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Surry County Cultural Trail
Surry County, Virginia

Winfield Farms Family History

Celebrating the rich culture and diverse history of the Winfield - Brown family

that capture the experiences of pre and post Civil War life in Surry County, Virginia

​A Fusion of African American History

William Winfield
1892 - 1987


 William Winfield

Circa 1920

     William Winfield, born in 1892 as William Sylvester Winfield, was the son of Hardy Winfield. Winfield Farms comprises three farms, one of which is the Hardy Winfield site, where William was born. The property was officially transferred by deed in 1904, making it the family's longest-held property among the three farms.

     William was a multifaceted individual.  Because of his ability to read and write - having graduated from St. Paul's College Trade School, he served as a trainer in the U.S. Army in WWI. 

     After the war, he excelled as a farmer, barber, and skilled carpenter, providing haircuts and constructing houses for individuals of all races in Surry County. Some of the buildings he constructed still stand today as a testament to his craftsmanship and enduring legacy.

William and Naomi's children:  Vernon, Alvin, Thalia, Ward, Nettie

Hardy Winfield


William's Father


Hardy acquired his land through a contract for deed in the early 1890's from Goodman Brown by way of John Howell who acted as a financier. Hardy was the son of his slave owner and was born to Margaret Cundy.  Margaret was born circa 1840 as a slave.  Her husband George was sold to a plantation in a lower southern state.  

Margaret and George never reunited.


Nettie VB Lacey

William's Mother

William's siblings:  Blair, Beatrice, Nettie, Mark, Hardy, Thomas

Photo Not Available

Herbert Brown

(1845 - 1928)

Naomi's Father

Herbert Brown, born in 1847 to Herbert Brown, Sr. and Parthenia Bell.  He was one of 10 children.  He served as a cabin boy in the U.S. Navy on the USS Maratanza during the Civil War, alongside his elder brother, Goodman Brown. While Herbert chose a path of Christian service as a Methodist minister, Goodman later served in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1887.


Francis Hill Brown

(1858 - 1923)

Naomi's Mother

Francis served as a school teacher in Surry in the 1870s where she met the widow, Herbert Brown. She was born in Hamilton, Canada as a free black to John Henry Hill and Rose McCrea Hill.  Rose - before moving to Canada to be with her husband, was a free black living in Petersburg. Rose's father, of whom little is known, was a black Frenchman named McCrae (McCray) who paid for Rose and her mother's freedom some time between 1820 and 1840.  He was said to have been a chef and owned a restaurant in Petersburg pre and post Civil War. 

Naomi Brown Winfield
1897 - 1985

A descendent of Scipio Brown and John Henry Hill

     Naomi Winfield, born in 1897 as Naomi Petronella Brown, was the great-granddaughter of Scipio Brown - an African American who lived as a free black landowner in Surry County after being granted freedom in 1804 by James Bell.

Born to Herbert Brown and Francis Hill Brown,


Naomi Petronella Brown
Circa 1925

Her maternal grandfather was John Henry Hill who's writings of his escape from slavery were published in the Underground Railroad by William Still. 

     Naomi learned at an early age about the sacrifice and responsibilities that came with price of freedom. She was active in establishing the local NAACP chapter and hosted a budding attorney by the name of Thurgood Marshall who helped with the effort. Both Naomi and William worked to improve access to education and improve schools in Surry.

     The stories of her parents and grandparents add to the richness of Winfield Farms family history and legacy.

Naomi's siblings: Rosetta, Thalia, Owna, Bankie, Roxie, Garfield, Rebecca

Learn More

John Henry Hill.jpg

John Henry Hill

Ref. Toronto Metropolitan University

Press Books

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Goodman Brown 

2nd row, 2nd from left

Ref: Encyclopedia of Virginia

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Scipio Brown

Letter of Freedom

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