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Historical marker tells of enslaved peoples’ ‘Flights to Freedom’

The Virginia Department of Historical Resources, meeting earlier this month, approved seven new historical markers for various localities across the state, covering a period from 1776 to the present day. Among them was a marker for Mathews County.

The marker, “Flights to Freedom,” recognizes “people enslaved in Mathews County and its environs who repeatedly seized opportunities to escape,” according to some of the text included in a press release from DHR. The proposed location for the new marker will be on Buckley Hall Road at First Baptist Church, near Mathews High School.

The marker tells how the people escaping took advantage of the long shoreline and access to deep shipping channels available in the area. During the Revolutionary War, some escaped to British ships and “received certificates of freedom, served with the British forces, and later settled in Nova Scotia.”

The War of 1812 provided the opportunity for at least 70 people to find freedom with the British, says t...

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