Stafford in Stafford County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Steamships, Stages and Slave Trade
Trail to Freedom
Aquia Landing (pronounced 'uh kwhy' yuh'), here at the junction of Aquia Creek and the Potomac River (to your right) was once a vital hub in Virginia's transportation network. As early as 1815, steamboats from Washington and Alexandria made regular trips here, transferring passengers, mail and even slaves to coaches bound for points south.
In 1842, the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad completed its line to Aquia, reducing travel time between Washington and Richmond. The junction here of steamboat and rail marked Aquia as an important place in antebellum Virginia and a major crossroads of the interstate slave trade.
By the 1850s, Virginia was exporting more slaves than any other state. Thousands of them, often handcuffed and packed amidst the cargo, passed through
"Reaching the steamboat, we were quickly hustled into the hold, among barrels and boxes of freight...After sunrise...we were called up on deck to breakfast. Burch took our hand-cuffs off. ...Breakfast over, the hand-cuffs were restored."
Erected 2011 by Stafford County and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Civil Rights. A significant historical year for this entry is 1841.
Location. 38° 23.372′ N, 77° 18.945′ W. Marker is in Stafford, Virginia, in Stafford County. Marker is on Brooke Road (County Route 608). Marker is in Aquia Landing County Park (formerly Aquia-Po Beach Park). Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2846 Brooke Rd, Stafford VA 22554, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Early Escape Route (here, next to this marker); Gateway to Freedom (here, next to this marker); Aquia Landing (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Aquia Landing Patawomeck Tribe Village (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Aquia Landing (approx. half a mile away); History of the Patawomeck Indians (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named Aquia Landing (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Stafford.
Also see . . . Trail to Freedom web site. (Submitted on February 7, 2011, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on May 24, 2022. It was originally submitted on February 6, 2011, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 955 times since then and 91 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on February 6, 2011, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. 4. submitted on May 23, 2022, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. 5. submitted on February 6, 2011, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.