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)

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. (More Virginia stories.)

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