Historic Stagville preserves a small fraction of the plantation holdings of the Bennehan and Cameron families. From 1771 to 1865, the Bennehan and Cameron families profited from the forced labor of enslaved Africans and African Americans on this land. By the 1860s, the Cameron heirs controlled over 30,000 acres of land and enslaved over 1,000 people. This plantation was one of the largest sites of mass slavery in North Carolina. Stagville and the Horton Grove quarters are one of the oldest sections of this vast plantation complex. Today, Stagville is a historic site dedicated to centering the history, stories, and experiences of enslaved people.
The site has been preserved as a state historic site since 1978, including a Bennehan family house (c. 1799), four slave dwellings at Horton Grove (c. 1851), and a massive timber-framed barn (c. 1860). Other significant features include an excavated foundation of an enslaved family's house, a Bennehan family cemetery, and the foundation of a kitchen building.
A visit to Historic Stagville State Historic Site reveals a powerful, intergenerational history of slavery, emancipation, and injustice. Discover stories of family, forced labor, freedom-seeking, and resistance. Stagville continues to expand the interpretation of the history of slavery, with archaeology, oral histories, and archival research.
Want to learn more about Stagville's history? These books are available online, at our site, or at your local library.
Anderson, Jean Bradley. Piedmont Plantation. A detailed history of the Bennehan-Cameron families, including a chapter focused on enslaved African Americans mentioned in their family letters and business records. [Out of print.]
Gutman, Herbert G. The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom. This book features family history and transcripts of enslaved people's names from the records of the Bennehan-Cameron plantations.
Nathans, Sydney. To Free a Family: The Journey of Mary Walker. A moving biography of Mary Walker, an enslaved woman who was owned by the Cameron family, escaped from slavery, and fought for her family's freedom.
Nathans, Sydney. A Mind to Stay: White Plantation, Black Homeland. A profile of an enslaved family forced to move to Cameron land in Alabama, and the community they built on that land in freedom after 1865.
McDaniel, George. Kin and Community. Oral history, family trees, and photographs of African American families who lived and worked at Stagville after the Civil War. [Out of print.]