NewsPhilip Cobbs Hopes History Of Family's Virginia Farm Remains

Philip Cobbs Hopes History Of Family’s Virginia Farm Remains

There is little evidence of Cobb’s unnamed family farm that was once referred to as The Garland, where Black women delivered their babies.

Buck Island resident Philip Cobbs is on a mission to preserve the historical significance of his family’s land, once the largest Black-owned farm in Albemarle County, Virginia, often referred to as the Garland Farm.

Cobbs, however, is determined to keep the story of Buck Island’s past alive, telling the Charlottesville Tomorrow, “A few years ago, when I looked for Buck Island Creek on Google Maps, I was surprised that it was mislabeled…The place I remember so well had disappeared from the map.”

The Garland farm at Buck Island was a true family endeavor from 1835 to 1972, with each generation passing down the deed to a single family member. Others were granted smaller parcels to homestead, sharing the responsibility of operating the farm. “In my early youth, there were many homes separated by some distance across the property. As families moved or passed away, the homes were abandoned,” Cobbs recounted.

The farm comprised three distinct sections: the woods or forest, the elevated open fields where cattle and sheep grazed, and the low-ground—a fertile floodplain at the confluence of Buck Island Creek and the Rivanna River, where enslaved individuals cultivated cash crops destined for market via batteau boats crewed by enslaved and free Black men.

According to an additional article from Cobbs, for generations, Black women would journey to the farm from Richmond to deliver their babies, underscoring the farm’s significance within the community.

Source: Black Enterprise

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