tv American Artifacts Green Hill Plantation CSPAN November 4, 2017 8:35am-9:24am EDT
>> american history tv will be live today from the national world war i museum looking at u.s. involvement in world war i. that is live at 9:30 eastern, only at c-span 3. >> each week, "american history tv's" american artifacts visits historic places. in south-central virginia, near greenhills was a plantation operated by a slave owner. we visited it with jobie hill and a team of resignation is -- team of preservationists.she was introducing the team to greenhill when we arrived. this program is about 50 minutes.
>> ok. >> goodness. [dog barking] >> here are the options. that is the brick dependency. that is a duck house. this is the wash house. this one has a neat feature on the backside. it has a drain in the wall where they would -- yes, dump the water out. this is the slave house. my name is jobie hill. we are at green hill plantation.
it is in campbell county, virginia. i'm here with a company here with me for my independent project called saving slave houses, it is doing documentation of all of the known slave houses in the united states. when i was in school, my masters thesis, i did research with the historical building collection survey, a program started in 1936 to get architects back to work. 1000 architects were hired to go out and look at these things throughout the united states. was of the documentation slave houses. not intentionally, but they did document slave houses. a lot of times, you got one photograph or you would see
a slave house in the background in the picture. for my master's thesis, i looked at the collection and identified all of the sites that had a slave house in them. sites that have a documented slave house. my fieldwork of going back and doing my own documentation -- i these buildings started, i was a summer in term. -- in turn. we saw some of them. they helped me kind of get started. once i started, i could not stop. i kept going. trimble is a company that makes the survey equipment i use. one of the pieces they make is 3-d laser scanners. that is a piece of equipment i currently do not use. it takes more set up and technical skill.
and sometimes people. i do not use it, but i would like to use it. it is the highest level of documentation out there that you can do for buildings or objects. 3-d scanning. they are here to document some buildings with me so i can have the highest level documentation for a few of my favorite sites. greenhill plantation has the original slave owner -- very active in the slave trade. one of the things he decided to put in his yard is a slave auction block and auctioneer stand. there are also originally 30 outbuildings on the property. it is a very rich site in the material culture.
the site was, when he first in 1796,the property, 1800, it was 600 acres. when he died he expanded to 5000 acres. in growing active his plantation. in addition of farming, he was active in the slave trade. the plantation was large enough, it was divided into two separate towns. upper town was by the main house. down by the river was called lower town. that was where the enslaved people lived and worked. >> you walked through this area, what are the challenges they are facing today? challenges,e besides the site, i was hoping to maybe scanned the walk from
the river. slaves would have been brought and had to walk up from the river to the auction block. i was hoping to capture that. it is quite a distance to capture. because it is august, and everything is in full bloom, a overf the landscape is ground. it is not a straight path. that was one of the challenges. we decided that is not the best way to show that. there is other technology that can capture that walk. another one, the time of year that we are here, the overgrown bushes around the building has made it a challenge. fors not only a challenge us, it is a challenge for property owners. they recognize the historical
significance, and they had good intentions. they still do of maintaining these buildings. full-time, you just can't do it. it takes a lot of effort to take care of these buildings. buildings being used, that is when they start to disappear from the landscape. -- we sawjust natural a giant tree that had fallen. once that happens, you have lost the buildings. back there, this is where the other slave houses were. you can see the pile of stone. were 2.they that is the chimney of another slave house next to this one.
there might have just been three. you can see the trees, the chimney of the kitchen. that is all that survived. if you look on the other side, it has three fireplaces in it. this is the brick. we can look inside and see that it might be full of stuff. it is. i don't know what the standard is. >> this has cellar space under it. and an addict? >> yes.
it is an interesting space. has hands to cut things back with. >> i work at trimble as a market manager. i have been involved in the slave trade project. it is a philanthropic project. obie has askedt, j us to come and help her document the slave houses. we run our scanner on a tripod and replace it with a camera slr can take panoramic images. we can map the color from those images on the laser scan, and that provides a point cloud from
which we can pull models using our software or other packages to pull measurements and other kinds of useful information out of it. >> when they are done, what is the product you are going to use? project in the variety of things, they are able to process the material in many different ways. it is a 3-d model. they can be used in different applications. into drafting programs. i can use it to create measured drawings of the building. floor plans and elevations. to view into the building. you can rotate it and look inside, to get a sense of the
space. they can take those models and do virtual reality applications with them. you can put into a program to do 3-d printing of buildings and objects. they are open ended. softwareepends on what or products you have. i am going to use it primarily to show a 3-d model so people have an idea of what these buildings looks like -- look like in real time, and not just rely on two-dimensional photographs and drawings, to peoplee model that helps relate better to the building and the space.
i have invited some people from local organizations i have been working with and have been supporting my project. , a preservation virginia local retailer of trimble equipment that has worked with me. i had people from colonial williamsburg coming out, and historians. going to document the site in the 1980's. it will be interesting to get his perspective to see what it looks like now since the last time he was here.
the site was originally in the 1960's. >> my name is ed chapel. -- in archaeology of archaeological historian. architectural research, architectural history. there 36 years in some change, retired in 2016. one of the principal things our generation did was to broaden the fishnet, to look at regional buildings. we know buildings we have in williamsburg tell powerful stories, but they don't tell the whole story. not everything survives. it was our responsibility to put
back cases that tell the full story. african-americans and slavery. we had a campaign to go into the countryside and other towns, and study early buildings. particularly slave related buildings. people likenslaved this one. plantar houses. so, the whole plantation ensemble if you will. i am continuing to do this kind of work. i love doing fieldwork. in thes amazing material countryside that is largely overlooked. it tells powerful stories. we are at greenhill this
morning. is it -- it is a remarkable plantation. plantationost intact ensembles after the american revolution. virginia and -- in north carolina as well. i am back with this team to look .urther and try to record more it is one of many places that has this rich variety of buildings people worked and -- inin india virginia the virginia countryside. , there is very good photographic reporting. we came back and did another , aer of measured drawings
number of those buildings are now gone, only the chimney standing. we are using new technology. mine is a medieval system of drawing everything by hand. there is a role for that still i think. we are also doing extraordinary digital recording. of thes the texture building to a degree we were not able to do 20 years ago using pencil and paper. but we did an amazing amount of recording 20 years ago. of all of thes buildings i described except for the main house. , myhere is a professor
thesis advisor who traveled to be here. he has been here all week. >> i am rick miner. when she came to the university of oregon to take a degree in historic preservation. i teach a course called historical archaeology. she was a student. she stood out because she came ofwith this great idea beginning with an inventory of , then shelave houses asked me to be on her masters committee. we have maintained a relationship ever since. i went to visit her when she had a fellowship. so, i teach historical archaeology, and i do historical
archaeology in the west. the beginnings were in the east. it helps to get out to see these places. you can read about them and talk about them, but to be here is special. she invited me here to participate in what she is doing. african-american archaeology was theimulus for studying slave free period in the united states. going untilet 1968. it was a stimulus for looking at the whole slave experience. it was an important thing in the history of the united states and
the history of archaeology, to document what was going on here. >> what are your impressions of greenhill? impressivethe most and extensive site we have been at. this is the third. it goes on and on. had a sizable population. overgrown, but there is a natural source of stone here, so a lot of the ed ofings were construct stone, so they are more well preserved. much of it is still under the brush. it is going to take a lot to reveal lit. it will not be done on this trip. >> how could you characterize bie'smportance of jo
project? project,an outstanding in the sense that it is bringing .ogether a lot of the data she is taking a multistate approach. we tend to work on a state-by-state basis, but she is trying to extend throughout the south. she is focusing on virginia. other thing that is cool, that is behind the scenes, bringing all of the people interested in the subject together and, not only the scholarly people, but preservation people, and the families. it gets everybody talking and generates this energy. she is at the center of this now. one of herave been professors, to see this
happening is a cool thing. >> i am pretty sure this is the front. i could have that backwards. the main house. like we are talking about earlier, the slave auction block, it is the dollar one. the auctioneer stand is the lower one. it is closer to the main house than it is to any of the enslaved holdings. of theithin direct side enslaved buildings. if you can see were the kitchen would have been, you can see the chimney. it is almost in line with the kitchen. what i am guessing is it is not an line with the kitchen in the
slave house, so you can actually see the auction block. >> every day. >> yeah. you come out of any of those buildings and you see the auction block. >> it is a reminder of what can happen to you. withve worked quite a bit jobie and her work across the state of virginia. expandived a grant to one of our projects called encyclopedia virginia. we are increasing it and traveling across states and documenting slave dwellings with google 360 software. we're allowing virginians, americans to see these sites from their living room or office space. they can find it on google maps.
if they go to encyclopedia virginia's page, they can see several sites they have captured. if you search online you can find it anywhere. >> how did you get involved? >> my background is in public history and museums. i spent most of my career working with colonial williamsburg, and farmville. the virginiajoined foundation of the humanities to help other sites. one of the things we do is provide grants to historical institutions for research. we do our own programs. we produce our own radio sho -- shows. commissioned us to document as many existing
african-american historical sites as possible. all of this work goes together. places, andhistoric we are trying to marry all of this continent together to something that is acceptable. for families and visitors that can support these under known and under promoted sites that have huge significance to them. a statusk it is symbol. he was a slave trader. it just shows how good he was at his job. slaves, good at moving he needed to have something at his home. people were coming to him to buy slaves. they didn't need to travel to do this.
, he hadetting so many enough he could do the river is about a mile away and that is where they would be delivered, to the river, and sell them. >> to had to walk about a mile from the river to get here just to be sold. a hurry take experience. -- horrific experience. >> the area down by the river was called lower town and it was primarily slave buildings. that is where a lot of the slaves lived and worked, and i guess an overseer to control and manage that area. up here was upper town. >> do you know what exists today at lower town? >> not a lot. we will kind of walk this way and i will point out the .uildings that exist appear
more buildings exist in upper town than lower town. what you will notice is there is a ton of stones. a lot of it is hidden, but i will pointed out where you can see it does point it out where you can see it -- point it out where you can see it. there is a stone wall around, call it sort of a garden, that it is not a formal garden like we think of with flowers and shrubs and stuff. that is all made of stone. originally, this site had over 30 outbuildings. that is a lot of outbuildings. but also showed off his wealth. the first building over here is a duck house. he built a house for ducks. you know what i mean? i would not call that a necessary building. , he had, he could do it the material to do it so he did it.
animals. >> animals had better housing than the people dead. desk did. -- did. how manyven time slaves did he have on the property living and working? isthat i do not know and it also kind of tricky because he was a slave trader. ,e would be moving slaves hundreds, maybe thousands coming through here. i do not know enough about how what hisd of like, shipments were and how many he kept on hand permanently. i do know for here, there would have been -- so up here the group of buildings, there was a kitchen. there would have been slaves living in the kitchen. there was a wash house.
there would have been slaves living in the wash house. there are at least net -- at least three known slave houses. space downstairs and a loft space. and a weeping house with a loft space where slaves were living. living few slaves were up here, living and working up here. and then there would have been slaves living and working in the main house, probably. peer anda few just a like i said -- just up here, the i said, just a few and a lower town there was a whole community of and slaved people living and working. there was a mill down there. i have not found a list of slaves yet but i know, i have found a narrative from one of
the slaves actually. >> really? >> yes. unfortunately, it does not describe any of the living conditions or anything, he is talking about something else, but it is one of his slaves. house, we know people were living upstairs because if you go inside there is a stair that used to be right here. , where there is the header tells you there was a stair. this is an opening and that is where a stair would have been. is pretty cool in there, if you want to look. house andf the wash how we kind of know it is a wash house, and what makes it
interesting because you do not find it very often, or the drains in the wall. that is what those stone basins are that are coming out of the ,all, so when they are washing you have a lot of water, dirty water. this way, you can dump it into the basin and it goes right out to the outside of the building. you do not have to carry the pot of hot, boiling laundry water all the way outside. i have seen this at one other building. these are pretty cool. depends on what the wash house was made out of. >> so that would have been the laundry for the whole plantation, you are guessing? >> that is the question. these questions always come up that people are interested in
and they have to do with the laundry and the cooking. the kitchen, who did the kitchen feed? just the main house or did it feed the main house and enslaved people, and the same for the laundry. was it the laundry for the main house or was it for everybody, or just for the enslaved? those are questions that usually can only be answered through documentation that is describing that function. for this, i do not know. i have not seen any documentation about what it's service was -- what it service was. guessingng wise, i am from the sheer size of the kitchen and fireplace it was feeding everybody that was at upper town. wash house, i would kind of
think it would be servicing everybody. maybe upper town too, but i do not know. , slaves wereg always going to do some type of cooking in their houses because it is well documented, well-known that slaves were not provided enough rations so they were always supplementing their diet, so they were cooking in their fireplaces because they were needing to supplement their diet. those fireplaces, although they kitchens, they were using it for cooking and heat sources. send out onto the slave house.
this is the surviving slave house. sure.as one of three for that pile of stone back there was the chimney of another one that used to be right next to it. when we walk around, we can see the one on the other side, but this one has a loft space upstairs. it is typical. we go inside and look. >> we thought it was three areas , because you can see originally it was there, and dovetailed there. the fireplace started, it was a little smaller. it seems there was a large chimney and they moved the stair over there.
siding thatwas the was replaced once and then replaced again. bigtarted with a pretty loft with access to an unfinished attic. [indiscernible] >> i do not know, i just got here. hugeit -- the kitchen was and it had three fireplaces side-by-side, and brackets for equipment above it. house was setwash soa loft for drying close you go into the attic and there is partition. rather than the partition being theyed with sheathing,
were spaced apart so the air can circulate through. i was really into kind of of hisized cultivation farming and manufacturing. in other words, this does not seem so complete and yet this is not an every day plantation in virginia. elite virginia. he wasike -- particularly interested in how to do these esoteric things. >> there is nothing really special about this stair, it is a latter stair that we see. -- ladder stair that we see. >> you get a much better sense of here in the addict where the
conditions -- in the attic more the conditions were like. it is unfinished. it is pretty well built. together,t is joined so it was built by a professional builder, but was left unfinished so there is no she thing on the -- sheathing on the rafters and kind of an interesting point, perhaps, as that it looks like it never had a railing until this railing was put in after 1900. you had to be a little careful up here as well because kids could fall through the stairwell pretty easily. , it is specialized, better finished, more esoteric.
this gives you a much better a relatively unfinished and frankly uncomfortable accommodation. >> the hooks above the door over inre, you see there's a lot smoke houses and things, but those are the hooks they made and used and you see them a lot in smoke houses. those are the types of hooks they would make out of branches and stuff. that brick, the stone, that was the tobacco barn. that is still part of upper town. but what makes this one special cornersin the four
there are four small rooms in each corner. the history of it is that those four corners were used to breed slaves. the original owner of the property was big into the slave trade so part of trading slaves was to also breed them so you could have more property or product to trade. in a report about this property, they said that those rooms were used to breed slaves. rooms.re four windowless here is the massive kitchen chimney. look at that. how cool is that? with the little bread ovens above. look how big that is. >> what are your impressions of this place? >> this is my first time here.
i actually grew up in this part of virginia and i visited other plantations, but to me what is striking is the fact that there is an auction block right here on the property. earlier, standing on that, it was a very -- i felt like i was tensing up as i was standing on the auction block and just imagining what previous generations may have felt standing in that spot and not knowing what would happen. you can definitely feel the power of that place -- this place. the auction block is a big part of why it is so powerful. this would have been the last place that men, women, and children would have been with their families and after this place they would have been scattered all across the united states. this is really kind of ground zero for that experience in the united states for so many
people. that is probably the most impactful aspect of this plantation. i think it is so important for americans to know this history. with what is going on in today's society, we are still working through the legacy of enslavement and disenfranchisement. the four-week and correct today's problems when he to --erstand the root cause obviously slavery is the root of so many of the social ills we are experiencing. if we are interested in improving our schools, eradicating poverty, if we want to ensure that more americans can actually achieve "the american dream" we need to take a step back and look at the things that cause so many of the
inequities that we see now. before we fix anything, we have to have a fuller, more accurate, and truthful understanding of history. >> this one was what they called , it has been called a brick dependency for obvious reasons, or the loom house or weaving house when the factory. i think it was primarily a weaving house and there is weaving equipment inside. this has a loft space and also a cellar space. you were living inside the space. you can go in and take a look. be careful of some of the floorboards. callis just like when they a servant's house, they were not servants. they were slaves. they were enslaved people. servants implies choice, like a
profession, a job you chose to do. slaves did not choose to be slaves. so this is a slave house. that is about the only function i can think they were trying to cover up. sometimes we do not know what the function was. we did some research about when people started using the word "dependency." 1800s,to say it was mid but it depends what time period you studied but it was a later term you picked up. like a kitchen and a wash house, they would not have to use a generic term. go to the kitchen, you know what i mean? they would need to know what the function is and they would have talked about it. modern,it is more of a generic term that we have started to use.
that little a-frame building is the icehouse. the other one next to it is a dairy with a workshop above it. so the icehouse, very common. you find them next to a kitchen. the reason i study these buildings is because i am interested in the people that were in these buildings. it is always in the back of my mind. i can always talk about the structure itself and the architecture of it is that is what i'm trained to do, that is my background, but it is the people i am interested in and the research i have done with the slave narrative. in the back of my mind, those are the things i am looking for, how were they using this space? how many people were in this space? how would they have divided the
space, especially if multiple families were in one space, how did they claim their own space, and can we see that evidence on the walls or floor or anything like that? where were they sleeping? where were they working and things like that. others, those are the questions they have. they are noticing things about the space about what it would be like to live there that i have experienced enough. i kind of know what questions they will ask when there is loft spaces and we are in the summer. it is hot. . yes, it is. it gets very hot and loft spaces especially if there are no windows or one small window. it is interesting to listen or watch the people when they are visiting these spaces for the first time because they are realizing the conditions of
again, you dohat not just get from a photograph or something, but from actually being there. the loft space is hot. the ceilings are low. the doors are small. things like that. >> what other things are some of the biggest misconduct -- misconceptions you think the general public has about slavery, based on your work? spaces were not just like a single function spaces. houses, thereave are definitely buildings that were dedicated to housing and that was their primary function. were oftenrkspaces times living spaces as well. kitchens and wash houses, those were living spaces and workspaces. the slaves did not have a
separate living space and workspace. many enslaved buildings are multiuse buildings, and they changed use over time but also during historical times. it just kind of, what was needed at the time. they could easily be swapped out for what was needed at the time. just kind of the idea that slaves worked during the day in this space and went home to another building at night is not the way it went. that is not true. they lived and worked in the same space, and part of that, one of those spaces was the main house. when you find fireplaces in the basement, or cellars in maine houses, those would be spaces for enslaved people. that is why there would be
fireplaces down there, because every space was living space and working space. slavery was everywhere, it was not limited to certain places. it was everywhere. survey season, what do you hope to do next? where are you going next? stateope to do the next that has a lot of sites that i know of already, alabama. i would like to do survey work down there. i would like to see how alabama compares with virginia. history is very rich in and people, a lot of historians and potential historians have done a lot of work in virginia because there was a lot of history and presidents and things like that, so always research going on in virginia and it is well documented in many ways. i would like to see how other sites compared to virginia, if they have a lot of research going on there.
need ofey are in more the types of documentation and research there. >> you can learn more about jobie hill's saving slave houses roger by visiting c-span3. saving slave houses documented -- documented a trip to virginia. c-spanpartners work with cities tour's staff when we traveled to sioux falls, south dakota. it is the largest city in south dakota. learn more about sioux falls all weekend on american history tv. lived on the site of what sioux falls