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TRAIL DESCRIPTION

Listed below are brief descriptions of trail stops and related points of interest along the Trail to Freedom.  The physical address of the points of interest (or nearest structures) have been listed to help you pinpoint them on a map.  Please note that some sites are open to the public, while others are private properties that are not available for tours. 

WALKING TOUR (City of Fredericksburg)

  1. Farmer's Bank Building (900 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg, VAFarmers Bank  22401)  In 1860, this building was known as the Farmer's Bank and was managed by the Talifero family.  Fredericksburg slave John Washington was owned by the Talifero family, and lived upstairs with Mrs. Talifero and her two sons. In 1865, this building housed the Freedmen's Bureau offices.
  2. Slave Auction Block (1000 Charles St., Fredericksburg, VA  22401)  Along with other property, slaves were sold or hired here at the auction block at the corner of Charles and William Street opposite the Planters' Hotel. 
  3. Old Town Hall (907 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg, VA  22401)  Now the site of the Fredericksburg Area Museum & Cultural Center, this once town hall and market square was built with the help of free blacks. 
  4. Shakespeare House Hotel Site.  (opposite 813 Caroline St., Fredericksburg, VA  22401) Hired out by the Talifero family, this is the location where John Washington worked as a bartender and waiter until the Union arrived to Falmouth in April 18, 1862. 
  5. African Baptist Church Site [aka Shiloh Old Site] (801 Sophia St., Fredericksburg, VA  22401) This is the site of the first black church in Fredericksburg, the predecessor to the current building.  Till 1855, whites, slaves and free blacks worshipped here together before the building was sold to black congregation members. John Washington attended church services, was baptized and was married at this location. 
  6. Corner of Hanover & Princess Anne Streets (Fredericksburg, VA 22401) This location marks several points of interest, including Citizens Hall, where many activities occurred from which slaves were most likely excluded.  
  7. 409 Hanover Street (Fredericksburg, VA  22401) [PRIVATE PROPERTY] In the 1850s, Mrs. Talifero moved from the Farmer's Bank to this residence.  John Washington likely lived in the old slave quarters and kitchen behind the house.
  8. "The Crossing I - Bound for Freedom" (Old Mill Park, 2216 Caroline St., Fredericksburg, VA  22401) Marked with a Trail to Freedom sign, this is the location where John Washington approached the Rappahannock River, communicated with Union troops and stepped on board their boat. 

*Numbers correspond to the Walking Tour Map

DRIVING TOUR (Stafford County)

  1. "The Crossing I - Bound for Freedom" (Old Mill Park, 2216 Caroline St., Fredericksburg, VA  22401) Marked with a Trail to Freedom sign, this is the location where John Washington approached the Rappahannock River, communicated with Union troops and stepped on board their boat. 
  2. "The Crossing II - Freedom Began Here" (Historic Port of Falmouth Park, 401 River Rd., Falmouth, VA  22405) An interpretive marker is placed at the spot where John Washington left slavery in Fredericksburg, and set foot in Stafford County entering intoMoncure_Conway_House Union lines and learning of his freedom.
  3. Moncure Conway House (305 King St. / River Rd., Falmouth, VA  22405.)  [PRIVATE RESIDENCE]  The Conway House was the home of Moncure Conway, a southern abolitionist who returned from Ohio during the Civil War to free his family slaves. 
  4. Falmouth Union Church (Carter Street & Butler Road, Falmouth, VA  22405)  John DeBaptiste, a noted African American sailor and prominent local businessman, is buried in the cemetery behind the remaining historic church facade.  There are also several unmarked African-American gravesites here.
  5. Chatham Manor (120 Chatham Lane, Falmouth, VA  22405) In the 1700s, this home was owned by William Fitzhugh, a wealthy planter and politician.  Fitzhugh employed 100 slaves, some of whom revolted in 1805 when an overseer tried to get them to go back to work after the Christmas holiday.  Three men died in the incident.Chatham - Spring Blooms
  6. Falmouth Depot Site (21 Cool Springs Rd., Falmouth, VA  22405.)  [PRIVATE BUSINESS]  Now an Eagles Lodge, this spot marks the previous location of the Falmouth Depot along the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac (RF&P) railroad.  During the Union evacuation in the fall of 1862, this station was swarmed with slaves hoping to flee with the Union army. 
  7. Leeland Station (275 Leeland Rd., Falmouth, VA  22405) This present-day commuter rail station closely parallels the original RF&P rail line, which many slaves followed north to Aquia Landing. 
  8. Potomac Creek Bridge (Leeland Rd., Falmouth, VA  22405)  Destroyed and rebuilt several times during the Civil War, all that remains of this railroad bridge is a stone support on the south side of the Potomac Creek.  A Civil War Trails marker is located on-site. 
  9. Brooke Station (1721 Brooke Rd., Stafford, VA  22554) This present-day commuter rail station is located on the spot of its historic predecessors.  This was the first train station south of the landing at Aquia Creek. 
  10. Aquia Landing (2846 Brooke Rd., Stafford, VA  22554)  The road which leads to this public park follows the 19th century wagon road and RF&P rail bed.  In the mid-1800s, travelers were transferred at the landing from rail cars to steamships to travel north on the Potomac River to Alexandria, Va. and Washington, D.C.  (Civil War Trail Markers on this site.  Trail to Freedom markers coming in fall of 2010.)

*Numbers correspond to the Driving Tour Map

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Virginia Tourism Corporation Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission Stafford County Tourism National Park Service Fredericksburg Regional Tourism  Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

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