Exhibit 3

Ruthville – historic free town

A center of commerce

livin' by wukin“None o’ dem live by stealin. Dey wuked an’ made a hones livin.’” These words were used by Archie Booker to describe this historic free town. Booker had been a slave at the Glebe, a small plantation at the edge of the settlement. He said the “free town” was comprised of residents who all had little places of their own to work on. They operated stores and shops. Some were blacksmiths and wheelwrights. Lewis Miller, Sketchbook of Landscapes in the State of Virginia, 1853-1867, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia; image DOS2005-PC-700 in Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, www.slaveryimages.org. Archie Booker quotation from Perdue, Barden & Phillips, eds., Weevils in the Wheat.

Colored fruit vendor, Richmond, VASome residents earned money carrying goods such as garden produce to Richmond for sale. Others were skilled tradesmen – carpenters, shoemakers and coopers. Photo, A Coloured Fruit Vendor, Richmond, Va., from Das Romantische Amerika, Veriage Ernst Wasmuth A.G. (1927) courtesy Charles City County Richard M. Bowman Center for Local History.

Sylvanus Tyler BrownMany found employment on plantations. Sylvanus Tyler Brown worked as a stable lad at Sherwood Forest plantation while his mother Martha Boseman Brown worked in the Sherwood Forest kitchen. Others worked in the fields as hired laborers, tilling the soil side by side with plantation slaves. Photo courtesy Charles City County Richard M. Bowman Center for Local History.

William S BrownThe community acquired the name Ruthville when a post office was established in 1880. William S. Brown, the first person of color elected to the Charles City Board of Supervisors, was responsible for the establishment of the post office and for its naming. At the time Brown had a girl friend by the name of Ruth. The name he submitted for the new post office was Ruthwill – a contraction of his name and hers. The postal service either misread the submission or intentionally changed it to Ruthville, which is how the settlement has been known ever since. Photo courtesy Charles City County Richard M. Bowman Center for Local History.

Ruthville Post Office 1930sThe Ruthville Post Office of the 1930s pictured here was typical of others around the county, invariably located in community stores. When all the outlying post offices in Charles City were closed by the postal service in the 1950s, Ruthville escaped closure, perhaps based on some sort of separate but equal principal. Photo courtesy Dr. Daryl Cumber Dance.

Ruthville Store and Post OfficeCharles City Mercantile Corporation stockAt the turn of the century Ruthville residents established the Mercantile Cooperative Company for the purpose of promoting the community’s economic independence. Shares were sold at $5 each, and the proceeds were used to purchase an old store and move it to the center of town. The cooperative purchased goods in Richmond and resold them to local residents. Photo John N. Corson, An Economic and Social Survey of Charles City County (1929); advertisement from 1927 Charles City County Fair brochure courtesy Charles City County Richard M. Bowman Center for Local History.

next: A center of education