JAMESTOWN, N.C. -- Like many southern states, North Carolina’s past includes a brutal culture of slavery, but one family put their lives and plantation on the line to help with the Underground Railroad.
The Mendenhall Plantation, on 603 West Main St., dates back to 1811.
Its original owner was Richard Mendenhall.
"They were early Quakers here in the community, and they actively opposed slavery,” said Shawn Rodgers, the director of the Mendenhall Plantation.
Mendenhall was one the founding members of the North Carolina Manumission Society, a group that fought to free slaves.
"From the late 1700s all the way up through the Civil War, it was illegal in the state of North Carolina to free slaves, to manumit slaves within the state,” said Rodgers.
The Mendenhall family had a false bottom wagon, which was used to hide slaves under it to travel along the Underground Railroad.
Rogers said the Mendenhall Plantation is now a visiting site for people to get an understanding of history they cannot get in any other way.
"You can't get that experience by reading a textbook or going online and surfing through a series of pictures and videos. It explains why things are and knowing how things have come to be the way they are today is vital,” said Rogers.
The Mendenhall Plantation is on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more information, visit Mendenhall Plantation’s website.