Park History

Park History Interpretive Series: Conditions of the Enslaved at Temple Hall Farm

The twenty-two enslaved workers at Temple Hall probably performed functions like those at other farms in Loudoun. The farm raised a variety of crops including corn, wheat and potatoes and the adult male (and at times female) enslaved worked in the fields planting, weeding and harvesting. Mason also raised livestock including beef cattle, milk cows, hogs and sheep so the male enslaved tended to these animals as well as the horses kept for riding and plowing.


Park History Interpretive Series: First Black Combatant of the Civil War

During the Federal retreat at Ball’s Bluff, Lewis A. Bell, a free African American camp worker, may have been the first Black man to fire a gun in support of the Union Army.

According to the 1870 edition of History of Worcester in the War of the Rebellion, Bell worked for Colonel Milton Cogswell, 42nd New York Infantry Regiment, while other sources cite his involvement with a Massachusetts unit. Bell “supplied himself with arms, and loaded and fired with great spirit” before being taken to Richmond as a prisoner of war.


Park History Interpretive Series: Robert Carter Ill and His Deed of Gift

Robert Carter Ill was born in 1728 to one of the richest Colonial families of the time. His grandfather, Robert "King" Carter, owned 295,000 acres of land and hundreds of enslaved people. Young Carter inherited much of that wealth in 1732 when his father and grandfather died within months of each other. Most of Centreville and Manassas were part of Carter's Leo Plantation. 



Park History Interpretive Series: The Family of Henry and Jemima Harris

Henry Harris was descended from a for­merly enslaved man and woman freed by Robert Carter Ill in the early 1800s. In 1844 Alfred Ball of Prince William County sold Harris 15 acres located just north of today's 1-66 and Bull Run Regional Park. The 1850 census recorded Harris as a farmer and the "only person" living on his farm. The Slave Schedule of that census, however, listed the enslaved resi­dents of Henry's farm as of a woman of 35, a girl of 6 and boys of 4 and 2. They were his wife Jemima and their children.


Park History Interpretive Series: The Monacan Confederacy and Culture

Native Americans occupied the region as early as 10,000 years ago and archeological studies of Piscataway Crossing Regional Park have found evidence of human existence on the land there as early as 8,500 years ago. The land which is now Piscataway Regional Park was likely occupied by Monacan and Algonquian people at different times in history.


Park History Interpretive Series: The Piscataway People of the Potomac

Piscataway Crossing Regional Park is named for a Native American tribe which once lived in the area and thrived from the abundance of the Potomac River.

The Piscataway were one of the tribes encountered by Captain John Smith during his early explorations of the Potomac River. At that time their capital town was in Maryland, across the Potomac River from where Mount Vernon would later be built, and next to Piscataway Creek.


Park History Interpretive Series: The W&OD Railway and Jim Crow Laws

In 1900, the Virginia state legislature passed a law that required separation of races in public spaces. This included schools, restaurants, hotels, and public transportation—which at that time was primarily the use of trains. This was nicknamed the “Jim Crow” law and sought to perpetuate discrimination against people of color. Many other states, mostly Southern, passed similar laws.