Hugh Carr was born into slavery between 1840 and 1843 in Virginia. The earliest reference to him comes from records of the First Baptist Church in Charlottesville. There on November 18, 1860, just eight days after the election of Abraham Lincoln as President, Hugh was presented for baptism by his owner, R. W. Wingfield of Woodlands. Four months later the start of the Civil War would mark the beginning of the end of Virginia's centuries-old slave culture.
Emancipation and the breakup of the plantation system at the end of the War in 1865 was a watershed event in rural Piedmont Virginia. For both Black and white alike the rules of human society would change forever. For Hugh, a young man who could neither read nor write, it meant the start of a life founded in freedom. On Christmas Day, just weeks after the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment which abolished slavery forever, Hugh, having taken the surname Carr, married 18-year-old Florence Lee at the home of her parents in Albemarle County.
Like many newly emancipated men in rural Virginia, Hugh Carr hired himself out to work on local farms, often receiving a share of the crops in payment.
1868 Work Agreement between A.A. Sutherland and Hugh Carr
Note: due to damage of document, not all words could be transcribed.
This article of agreement made this the 31st of Dec 1868 between A. A. Sutherlund, and the undersigns the said undersigns agrees to labor for A. A. Sutherlund for one year commensing January 13th, 1869 and ending Dec 31st 1869 for the consideration of the ¼ Tobacco, ¼ wheat, ¼ Oats, ¼ Corn, ¼ Hay, ¼fodder, ¼ Irish potatoes. The number of .hands being 8, eight in which the division to be made, the undersigns be at no expense except the outside (word?? Hiring?) the said Sutherlund agrees to furnish each hand (damaged here)… and 3 gallons of meal pr week. we (damaged section)… bind ourselves to compliance by signing our names to the seal
Signed in my presence
A.A. Sutherlund (seal)
Hugh Carr (seal)
Armstead Carr (seal)
Alfred Mayo (seal)
John Susberry (seal)
Henry Woods (seal)
1875 Work Agreement between J.R. Wingfield and Hugh Carr
Source: copy of a handwritten document found in a trunk on the Mary Carr Greer farmhouse on River View Farm (now the Ivy Creek Natural Area).
This agreement made this 19th November, 1875 between J.R. Wingfield and Hugh Carr, witness that said Hugh Carr agrees to serve J. R. Wingfield for term of one year beginning 22nd November, 1875 and ending 24th November 1876 inclusive in the capacity of manager on his farm / Woodlands near Hydraulic Mills in Albemarle County.
The said Hugh Carr undertakes and binds himself to manage hired hands, to have and require them to do their duty to see that all hands are in place for work at proper time and that they do their work well and faithfully, to act with judgement and discretion in working crops, as when ground is to (sic) wet, to be prompt and energetic in pitching crops, as for instance, in setting out tobacco – striking down tobacco, &c., to see that crops are well managed and prepared for market so as to bring the highest price; to attend to the feeding and proper sheltering of stock, every day in the year, both on week days, and on Sunday & holidays; to manage so as to keep stock and work animals in good condition and yet see that feed is not wasted, to see that horses & stock are made comfortable in their stables – for instance that troughs kept clean of cobs, &c. – & good dry bed of straw or cornstalks(?); to keep the keys in his possession and control; and to see that nothing is stolen or wasted; to keep tools in place and in good repair for work. – Also gearing for horses & oxen – to look after horses & have an eye especially that they shall not be hurt or cribbed & galled by their gearing.
In the management of hands the said Hugh Carr shall act with justice, firmness & moderation. He shall require strict & faithful compliance with their agreements, yet he shall not be overbearing or oppressive. He shall require, among hands, polite & becoming behavior, and strict honesty – enforcing this rule that, no one who misbehaves – or is dishonest shall remain on the place. He shall note accurately all time, lost by hands – whether an entire day or parts of a day – and shall pay them for their work, with money furnished him by the said J.R. Wingfield.
He shall make weekly reports to the said J.R. Wingfield or as often as he may require – of the condition of things under his management, what hands have lost time, late at work, misbehaved, dishonest or guilty of other impropriety and account for what money has been placed in his hands. He shall have power & authority to dismiss hands for neglect or unfaithfulness in doing their work- or for gross misbehavior. He shall work himself when it is the interest of said J.R. Wingfield for him to work – as when there is a small gang of hands & the work simple needing no especial instruction or supervision and he shall not work when it is the interest of J.R. Wingfield for him to give his whole time & attention to supervision and instruction, or when he has a large number of hands employed. He shall exercise foresight in always having tools ready in good order when time to commence work, in speaking(?) and making arrangements with hands, for busy seasons – as for instance – harvest – planting tobacco, &c. – He shall not be absent from said farm more than is absolutely necessary – but shall give his whole time & attention to work he has undertaken for the interest of his employer – and when he wishes to be absent he shall not leave if said J.R. Wingfield refuses to consent – and for lost time said Hugh Carr shall not compensate for same by putting an ordinary hand in his place – but a deduction must be made from his wages in proportion to what he gets, say at the rate of 85 cents per day.
In a word the said Hugh Car shall give his whole time & attention & head all his energies & exercises all the forethought he can, with a view to keep the said farm, in a good & improving condition; to keep everything in order about house & elsewhere; to make good crops – without an undue expenditure for labor – to look after horses – cattle & other stock – see they are salted, kept in proper places – receive proper attention & kept in good condition, and to carry out the wishes & directions of the said J.R. Wingfield to the best of his ability. He shall keep tool bags, &c under his control & be able to account for all the receives.
In consideration of which services said J.R. Wingfield agrees to pay said Hugh Carr the sum of one hundred & fifty dollars and furnish him a house, firewood & garden lot for himself & mother – also to allow him to keep one heifer on pasture in summer & fall – & on roughness in winter & spring – Also to raise two hogs, which however the said Hugh Carr shall keep in a pen & raise at his own expense. Also to furnish him four pounds of bacon per week and one barrel of extra flour, one and one half bushel of corn per month of four weeks. Also may raise chickens at his own expense on the place. If not more than three days lost, nothing shall be charged for lost time.
Witness my hand & seal this 22nd Day of Nov. 1875
Hugh Carr (seal)
J.R. Wingfield (seal)
Memorandum of winter work for Hugh Carr –
1st Attend to stock
Anderson & Henry Wood feed horses. Oliver feed steers. Henry Powers feed cows. Alfred feed hogs. Salt all stock including sheep every Saturday morning. Feed horses, as to keep fat & strong – feed them with hay and not with corn fodder. Feed work horses in middle of day on rainy days. Haul in fodder for cattle, when dry enough – Feed oats to sheep in frozen & snowy weather. Let Nelson feed sheep. Get sheep troughs together & put on new barn hill where we expect to prepare for tobacco. Repair sheep troughs. Give stock hogs sulphur several times with salt – also give half bushel of ashes to hogs once a week – do not give sulphur to brood sows with pig. Put rings in hogs noses. Haul several loads of leaves to shed at tobacco house for hog beds.
Let Shelton make & repair implements before breakfast – such as single trees – axe helves, mattox helves &c. or do odd jobs, also call on Nelson for odd jobs before breakfast. get out Coulters & Mattoxes & send to shop.
2. Plow for tobacco &corn – Tobacco land first. Do not plow when ground too wet. Plow hill to where plowers are occasionally & have land well broken on which hog pen &old sheep shelter first.
3. Move hog pen to run fence from garden to branch to fence in orchard grass lots.
4. Clean up land &pile up brush before plowers get wood & c up – get up all dead timber & stack up. Assign such work to Nelson & occasionally with other hands as a rest from stripping tobacco. Get some flat nails for post &nail fence – have some hauled to make fence from hen house to garden.
5. Get up plant land first suitable weather. Send out to little plant bed on ridge & leave straw thrown up in heaps to dry so it will burn. Get brush all around & burn over. Extend this bed down hill & edges as much as seems to be good land – so as to take in several hundred yards. And same with reference to bed in Jackson s Woods, gotten up by Pa late in spring. have straw thrown up & burn over with brush.
6. Take down & strip out tobacco. Do not take down either too high or too low. Bulk down in frame house – Tobacco in new house on branch bulk down in passage. Except little corn field Tobacco in passage, This bring to cellar – also cornfield Tobacco in old log house can be brought to cellar as taken down.
7. I wish Hugh Alfred & Shelton to do all the sorting & no one else. Keep just enough ties to tie after them – not more than six. Nelson & John you can employ in packing & repacking occasionally.
Weigh each hand lot he strips every day & pack away at least every two days – see the leaves pulled close from stalk & that leaves not carried out in stalks. Keep accurate statement of weights.
8. Look about & see that stock do not get in mischief – particularly the wheat fields. Notice wheat lot at walnut tree at least twice a week. Keep sheep away from Ivy.
Land Acquisitions of Hugh Carr
Source: Ben Ford, archaeologist
Albemarle County Deed Books,
Albemarle County, Virginia, Courthouse
67:654 1/31/1873 John Shackleford to Hugh Carr 58 acres for $748.40 "is near the Hydraulic Mills and is adjacent of the land of the Hydraulic Mills tract now owned by Worlege [sic] and Sammons, also the lands of Geo. Sinclair and others being what remains of piece or parcel of land known as the Martin tract which contains 93 acres more or less, over and above a piece of land recently sold off of the said Martin tract by the said John Shackleford to Berkeley Bullock, containing 35 acres of land of the southern part of the said Martin tract as laid off by a recent survey of Nathan Barnett and to which survey reference is hereby made that it may be read as part of this deed… Martin tract… same conveyed to John Shackleford by George Moore on 10/16/1866."
Note: Shackleford sold 35 acres to Berkeley Bullock, also African American, on 12/6/1871. See DB 83:323. George Moore sold the original 93 acres to Shackleford for $500 in 1866. It was noted as being "near Hydraulic Mills adjoining the lands of N. Burnley's estate and others and is same piece or parcel of land conveyed to said Moore by John Barksdale and John Bowcock administrators of N. Barksdale, dec’d."
70:274 10/30/1873 Contract made 10/30/1873 between George A. Sinclair and Hugh Carr"…Sinclair sells to the said Carr the balance of his tract not sold to John P. Carter containing 26.5 acres… This land is a portion of the land bought by the said George Sinclair of Thomas Wood and James F. Burnley (commissioners) of Nathaniel Burnley estate and also a small portion bought by George Sinclair of James Mooney for the sum of $530."
Note: The property owned by Sinclair was originally purchased from the court after the division of the Burnley estate. It was subsequently resurveyed by Sinclair as 25 ¾ acres and was formally conveyed to Hugh Carr by commissioners of the Court on May 3, 1882. See Deed Book 82:90.
68:515 3/17/1874 Thomas Wood (commissioner of the court) to Hugh Carr (colored) 19.5 acres "…together with all the buildings and other improvements thereon… being bounded on the north by the Rivanna River, on the west by Carter's Spring branch, on the south by the public road leading from Charlottesville to Rio, and on the east by a ravine… it being portion of the land formerly belonging to Nathaniel Burnley, dec'd."
Note: The late 19th c. County Land Books refer to this 19.5 acres as in a locale called "Cartersburg" possibly a late 19th c. African American community.
92:144 9/4/1889 Memorandum of terms of sale made this 4th day of Sept. 1889 between Richard J. Shackleford… and Hugh Carr… has this day sold to said Hugh Carr… a certain tract or parcel of land lying an situate in Albemarle County Virginia on south side of Ivy Creek adjoining the lands of Hugh Carr "Old Wertenbaker" place and lying on old Barracks Road, the land of J. R. Wingfield lying on north side of said creek opposite the land sold by this contract and supposed to contain 130 acres… for $6 acre… bonds of said Hugh Carr to be given so soon as said land is surveyed. Said bonds to contain a waiver of the homestead so soon as said land should be surveyed… the land sold by this contract is same tract on which said Richard Shackleford now lives and on which the father of said Shackleford was living at date of death, said father being John Shackleford… Possession given so soon as terms of sale are complied with except that said party of first part shall be entitled to occupation of dwelling on land sold and right of ingress and egress from said land as far as necessary for purpose of gathering the crops now on place, until November 15, 1889 when complete possession shall be given to said Carr… the present grave yard on said tract of land shall be and is hereby reserved to the descendents of said John Shackleford, dec’d., with right to such descendents to have ingress and egress from said graveyard for burial purposes."
92:371 12/18/1889 Confirming sale agreed to under former contract. Richard J. Shackleford to Hugh Carr for $883.50 "on the waters of Ivy Creek on its south side adjoining the lands of Hugh Carr, Jesse Sammons, D. R. Goodman, J. R. Wingfield and others containing 147 ¼ acres… the family burying ground as it now exists in said tract or parcel of land not exceeding ¼ of an acre is hereby reserved for the use and benefit of the descendents of the late John Shackleford father of said Richard J. Shackleford and said descendents of said John Shackleford shall have and enjoy the right of ingress and egress to and from said burying ground for burying purpose… the land hereby conveyed is the same in all respects as was sold by said Shackleford to said Carr by contract dated 9/4/1889."
95:323 1/1/1890 Hugh Carr sells to J. R. Wingfield for $589 124 acres "on the southern side of Ivy Creek adjoining the lands of D. R. Goodman, Jesse Sammons, said Wingfield and others and is a part of the tract of land which was conveyed unto the said Carr by Richard J. Shackleford on December 18, 1890."
In 1870 Hugh Carr paid John Shackelford $100 "in part payment for lands sold him". This 58-acre tract would form the core of what would become River View Farm where the Carr residence was built, and which much later would become the Ivy Creek Natural Area. Hugh Carr continued to add to his farm, acquiring over 125 acres by 1890.
Here, Hugh Carr and his second wife Texie Mae Hawkins and raised their six daughters and one son: Mary Louise, Marshall, Fannie, Emma, Peachie, Hazel, and Virginia. Although Hugh himself never learned to read or write, his highest priority was the education of his children.
Five of his children earned college degrees, becoming teachers and community leaders wherever they settled. His eldest daughter, Mary Louise, became the well-regarded principal of the Albemarle Training School, and Greer Elementary School is named in her honor.
Mr. Carr is buried in the family cemetery at the Ivy Creek Natural Area.