somerset plantation


Somerset Plantation

Location: Edenton, Chowan Co., NC
Constructed: 1786

History: 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. When the Civil War ended in 1865, so did slavery in the United States. Left without unpaid labor, planters such as the Collins family could no longer maintain the plantation system that had characterized the antebellum South.

Associated Surnames: Baum, Bennett, Blacksmith, Blount, Caburrus, Collins, Dickinson, Dixon, Elsy, Gaskins, Hamilton, Harvey, Jones, King, Kit, Littlejohn, Luton, Mack, Marsh, Newbern, Nubel, Payne, Phelps, Sawyer, Trotter

Associated Free White Names

Associated Black Slave Names

Partial List of Negros at Lake Phelps (Somerset Place) 07/01/1839 (by surname). Name in quotes is slave name as given by owner.

* the given name of the mother was generally carried by the children of field hands


Description of Associated Architecture