Though well over a hundred people were enslaved by the Smith and McDowell families and many of them worked in our facility – then known as Buck House – and on its grounds on a day-to-day basis, until embarking on this project in 2020 we knew very little about their individual identities.
Enslaved African Americans were not allowed to learn to read or write, and white historians rarely recorded their stories – or even their names. The census only records the sex and age of enslaved people and, most often, their names were only written if/when they were sold or inherited.
This is a living exhibit.
By utilizing documentary, archaeological, and oral source material, we will continue to work to piece together more stories of those held captive by the Smith and McDowell families.
People Enslaved by the Smith and/or McDowell Families
CAROLINE SPEARS COPE
CHARLOTTE BAILEY SCALES
To view the research into each person and learn more about their lives during and after emancipation, click on their names below.