CHASEVILLE

CHASEVILLE

street: ,
Hillsborough
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1868
/ Demolished in
1871
A "town" that was developed after the Civil War for freemen and former slaves, located just west of Hillsborough.

 

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Last updated

  • Thu, 11/05/2020 - 9:14am by SteveR

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street: ,
Hillsborough
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1868
/ Demolished in
1871
Object Type: 

 

The town of Chaseville (at times misspelled Chaiseville or Chaisville in records) was created in 1868 by Hillsborough businessman Henry N. Brown on property he mortgaged from Julia A. Minor in January 1867. The proposed town, on the then western boundary of Hillsborough, near the western town commons, was created mainly for Freedmen and named after Salmon P. Chase, as were several other communities, townships, and counties in the United States post-Civil War. Chase became staunchly anti-slavery in the 1830s, and was known as the "Attorney General for Fugitive Slaves" for his defense of escaped slaves seized in Ohio under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. He later attempted to secure the nomination of the Democratic party for the presidency in 1868, but "was passed over because of his stance in favor of voting rights for black men." It seems as if Henry Brown took up the cause of assisting local African Americans, both prior free and recently freed, and his signature shows up on a local anti-Ku Klux Klan document in 1870.

A plat map, Diagram of Chaseville, surveyed by Thomas Wilson in July 1868, was created for Brown; unfortunately, the map cannot be located or no longer exists. The land the town was on consisted of almost 140 acres, and was divided into at least 42 lots, of between roughly one and six acres each. Lot 1, sold September 29, 1868, was roughly bounded by present-day King, Latimer, and Hayes streets, straddling the creek. Its first owners were businessmen Beverly Haywood and Robert Fitzgerald, who utilized the property as a tanyard. It was described (in a deed from 1871) as “lying west of Hillsboro in the Town of Chaseville beginning on Greensboro Road thence north with Church Street 9 chains 50 links to Latimer Str. Thence west with Latimer St. 5 chains thence south 9 chains 50 to Greensboro Road thence with said road 5 chains to the beginning containing 4 ¾ acres & known in the plat of said town as No. 1…”

Henry N. Brown went bankrupt in late 1870, and was forced by court order to sell the majority of his properties in North Carolina (most were in Orange County) to pay off debts. Peter B. Ruffin was named assignee of Brown’s debts, and he paid the balance of the debt that Brown owed to Julia Minor regarding the Chaseville property as well as selling Brown’s other properties. The lots were sold mainly in 1871 and 1872, and the freedmen’s town idea seems to have ended once Brown lost ownership and control of the property.
 
Some of the former Chaseville area was known as the "Ruffin lands" into the early 1900s. Chaseville was referred to in deeds until at least the 1930s, and a portion of the property is where the Bellevue Mill had the northern section of its mill worker housing built in the 1910s. Today, there is a street running through the neighborhood named Brownville Street (named in the 1960s, apparently), perhaps in memory and honor of Henry Brown's attempt at creating a home for free blacks and former slaves.
 

 

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