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Somerset Place

CRESWELL, North Carolina

During its 80 year span (1785-1865), more than 850 (five genrations) of enslaved men, women, and children turned an isolated, densely vegetated piece of swamp into Somerset Place plantation. By 1860, Somerset Place had grown to 2,000 acres of cleared land with a slave labor force of 328, making it the third largest enslaved community within one property in the state. Its earliest accomplishments foretold the relentless work which characterized Somerset Place throughout its years. For those made to work and live at Somerset Place, it provided an unwavering hatred of enslavement and perpetual rebellion. While some chose to commit suicide or attempted murder, others retaliated by burning the property. Nineteen people attempted escape 28 times with predictable and brutal consequences. In 1865, when slavery ended, 221 ex-slaves embraced freedom and walked away forever.