African Americans were denied their story during the time of slavery. They were denied their names, ancestral history, and family connections. They were denied their story.
On April 11, 2015, Oatlands partnered with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun and the Loudoun Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee to dedicate two Civil War Trails markers about the enslaved at Oatlands and those who started their new lives after emancipation at Gleedsville. Many descendants of former slaves gathered to commemorate their ancestors and share stories. Kevin Dulany Grigsby, descended from Sophia (Moton) and Jacob Howard, was the keynote speaker at Oatlands. Marc Johnson, descended from the Buchanans, Valentines, and Johnsons, was the keynote speaker at the church in Gleedsville. Built in 1890, often by candlelight after a long day's work, it was originally Mt. Olive Methodist Episcopal Church.
Approximately 50 people attended a Descendant Get-Together on May 9, 2016, at Oatlands. Stories and family histories were shared and delicious food enjoyed by all!
Locating descendants and documenting their stories is an ongoing project at Oatlands and the Unitarian Universalist Church. Of particular interest are the last names of Allen, Ball, Bryant, Buchanan, Bush, Carter, Day, Fisher, Gleed, Howard, Jackson, Johnson, Lewis, Mason, Moton, Murray, Russ/Rust, Stewart/Steward, Thornton, Valentine, Warner, and Washington. We will tell the stories as we learn more about individuals and families. If you have information to share, please email Lori Kimball or call 703-777-3174 ext. 103.
Photo of Basil Turner taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston ca. 1930-1939. Mr. Turner was enslaved at Oatlands and after freedom worked for the second generation of Carters and then the Eustis family. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.