Somerset Moves Jan. 15 Lecture Examining Slaves’ Side of Civil War to Roper

A Civil War lecture Jan. 15 arranged by Somerset Place State Historic Site in Creswell has been moved to a new location because of anticipated interest. The program “The Impact and Implication of the Civil War from the Enslaved Person’s Perspective: Forced to Aid My Enemies’ Cause,” is at 2 p.m. in the Vernon G. James Conference Center in Roper.  Former site manager Dot Redford will speak. 

The conference center is at 207 Research Station Road, Roper. For more information, call Somerset Place at (252) 797-4560.  

Somerset Place is a representative state historic site offering a comprehensive and realistic view of 19th-century life on a large North Carolina plantation. Originally this atypical plantation included more than 100,000 densely wooded, mainly swampy acres bordering the five-by-eight-mile Lake Phelps, in present-day Washington County. During its 80 years as an active plantation (1785-1865), hundreds of acres were converted into high-yielding fields of rice, corn, oats, wheat, beans, peas and flax; sophisticated sawmills turned out thousands of feet of lumber. By 1865, Somerset Place was one of the upper South’s largest plantations.

From Somerset’s earliest days through the end of the Civil War, people of different races and different legal and economic status lived on the property. A labor force of almost 200 men, women and children was assembled before 1790. They were black and white, enslaved and free. Over the life of the plantation three generations of owners, around 50 white employees, two free black employees and more than 850 enslaved people lived and worked on the plantation.

The present-day historic site includes 31 of the original lakeside acres and seven original 19th-century buildings. With the goal of accurately representing the lives and lifestyles of the plantation’s entire antebellum community, the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources has acquired the reconstructed Overseer’s House and reconstructed one-room and four-room homes representative of where enslaved families once lived, along with the plantation hospital.

The commemoration of North Carolina’s Civil War 150th anniversary ( is sponsored in part by the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future.

For information on other Civil War-related events, see the sesquicentennial calendar at For more information on Cultural Resources, visit

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