Witness Stone Project

The Witness Stones Project

Under the leadership of Kelly Bridges, a history teacher involved in the Connecticut project, ATJ is in the early stages of doing the research for the Witness Stone Project. Efforts are being made to partner with varying Florida sites where enslaved individuals lived and work.

A growing number of Connecticut towns, including Guilford, Madison, Greenwich, Suffield, and West Hartford, have worked in collaboration with the Witness Stones Project to install in their communities small plaques that commemorate individuals once enslaved. Through research, education, and civic engagement, the Project expands the understanding of local history and honors the humanity and contributions of those formerly held in bondage. Its research-based curriculum materials engage students of different age groups in history, civics, and language arts classes with inquiry-based learning. Dennis Culliton, the retired Guilford teacher who established the Witness Stones Project, modeled the effort on the Stolpersteine Project in Berlin that commemorates those persecuted by the Nazis before and during World War II. Read more about the Witness Stones Project.

Sources for Florida Enslaved

Each row in the below content includes source description, location, and link to the source.

  • Through family Civil War letters chronicalled in a book, I created a list of enslaved. 
  • Waleka, FL
  • Blakey, Arch Fredric, et al. Rose Cottage Chronicles: Civil War Letters of the Bryant-Stephens Families of North Florida. University Pr Florida, 1998. 
  • Spreadsheet of names
  • Historic house museum that has embraced the documentation of the enslaved population, actively sharing their stories and seeking more information through research and oral histories. 
  • Gainesville, Alachua County, FL
  • Haile Homestead at Kanapaha Plantation
  • Just discovered documents in the house that detail names, ages, and skill sets of the enslaved. They are working on rebuilding slave quarters (some still exist on the property) and including an accurate interpretation of their lives. Might be able to leverage the connection at The Dudley Farm. Currently closed until December, 2022.
  • Apalachicola, FL
  • https://www.floridastateparks.org/learn/orman-house-servant-quarters
  • El Destino was first owned by John Nuttall, a wealthy resident of Virginia and then later North Carolina. He presumably purchased it as a frontier speculation in 1828. In that same year, John sent his son, William B. Nuttall, to operate the plantation. He took with him fifty-two slaves, thirty-two of whom were rated as working hands. Those slaves were property of John and James, another son of John’s. The profits from the plantation were to be divided between the father and two sons. John died a few years later, and in 1832, William B. Nuttall bought El Destino from his father’s estate for $17,000.”
  • Jefferson County
  • Florida Historical Society—plantation papers Papers transcribed by genealogy trails of Jefferson county—several lists of enslaved at different times, including at the end of the Civil War—May 1865.
  • George Noble Jones married Mary Nuttall and purchased El Destino, as well as Chemonie Plantation in Leon County. That plantation was located on the Leon County/Jefferson County line and bordered Evergreen Hills Plantation on the west and bordered a tip of Tuscawilla Plantation on the north.”
  • Jefferson County
  • http://www.genealogytrails.com/fla/jefferson/eldestinohistory.html
  • Online in the FSU archives. “A small notebook with Geo. Whitfield printed on the first page followed by manuscript entries. The notebook documents the financial transactions of George Whitfield around Tallahassee, Florida, including his business transactions regarding slaves he owned and sold.”
  • Near Tallahassee, FL
  • https://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/islandora/object/fsu%3A688683#page/14/mode/2up
  • Division of Robert K. Shaw’s estate probate in Gadsden County, Florida. Valued the total 47 enslaved people at $29,275. Split into 3 lots “as nearly as could be done without separating families…” Names and ages of enslaved people included in document. Valuation done at group level.”
  • Original document in FSU digital repository. 
  • Gadsden County, FL
  • https://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/islandora/object/fsu%3A742985

Cull Bush was an interesting man as he gained his freedom around age 21 and then went on to become a successful landowner in Greenwich. The historians at the Greenwich Historical Society believe he remained near his enslavers’ home because the mother of his children was enslaved for the rest of her life. His children gradually gained their freedom upon reaching 21 under CT’s Emancipation Act. 

Stepping Stones in Speyer, Germany

Anne Frank’s House

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