Lott Cary (Carey) Birth Site

Historical Significance

Lott Cary was born enslaved about 1780 in Charles City County at the home of John Bowry, a Methodist minister. In 1804, he was hired out by his owner to work in a Richmond tobacco firm. During this time he taught himself to read and write and converted to Christianity. In 1807 he joined the First Baptist Church of Richmond and later purchased his freedom. In 1813 he became a Baptist minister and, with Collin Teague, founded the African Missionary Society in 1815. Cary also became active in the American Colonization Society, which created small colonies of free blacks on the west coast of Africa in 1819.

In 1821 Cary sailed to Africa as the first black American missionary to Africa. He established Providence Baptist Church in Monrovia, Liberia as well as several schools. An effective political and military leader, Cary helped Liberia survive as a colony of free American blacks. He died there in November 1828. 

Physical Description

The original section of the Lott Cary house is a 3 1/2 story structure, enlarged by a one story addition at the north and east elevations. The exterior has been modified with asbestos shingles and tar paper, while the chimney and brick-work are original, 18th-century features. The site was added to the National and State Registers of Historic Places in 1980.

Geographical and Contact Information

At the intersection of Courthouse Road (Virginia Route 155) and South Lott Cary Road (Virginia Route 602) on Courthouse Road
Charles City, Virginia

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Lott Cary (Carey) Birth Site,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed May 22, 2019, http://aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/250.

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