Green Level Plantation Slave Cemetery (at Avoca Museum)

Historical Significance

Avoca, originally called Green Level by the property's original owner, Colonel Charles Lynch (1736-1796), is part of a land grant given to Colonel Lynch's father by King George III in 1740. Colonel Charles Lynch was a planter who distinguished himself as a lawmaker and soldier during the Revolutionary era. The property was passed down though the Lynch family and upon the death of Charles Henry Lynch (1800-1875) inherited by his niece Mary Anna Dearing Fauntleroy. The property was deeded to the Town of Altavista in 1981.

Enslaved African Americans were buried in a cemetery located several hundred feet away from the plantation house. Oral tradition holds that the first person buried in the cemetery was a Native American found drowned in the Staunton River. Later, the cemetery was used to bury African Americans who worked on the Avoca Plantation. The exact number of enslaved people buried here is unknown because the headstones have been moved from their original locations over time. 

Physical Description

Avoca is a country Victorian home constructed in 1901 and is the third house on the property. The present home is built over the foundations of two previous dwellings which burned in 1879 and in 1900. The house is a commissioned work of the Lynchburg architect John Minor Botts Lewis. Lewis' design for Avoca is a prime example of the Queen Anne style as it had evolved by the turn of the century.

The slave cemetery is located on the opposite side of the railroad tracks. An interpretive sign has been erected at the cemetery.

Geographical and Contact Information

1514 Main Street
Altavista, Virginia
24517
Phone: 804-369-1076

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Green Level Plantation Slave Cemetery (at Avoca Museum),” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed November 24, 2017, http://www.aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/181.

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