A look back in history – Rosedale Plantation

February is Black History Month. It is a time to look back at the heritage of slavery in our nation, and the enslaved history in the Charlotte region. We cannot forget our past, and Historic Rosedale Plantation tells accurate histories of the enslaved who inhabited this plantation.

Rosedale was built in 1815 by Archibald Frew, a merchant, postmaster and tax collector.  The extravagant 4600 square foot home once sat on 919 acres. The plantation ran with the support of 2 slave families consisting of about 20 people.  Frew died at the age of 47 at Rosedale on April 15, 1823, a fitting date for the death of a tax collector. Frew’s estate was valued at $1200, a reasonable size estate for the time.

Dr. David Caldwell was the 2nd owner of the plantation. The doctor operated Rosedale as a subsistence plantation and made an income through the hiring out of his slaves. Dr. Caldwell owned several slaves who were skilled blacksmiths. The income from the blacksmiths was very important to the plantation economy. When Dr. Caldwell composed his will in 1854, he stated that it was his wish that three of his blacksmiths: Ephraim, Nat, and Randall, be hired out to “such good places where they will be well treated, and cared for, and as far as can be done have them as convenient to their wives.” This would generate income to be kept in a fund to educate the doctor’s three youngest children.

How nice of Dr. Caldwell to keep the slave families together, let the husbands “be convenient to their wives” so that these men could keep making money for him; even after his death!  Hmmmm!  American history can be a shame and a mess. #343Project