Emily Howland Cottage

Historical Significance

Emily Howland, a New York Quaker and abolitionist, taught in a Freedmen's camp during the Civil War. After the war ended, she was disappointed to find that Freedmen were not in fact receiving the "40 acres and a mule" promised to them by the government, and purchased a 350-acre tract of land in Northumberland County for approximately $1,650. She then allowed former slaves to settle on the land and gave them the opportunity to purchase small tracts. In 1867, Howland also built a small school for the families of the former slaves (see Howland Chapel School entry) and in 1870, a summer cottage for herself. Funds for the maintenance and supply of the school were provided by Howland and the local black community until at least 1921. She also used her wealth to hire teachers for her school  and to fund higher education for a number of students.

Physical Description

The two-story, board-and-batten house was constructed in Carpenter Gothic style a quarter-mile west of the Howland Chapel School. The cottage is still standing with minimal alterations, but the building is in poor condition. It is about a quarter-mile away from the Howland Chapel School, which is located about three and a half miles south of Heathsville at the intersection of VA Routes 201 and 642.

Geographical and Contact Information

Located at a rural intersection of VA Routes 201 and 642; 3.5 miles south of Heathsville
Heathsville, Virginia

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Emily Howland Cottage,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed May 22, 2019, http://aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/126.

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