The success of Elijah Fletcher's farm relied on the labor of enslaved individuals, both African American and Native American (from the nearby Monacan Confederacy). Although initially opposed to the "peculiar institution," Elijah owned over 110 slaves upon his death in 1858. Shown at right is a rare, undated (but almost certainly post-bellum) photograph of one of the former slaves, Martha Penn Taylor. In 1865, the slaves were freed, but some families settled nearby and continued to work for the Fletchers as paid laborers. Martha (see at the right), for example, moved to nearby Coolwell and became a nursemaid for Daisy (Indiana's only daughter).
A pinterest board with updates on research into the African Americans who lived and worked at Sweet Briar, Read >
African American heritage at Sweet Briar PDF, 1.2 MB.