When it comes to the enslaved individuals who lived at Hopsewee, we know little of their lifestyle, belongings, dress and homes: What did they see, smell, taste and hear? They could not read or write, and were unable to leave us answers to these questions. After many years of freedom, they moved away from the plantation, leaving little information of what life was like for them.
Much of Hopsewee Plantation’s history is still unknown, and some of what is known may contain inaccuracies from being verbally passed down from owner to owner, or even within generations of the same family. Any written evidence could have been destroyed or lost long ago. Many structures no longer stand — all traces been destroyed. Those who had knowledge of this history have long ago died, without leaving or being able to leave documentation to follow. Few photographs remain to help in the quest.
Our goal is to find and fill in some of Hopsewee’s missing history and correct inaccuracies where possible. Over the past several years, we have been able to answer some of these questions through archaeological investigation and research.
What we have learned is presented here so that all may have a better understanding of what life was like for those who were forcefully brought here, who were born here, who lived, loved, labored and died here and even, perhaps, sometimes laughed here.
Harvesting Rice painting copyright 2023 Franklin D. Beattie. Used with permission. Authentic reproductions are available by calling (843) 546-7891.