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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Stafford in Stafford County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Steamships, Stages and Slave Trade

Trail to Freedom

 
 
Steamships, Stages and Slave Trade Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., February 19, 2011
1. Steamships, Stages and Slave Trade Marker
Inscription.  "In the forenoon the steamer reached Aquia Creek. There the passengers took stages — Burch and his five slaves occupying one exclusively. ...He told me to hold up my head and look smart. That I might, perhaps, get a good master if I behaved myself. I made him no reply."
— Solomon Northrup, 1841

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
Picture of map on the Steamships, Stages and Slave Trade Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., February 19, 2011
2. Picture of map on the Steamships, Stages and Slave Trade Marker
"Map of Aquia Landing in the context of the Richmond-Washington, D.C. route."
Map provided for use on the marker by the National Park Service. The red line is the railroad line from Richmond to Aquia. The blue line is the steamship route from Aquia to Washington, D.C.
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Aquia bound for slave markets farther south. From Aquia, most traveled onward by coach or, after 1842, by train. Some larger groups were forced to walk in chained gangs, or coffles, to destinations as far as 300 miles away.

"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."
— Solomon Northrup, 1841

 
Erected 2011 by Stafford County and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil 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 (within shouting distance
Portrait of Solomon Northrop on the Steamships, Stages and Slave Trade Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., February 19, 2011
3. Portrait of Solomon Northrop on the Steamships, Stages and Slave Trade Marker
The marker features a portrait of Solomon Northrop in his plantation suit.
The portrait is from the Carolina Digital Library and Archives, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries.
of this marker); Patawomeck Tribe Village (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Aquia Landing (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named Aquia Landing (approx. 0.6 miles away); Mason's Homestead (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.)
 
Three Trail to Freedom markers are collocated here. image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., February 19, 2011
4. Three Trail to Freedom markers are collocated here.
The Steamships, Stages and Slave Trade Marker is the left-most marker.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on February 6, 2011, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 788 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 6, 2011, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.

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May. 16, 2021