Since 1990, Congress has authorized an annual presidential proclamation that designates November as National American Indian Heritage Month, also know as (Native American Heritage Month), to encourage everyone to learn about the contributions and cultures of the indigenous peoples of the North American continent. Such recognition, however, dates back further with state and organizational recognition of indigenous peoples days and commemorations occurring at the turn of the 20th century.
Archaeological digs revealed Native American impact on the property along rivers, creeks, and streams. The Native Americans used the areas along the waterways as campsites during seasonal migrations between hunting grounds. European impact began in 1713 when Richard Baker and William Sheppard were granted 400 acres of Henrico property through the headright system. Baker and Sheppard paid passage for eight indentured servants to Virginia, and in return, were granted rights to 50 acres of land per person. William Sheppard would eventually buy his partners shares, thus taking sole ownership of Meadow Farm.
In 1800, two men enslaved by the Sheppard family, Tom and Pharaoh, informed Mosby Sheppard of a planned slave insurrection in Henrico. The plan was organized by Gabriel Bingham, a blacksmith enslaved by Thomas Henry Prosser of nearby Brookfield Plantation. Gabriel’s plan was to organize enslaved and free blacks, poor working whites, and local Native Americans to kidnap Governor James Monroe, overthrow the government in Richmond and demand freedom for all people. Mosby Sheppard was able to get word to Governor Monroe, who would use the local militia to put down the plot. The unsuccessful slave uprising became known as Gabriel’s Rebellion. Read more.