Address: 2572 Lake Shore Road, Creswell, NC 27928
Latitude/Longitude: 35.789149, -76.403628
Web site: click here
Phone: (252) 797-4560
You can feel the scenery changing as you drive to Somerset Plantation in Creswell, NC. The GPS sent me on a gravel road; I later found an easier way to go. The roads are long; the land is flat, only 5 feet above sea level and all along are deep ditches and canals. The plantation sits on Lake Phelps, the second largest lake in North Carolina and in its zenith Somerset encompassed over 100,000 acres of land and swamp.
Josiah Collins III was the first landowner to live at Somerset. A plantation’s worth was gauged by the number of slaves. With 328 slaves in 1860, this made Somerset the third largest plantation in North Carolina. Over the years, Somerset was home to more than 800 enslaved men, women and children. The main crops raised were rice, corn and wheat.
At Somerset Place, the landowner’s big, beautiful Greek revival house is preserved. But also preserved are the slave quarters, the smoke house and the salt house where the meat was stored and the small hospital that all inhabitants used.
There are some painful looking tools for blood-letting and also some horrific means of punishment for recalcitrant slaves. There was even an Episcopal Church – Lake Chapel – for the slaves to attend.
Somerset Place is beautiful, sitting on the shores of Lake Phelps. The history is preserved for all who would have called Somerset home.
From the Author: Since this state historic site is rather off the beaten path, you might be lucky enough to have a private tour.
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