Locust Grove in Orange County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Toil Without Choice at Ellwood
The Battle of the Wilderness
— Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park —
The veneer of elegance at Ellwood (and most plantations) obscured the harsh world beyond the main house. Before the Civil War, dozens of enslaved people spent their energy every day to provide comfort (and profit) to the owners and elegant hospitality to visitors. Some worked in the house and the yard around it. Most worked the fields and the woodlots that checkered Ellwood's 5,000 acres.
We do not know most of their names, or their birth or death dates. The law did not recognize their marriages, and their families might be disrupted by sale at the slightest misstep or the owner's whim. Still, the renown the owners of Ellwood gained for their hospitality was in part due to the labors of men, women, and children most visitors rarely saw.
Most of the enslaved people at Ellwood worked the fields, producing the crops that kept the cash flowing for Ellwood's owners. Dawn to dusk, six days per week. Others worked in the house or yard (right), doing everything from emptying chamber pots to ironing linens to slaughtering hogs.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Agriculture.
Location. 38° 19.166′ N, 77° 43.945′ W. Marker is in Locust Grove, Virginia, in Orange County. Marker can be reached from Constitution Highway (Virginia Route 20) 0.7 miles west of Brigadiers Way (Virginia Route 720), on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 36380 Constitution Hwy, Locust Grove VA 22508, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ellwood - Home and Workplace (here, next to this marker); Ellwood (within shouting distance of this marker); Archeology at Ellwood (within shouting distance of this marker); A Busy Place (within shouting distance of this marker); The Yard: A Busy Place (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Headquarters (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Union Headquarters (about 300 feet away); A Military Scene (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Locust Grove.
Additional keywords. slave labor; forced labor
Credits. This page was last revised on August 17, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 16, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. This page has been viewed 42 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 16, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.