The Margaret Garner Project
September 30, 1998
Yellow Springs, Ohio
(800) 331-6120, (937) 767-1515
The home of former slave mother, MARGARET GARNER, main character of "BELOVED," has been discovered by Ohio writer/director Joanne Caputo, while researching and writing a book and screenplay about the true story of Margaret Garner and her 1856 federal trial.
Located at 1154 Richwood Road in Boone County, Kentucky, approximately 15 acres remain beautifully intact and undeveloped from an original 200+. Although the slaveowners' main house was destroyed by fire in the 1900's and replaced, the original 19th-century cook house (where Margaret worked), as well as a smokehouse, exist. Slave era artifacts are also buried in the dirt near the dwellings.
The "Margaret Garner property" recently became the possession of Mr. George J. Budig of George Fern Co., Cincinnati. Mr. Budig purchased the property from the remaining Boone County descendents of the Gaines Family through Mrs. Ruth Brunings of Los Angeles, CA. Margaret Garner was owned by John P. Gaines and sold to his brother, Archibald K. Gaines, from whom she fled in 1856. (The property is landmarked by the state of Kentucky as the "Home Site of Major John P. Gaines" (KY. Dept. of Highways #1 194)).
The following evidence verifies the Richwood Road property as Margaret Garner's home:
BOONE COUNTY, KY DEED BOOK G, page 399, August 1, 1827 $900
221 acres sold to John P. Gaines from George Pickett
(currently 1154 Richwood Rd.; marked with a KY historical marker "Home of John P. Gaines")
BOONE COUNTY, KY DEED BOOK S, page 198, November 20, 1852 $10,000
221 acres sold to Archibald K. Gaines (brother) from John P. Gaines of Oregon
MARGARET GARNER'S TRIAL TESTIMONY:
FEBRUARY 11, 1856 (Other witnesses' testimony concurs)
"I have been in Ohio before...l came here when I was about seven years old; came here with John Gaines and his wife...he sold me to Archibald Gaines."
MARGARET GARNER TRIAL EVIDENCE:
FEBRUARY 11. 1856
"Colonel Chambers here offered in evidence a bill of sale from John P. Gaines to Archibald K. Gaines, as follows:
"I have sold and delivered to A.K. Gaines five slaves - Sam, Harry, Peggy (Margaret), Hannah and Charlotte - and all my right and interest thereto, for the sum of two thousand five hundred, which sum I acknowledge the receipt of. Given under my hand this 5th day of November 1849. J. P. Gaines" "
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY HISTORICAL REVIEW
VOL. XL (June 1953) page 50
" Margaret Garner, the wife of Simon, Jr., and their four children belonged to Archibald K. Gaines, owner of a near-by plantation."