Historic Brattonsville offers visitors a unique experience of a step back in time, by way of a living history farm. By using historic interpreters, they're able to share stories of York County from the 18th and 19th centuries. But they're not just telling the stories of the Bratton family that ran this former plantation, they're sharing the stories of the enslaved, from their influence on our cooking to the joys and pain they suffered while at Brattonsville.
Between 1820 and 1840 the Bratton family dramatically increased the number of enslaved African Americans they owned. In 1820 the census shows that he had around 24 people enslaved, by 1840 there were 112 enslaved people on the property. Historic Brattonsville actively works to learn more about the enslaved population with this census information.
There are seven sacred families that are descendants of the enslaved that share their ancestors' stories through an annual "By Sweat of our Brows" programming. The surnames of their families are Bratton, Crawford, Feaster/Femster, Lowry, Moore, Smith, and Thompson.
In honor of Black History Month, Historic Brattonsville takes a deeper look into the lives of enslaved African Americans in the Carolina Piedmont. by Way of the Back Door.
Learn from one of the Seven Sacred Families' Descendants
The stories of the enslaved on the Bratton family plantation also play a huge role in the American Revolution for the Backcountry. Watt, a young enslaved man is said to play an integral in the “Battle of Huck’s Defeat” in 1780. While British Captain Christian Huck had the Bratton farm under his control, it’s said that Watt escaped warning Patriot Colonel Bratton of Huck’s whereabouts, giving Bratton the upper hand and the element of surprise to defeat Huck. The “Battle of Huck’s Defeat” is marked on Historic Brattonsville’s property along with a headstone for Watt. A replica of the headstone sits at Historic Brattonsville for visitors to see. The stone reads “Sacred to the memory of Watt Who died Dec. 1837 During the War he served his master Col. W. Bratton Faithfully and his child WIth the same fidelity Until his death.”