Oak Grove Plantation Historical Marker
The Oak Grove Plantation marker marks the site of the plantation that was ran from 1790 to 1910. The plantation was the home to several important men in history, including, both the plantation owners family who include a North Carolina Governor and the slaves who worked the plantation. When the civil war began the plantation was home to fifty-one slaves. Two of those slaves would become important members of the community during reconstruction. Caswell Holt would be the first black deputy and his brother Sam Holt would found a church and school for freed slaves in the community. The marker is located in the parking lot of the Almanac County Historical Museum.
Backstory and Context
The most well know Holt, and the second generation owner of the plantation was E.M. Holt. E.M Holt was the founder of the Alamanance Cotton Factory. Considered a founder of the Southern textile history, E.M's factory produced the first manufactured colored cotton in the south, known as Almanance Plaids. His son, Thomas Holt would become North Carolina's Governor.
One of the slaves, once freed would become Almanac county's first black sheriffs deputy. Caswell Holt was also a sharecropper under Colonel Jerry Holt. In the election of 1868, Colonel Holt ordered Caswell to vote Democratic and when it was discovered he voted republican, he was attacked by the Klu Klux Klan. He was kidnapped, taken into the woods behind his home and beaten. Other stories say that he was punished for stealing chickens or exposing himself to a white woman. Caswell denied both and there was never any evidence of either. It is unclear the true reason behind the attack. Later in life Caswell was attacked again, this time for publicly stating that he was afraid of the KKK. During this attack his wife and children were also threatened. Caswell was shot and would have five bullets removed.
Today, the plantation house is a county museum and many of the buildings on the property have been restored for viewing. You can stand at the plantation and imagine what it was like to be one of the slaves or the plantation operating in its agricultural heyday.
Jordan, Patrick G. Oak Grove Plantation 1790-1910. Historical Marker Database. June 15, 2014. Accessed November 01, 2018. https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=74448.
Sink, M. Jewell. Holt, William Rainey. NC Encyclopedia. . Accessed November 06, 2018. https://www.ncpedia.org/biography/holt-william-rainey.
Caswell County Photo Collection. Flickr. . Accessed November 06, 2018. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ncccha/3219772378.