Filed Under Plantations

The Roseland Plantation

African Americans have been enslaved in America since before the Civil War dating back until almost the 17th century. They were brought to America and sold one by one as pieces of property to slave owners who bid the highest. Most plantation owners had anywhere between 20-100 slaves who worked on their plantations. Most slaves’ jobs ranged between working as a field hand (who mainly picked cotton), house slave (cooked the owners' food and cleaned for them), black smith, and carpenter. Their most important job was to keep the plantation running at all costs and obey their master at any costs. In 1808 The Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves was put into effect stating that no new slaves were to be imported into the United States. Even with the new law there was no cutting down on slavery around this time. In fact, slavery was thriving because of the invention of the cotton gin. It was a machine created by Eli Whitney that allowed for cotton fibers to be split from its seeds, which would create greater productivity. Most slaves were up before sunrise and worked sometimes past sunset with constant supervision from an overseer to make sure their jobs were being done properly. If the overseer saw that their job was being done in an incorrect manner harsh punishment would ensue. Over the course of more than 100 years, this was the life that many slaves endured until they were able to buy their freedom or escape. As the years have gone on, and plantations have been passed down for many generations, there are still some plantations that are around. Many of the owners have tried to preserve the history of the properties and tell the original owners’ story to the best of their ability. For most slaves these plantations are the only way that tell their story. Upon visiting some of these places one is able to see how many African Americans lived, and it is not a pretty sight. Most slaves died before the end of the Civil War consequently, they had no freedom during their lives and their stories are bound to a sheet of paper listing the slaves' names and how much they were worth. One can also see some of their story from props that are still on these plantations. Plantations are a crucial part of American History. They are large estates that are used for farming items such as cotton, tea, cocoa, and sugar cane. Plantations were typically built before the civil war and ran by a single plantation owner where they had at least 20 slaves working for them. [1]


The Hambrick House formally known as the Roseland Plantation was built by B.H. Hambrick in 1852. After moving around quite a bit from Georgia to Alabama they eventually moved to Texas. Hambrick bought 500 acres of land from Thomas R. Buford on April 9th, 1952. By the completion of the house in 1854, Hambrick had purchased over 1,000 acres, and over the course of several years, Hambrick owned over 3,000 acres. Hambrick built the house for his wife and nine children he grew mainly cotton on this plantation. An interesting fact about The Hambrick House is that the bricks, that were used to build the house were made on the plantation, and the floors were made of native pine. When the house was first built, it was used as a stagecoach, change station for horses, and social stop because it was halfway between Dallas and Shreveport. The American Civil War was a great turning point for African Americans and the Roseland plantation. The Civil War was fought in the United States between 1861-1865 and it was over the enslavement of African Americans. Hambrick, his son and son-in-law fought in the Civil War. However, only the son and Hambrick returned home once the war was over. Hambrick's daughter was so distraught that she committed suicide after 3 months and 3 days before her husband returned home. Shortly after Hambrick divided most of the property between his former slaves, and his wife, the other half became the foundation for Red Land High School, a community. [2]


Hambrick worked with George Humphrey in 1868 to establish a cotton thread mill. A cotton thread mill is a building that houses spinning or weaving machines that could be used to produce cotton. Hambricks mill unfortunately, burned down in 1869. After being forced into poverty from this incident, Hambrick died shortly after. In 1881, Mrs. Hambrick died leaving the home and her acres to their children. The children eventually sold the house to William S Herndon in 1890. William S Herndon was a legislator and confederate soldier who came back to Tyler, Texas after the Civil War. Once he arrived, he picked back up on his legal work and began to work on railroads. He held the title of the Hambrick house until 1919, a few years after he had died. The tenants of the house after Mr. William mainly consisted of black families including, Mr. Y.T. Yates of Missouri, and Mr. Clyde Parker of Tyler, Texas. The house remained empty for almost 100 years after those owners due to it being reportedly haunted by multiple ghosts. The daughter of Hambrick committed suicide in the upstairs left bedroom. Multiple witnesses said that they saw the light come on in the upstairs bedroom where she had previously ended her life. Eerily that the light still came on even after the light fixture was removed from the room. Also, the horsemen who used to come to the property when it was being used as a stagecoach have been seen wandering around the property. In 1954, Mrs. W.C. Windsor bought the house and restored it to it’s original state after it remained vacant for more than 100 years, reinstated it back its original name, Roseland. She was awarded the first restoration award by the Texas State Historical Commission. In 1966, The Roseland Plantation was given its first historical marker placed by the Texas Historical Commission and was presented by Mrs. John Connally, wife of the then Texas Governor. Mrs. Windsor held the title of the property for over 45 years. The house was then purchased by Tim and Carolyn West who did a total restoration. They decorated the home with their collection of antiques and now continuously work on the home everyday. The Wests hope to keep the house around for another 100 years. [3]


Plantations have been used for 100's of years and it is amazing to see some of them still standing in their original condition almost to this day. Some plantations tell a very sad truthful story while other may decide to share a story that is fabricated in order to preserve the reputation of its previous owner. No matter what version is told it is essential to uphold the piece of received. Considering, it can bring light to specific times, dates, and places while also shed light to different situations. The Roseland Plantation is just one of the many historical sights we have in East
Texas that dives into many years of history ranging from the 1800’s until now. It has captured the story of many individuals to the enslaved and free, and continues to tell their story to this very day.

Audio

Interview with Dr. Kimberly Brown Phellum Dr. Kimberly Brown Phellum shared background information about herself as well as information about plantations. Date: 11/3/2019

Images

Roseland Plantation This is the Roseland plantation after it had been vacant for 100 years. Source: https://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMVW05_Roseland_Plantation_Home
The Roseland plantation One of the images showing the Hambrick house Source: http://www.roselandplantation.com/
The Roseland Plantation Another view of the Hambrick House Source: http://www.roselandplantation.com/
The Roseland Plantation The Roseland plantation websites logo Source: http://www.roselandplantation.com/
The Roseland Plantation This is the historical marker placed on the house in 1966 Source: http://www.roselandplantation.com/
The Roseland Plantation This is a photo of the wedding chapel that is on the Hambrick houses property. It is used for modern day weddings. Creator: http://www.roselandplantation.com/

Location

2591 Texas Highway 64 Ben Wheeler, Texas 75754

Metadata

http://www.roselandplantation.com/
Bianca E. Knight, “The Roseland Plantation,” East Texas History, accessed December 4, 2022, https://easttexashistory.org/items/show/299.