Every brick in this building is a testament to the enslaved African Americans who once lived on this plantation. The 1860 census lists Harriet Bratton owning eighty slaves and twenty slave houses. Of those houses this cabin is the lone survivor. Built around 1828 it was one of about four brick quarters clustered around the plantation house. Building with brick was expensive, so most slaves lived in simple wood cabins. These brick cabins may have served to demonstrate the Bratton's wealth and status in the community.
Although it is uncertain who lived in this cabin, its proximity to the main house suggests that the inhabitants were slaves who worked in and around the house. Individuals who were skilled in trades such as blacksmithing and woodworking may have also lived in the brick cabins surrounding the Homestead. Despite better living conditions the occupants of these houses had virtually no rights, worked at the desire of their owners, and lived in conditions not of their own making.
1843 Slave Inventory
At the time of his death in 1843, Dr. Bratton owned 139 enslaved individuals. This made him one of the largest slave owners in York County.
Slave Cabin Artifacts
These artifacts - buttons, a glass bead, a comb and dish fragment uncovered during the excavation of a collapsed slave cabin - give us insight into the possessions and daily lives of the enslaved community.
Slave Made Brick
In addition to working in the fields, Bratton slaves also made bricks for use on the plantation. Found at Historic Brattonsville, this brick bears the fingerprints of its enslaved maker.