Tag Archives: Jacob Holt

Slave Account; Rev. J.M. Taylor Recalls His Youth in Bondage at Tar River Plantation

Below is a transcription of a brief newspaper article that appeared in the Oxford Public Ledger, on February 25, 1930.

Tar River Plantation House and Family, at Tally-Ho, Granville County, North Carolina

Greek Revival Plantation House of James A. Crews, built about 1830 by the famous Antebellum architect Jacob Holt. This is the home place as it appeared in a photograph taken before 1917. Pictured in the photo are; standing at gate on right; LeRoy Lafayette Crews, at gate on left; Ellen Hamill, LeRoy’s second wife, African-American child on porch on left is “Cora”, whose parents were born into slavery on the plantation, and on the porch on the right; an unidentified child who is probably a relation of Ellen Hamill.


Oxford Public Ledger – Tuesday, February 25, 1930. Page 1.


Scene Of Much Activity In Anti-Bellum Days

From Rev. J.M. Taylor, a colored preacher who lives near Creedmoor, we gather the following data in reference to the old James A. Crews’ farm on Tar River. Taylor, who was born in slavery spent his early life on the Crews’ “plantation” and is known as one of the “Crews boys”.

Our informant relates that in 1864-1865 there were 10 in the white family and 32 in the colored family on this farm of 740 acres. “Our Master”, he said, was a typical farmer.

“I remember,” he continued, “that the corn crop was 300 barrels, wheat crop 300 bushels, potato crop 1,200 bushels, molasses 1,500 gallons. He ground cane and made molasses for his neighbors. Being 8 or 9 years of age, I heard the cannon roar in Eastern Carolina in 1864; saw several hundred soldiers of Sherman’s army on the first and second of May 1865; they passed through our yard and took one of our mules. The Northern army was dressed in blue uniforms. Of the ten of our white people in 1865 there are only 3 survivors, namely: Mr. Leroy Crews, of Thelma, Mr. Albert Crews of Oxford and Mrs. Carolina Smith of Oxford. Of the 32 colored people on the Crews’ farm in 1865 only 5 are living today.”

Rev. J.M. Taylor, quoted above, is a very remarkable man and is doing a fine work among the people of his race. During the campaign he formed a colored Democratic Club for Wilson, and one of his choice possessions today is a personal letter he received from President Wilson.


CH Jones Note: Rev. J.M. Taylor would have been born in about 1856, so he would have been about the same age as the children of James A. Crews; Flora and Albert Crews, and a bit younger than LeRoy Crews who is my great-great grandfather.

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