Between 1786 and 1788, 80 enslaved native Africans hand-dug the six-mile-long transportation canal through the swamp to connect Lake Phelps and the Scuppernong River. Originally 20 feet wide and 4-6 feet deep, enslaved people ultimately increased the depth of the canal to 4-12 feet deep. It served as the primary means of transporting cash crops and supplies to and from the plantation. The canal also powered the mills and machinery in the barnyard area and, through a network of interconnecting ditches, drained the soil for cultivation by enslaved people.


transportation canal