Slaves at Spengler Hall

In 1820 14 enslaved African Americans called this place home. The Federal Census from that year noted 9 of them were male and 5 were female.

Four of these were owned by Philip S. Spengler Jr. Most likely his slaves were a mother and her three children.

Seven of the slaves were owned by Anthony Spengler. When he dies in 1821 their names are listed in his inventory. Their names were Jim, Joe, Isaac, Betsy, Charlotte, Peter, and Sarah. Four of them (2 men and 2 women) were adults. One boy was 14, a girl was 12, and another boy was 2. All were sold at public auction on November 26, 1834.

The remaining three slaves were owned by Joseph Spengler.

These enslaved individuals who lived here had a very busy and hard life. They would have:

-Performed construction tasks as needed. Slaves were most likely involved in constructing the house in 1800 and all outbuildings
-Maintained and cleaned the house’s 10 rooms
-Cooked for their owners, their owners families, guests of their owners, and themselves
-Performed manual labor on the farm including planting, harvesting, and raising animals
-Processed and preserved all agricultural products grown on the farm including work at the Spengler family’s mills
-Manufactured a variety of items the household needed including candles, soap, utensils, tools, and much more
-Designed, crafted, and cleaned their owner’s clothes and their own

Where Jim, Joe, Isaac, Betsy, Charlotte, Peter, Sarah, and their compatriots lived is unknown. Some may have resided in the house’s rear wing which housed the kitchen. Others may have resided in shacks, outbuildings, or other structures in nearby fields.

Today the community regularly refers to this structure as “Spengler Hall.” However, the house stands as more of a testament to the slaves who built it and who worked here than to those individuals considered the owners.

Images

Spengler Hall/Mt. Prospect

Spengler Hall/Mt. Prospect

Source: "Witness to History" The Big House and the Summer Kitchen | Creator: Nancy Stewart View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Shenandoah County Library, “Slaves at Spengler Hall,” Shenandoah Stories, accessed October 23, 2017, http://archives.countylib.org/tour/items/show/142.

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