Archive for June, 2010

Washington Descendants Visit Wessyngton Plantation During Family Reunion

Friday, June 25th, 2010
Washington Family at Wessyngton Plantation

Washington Family at Wessyngton Plantation

On June 19th members of the Washington family visited Wessyngton Plantation as part of their family reunion.  The tour included a visit to the mansion, Washington family cemetery, and a restored slave cabin.  Family members descend from Temperance Washington born 1795, who was enslaved on the plantation along with her son Sam and daughter Jane in 1815.  Sam Washington born 1812 married Jane Hadley 1835-1916.  After emancipation the Washington family remained in the Cedar Hill, Tennessee area.  Members of the family were instrumental in establishing the St. James Baptist Church in Cedar Hill.  On June 20th the church celebrated its anniversary where numerous Washington descendants still worship.  These members descend from Sam and Jane’s children:  Nelson Washington, Irvin Washington, Temperance Washington Sherrod, and Betty Washington Smothers. 


National Black Arts Festival Study Group Walks in Footsteps of Baker’s Ancestors on Wessyngton Plantation

Sunday, June 13th, 2010



In addition to touring the grounds surrounding the Wessyngton mansion, National Black Arts Festival members and guests walked in the footsteps of Baker’s ancestor in the slave cabin area of the plantation.  The group went inside a restored slave cabin built ca. 1830.  In 1860, there were 274 enslaved African Americans on the plantation, housed in forty log cabins.  At the onset of the Civil War, Wessyngton held the largest African American population in the state of Tennessee and was the largest tobacco producer in America.

National Black Arts Study Group at Wessyngton Plantation

Sunday, June 13th, 2010


Today I had the honor of conducting a study group tour of Wessyngton Plantation for Dr. Collette Hopkins, Director of the National Black Arts Festival of Atlanta, along with a number of her colleagues and distinguished guest.  The tour included a visit to the Wessyngton mansion, Washington family cemetery, and a former slave cabin.   Participants were told about the lives of enslaved African Americans on the largest tobacco plantation in America and walked in their footsteps. 

The above photo was taken at the entrance gate to Wessyngton Plantation where I was told as a small child by my grandfather that was where my ancestors came from.  The interest in my family’s history led me on a thirty year journey of discovery and the writing of The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation: Stories of My Family’s Journey to Freedom.