The plantation holdings of the Bennehan-Cameron families were among the largest in pre-Civil War North Carolina, and among the largest of the entire South. By 1860, the family owned almost 30,000 acres and nearly 900 slaves. Stagville, a plantation of several thousand acres, lay at the center of this enormous estate.
Today, Historic Stagville’s property consists of 71 acres, separated in three tracts. On this land stand numerous original structures including:
- the late 18th-century Bennehan family plantation home
- four two-story, four-room enslaved family dwellings
- a pre-Revolutionary War yeoman farmer’s home
- a massive timber framed barn, known as the Great Barn and,
- the Bennehan Family cemetery
When touring the site it is important to remember that most of the early landscape has been significantly altered over time. Remaining landscape features include:
- the old road bed located to the right of the Bennehan House
- numerous Osage Orange trees and other historic plantings
- the foundation remains of several dependencies
- the foundation remains of an enslaved family dwelling
The Bennehan and Cameron families left immense collections of personal and business papers in two local repositories: The Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the North Carolina State Archives. These surviving family letters and documents provide detailed accounts of activities on the plantation and greatly enhance our understanding of life on Stagville plantation lands in North Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama. We continue to use these resources extensively as we refine the interpretation of Historic Stagville.
Stagville has been nationally recognized as a significant historic resource; the Bennehan House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, and Horton Grove was registered in 1978.