State’s Origin Begins With Epic Love Story

West Virginia Colored Institute

Our beautiful HBCU started with an untraditional love story between a slave owner and his slave.

Samuel Cabell was a rich plantation owner who owned 967 acres that once belonged to George Washington.

Cabell’s plantation was located in what is now Institute. He kept slaves through the years to work on his plantation. One of Cabell’s slaves, Mary Barnes, stood out and won his heart.

Cabell and Barnes had 13 children. Cabell loved his children and wanted them to have the best life and education an African-American could and sent some his children to a private academy in Ohio. Cabell also wanted to make sure his children would never lose their freedom and put out multiple wills to insure his family would remain free if anything were to happen to him.

He also made sure to divide his estate between Mary and most of their children.

Years after Cabell’s death, his daughter Marina sold 30 acres, that would be compiled with other lot purchases, that comprises our campus today. You can find Cabell, Barnes and two of their daughters buried at State’s cemetery.

Below is a State Student video that gives a bit more in depth to the history of our campus and this incredible story.

Video Courtesy of Calvin Grimm

About Sarah Kennedy

Sarah Kennedy is French major, and you might see her at her part time job at Med Express. She also has a full-time job as a mother of two.
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