Historic Renovation- The Oakley Grove Plantation
The Oakley Grove Plantation was built during the 1700s by former slaves and descendants of Dr. Lafayette Browne and Mary Ann Falcon Browne. Dr. Lafayette Browne and his wife Mary had a son named Jacob Falcon Browne; Jacob became the overseer and manager of the plantation alongside his Mother, Mary, after the passing of his father, Dr. Lafayette Browne.
During this time, the plantation had a total of 175 enslaved people. Mary Falcon Browne's brother (also named Jacob Falcon) willed Jacob Falcon Browne, a young native girl named Lucinda Fain, at his death. Jacob Falcon Browne grew fond of Lucinda Fain and made her a servant and cook at the Oakley Grove Plantation. While being a cook and servant of Jacob Falcon Browne and his mother, Mary Ann Browne, Jacob had seven children with Lucinda Fain. The first child born in 1851 was Byron C. Brown. Byron was groomed by his grandmother Mary Ann Browne to become an overseer until he was 14 when he ran away from the plantation at the end of the civil war. Byron C. Brown became a sharecropper at another plantation further south of Warren County, NC, in the township of Shocco. There he learned his way into the business structure of agriculture and earned his share as a land owner and business owner up until he death in 1931.
The Oakley Grove Plantation once housed over 175 slaves who were forced to work on over 7000acres and built the wealth of the Falcon-Browne family. The plantation land produced cotton, wheat and tobacco during that time and was so productive that an NC railroad track was built on the property to export goods up North. During this prominent time, the area of Vaughan was called Browne’s Turnout. After the civil war ended, the plantation was drastically impacted as Jacob, and Mary Falcon Browne could no longer force free labor. Mary began to sell some of the lands on the plantation as they could no longer manage the operation without slaves. After the deaths of Mary Falcon Browne and her son Jacob Falcon Browne the property has been occupied by descendants of Mary Falcon Browne up until 2021.
In May of 2021, the property was purchased by the Great Grandson of Byron C. Brown, Patrick C. Brown, a descendant of the enslaved, who now owns the plantation that his great-grandfather once helped build and manage. Patrick's goal is to renovate the plantation under the unique historical covenants with hemp hurd construction material from his farm's Industrial Hemp program. In honor of all the enslaved families that once lived here, including his great-grandfather and great-great-grandmother. Patrick will utilize the plantation for Agri-tourism, a museum to share family history and a venue for the public to learn agriculture, and host events such as weddings, concerts and a bed and breakfast. Each donation made goes towards the clean energy renovation project of the historic plantation.
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