Slavery at Belmont Mansion
While slavery is often associated with large plantations, the institution permeated Southern culture. Adelicia's Belmont was not a plantation, but still relied on a large number of enslaved workers to maintain the estate.
A variety of factors have made researching the lives of Belmont's enslaved residents difficult. Beginning in 1889, the basement of Belmont, which served as the main workspace for many enslaved persons, was significantly remodeled with no care given to historic preservation. By the following year, in 1890, all slave quarters on the estate had been destroyed, leaving no physical presence for interpretation. Very little historic data, including census records, include last names of those who were enslaved, making it nearly impossible to locate descendents through geneaology records.
Despite these challenges, we continue to research as we strive to tell the stories of all who lived at Belmont.
Montvale, the farm at Belmont, was destroyed in 1864. Records of the property's destruction includes information related to the number of slave dwellings on the property.
At Belmont, several extended families lived in slavery over the course of several generations. These families included the Baker and Snowden families, among others.
We have located just two first-hand accounts of slavery at Belmont. One account is from young William Acklin, a enslaved worker, and the other from a visitor to the estate.