Uncovering the Past at Thomas Stone NHS

Park Interns Caroline Davis and Kaylah Rodriguez with the 1860 Stone Family Census Record

Park Interns Caroline Davis and Kaylah Rodriguez with the 1860 Stone Family Census Record


Quick Facts


A Call to Action
Action Item:
Scholarly Pursuits
Also Promotes:
Go Digital
Year Accomplished:

This summer Thomas Stone National Historic Site has benefited from the dedicated efforts of two interns, Kaylah Rodriguez and Caroline Davis. Their mission has been to document and digitize the familypapers of Thomas Stone. The end result will be a valuable online tool that park staff can use in their daily interpretive operations. In addition, web users will eventually be able to access the papers via a digital file posted to the park's website.

One of the most exciting documents that Kaylah and Caroline have uncovered is a 19th- century census record of the Stone family that resided at Haberdeventure. This census record also lists the individual names and ages of Haberdeventure's enslaved community, the people whose labor was critical to the running of the plantation, whose daily lives intersected with those of the Stone family members, but whose identities might otherwise have been lost to history. This valuable primary source will be used as a starting point for further research and future interpretative programming about the enslaved population who also called Haberdeventure home.

While this census document is one page of an exciting new chapter in the park's story, another upcoming investigation at the park will add to the data. This fall, a geophysical survey of the family cemetery, the final resting place of Thomas Stone, his wife Margaret, and other Stone family descendants will identify the boundaries of the cemetery and identify the number and locations of individual graves. According to local tradition, just outside the family burial ground lies the slave burial ground, though no tombstones or markers survive to identify who or  even how many may be buried here. Taken together, the data recovered through the ground-penetrating radar and the magnetometer readings, and the good old-fashioned documentary research, furthered this summer by Caroline and Kaylah's work, may literally re-populate our understanding of this site.

Both Kaylah and Caroline will be continuing their studies this fall in history related fields. Their important work with the NPS this summer both aided the educational and interpretive staff at the park, as well as introduce these students to a career in museums and archives management. Their work in the THST archives will make accessible great primary sources to scholars and the public, as we all work to understand our shared past.