The Lake Chapel at Somerset Plantation and Religious Instruction in the Antebellum South

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
William G Lewis (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: This thesis is a study of the history and use of one of Somerset Place's most notable structures, the Lake Chapel. Although no longer standing today, it was one of the most important and widely used buildings, not only by the Collins family, but also by the plantation's slave community. Situated in North Carolina's coastal plain region along Lake Phelps, Somerset Place was one of the state's largest antebellum plantations, with its Episcopal Lake Chapel membership consisting of nearly half the state's black communicants. Although not a full history, this research focuses both sharply and broadly on the Chapel at Somerset. It describes the various methods used by the Collins family to instruct the slave congregation and discusses the impact the instructions had on their disposition and attitude toward their condition. Additionally, concern is given to how the Lake Chapel fits into the larger plantation mission activities that were taking place in the larger antebellum South. Overall, Somerset Place offers a long and interior view of the lives of masters and slaves on a southern plantation. Unlike many other such places, managers here have taken great care to highlight and underscore the role of African Americans in all aspects of life on the Collins' estate. And owing to many years of research, public programs, and archaeological digs, Somerset has become one of North Carolina's most celebrated antebellum slave plantations; and it remains highly regarded as a national model of historic reconstruction, interpretation and preservation.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Somerset Place (N.C.)--History; Plantation life--North Carolina; Slavery and the church--North Carolina; Christian education

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