“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“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 image. Click for full size.
January 16, 2010
1. Kitty Payne Marker
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
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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 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.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansWar, US CivilWomen. In addition, it is included in the Quakerism, and the Virginia Civil War Trails series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1867.
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. Marker is on the grounds of the Rappahannock County Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 250 Gay Street, Washington VA 22747, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Honored In Their Generation (within shouting distance of this marker); Historic Stone Marker (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Monument
Kitty Payne Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 17, 2021
2. Kitty Payne Marker
The marker has significantly weathered.
(within shouting distance of this marker); The Town of Washington, Virginia (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Maples (about 600 feet away); Washington, Virginia (approx. ¼ mile away); Washington Graded School (approx. 0.3 miles away); Ellerslie (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map 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.
Kitty Payne Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 17, 2021
3. Kitty Payne Marker
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.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 18, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 16, 2010. This page has been viewed 2,604 times since then and 212 times this year. Last updated on May 26, 2010. Photos:   1. submitted on March 16, 2010.   2, 3. submitted on April 18, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 7, 2023