A Time Line: 1860-1865

Ransom Bennett - Somerset Slave

Ransom Bennett, Somerset Slave

Reenie Bennett - Somerset Slave

Rowena "Reenie" Reeves Bennett, Somerset Slave

Darious 'Ross' Bennett - Somerset Slave

Darious "Ross" Bennett, Somerset Slave

Mourning Dickerson Littlejohn - Somerset Slave

Mourning Dickerson Littlejohn, Somerset Slave

Somerset Slaves

Somerset Slaves

War and Deliverance…

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

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

He 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.

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 slaves are hurriedly moved behind Confederate lines to the newly-acquired Hurry Scurry plantation in Franklin County, North Carolina. Sixty-five members of these slaves' families remain at Somerset Place.

Some of the slaves taken to Hurry Scurry are pictured here.

Josiah Collins III dies suddenly in 1863, leaving Mary without enough money to oversee affairs at 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 slaves taken to Franklin Country all return to Somerset Place for a short time. The newly emancipated slaves reunite with family members who had been left behind at Somerset. By 1870, however, all of the remaining former slaves—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 leave their birthplace never to return.


1785-1819 || 1828-1839 || 1840-1843 || 1850-1860 || 1860-1865


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