Alabama Historical Slavery Plantations 

Colbert County, Alabama - CUNNINGHAM PLANTATION
(Also known as Barton Hall)

Front View of Plantation

Inside View

Northeast Side View of Plantation

Building structure dates ca. 1848. Built by Armstead Barton. Two story frame, wood sides. Small one story entrance porch on front and northeast side. In 1916 alterations and additions made.  This plantation is better known as Barton Hall, an antebellum plantation house built in the 1840s near present day Cherokee, Alabama.  The home is located south of US 72 and east of the Natchez Trace Parkway, in the former town of Buzzard Roost.

Colbert County, Alabama - THE OAKS PLANTATION

Front View - Photographer Alex Bush - March 28, 1935

Parlor - Photographer Alex Bush - March 28, 1935

Slave Quarters - Photographer Alex Bush - March 28, 1935

Kitchen Fireplace - Photographer Alex Bush - March 28, 1935

Original log cabin is said to have been built in the 1700s by Native Americans and is located nine miles south east of Tuscumbia, near Spring Vally. "The Oaks Plantation," presumedly given the name since there was an abundance of oak trees on the land, is also known as the Abraham Ricks house. Abraham Ricks purchased the property consisting of 10,000 acres in 1808 and moved with his family from Fairfax, N.C. about 1822. The family lived in the cabin during the seven years of contruction of the plantation, which was operated with 300 slaves.  

The Grecian style of architecture was used, large hand carved columns supporting the porch, stairway bannisters and window easements are beautifully carved.  The house contained many antiques with little change having been made since the War Between the States.

At his death, Mr. Ricks was buried on nearby LaGrange Mountain and his grave is marked by a monument of Italian marble.

Dallas County, Alabama - RIVERDALE PLANTATION

Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston 1865-1952

Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston 1865-1952

Building structure dates 1828. Built by Virgil H. Gardner for his bride, Margaret Loise Aylett of Virginia, located in Selma vicinity.

 Greene County, Alabama - THORNHILL PLANTATION

Rear View of Thornhill Plantation House - December 30, 1934,
Photographer Alex Bush

Housekeeper Cabin & Present Resident, December 30, 1934,
Photographer Alex Bush

Cabin Interior - December 30, 1934, Photographer Alex Bush

Old Slave Cabin - December 30, 1934, Photographer Alex Bush

Old Wash Place & Present Residents, December 30, 1934,
 Photographer Alex Bush

Plantation School House, December 30, 1934, Photographer Alex Bush

Thornhill Plot Plan

Thornhill Plantation located in Watsonia, between Demopolis and Eutaw, Built 1833 by Col. James Innes Thornton of Virginia, designed by Allen Glover who planned "Rosemount", "Bluff Hall" and others in vicinity. Present owner: (Grandson of Original Builder - James Innes Thornton)

Thornhill Plantation was built by the first James Innes Thornton in 1833. It is of the Colonial type, standing upon a high hill covered with stately trees, which overlooks a wide stretch of fertile country, including several counties. It is located ten miles from Eutaw and six miles from Boligee in Green County. The house was built with great care by slave labor and from well seasoned lumber which was cut, sawed, and hewn by hand.

The estate consists of 2,600 acres, enclosed with a wall of stone and fence of chestnut and cedar rails. The high stone wall at the foot of the hill was built to protect the acres of deer park. Hunting was a favorite sport at Thornhill, and the sound of the horn has given signal for many a house party to "ride to hounds."

As one ascends the hill to the house there can be seen on the estate Free Hope Church, which was built for the slaves to worship in. The family attended St. Marks Episcopal Church, four miles distant in the country. The school house where the children were educated, stands on the hillside, it was used during the War between the States for a spinning and weaving house in making clothers for the soldiers.

Thornhill is now owned and occupied by James Innes Thornton, (namesake and grandson of the original builder and owner Col. James Innes Thornton.)

A minimized copy of the map of Thornhill plantation of 2,600 acres as originally laid out, planned and developed by Col. James I. Thornton; this area was acquired by homesteading 160 acres on which the home was located and the balance was pre-empted from the United States and a small area of the tract purchased on the south end from Allen Glover, so as to square the plantation to a parellelogram.

Col. James I. Thornton was born at Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1800, and he and an older brother Harry Innes Thornton, studied law in the office of their Uncle, Judge Harry Innes in Richmond, Va. He and brother rode horseback from Virginia to Alabama and first located for the practice of law in Huntsville, Ala. Col. James I. Thornton was the first Secretary of the State of Alabama, and held this office for thirteen consecutive years; he also practiced law for several years as the partner of Governor Collier. Harry Innes Thornton practiced law at Tuscaloosa bar for several years then located at Eutaw, from there he served for two years and was appointed by the first Federal Land Commissioner for the territory of California by President Franklin Pierce and moved to San Francisco. - Compiled by Katherine Floyd, Auburn, AL, 1934.

Lauderdale County, Alabama - FORKS OF CYPRESS PLANTATION

Forks of Cypress - Main House in 1935

Old Slave House, March 27, 1935, Photographer Alex Bush

Fireplace in Old Slave House, March 27, 1935, Photographer Alex Bush

Cemetery, August 7, 1935, Photographer Alex Bush

The Forks Of Cypress Plantation House, also known as Forks of the Cypress, was located in Florence, Lauderdale County, Alabama and designed by William Nichols for James Jackson, Sr and his wife, Sally Moore McCullough Jackson. Construction was completed in 1830. The name was derived from the fact that Big Cypress Creek and Little Cypress Creek border the plantation and converge near the site of the main house.

James Jackson, Sr. was a pioneer settler and planter who was born October 25, 1782, at Ballabay, County Monoghan, Ireland and came to Philadelphia, PA in 1799. In 1801 he followed relatives to Tennessee and engaged in surveying. At the land sale in 1814, he became one of the Cypress Creek land company, bought extensive tracts of land in Lauderdale County, and was one of the founders of Florence. From 1822 onward he was active in state politics and served in both houses of the Alabama Legislature. In 1839 he was named president of the Alabama Senate and died August 17, 1840 at "The Fork."

During the American Civil War invading forces used the lands of The Forks as a base camp. At this time the farm was owned by James' widow Sarah Jackson. Additionally, some of Alex Haley's ancestors were slaves on this plantation, which provides a setting for much of his book, Queen: The Story of an American Family. The house burned down after being struck by lightning on June 6, 1966. The columns from the main house and the Jackson family cemetery remain, however. The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 10, 1997. 

Lawrence County, Alabama - BRIDE'S HILL PLANTATION

Bride's Hill plantation, known also as Sunnybrook, is a historic house near Wheeler, Alabama.  It is one of the state's earliest surviving and most significant, exampls of the "Tidewater-type" dwelling. Brought to the early Alabama plantation frontie by settlers from the Tidewater and Piedmont regions of Virginia, this vernacilur type house is usually a story-and-a-half in height, and characterized by prominent end chimneys flanking a steeply pitched roof often pierced by dormer windows. The type has entered popular American culture as the so-called "Williamsburg cottage" (after the 18th capital of the colony of Virginia).

A member of the Dandridge family, cousins of America's First Lady (Martha Wasington), is believed to have built Bride's Hill. Its deep cellar, lighted by oblong ground-level windows, houses a basement kitchen-dining room. On the main floor a broad central hall, with a graceful reverse-flight stairway rising to the low half-story above, seperates two large rooms. Allegedly a seperate brick kitchen structure once stood to the rear. When absorbed into the vast Joseph Wheeler estate in 1907, the house and surrounding farm became know as Sunnybrook. Located in rural Lawrence County, the house has been unoccupied since the 1980s and is in a state of disrepair.

Bride's Hill in 2005


North Front - Old House - January 21, 1935, Photographer Alex Bush

Slave Quarters - February 7, 1935, Photographer Alex Bush

N. Front - Joe Wheeler's Room, January 21, 1935, Photographer Alex Bush

Side Yard, February 6, 1935, Photographer Alex Bush

The Joseph Wheeler Plantation, previously known as Pond Springs, is located in Northwest Alabama in Lawrence County. Currently owned by the Alabama Historical Commission, the house is undergoing major restoration and preservation to take it back to the 1920s condition. Joseph Wheeler married into the property which was owned by his wife Daniella (b. 20 Aug. 1841 m. 8 Feb. 1866 d. 1895). Daniella had inherited the property when her previous husband, Benjamin Sherrod died. The Sherrod's had buoght the property from the Hickman family and expanded and added several buildings, including the two story dogtrot log cabin that came to be known as the Sherrod House. The Wheelers built their own house right next to the Sherrod house and occupied both houses while Daniella and Joe were alive.

The Men lived in the Sherrod House, while the Women lived in the newer 3 story Wheeler House. The Second floor of the Wheeler House has four bedrooms, one for each daughter, while their governess lived in the 3rd story attic. Daniella occupied a room downstairs, which was equipped with its own door knocker. Later on the upstairs of the Wheeler home was shared by Joe, Jr. and his older sister Annie, until their deaths. The two houses were, and still are, connected outside through a covered walkway.



Marengo County, Alabama - FAUNDSALE PLANTATION

Slave Quarters in 2008

Main House at Faunsdale Plantation in 2008

The plantation was established by Dr. Thomas Alexander Harrison from Charles City County, Virginia in 1843. He named his plantation after Faunus, the ancient Roman deity of the forest, plains, and fields. Harrison is known to have brough a large number of slaves with him from Virginia, he is listed in the 1850 Federal Census of Marengo County as having $18,300.00 in property. Dr. Harrison was killed in a buggy accident on September 5, 1858 and the nearby town of Faunsdale was named after his plantation in his honor.

Faunsdale Plantation is one of the few large plantation in Alabama where detailed slave records were recorded and managed to survive as part of the historical record. These records indicated that the Harrison family held roughly 99 slaves in 1846. This number had increased to 161 by 1857. A list from January 1, 1864 also indicates that Harrison's widow, Louisa owned 186 slaves, at least 35 families. Some of the slave surnames noted at that time were Barron, Brown, Francis, Harison, Iredell, Multon, Nathan, Paine, Parsons, Richmond, Washington, and Wills. Fourteen of these enslaved people had died by the end of 1864 from causes ranging from typhoid fever to measles.

St. Michael's Church

St. Michael's Episcopal Church Before It Was Moved Away From The Plantation
Built c. 1855, moved from Faunsdale Plantation to the nearby town of Faunsdale in 1888, destroyed in a tornado in 1932.

In 1844 Harrison and his wife, Louisa, gave 1 acre of their plantation for the building of a log church across from their plantation house. In 1846, Alabama's first Episcopal bishop, Nicholas Hamner Cobbs, visited Faunsdale Plantation and noted that Louisa Harrison gave regular instruction to her slaves by reading the services of the church and teaching the catechism to their children. In 1852 the church was renamed St. Michael's Episcopal Church and by 1865 a Gothic Revival sytle church building had been constructed.

A churchyard for burials was established in 1858 with Dr. Harrison being the first interment. Slaves, and later freedmen, from the plantation began to be buried there in 1860. The church building was moved to the town of Faunsdale in 1888 and was later destroyed by a tornado in 1932, though the churchyard remained an active burial ground.

Several years after the death of Thomas Harrison, Louisa remarried to Rev. William A. Stickney, the Episcopal minister for St. Michael's, in 1864. Stickney had been one of the first ministers ordained by Bishop Cobbs and was appointed by Bishop Richard WIlmer as a "Missionary to the Negroes" in 1863. Louisa joined him as an unofficial fellow minister among the African Americans of the Black Belt.

(Historical plantation near Faunsdale, Alabama.  The slave quarters on the property are the last known significant examples of slave housing in Marengo County and are among the last remaining examples in Alabama.  The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 13, 1993 as a part of a multiple property.)

Wilcox County, Alabama - FELIX TAIT PLANTATION

Front - Felix Tait Plantation - August 29, 1936, Photographer Alex Bush

Southeast - Old Cabin - August 29, 1936, Photographer Alex Bush

East Hall - Entrance Door - August 29, 1936, Photographer Alex Bush

Family Cemetery - August 29, 1936, Photographer Alex Bush

Located on County Road 23, Camden Vicinity, Wilcox County, Alabama. Built approximately 1860. Also referred to as "White Columns, Tait-Starr House, P. E. Starr House."

TAIT, FELIX - the second son of Captain James Asbury and Elizabeth Caroline (Goode) Tait, and grandson of Charles Tait (U.S. Senator from Georgia, and first federal judge in Alabama) was born Nov. 13, 1822, near Black's Bluff, Wilcox County, Alabama, and died July 10, 1899, at his home near Rock West. He was educated at Howard College, and at the University of Alabama, where he took the degree of A. B., class of 1843. He received the honorary degree of A. M., 1850.

He was among the first to volunteer in the Mexican War, and maintained himself and his horse at his own expense throughout the entire struggle. On Sept. 10, 1850, he married Narcissa Goree, daughter of John Rabb and Sarah Elizabeth (King) Goree, of Marion, Alabama, purchased a plantation on the Alabama river, and erected a home. He was a trustee of the University of Alabama, 1856-1861; and represented Wilcox County in the lower house of the general assembly of Alabama, 1867-1861. When the contest between the North and the South began, he volunteered and was elected major of the 23rd Alabama infantry. Returning from the field of battle to his home on the Alabama in 1865 he found that he had sustained losses incalculatable, as did every slave-holder of the South. Nevertheless he generously threw open his home and his barns to his fellow Confederates passing through the country. Although Major Tait lived here in comparative retirement, he always took a lively interest in public affairs. In 1874 he was state Senator from Wilcox county. He had an extensive library, and was very fond of books, but he made no literary pretensions. He was a Democrat of the "old school;" a man of unquestioned integrity; a true and generous friend. He was of large stature, about six feet three inches tall, well proportioned, and had an intellectual face and commanding appearance. His surviving descendants are Charles Edward Tait, Felix Tait, Jr., Porter King Tait, and Mesdmaes Annie Moore, Carrie Moore, Julia McDowell, Lallie Bragg, and Nellie Godbold. He united with the Alabama Historical Society prior to 1860, no record being so far found of the exact date.


Front - Rosemary House Plantation - March 24, 1937, Photographer Alex Bush

South End of Hall- March 24, 1937, Photographer Alex Bush

Old Plantation Store -March 24, 1937, Photographer Alex Bush

Front Room - March 24, 1937, Photographer Alex Bush

Old Matthew's Place - State Route 28, located 1 mile south of Miller's Ferry near Camden, Wilcox County, Alabama. Built in 1858 by Peter Matthews. Owner in 1937 - Mrs. F. L. Cade.

Sources: Wikipedia, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Transactions of the Alabama Historical Society, Vol. 4, By Thomas McAdory Owens, 1904, History of Alabama, Vol. 3, 1921, Thomas McAdory Owen,  Transcribed by C. Anthony.



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