The Jenkins Plantation Museum at Green Bottom will celebrate African-American History Month with a special presentation, “Slavery and Agriculture in the Mid-Ohio Valley,” and the opening of a new exhibition, Visions of the Past: A Journey by Phyllis Preston Jarrett, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2005 at 1 p.m. Both activities are free and open to the public.
Local historian and preservationist Karen Cartwright Nance will discuss the vast economic contributions made by African-Americans in what is now West Virginia’s Ohio Valley prior to the Civil War. Her presentation, “Slavery and Agriculture in the Mid-Ohio Valley” uses slave, census and agricultural records from 1850 - 1860 to identify these contributions.
Nance, who holds a master’s degree in geography from Marshall University, owns and operates a construction company that specializes in historic preservation projects. She has spent several years researching African-American history, 19th-century building construction and other state and local history. She has published three small books on local history, The Significance of Greenbottom, The Historic Madie Carroll House and The Civil War Diary of C. F. Ropes: 38th/34th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Co. “H”, 1865. In addition, Nance is a member of several historical and heritage organizations including the Carter G. Woodson Foundation, Greenbottom Society, State Tourism Underground Railroad Committee, Madie Carroll House Preservation Society and the KYOWVA Genealogy Society, among others.
Following Nance’s presentation, visitors are invited to tour the new exhibition Visions of the Past: A Journey by Phyllis Preston Jarrett. This display chronicles the quest of one African-American woman to trace her family’s history. This collection of documents and photographs is the culmination of many years of intensive work and travel. Jarrett traced her roots back to plantations in Virginia and present-day West Virginia while uncovering a few surprises on the way. Among her findings was a direct link to Martha Jefferson, sister of President Thomas Jefferson. Jarret will be at the exhibit opening to meet visitors and answer questions about her research. The exhibit will remain on display at the museum through May 31.
The museum is located on West Virginia Route 2, approximately midway between Huntington and Point Pleasant. Seating is limited and registration is encouraged. For more information or to make reservations, call (304) 558-0220, ext. 121.
A facility of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, the Jenkins Plantation Museum features the former home of General Albert Gallatin Jenkins, a notable Civil War leader of the Confederate 8th Virginia Calvary. The 1835 house, built in the tradition of Tidewater, Va., is noteworthy for its architecture and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The African-American History Month activities mark a special addition to the museum’s schedule of guided tours. Regular operating hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please call (304) 762-1059 to schedule a tour.