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Journal of the Bahamas Historical Society, Volume 15 (October 1993)

by Paul Farnsworth

Figure 1

Figure 1. The Central complex at Wade's Green plantation, North Caicos, based on archaeological research in 1989. The Great House, Kitchen, Overseer's House, northwestern Slave Cabin and Storagg Shed were excavated.


Wade's Green Plantation, on North Caicos Island of the Turks and Caicos Islands, was a cotton plantation founded by Wade Stubbs in 1789. Stubbs was one of 33 Loyalists on North Caicos compensated by the British government for land lost in the American Revolution. The plantations on the island thrived until losses from hurricanes, weevil infestation and raiding American ships drove most planters from the island by the 1820s. Stubbs had the second largest land grant on the island, 860 acres, to which he added land over the next 30 years. He owned 384 slaves and approximately 8,000 acres at the time of his death in 1822.

During the summer of 1989 a field school from the University of California, Los Angeles spent four weeks examining the central compound of Wade's Green plantation. Twelve structures were found, enclosed by a continuous dry stone wall. Five structures were test excavated. The buildings tested included Wade Stubbs' house and kitchen building, the overseer's house, a slave cabin and a tool shed. Over six thousand artifacts were recovered from surface collections and excavations. Documentary research has been carried out at the Public Record Office, Kew, England; the Department of Archives, Public Record Office, Nassau; the Department of Lands and Surveys, Nassau; and the Registrar General's Office in Nassau. The archaeological remains from the plantation suggest a uniquely Bahamian culture, shaped by the history and ecology of the islands (Farnsworth and Wilkie Farnsworth 1990).

Historical Background

Wade Stubbs was one of the 4,118 Loyalists who were compensated for lands and property lost during the American Revolutionary War by the British government (Kozy 1983:81). North Caicos, one of the most remote of the Bahamian Out Islands, was settled by British Loyalists in 1789. There were 33 grants made on North Caicos, totaling 10,090 acres (Kozy 1983:86). English born Wade Stubbs was a refugee from British East Florida where he had lost 1,450 acres, 15 head of stock, 4 horses, 3 adult rn^le and 2 child slaves (Siebert 1972:281).


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