Hydraulic Plantation: background information, continued

If you are trying to research African American families who were enslaved on a plantation, the first step is to learn more about the plantation owner, because many of the pertinent antebellum records will be listed under that individual and/or their heirs.

Hydraulic Mills was owned by Nathaniel Burnley. Nathaniel and his wife, Sarah Wood, had nine children, some of whom settled in the Hydraulic neighborhood.  Burnley’s uncle Seth Burnley also had large landholdings nearby.  The Burnley estate was involved in protracted litigation following the Civil War and the mill was eventually purchased by Rollins Sammons, who had been a free black miller before the war–possibly even Burnley’s miller.  Sammons married a great-great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Hemings of Monticello.  There are a number of other Hydraulic connections to the African-American families of Monticello.     

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Figure 3: 1864 Dwight Map, illustrating Hydraulic Mills and two holdings owned by J. and
H. Burnly.