Enslaved of Liberia
1825 - 1865
Eliza and Phillip, Frances and Nathaniel, Susan and George. These and more than 70 others, their names lost to history, were enslaved to the Weir Family of Liberia. Decade after decade, two generations of men, women and children, regarded as personal property, lived and toiled on this land. Planting and harvesting. Feeding and grooming. Cooking and sewing. Their labor, and mere presence as tangible assets, underpinned the success of the plantation. Most are unknown to us today, though their descendants live among us.
While the silence of history robs us of their stories, we do know a little bit about one family, the Naylors. When the Weirs moved to Fluvanna County in 1862 they left Liberia in the care of enslaved house servants, some members of the Naylor family among them. Nelly Naylor was given 12.5 acres of land by the Weirs in 1865 in consideration of the love and affection to their former servant. The Naylors continued to live in the area after the war, running a successful farm and managing a local mill.
This image, made sometime after the Civil War, is believed to be Nelly
These census documents show that William Weir went from enslaving 17 to over 80 people in a thirty year period. What accounts for this startling growth? Were the Weirs actively purchasing people to work on their farm? Was there a large number of births among the population that lived there? Could it have been a combination of both? The documents do not provide the answer, but do prove that Weir owned the largest number of enslaved people in Prince William County on the eve of the Civil War.
This pitcher is thought to be a wedding gift to Harriet Weir from her mother. It is the only thing owned by the Manassas Museum with a direct connection to Liberia. Weir family history states that after it was broken the pitcher was glued back together by a member of the Naylor Family.
Erected by City of Manassas, Virginia.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Agriculture • Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1862.
Location. 38° 46.017′ N, 77° 27.611′ W. Marker is in Manassas, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Portner Avenue and Princeton Park Drive, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8601 Portner Ave, Manassas VA 20110, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 15, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 15, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 298 times since then and 59 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 15, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.