In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the slave trade was still strong, and most free Blacks still lived on property owned by others. Nearly a half-century before the Civil War, the founders of San Domingo owned and tended land; built businesses, churches, and schools; and raised families. Descendants like Newell Quinton, still live and work the land just as his grandparents and great grandparents did over the last two hundred years.
Similarly, The Hill Community was established nearly 80 years before the end of the Civil War.
Members of The Hill Community Project have combed through land ownership records and found that free persons of color purchased plots as early as the 1780s. They have learned, for example, that a formerly enslaved woman named Grace Brooks purchased land in 1792, making her the town’s first free, female, and African American landowner.