For Immediate Release
Peggy Lewis LeCompte
Public Relations Coordinator
The Dred Scott Heritage Foundation

Virginia Highway Marker for 

Dred Scott
and the Blow Family

St. Louis, MO
The Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the Southampton Historical Society will honor Dred Scott and the Blow Family in Southampton, VA. After almost five years of researching the birthplace of Dred Scott, who was born enslaved and grew up on the Blow plantation, Jeff Hines, a Blow descendant and several other volunteers at the Virginia Historical Society concluded that he at least grew up there from a young child. Also the family that Dred Scott grew up in, the family that helped him advance his court cases and ultimately secured his freedom, played a critical role in the Dred Scott Story.

On Tuesday, April 16, 2013 from 2:00 -4:00 p.m., a highway marker will be placed at Route 58 and Buckhorn Quarter Rd in Southampton County to commemorate the historical beginnings of a man whose United States Supreme Court decision altered the course of our nation and the family that supported his quest for freedom.

Abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and John Brown, author Harriet Beecher Stowe, Dred Scott and Abraham Lincoln all contributed in their unique ways to the ending of slavery in America. All have birthplace markers except Dred Scott, as birth records were rarely kept on slaves. Virginia researchers wanted to change that and the research they did provided evidence enough to recognize his long tenure in Virginia as historically accurate.

Attending the presentation will be descendants of the Blow, Taylor, Lincoln and Dred Scott families. The public is invited.

Department of Historic Resources


For Immediate Release

April 10, 2013


Randy Jones               

Department of Historic Resources

540.578-3031 (cell)

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

State Historical Highway Marker

Commemorating “Dred Scott and the Blow Family”

To Be Dedicated

Scott spent his childhood as a slave in Southampton County; 
his case before the U.S. Supreme Court resulted in the “Dred Scott Decision,” 
a ruling that denied U.S. citizenship to blacks and prevented Congress from prohibiting
slavery in U.S. territories prior to the Civil War

The marker’s text is reproduced below

RICHMOND – A new state historical marker issued by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources will be dedicated this month to commemorate Dred Scott, a slave born in Virginia who became the central figure in one of the most controversial cases ever decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, Dred Scott v. Sanford.

The “Dred Scott and the Blow Family” historical marker recalls that Scott was born into slavery in the early 1800s on a plantation in Southampton County owned by Peter Blow, whose two sons decades later purchased Scott’s freedom a short year before his death in St. Louis, MO in 1858, after he lost the legal suit challenging his status as a slave.

The marker will be dedicated during a public unveiling ceremony on Tuesday, April 16, at 2 p.m. at the marker’s location at the intersection of Route 58 and Buckhorn Quarter Road, east of the Town of Capron.

The ceremony will feature remarks by Lynne Jackson, a great-great-granddaughter of Dred Scott and president of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation of St. Louis; Jeffrey A. Hines of the Southampton County Historical Society; and representatives of the Blow Family and the Department of Historic Resources.

The dedication will be followed by a 4 p.m. reception at the Rochelle Prince House in Courtland.

The Dred Scott Decision in 1857 sharpened the divisions over slavery in the U.S. between citizens, political parties, and regions during the run up to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.

Scott lived in Virginia and then Alabama before the “Blows moved to Missouri and in 1830 sold Scott to an army officer who was stationed in various free territories,” the marker states. Scott eventually “sued for his and his family’s freedom in 1846 because he lived where slavery was illegal,” according to the marker.

Under Chief Justice Roger Taney, the Supreme Court ruled in 1857 that Scott was “property, not a citizen,” in the marker’s words, and therefore had no legal standing to file a suit. The ruling also denied to Congress the authority to outlaw slavery in U.S. territories, thereby overturning the Missouri Compromise of 1820.

Virginia’s historical highway marker program, which began in 1927 with the installation of the first historical markers along U.S. Route 1, is considered the oldest such program in the nation. Currently there are more than 2,200 official state markers, most maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, as well as by local partners in jurisdictions outside of VDOT’s authority.

Text of the marker:

Dred Scott and the Blow Family

Dred Scott, a slave, lived as a child northeast of here on the Peter Blow plantation early in the 1800s.  The Blows moved to Missouri and in 1830 sold Scott to an army officer who was stationed in various free territories.  Scott sued for his and his family’s freedom in 1846 because he lived where slavery was illegal.  In 1857, however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress could not outlaw slavery and that Scott was property, not a citizen.  The Dred Scott decision outraged abolitionists and further divided the nation.  Blow’s sons purchased Scott’s freedom in 1857; he died in 1858.

For more background information click here