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

Free People Of Color At Thoroughfare

 
 
Free People of Color at Thoroughfare image. Click for full size.
By Roger Dean Meyer, June 3, 2006
1. Free People of Color at Thoroughfare
Inscription. Families of African-American, Native American, and mixed ancestry migrated here from Fauquier, Culpeper, Rappahannock and Warren Counties after the Civil War. The Allen, Berry, Fletcher, Nickens, and Peyton families, along with former slaves from this area acquired parts of former plantations, built homes, and established the farming community of Thoroughfare which prospered through the 1940s. Many of the “Free People of Color” who settled here were illiterate but their families were not accepted into the schools and churches of their white neighbors. In 1885, the North Fork School was built by local labor with county funding on land donated by the Primas family. In 1899, community growth compelled the families to construct a second floor room and hire an additional teacher at their own expense. Also, in 1909 members of the community built Oakrum Baptist Church, on donated land and selected their own ministers.
 
Erected 2004 by Prince William County Historical Commission. (Marker Number 68.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia, Prince William County Historical Commission marker series.
 
Location. 38° 49.233′ N, 77° 40.598′ W. Marker is in Thoroughfare, Virginia
Free People Of Color At Thoroughfare Marker image. Click for full size.
By Monica Malveaux, October 10, 2004
2. Free People Of Color At Thoroughfare Marker
This photograph was taken at the dedication, October 10, 2004.
, in Prince William County. Marker is on John Marshall Highway (Virginia Route 55) west of Thoroughfare Road, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. It is just a few steps from the east side of the railroad crossing on John Marshall Hwy (SR 55). TerraServer shows the lat-long as 38.82174, -77.67458. Marker is in this post office area: Broad Run VA 20137, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Chapman's Mill (was approx. 1.6 miles away but has been reported missing. ); Thoroughfare Gap ( approx. 1.9 miles away); Campaign of Second Manassas ( approx. 1.9 miles away); a different marker also named Thoroughfare Gap ( approx. 1.9 miles away); St. Paul's, Episcopal ( approx. 2.1 miles away).
 
Additional comments.
1. Additional Prominent Family
I am descendant of Joseph Milton Barbour whom married Elizabeth Hall. They are kin to the Berry's and Nickens. They also owned a very large farm in close promixity to the Berry's and Nickens. Joseph and his wife are buried on that land today.
    — Submitted January 2, 2009, by Sheila Ann Joy of Washington, District of Columbia.

2. Location of North Fork School mentioned on marker
The community of Thoroughfare today image. Click for full size.
By Paul Crumlish, August 18, 2009
3. The community of Thoroughfare today
This is the largest grouping of houses in Thoroughfare. These are adjacent to the historical marker on the south side of road. The marker is just beyond the distant house. Most of the structures on the north side are gone due to the construction of I-66 closely paralleling SR-55.
Under photo 4, Paul Crumlish says: "It is unclear from county records where the other building mentioned on the marker, North Fork School, is located." The school was on the hill, directly west of the tracks from the marker's location. Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor    
    — Submitted December 6, 2009, by Pat Fletcher of Tacoma, Washington.

 
Categories. African AmericansChurches, Etc.Civil RightsSettlements & Settlers
 
Oakrum Baptist Church (1909) image. Click for full size.
By Paul Crumlish, August 18, 2009
4. Oakrum Baptist Church (1909)
As mentioned on the marker. The church was renovated in 1955. It is unclear from county records where the other building mentioned on the marker, North Fork School, is located.
The last vestiges of Thoroughfare commerce image. Click for full size.
By Paul Crumlish, August 24, 2009
5. The last vestiges of Thoroughfare commerce
Located on SR-55, directly across the road from the historical marker, is this store. Originally opened as Chambers' Grocery in the mid 1910s, it continues to serve the diminishing population of Thoroughfare.
Allen-Fletcher Family Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Paul Crumlish, August 24, 2009
6. Allen-Fletcher Family Cemetery
Burial place for several of Thoroughfare's founding families and early leaders, including Frank Fletcher, who built many of the community's early buildings. Frank Fletcher was free-born in Rappahannock County in 1833. His free-born papers were issued when he left that county for work in Warren County in 1855.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 6, 2006, by Roger Dean Meyer of Yankton, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 4,781 times since then and 183 times this year. Last updated on April 24, 2007. Photos:   1. submitted on October 6, 2006, by Roger Dean Meyer of Yankton, South Dakota.   2. submitted on April 24, 2007, by Pat Fletcher of Tacoma, Washington.   3, 4. submitted on August 18, 2009, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia.   5, 6. submitted on August 26, 2009, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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