Check out my article on BlackPast.org. It is an excellent resource for African American history and genealogy.
Posts Tagged ‘Washington family’
In 1860 Wessyngton Plantation was the largest tobacco plantation in the United States. The Washington family also held the largest number of enslaved African Americans (274) in the state of Tennessee. 187 of them were held on what was called the “Home Place” near the Wessyngton mansion. Eighty-seven others were held on a part of the plantation known was the “Dortch Place.”
On May 23rd I gave a presentation about my book The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation: Stories of My Family’s Journey to Freedom to the St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society at the Missouri History Museum. I made many new friends among avid genealogical researchers. I had a great time in St. Louis and look forward to visiting again.
My half-hour television interview with John Seigenthaler Sr, A Word on Words, is available as a free downloadable Podcast.
Mr. Seigenthaler asked me many in-depth thought-provoking questions. At the end, he said, “I learned more from your book than I learned from reading my friend Alex Haley’s book called Roots.” I hope you enjoy the interview. Leave a comment with your reaction.
Stories of the founding of Wessyngton Plantation have been passed down through generations of the Washington family. These stories were corroborated by deeds and other documents I found in the Washington Family Papers in the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville. In this deed, we learn that Moses Winters was granted 640 acres of land for military service in the Revolutionary War. Joseph Washington later bought this land which became part of the Wessyngton estate.
Based on arrowheads found on Wessyngton Plantation, Native Americans lived in the area thousands of years ago. Arrowheads and other Native American artifacts have been found at Wessyngton by farmers plowing the fields for many years.
During the Cherokee removal known as the Trail of Tears during the 1830s, hundreds of Native Americans passed through Robertson County, Tennessee. Descendants of the Washington family and African Americans who lived at Wessyngton told their descendants that Native Americans came to the Wessyngton mansion to get food and water enroute to Port Royal. They were marched from Port Royal to Hopkinsville, Kentucky where they spent the winter of 1838-39. From Hopkinsville they were forced on to the reservations in Oklahoma.
For many years local residents have claimed that the old covered bridge between Wessyngton and Washington Hall was haunted. It was said that you could hear horses walking across the brigde and hear voices when no one was near it. In researching the history of Wessyngton I found a photo of the original bridge taken in the late 1800s.