Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Abram's Plains

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Smith House at Abram's Plains, Granville County, North Carolina

Abram's Plains is a plantation named for a battle in the French and Indian War at the Plains of Abraham in Quebec. The plantation house, composed of eighteenth and nineteenth century components, reflects the long continuity of a single family's ownership of the plantation established by Samuel Smith in 1766. Smith was a prominent citizen of Granville Count in the pre-Revolutionary, Revolutionary, and post-Revolutionary periods, serving in civil and military positions of responsibility. Under his ownership the plantation he named Abram's Plains prospered from raising of tobacco, as did much of the northern Piedmont. The rear portion of the present house and a structure near the main house are believed by descendants to date from this eighteenth century period. The present front portion of the house, is believed to have been replaced the earlier house in 1830, and to have been built for Smith's granddaughter and her husband, Sara P. Smith Downey and Samuel Smith Downey. The property has remained for seven generations in the hands of Smith descendants.

In 1766 Samuel Smith (1729-1800), his wife and three children left Essex County, Virginia, and moved to Granville County, North Carolina. Smith purchased land in the Grassey Creek area near Buffalo Creek, and there began the construction of his plantation. According to family tradition, he selected a site for the family dwelling at the "edge of the plain of the Buffalo," where he had slaves excavate a cellar and a foundation for the house. He named his new plantation Abram's Plains after the 1759 British victory at the Plains of Abraham during the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Year's War). One of Smith's descendants, Jonathan K. T. Smith of Memphis, TN, testifies that Smith was not at the famous battle "being only a nominal member of the Essex militia but he still took this great victory to heart."
When Samuel Smith died in 1800 he left his Granville plantation property to his widow, Mary Webb Smith. She died in 1827 only about a month before her son, Alexander Smith. Apparently at their deaths the Smith plantation passed to Alexander Smith's widow, Ann A. Beasley Smith. After several transfers of ownership within the family, it eventually passed down to Ann Alexander Smith Downey in 1851, who married Isaac H. Davis in 1853.

Slave Population: Samuel Smith's Estate indicated he had 33 Slaves at the time of his death in 1800. In 1800, Mary Smith (widow of Samuel), had 30 Slaves; in 1810, James W. Smith had 25 Slaves, Alex Smith had 52 Slaves; by 1820, Alex Smith had 72 Slaves (he had different plantations), Maurice Smith had 28 Slaves.

Source: http://www.ncgenweb.us/ncstate/plantations/abrams-plains_granv.htm [accessed 2 October 2018].

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