Oysterponds Historical Society forms Working Group to study slavery

A week after removing a sign marking a presumed slave burial site on Narrow River Road, the Oysterponds Historical Society has formed a working group to research slavery, indentured servitude and farm labor camps in Orient and East Marion from the 17th to the 20th centuries.

Earlier this month, the Society removed the marker on Narrow River Road, saying they wanted to research who, in fact, was buried there. The marker said it was the burial spot for members of the Tuthill family and their “servants,” a rather benign euphemism for slaves who could be bought and sold. While criticized by some as a way to erase history, the society said in fact they wanted to dig deeper and try and determine who these slaves were and what was their fate.

“The Oysterponds Historical Society has formed a Working Group to research the history of these practices in our community. We are working with historians, archeologists and other experts, but we need your help to develop a comprehensive, accurate understanding of how these shaped our culture, values, lives, community,” the society said in a release.

“Please share with us: documents, photographs, oral histories, information about the Slaves Burying Ground and any other related items or materials. Following our study, OHS will develop literature, exhibits, programs and new signage to explain these important issues.”

Anyone who can help is asked to contact Sarah Sands, the society’s executive director, at [email protected].