War and Deliverance

• According to the Census of 1860, Josiah III owns the following livestock:

portrait of Rowena "Reenie" Reeves Bennett

42 horses
55 mules
52 milk cows
30 oxen
55 other cattle
225 sheep
496 swine

portrait of Darious "Ross" BennettHe also has:

500 pounds of wool
1,500 barrels peas and beans
2,500 pounds of butter
100 tons of hay
500 pounds of flax
500 barrels of oats
$30,000 worth of Indian corn
$5,500 worth of wheat
328 enslaved people

The cleared acreage has increased by 500 to 2,000 acres in ten years.

portrait of Ransom Bennett

• In 1861, following the states of the Deep South and her immediate neighbors, North Carolina secedes from the Union. A bitter civil war erupts that will last for four bloody years. Josiah IV, George, and Arthur—the remaining sons of Mary and Josiah Collins III—enlist in the Confederate Army. Mary and Josiah move behind Confederate lines to Hillsborough, North Carolina, to wait out the war along with other family members.

• Following two visits to Somerset by Union soldiers, 171 enslaved persons are hurriedly moved behind Confederate lines to the newly-acquired Hurry Scurry plantation in Franklin County, North Carolina. 63 members of the enslaved community remain at Somerset Place.

• Some of the enslaved persons taken to Hurry Scurry are pictured here.

Portrait of Mourning Dickerson Littlejohn

• Josiah Collins III dies suddenly in 1863. Mary is left with mounting debts due to the war and its impacts on Somerset Place and Hurry Scurry.

• The Civil War brings an abrupt end to the established way of life at Somerset. The conflict ends in April 1865, and Mary, her sons, and the enslaved persons taken to Franklin Country all return to Somerset Place for a short time. The newly emancipated African Americans reunite with family members who had been left behind at Somerset. By 1865, however, all of the remaining formerly enslaved persons—with the exception of a few—leave Somerset Place for the last time, with hopes for a better life elsewhere.

• Mary Collins dies at Somerset in 1872, and her sons eventually leave their birthplace never to return.