James A. Fields House

James A. Fields House (HM6TO)

Location: Newport News, VA 23607
Country: United States of America

N 36° 58.982', W 76° 25.28'

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Up from Slavery

James Apostles Fields was born into slavery in Hanover County, Virginia, in 1844. During the Civil War, Fields and his brother George escaped to Hampton, where in 1862 they found refuge as "contrabands of war" at Fort Monroe. James Fields served as a guide for U.S. Army troops there. He learned to read and attended the "Butler School," named for commanding Gen. Benjamin F. Butler and operated by missionaries. When Gen. Samuel Chapman Armstrong came to Hampton after the war as the Freedmen's Bureau superintendent, he employed Fields at the Bureau storehouse, where the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) originated.

Fields was in the Institute's first graduating class in 1871. He became an educator and taught for fourteen years in Elizabeth City County and in Williamsburg. He served as a justice of the peace in 1879, becoming Virginia's first black judicial officer. Fields became an attorney as well, graduating from Howard University's School of Law in 1881. He served as commonwealth's attorney for Warwick County (now Newport News) in 1887. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates for the 1889-90 session, where he represented Williamsburg and the counties of Elizabeth City, James City, Warwick, and York.

Fields purchased this Italianate house for his residence in 1897 and had his law office here until his death in 1903. The building served as Whittaker Memorial Hospital, the first black hospital in the city of Newport News between 1908 and 1910. It was then the only medical facility for blacks here except for the city's jail infirmary. The James A. Fields House was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
HM NumberHM6TO
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 26th, 2014 at 2:49pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 373503 N 4093934
Decimal Degrees36.98303333, -76.42133333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 58.982', W 76° 25.28'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 58' 58.92" N, 76° 25' 16.80" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804, 757
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 601-699 VA-143, Newport News VA 23607, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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