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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Washington in Rappahannock County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Kitty Payne

Freedom Lost and Regained

 
 
Kitty Payne Marker Photo, Click for full size
January 16, 2010
1. Kitty Payne Marker
Inscription. In the years before the Civil War, Virginia’s laws restricted free blacks and also tightened the legal grip on slaves. Some blacks, however, struggled through the system to freedom, just as many slaves wended their way to Union lines during the war. Katherine “Kitty” Payne, born into slavery in 1816 near present-day Huntly in northern Rappahannock County, and her family are one example.

Kitty Payne was the daughter of her owner, Samuel Maddox, and one of his slaves. She married Robert Payne, a free black, in 1836, and they had four children. Maddox died in 1837, leaving them to his wife Mary, who emancipated them in 1843 and moved with them to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where Robert Payne died in 1844. Maddox’s nephew, Samuel Maddox Jr., however, alleged that Mary Maddox was not the rightful heir and not entitled to Payne and her children. On July 24, 1845, he and five accomplices kidnapped and returned them to Rappahannock County.

While Payne fought Maddox’s allegations in the courthouse here, the judge confined them in this jail for their safety. A year later, after complex court proceedings, she regained her freedom. In November 1846, Payne and her children left Virginia with the aid of Quakers and returned to Gettysburg. Payne married Abraham Brian, a free black, and they had a daughter. Kitty Payne died in
Kitty Payne Marker Photo, Click for full size
January 16, 2010
2. Kitty Payne Marker
The antebellum Rappahannock County Courthouse in background.
1850.

Brian purchased a farm on Cemetery Ridge, the focus of Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg. In 1864, James Arthur Payne, one of Payne’s children, enlisted in the 27th U.S. Colored Troops and fought in the Battle of the Crater in Petersburg.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 42.679′ N, 78° 9.576′ W. Marker is in Washington, Virginia, in Rappahannock County. Marker is on Gay Street, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is on the grounds of the Rappahannock County Courthouse. Marker is at or near this postal address: 250 Gay Street, Washington VA 22747, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Town of Washington, Virginia (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Washington, Virginia (approx. ¼ mile away); Ellerslie (approx. 0.4 miles away); A Tale of Two Mills (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named Washington, Virginia (approx. 0.7 miles away); Banks’s Grand Review
"Camp of 27th U.S. Colored Infantry" Photo, Click for full size
3. "Camp of 27th U.S. Colored Infantry"
Photo is reproduced on marker on the lower left. Shows tents and men standing amid trees in distance. (Marked 4096.)
(Digital ID: cph 3c19925 Source: b&w film copy neg. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-119925 (b&w film copy neg.) Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
(approx. 1.6 miles away); Music, Omens, and Destiny (approx. 2.3 miles away); Albert Gallatin Willis (approx. 4.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Washington.
 
More about this marker. The marker displays four photographs captioned: on lower left, 27th USCT camp, Petersburg, 1864 - Courtesy Library of Congress; on upper middle, Maddox Farmhouse - Courtesy Rappahannock Historical Society; on lower right, Brian Farmhouse, Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, Pa. - Library of Congress; on upper right, Payne and Brian Tombstones, Gettysburg, Pa. - Courtesy Chester County Historical Society.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground. Adams County, Pennsylvania page includes information on Abraham Brian and Kitty Payne. (Submitted on March 16, 2010.) 

2. The kidnapping of ex-slave Kitty Payne. Emmitsburg Area Historical Society website (Submitted on March 16, 2010.) 
 
Additional keywords. Abraham Bryan; Catherine Payne.
 
Categories. African AmericansWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on . This page has been viewed 1,600 times since then. Last updated on . Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on . • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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