Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Pocahontas and Petersburg


On Monday I made an early morning trip to get my oil changed and tires rotated. While at the mechanic shop, I passed the time by reading, but fortunately it didn't take near as long as I expected. So on the way home I decided to stop by Pocahontas and see the new historical marker (below) a reader of this blog recently made me aware of. I won't go into a long history of this Appomattox River community, but I will encourage you to dig a little deeper than what is relayed on the above marker.


Pocahontas was the home to what many believe to be one of Virginia's, and the nation's, oldest free black communities. A wave of manumissions in Virginia followed the Revolutionary War and its spirit of liberty. These emancipations added numerous families to those free people of color who had been calling Pocahontas home for generations. Many of these people made their livings on the Appomattox River and by providing valuable services and skilled work to the commercial marketplace in adjacent Petersburg.



One time Pocahontas resident, Charles Stewart, became a noted jockey, riding for his master, William Ransom Johnson, who was one of the best-known turfmen in the Old Dominion. Stewart is shown in the above painting by noted equine artist Edward Troye, holding Johnson's horse, Medley.


The Jarratt House (above), which dates from about 1819 sits on Logan Street, its windows and doors boarded up and the rear wall being held up by a wooden structural support. Hopefully some funds can be located and allocated toward its rehabilitation, as its survival is important to telling the community story.

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