Vintage West Virginia; On This Day in West Virginia History, July 18th

July 18, 2022

Mountaineer News

Vintage West Virginia

On July 18, 1865, Samuel I. Cabell was murdered in Kanawha County.


Samuel I. Cabell, a white estate proprietor, was born in about 1802 in VA, some records indicate he may have been bn in Georgia. He is first found in Kanawha Co., VA(WV) in the 1830 census in the 20-30 age bracket, but not found in the 1840 census.


It may be about this time-frame that he went to the Tidewater area of Virginia, where he purchased a number of slaves, bringing them back to Kanawha County, to work his growing estate along the Kanawha River, now between Dunbar and Institute in Kanawha County.


By 1850 Slave Schedules of Kanawha Co., VA(WV) he is listed in District 29, owning 9 slaves & by 1860 he was listed owning 36 slaves. He established a relationship with one of those slave girls, Mary Barnes, who was born about Feb. 1815 in Virginia. Together they were parents of fifteen children. The well-to-do couple raised and educated their children to become productive citizens, becoming teachers, musicians, and all sorts of service workers.


Samuel I. Cabell was murdered on the 18th of July, 1865 by a group of men who were never punished for their murderous deed.

Samuel's three wills names his children and provided very well for their well-being leaving each real-estate and provision for Mary Barnes and the children to become free citizens upon his death.


Mary petitioned the Kanawha County courts to have her name legally changed to Mary Cabell which was accomplished. Portions of the original Cabell plantation "The Grove" were sold to the state of West Virginia and the the West Virginia Colored Institute was founded in 1891. The thriving school at Institute, WV is now known as West Virginia State University.

The tiny Cabell Family graveyard is located on Barron Street, in Institute, WV on land that is part of the WVSU campus.


Learn more: "Institute: Its Springs from Epic Love Story" Death Record of Samuel Cabell