be found on pages 29-30.

“We mounted the stage, and were off for Charlottesville, where we stopped over night, and took the cars next morning for Richmond.”

“Arrived in Richmond, we were again shut up in jail, all around which was a very high fence, so high that no communication with the outside world was possible. I say we, for there was a young slave girl whom McCoy had taken with me to the Richmond market. The next day, as the hour for the auction drew near, Jailer O’Neile came to us, with a man, whom he told to take us along to the dressmaker and to charge her to “fix us up fine.” This dressmaker was a most disagreeable woman, whose business it was to array such poor creatures as we in the gaudiest and most striking attire conceivable, that, when placed upon the auction stand, we should attract the attention of all present, if not in one way, why, in another. She put a white muslin apron on me, and a large cape, with great pink bows on each shoulder, and a similar rig also on Eliza. Thus equipped, we were led through a crowd of rude men and boys to the place of sale, which was a large open space on a prominent square, under cover.”

On the other hand, there is that article that I mentioned the other day in a comment here, found four years after Booton’s article that shows not only that slave auctions did take place in Page County, but that this particularly large one took place in Marksville in 1856. In his regular column in the Page News & Courier titled “Home of the Birds,” Jacob Richard Seekford (1857-1939) wrote perhaps the most poignant account of slavery in Page County, referencing a slave auction held, not in Luray, but in Marksville. Note that the aforementioned editor, William Carl Lauck, was still editor of the PN&C at the time of the appearance of this particular article. So, that being said, on to what Seekford wrote:

“In 1856, when the southern slave buyers would come into this county and would buy slaves and would take them to the south in large droves of colored men and women. In 1856, just in front of the door of the house where ‘Skeet’ Good lives at Marksville, was the place where they sold slaves. Mary Williams, then the mother of two little girls belonging to Paschal Graves, was with her little baby girl put on the block and sold to a man who took them away down south, then the other little girl was sold to Daniel Koontz for $400, and Mr. Koontz gave the little girl to Mrs. John P. Foltz, who lived at Newport. Mrs. Foltz being his daughter. This little negro girl grew to womanhood and married William Winston, she is still living in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Her name was Martha. Many years ago she asked me if I could find her mother and sister. I told her that it would be impossible, then she broke down and cried. I do not know how it will be in the great beyond, but I would like to be there when Martha meets and clasps hands with her mother and sister. Those were terrible days, and I have often wondered what it might some day bring upon this country.”

Considering that there may well be a documented slave auction block near Marksville, at or near a documented site of slave auctions that took place there in 1856, would this stone not be more fitting as a monument to the history of slaves and slavery in Page County (rather than the stone at Inn Lawn Park in Luray)?

Anyway, compared to the slave auction block that is in Fredericksburg, Virginia (see photo number 14 on this webpage: http://www.fredericksburgtourism.net/), the stone at Luray is smaller in size. However, when compared to the slave auction block at Green Hill Plantation, at Long Island, Campbell County, Virginia (see the eleventh and twelfth photo on this webpage: http://www.victorianvilla.com/sims-mitchell/local/pannill/habs/), one realizes that the stone at Luray is very similar to any one of the four pillars that supported a platform upon which slave auctions took place.

A former slave from Page County, Bethany Veney’s account stands in stark contrast against the speculation that surrounds the stone in Luray. Indeed, she was not placed in ragged clothing and bleeding on the block, but was put in what someone would describe as their “Sunday best.”

Veney recalled:

“The next day, as the hour for the auction drew near, Jailer O’Neile came to us, with a man, whom he told to take us along to the dressmaker and to charge her to “fix us up fine.” This dressmaker was a most disagreeable woman, whose business it was to array such poor creatures as we in the gaudiest and most striking attire conceivable, that, when placed upon the auction stand, we should attract the attention of all present, if not in one way, why, in another. She put a white muslin apron on me, and a large cape, with great pink bows on each shoulder, and a similar rig also on Eliza. Thus equipped, we were led through a crowd of rude men and boys to the place of sale, which was a large open space on a prominent square, under cover.”

“I had been told by an old negro woman certain tricks that I could resort to, when placed upon the stand, that would be likely to hinder my sale; and when the doctor, who was employed to examine the slaves on such occasions, told me to let him see my tongue, he found it coated and feverish, and, turning from me with a shiver of disgust, said he was obliged to admit that at that moment I was in a very bilious condition. One after another of the crowd felt of my limbs, asked me all manner of questions, to which I replied in the ugliest manner I dared; and when the auctioneer raised his hammer, and cried, “How much do I hear for this woman?” the bids were so low I was ordered down from the stand, and Eliza was called up in my place. Poor thing! there were many eager bids for her; for, for such as she, the demands of slavery were insatiable.”

For more information aboute Bethany Veney, please see http://docsouth.unc.edu/veney/veney.html

Robert, — What a wonderful piece of local history and detective work. This gives me quite a bit to think about. Thanks so much for sharing it with me.

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