Posts Tagged ‘neighborhoods’

Map used with the authors’ permission.

“Soon after the organization of [the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands], treasury agents and military commanders transferred to its land division all abandoned and confiscated land property not needed for strictly military purposes. Abandoned lands were those described as those whose owners were voluntarily absent. Confiscated property was that which had been condemned and sold by decree of federal courts and to which title was thus vested in the United States. To both kinds of property the bureau acquired all the rights of ownership except the right of sale…
“Only two-tenths of one percent of the land in the insurrectionary states was ever held by the bureau. It would have been impossible to give even one acre to each family of freedmen…Shortly after the organization of the bureau, former owners began to apply to it for restoration of their property….Unless owners gave compensation for labor expended, all negroes and refugees cultivating land were to retain possession until crops were secured.”
Paul Skeels Peirce. The Freedmen’s Bureau: A Chapter in the History of Reconstruction. Iowa City: University of Iowa, 1904, pages 129-130

Affidavits, depositions, and questionnaires sometimes included the former slaveowner’s name and the location of the property on which the formerly enslaved person was born or had lived. (Sometimes a document named a nearby slaveowner or neighboring farm). This information could possibly advance the researcher’s line of inquiry.

An enhanced base map — “Map shewing the position of Government Farms, 2nd Dist. Negro Affairs, Dep’t of Va and N. Ca” — shows the location of government farms for freedmen in Princess Anne County, Virginia. It highlights the relationship between the farms and the emergence of African American communities in the locality now known as Virginia Beach. The authors’ monograph gives details about families, churches, lodges, and schools. It also includes illustrations, photographs, and maps.
Edna Hawkins-Hendrix and Dr. Joanne Harris Lucas. History of African-American Communities in Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach: Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission, 2017, page 7.

Added on July 8, 2019:
Please note that the authors’ research continues. Meanwhile, you might be interested in Our Heritage: Black History, Princess Anne County,Virginia Beach, Virginia: A Pictorial History by Edna Hawkins-Hendrix. Published in 1998, it’s online at Internet Archive.

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Norfolk’s Growth


Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was established as a town in 1682, became a borough in 1736, and was incorporated as a city in 1845. Norfolk grew by annexation from 1887 through 1959.

Click on the map to the right or on Finding Aid: List of Norfolk & Portsmouth City Annexations (accessed December 2, 2018) for a larger image and a timeline that describe the city’s growth through annexation.

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