A historic plantation near Faunsdale, Alabama.
The plantation was established by Dr. Thomas Alexander Harrison from Charles City County, Virginia in 1843. He named his plantation after Faunus, the ancient Roman deity of the forest, plains, and fields. Harrison is known to have brought a large number of slaves with him from Virginia, he is listed in the 1850 Federal Census of Marengo County as having $18,300 in property. Dr. Harrison was killed in a buggy accident on 5 Sept 1858 and the nearby town of Faunsdale was named after his plantation in his honor.
Faunsdale Plantation is one of the few large plantations in Alabama where detailed slave records were recorded and managed to survive as part of the historical record. These records indicate that the Harrison family held roughly 99 slaves in 1846. This number had increased to 161 by 1857. A list from 1 January 1864 also indicates that Harrison's widow, Louisa, owned 186 slaves, at least 35 families. Some of the slave surnames noted at that time were Barron, Brown, Francis, Harison, Iredell, Mutton, Nathan, Newbern, Paine, Parsons, Richmond, Washington, and Wills. Fourteen of these enslaved people had died by the end of 1864 from causes ranging from typhoid fever to measles.
St. Michaelís Church
In 1844 Harrison and his wife, Louisa, gave 1-acre (4,000 m2) of their plantation for the building of a log church across from their plantation house. In 1846, Alabama's first Episcopal bishop, Nicholas Hamner Cobbs, visited Faunsdale Plantation and noted that Louisa Harrison gave regular instruction to her slaves by reading the services of the church and teaching the catechism to their children. In 1852 the church was renamed St. Michaelís Episcopal Church and by 1855 a Gothic Revival style church building had been constructed.
A churchyard for burials was established in 1858 with Dr. Harrison being the first interment. Slaves, and later freedmen, from the plantation began to be buried there in 1860. The church building was moved to the town of Faunsdale in 1888 and was later destroyed by a tornado in 1932, though the churchyard remained an active burial ground.
Several years after the death of Thomas Harrison, Louisa remarried to Rev. William A. Stickney, the Episcopal minister for St. Michael's, in 1864. Stickney had been one of the first ministers ordained by Bishop Cobbs and was appointed by Bishop Richard Wilmer as a "Missionary to the Negroes" in 1863. Louisa joined him as an unofficial fellow minister among the African Americans of the Black Belt.
The main house at Faunsdale Plantation is a simple Greek Revival style two-story wood frame structure with a gabled roof, flanked on each side with one-story gabled wings. The nearby slave cabins date from 1860 and are also wood frame structures with high-pitched gables and scalloped barge boards that show a Carpenter Gothic influence.