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Green Hill Plantation

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1796. 378 Pannills Rd.
  • Green Hill Plantation, Upper Town Slave Auction Block and Auctioneer’s Stand

Green Hill Plantation, located in Campbell County, Virginia, was established by Samuel Pannill in 1796 and built by enslaved workers. Green Hill embodies a plantation founded on excess, arrogance, and fear. Pannill was a slave breeder, trader, and auctioneer. At his personal residence, he had a permanent slave auction block and auctioneer’s stand built right outside his door. Doing this showed that he was not only confident in his slave-trading abilities but also arrogant. Moreover, it illustrates that he relied heavily on fear and intimidation as the primary method of controlling the enslaved community on his plantation. The auction block is three feet square and stands three feet off the ground. It is constructed of thick slabs of stone. Pannill had the auction block built so that it was visible from all buildings surrounding the main house. This would have included at least four slave houses and three workshops. Pannill built the auction block as a constant reminder to the entire enslaved community that they could be separated from their family and sold, at any time and for any reason.

Green Hill Plantation was such an expansive plantation that Pannill designated the two primary areas on the property as “towns.” The main house and the buildings surrounding it were known as “Upper Town,” where the enslaved community carried out many of the domestic activities. Upper Town is where the Kitchen, Wash House, Dairy, and Smokehouse were located. The area south of the main house, near the river, was known as “Lower Town.” This area was where more industrial work took place, in structures such as the Mill and Blacksmith’s Shop. Lower Town contained a larger enslaved community than Upper Town.

Historically, the plantation had ample stone available to build with, so much so that the roadways and garden walls were constructed with it, as were the many of the buildings, which has helped their survival over time. Today, there is evidence of over thirty structures and features that once stood on the property. The enslaved community at Green Hill Plantation was responsible for maintaining all of these structures, farming the 5,000-acre plantation, and caring for Pannill and his family. In 1861, at the time of Pannill’s death, these responsibilities were carried out by 223 enslaved people. Pannill bequeathed 172 enslaved people by name to his children in his will. These individuals not only had to live with the daily threat of the auction block at Green Hill Plantation, they also had to endure being separated from their families when Pannill’s will was executed. The resilient individuals that survived all these traumas are: Eliza, Joe Cook, Carnny, Winny, John, Patrick, Carnny, Clarissa, Lizzie Alice, March, Sarah, Blair, Carr, Siny, Betsy, Nicy, Sarah Ann, Dick, Jerry, Harry Long, Aaron Cooper, Julia, Aaron, Mitchell, Delphy, Lizzy, Saunders, Nicy, Granville, Mary Ryal, Margaret, Becky, Marshall, Mary Ann, Rosalee, Harrison, Mary, Sarah Ann, Harrison, Jim Singleton, Henry Clay, Yellow George, Delphy, Nancy, John Green, Patsy, Harry Compton, Lucy, Abram, Allin, Elijah Roach, Amy, Nelly, Silvia, Harry Cooper, Louisa, Stephen, Jinny, Susy, Stephen, Bailey, Anna, Rowena, Jordan, Wilson Miller, Sally, Young March, Martha, Bonaparte, Ryal Carpenter, Violet, Hartwell, Margaret, Mahaly, Martha Ann, Claiborne Taylor, Erasmus Johnson, Hartwell, Flourney, Cimon, Rody, Lydia, Daniel, Edward, Will Ross, Caroline, Frances, Lewellin, Mary Ann, Dennis, Winny, America Ann, Albert, Robin, Sarah, Clara, Robin, Robert Green, Sindy, William, Violet, Wirt Gardiner, Tom, Tish, Maria, Salem, Riddy, Anthony, Runell, Charles Compton, Richard Cook, Mary, Halifax, Patrick Black, Robin, Sukey, Howson, Harrison, David Black, Winford, Simon Blacksmith, Jenny, Henry Rass, Lizzy, Doctor, Marcia Jane, Martin, Fanny, Joe Rumpass, Lacky, Pleasant, Silvestor, Elvina, Spotswood, Beverly, Betty, Nancy Armistead, Abram Falling, Lucinda Black, Louisa, Coleman, Henry, Locky, Lewis, Lucy, George, Jim Rass, Aggy, Elvira, Gorton, Catherine, James, Stepney, Dicey, Joe, John Randolph, Green, Susy, Jincy, Bertha, Peter Providence, Crease, David Crocket, Queen, Henry Sydnot, Hilary, Mary Rass, Christopher, Jim, Celia, Hannah, and Celia.

References

Carwile, Phillip D. “Samuel Pannill of Green Hill: An Attempt to Build a Self-Sustaining Estate Based on the Belief ‘Neither a Borrower nor a Lender Be.’” American History 113-1 research paper, September 1971.

Virginia. Campbell County Courthouse. Last Will and Testament, Samuel Pannill. July 27, 1860.

 

Writing Credits

Author: 
Jobie Hill
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Data

Timeline

  • 1796

    Established
  • 1861

    John Pannill inherits Green Hill
  • 1862

    John Pannill sells Green Hill to his nephews Samuel, John, and Abraham Wimbish

What's Nearby

Citation

Jobie Hill, "Green Hill Plantation", [Gladys, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VA-02-031-0001.

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