Halifax in Halifax County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
The Old Town of Halifax
Antebellum Halifax was an important in the plantation country of the Roanoke River valley. Its location on the river, where a major north-south roadway crossed , made the town a logical place for travel and commerce. The 240 slaves and 53 free blacks that resided here in 1830 used the town’s commercial and communal activity to attain personal freedoms and financial gain. A number of African-Americans worked in transportation-related positions such as ship’s crewmen, ferrymen, and dock and warehouse workers. Free people of color made a living as coopers, masons, tailors, barbers, carpenters, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, domestic workers, fishermen, and laborers.
Its location and character likewise made Halifax an important “station” for freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad. Whether they were coming to the area to reunite with family members who had been sold or were passing through to a free state, the hustle and bustle of activity, as well as the support of a large and sympathetic black community, made it easier for travelers to go unnoticed. Some used skills ranging from literacy to carpentry to successfully
On May 26, 2011, the National Park Service designated the old town of Halifax as a site on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom because of its significant contributions to the understanding of the Underground Railroad in American History.
This New Bern Blacksmith and wheelwright shop – pictured in 1862 – was operated prior to and during the Civil War by Luke Masaw, a free African-American tradesman. From Homer Cofer’s Report of the Services Rendered by the Free People to the United States Army, 1881.
Background Image: The C.J. Smathier map from 1769, showing the town of Halifax
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Industry & Commerce.
Location. 36° 19.786′ N, 77° 35.287′ W. Marker is in Halifax, North Carolina, in Halifax County. Marker is at the intersection of King Street and Saint David Street, on the right when traveling north on King Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10 N King St, Halifax NC 27839, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Market Green (within shouting distance of this marker); Halifax Colonial Jails (within shouting distance of this marker); The Free Church of Halifax (within shouting distance of this marker); The Tap Room (within shouting distance of this marker); Eagle Tavern (within shouting distance of this marker); Colonial Punishment (within shouting distance of this marker); Early American Taverns (within shouting distance of this marker); Halifax Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Halifax.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 10, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 9, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 31 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 9, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.