Henry Weaver

Henry and his wife Annie were both born enslaved in South Carolina in the 1830s. With their one daughter named Caroline, they decided they were going to escape the bonds of slavery on foot. Family history tells us that at one time on their journey to freedom Henry hid under his wife’s skirt to avoid detection on their escape.

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By 1862, they had arrived in the town of Chatham. Once here Henry and Annie gained employment and would even start their own businesses. Gaining a loan, they would purchase the building at the corner of Park and Duke Streets in the city and would renovate the property to suit their entrepreneurial dreams. Henry would run a butcher and grocery shop on the bottom floor and Annie would run a boarding house above and taking in laundry in their home. Annie had no trouble getting guests for their boarding house as the downtown hotels remained segregated at this time.
Henry would eventually build a smokehouse at the rear of the store and was soon after known to smoke some of the best hams in the city. Annie would also take on serving meals as an additional source of income for the family.
Henry Weaver being involved in many of the happenings in the city even became the city’s second Black city councillor in 1891. (The first being Isaac Holden) As a couple they became one of the most affluent Black families in the community and began to own several properties around the town.
Today their original house still stands at the corner of Park Street and Duke Street and has been turned into apartments. For many years the building remained as a grocery and corner store in the community. The park across the street is named after him.