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Francis Rogan Tennessee plantation house

New world exhibit: Map location 41

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Francis Rogan Tennessee plantation house

Francis Rogan's prosperity is reflected in this red brick home. However, the Rogan's wealth was owed to the work of enslaved people. Generations of African-Americans cleaned and looked after children in these rooms. Slavery in Tennessee officially lasted until 1865. The 1870 Census records five African-Americans living here, labouring and cooking for the Rogans. Their names are recorded as Eliza Bill, Richmond, Jason Rogan, Rhodes, and Stokely.

Francis was the son of an Ulster emigrant, Hugh Rogan, a weaver from near Strabane on the border between Counties Tyrone and Donegal. He married Nancy Duffy and they had a son Bernard. In 1775 Hugh left Nancy and Bernard and went to America. After working at various jobs he joined an expedition down the Cumberland River to identify land in the unknown western region. This area became Tennessee.

Hugh got caught up in the American War of Independence and was unable to return to Ulster for many years. Eventually he brought his wife Nancy and his son Bernard, now 22, to his farm in Tennessee.

Hugh and Nancy’s second son Francis was born in Tennessee in 1798. Francis built this house beside his parents’ home on the family farm. Francis married Martha Lytle Read in 1833 in Tennessee. They had at least seven children. Four of their children survived to adulthood.

The value of his real estate was $46,600. The value of his personal property, including enslaved people, was $46,030. Hugh and Martha both left enslaved people to their children.

Slavery in Tennessee lasted until 1865. Many people needing income and shelter remained and worked for their former owners. In 1870, Francis Rogan and family had five black people living with them. Their names are Eliza Bill, Richmond, Jason Rogan, Rhodes, and Stokely. Their work included cooking and labouring.

Francis died on 26th September 1885.

The Rogan house is made from dark red brick, made close to where the house was built. Have a look at the brickwork patterns. The north and west facing walls are built in decorative Flemish bond pattern, while the south and east facing walls, away from the original approach to the house, are built in plainer common bond.