Exhibit 10

North Bend Plantation – past poison and contemporary reconciliation

North Bend PlantationNorth Bend Plantation is a well-preserved example of a mid-sized antebellum plantation. Today the plantation offers bed and breakfast lodging, self-guided grounds tours and house tours by appointment. Approximately 45 slaves lived at North Bend in the period before the war when it was owned and operated by Thomas H. Willcox. Slaves worked the plantation’s 800+ acres, raising Indian corn and other field crops. Photo courtesy North Bend Plantation.

Dairy and Well at North Bend PlantationAmong the surviving outbuildings are a dairy and well pictured here. Dairies were used for the storage of milk, butter and cheese. The openings at the top of the dairy allowed air to circulate while providing shade to the interior. Slave quarters were located in an adjacent field. The slave graveyard may have been located in the area of the garden. Photo courtesy North Bend Plantation.

Smokehouse at North Bend PlantationThe smokehouse includes a hand hewn salt box made by slaves. The smoke house was used to process meat for consumption by the Willcox family and by plantation slaves. Meat was salted and dried over smoldering ashes, a curing method which preserved it for a year or more. Photo courtesy North Bend Plantation.

dining room at North BendIn 1849 a drama began to unfold in the North Bend dining room, when Willcox determined that his 18-year-old slave, Billy Roane, had attempted to kill him by putting poison in his food. Dr. Edward Willcox, brother of Thomas Willcox, testified that his brother experienced “burning of the mouth, violent pain in the stomach and a suffocating feeling about the throat.” Poisoning was a crime of private rebellion and somewhat unusual in the Tidewater section of Virginia. Yet Charles City Court records include four alleged poisoning cases between 1837 and 1855 – probable evidence of either a rising tide of rebellion or a rising tide of fear. Photo courtesy North Bend Plantation.

Roane was convicted and sentenced to hanging.  At the time, Virginia law allowed the state to sell condemned slaves to traders who posted bonds guaranteeing that the slaves would be transported to places from whence they could not return to Virginia.  Roane was transported to an unknown location – possibly the Dry Tortugas, where many condemned slaves were sent.

North Bend PlantationFor the past 100 years North Bend has been owned by members of the Copland family. In 2002 owners George and Ridgely Copland decided that they wished to hold a worship service to bless the land and seek forgiveness for the sins of slavery. The Coplands are descendants of Edmund Ruffin, the noted agriculturalist and iconic figure of the Confederacy who claimed to have fired the first shot of the Civil War at Fort Sumter. Photo courtesy John Bragg.

hMembers of Liberty Baptist Church, Westover Church and the Copland family gathered to pray for forgiveness on behalf of the Copland family and its ancestors, and for a blessing of the land to cleanse it from the sin of slavery. Today the Coplands welcome all visitors to their home, especially those who are descended from slaves who lived and labored at North Bend.Photo courtesy North Bend Plantation.

next: Exhibit 11: Lott Cary birthplace – native son and Liberian founding father