Featured Character – 1863
Reverend Horace James was an evangelical minister and abolitionist from Worcester, Massachusetts. In April 1863, Major General John G. Foster appointed him to be “Superintendent of all the Blacks” in the Department of North Carolina. Later that spring, James was asked to help establish the first organized colony of former slaves in North Carolina on Roanoke Island. The colony was to be a safe haven not only for those blacks who could be soldiers in the war, but also for their families. James saw this settlement as a “New Social Order” and wrote letters to be distributed for support of the work on Roanoke Island. During the summer of 1863, James and his men set up a New England-style village on the island where the newly freed people were given lots on which to build their homes. James thought that a shad fishery, a sawmill, and domestic manufacturing would make the city a self-sufficient and independent entity.