Black Lives and Whitened Stories

An extensive new look at the lives of African Americans who worked at Rock Hill/Connemara and the White families who owned and employed them.  Prepared for the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site by the National Park Service.

Mill Pond and Free Blacks

Mill Pond and Free Blacks

Mill Pond and Free Blacks Some black residents who are having difficulties tracing their family to the period before the Civil War have speculated their ancestors may have been free and not slaves. Legends and stories have been passed down for generations that there were 

Carl Sandburg Home

Enslaved people built much of the original Carl Sandburg Home before the Civil War.

Slave Cemeteries in Clear Creek

Two slave cemeteries, with graves marked by elongated fieldstones, have been located around Clear Creek.  Slaves were sometimes buried at churches like St. John in the Wilderness and Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Edwards Family in Flat Rock

Venus and Caesar Edwards were freed slaves from South Carolina who settled in Flat Rock and helped to found Mud Creek Missionary Baptist church.


Black families in Edneyville have farmed in the area since before the Civil War.

Slaves in Clear Creek

William Mills, an early white settler who lived near Clear Creek, owned 20 slaves in 1800.  Court records show that some of his slaves were sold to other local slave holders to settle debts and disputes among his heirs,

Slave Owners in Henderson County

The largest slave owners were South Carolinians who summered in Flat Rock.  Most slave owners had just one or two slaves.

Overview of Slavery in Henderson County

The first report of an African American in Henderson County is from 1790.  The number of slaves grew to 1,382 in 1860, which represented about 13% of the total population.