Man Buys Old Virginia Home, Makes 'Heart-Wrenching' Find

Frederick Miller discovered that his ancestors had been enslaved there in Virginia
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2022 2:05 PM CDT
Updated May 21, 2022 5:00 PM CDT
Man Buys Home, Finds Out Ancestors Were Slaves There
The former plantation in Virginia.   (60 Minutes/YouTube)

(Newser) – A California resident who bought an old home in southern Virginia looked into its history and discovered that it was a property his ancestors would have been all too familiar with. Fredrick Miller found out the home he bought on a 10 1/2-acre property in Pittsylvania County was once on a 1,300-acre plantation, and relatives who carried out further research with a local historian discovered that their ancestors had been enslaved there, People reports. Miller, an Air Force veteran, grew up in the area and walked past the home many times as a child without knowing its history.

Miller's sister Karen Dixon-Rexroth and their cousins did most of the research. "Something drew me to knowing the history of this place," Dixon-Rexroth told CBS' 60 Minutes in an episode that aired Sunday. "I knew it was an old place from the 1800s, so I started from there, as far as looking at the previous owners, and also any records that were available online." Local historian Karice Luck-Brimmer helped her find proof that the family's ancestors had been enslaved at the property, which was once known as the Sharswood Plantation.

"I was a little shocked by that, I would say," Miller says. He says an especially "heart-wrenching" moment came when a man whose family owned the property for more than a century showed him where the old slave cemetery was. Miller, 56, now plans to clean up the overgrown site. He also plans to create a nonprofit foundation to restore former slave quarters on the property and teach people about the area's history. (Read more Virginia stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.

X