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Fearn Plantation in Danville, Virginia was the last capital of the Confederacy. Thomas Fearn purchased the land in 1783 from William Wynn, both of whom were founders of Danville, Virginia. On the land is a historic cemetery where a tombstone still reads “Fearn’s Burying Ground.” A single chimney and artifacts of a slave house still inhabit the grounds at Fearn, including the graves at the cemetery.

The Fearn Plantation was home to thousands of slaves who took care of the 1,200 acres of land. Through their servitude, the slaves of Fearn were key in building the booming tobacco market of Virginia. The site has been added to the Remembering Slavery, Resistance, and Freedom Project through the College of William and Mary and the Martin Luther King Memorial Commission of the Virginia General Assembly.

Although the plantation is family history to many Virginia blacks, the city is planning to sell the land to a Chinese manufacturer. There are plans to build a furniture assembly plant on the Fearn Plantation historic grounds.

The Preservation Virginia group, which is comprised of both black and white Virginians, is working to stop the demolition and erect a memorial on the grounds. They want the city to consider an alternate design for the industrial park that would preserve and incorporate the historic site. Fearn Plantation has been added to Preservation Virginia’s list of Endangered Sites. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has asked that the cemetery remain on Fern Plantation.

Enthusiasts and historians hope that the plantation will become an educational resource for Virginians and tourists, as well as a place for families to convene during reunions to learn about the lives lived and lost during a significant time in American history.

For more information on the preservation of the Fearn Plantation, contact Sonja Ingram, field representative for Preservation Virginia,
singram@preservationvirginia.org or visit preservationvirginia.org.

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