1840-1843

Growth and Tragedy

list of enslaved familes

• 483 enslaved persons are divided among the eight heirs of Josiah Collins II—and 287 live at Somerset Place. Some are taken to Edenton, others to Elizabeth City, and still others to Alabama. By the mid-1840s, two heirs suffer reversals of fortune and sell the enslaved persons they inherited to family members or others at auction.

• Josiah Collins III inherits Somerset Place with 12,400 acres, 1,500 under cultivation.

• Four boys, ten years and younger, drown while canoeing in the canal a quarter mile from the Collins home. Two, Edward and Hugh Collins, are sons of Somerset's owners, Josiah and Mary Collins. The other two are enslaved children, Zacharias Blount and Anderson Sawyer. This tragedy touches the lives of everyone living at Somerset Place. 14 years later, Josiah and Mary lose a third son, William Kent.

• A list of families living in the enslaved community records three four-room dwellings and 23 one-room dwellings housing 285 people. This one-of-a-kind document is an invaluable tool for determining living arrangements in the enslaved community.

• Enslaved people inherited by Louisa Collins are forcibly removed from Edenton and Somerset Place and transported to present-day Faunsdale, Alabama, where many of their descendants remain today.