Chips and Whetstones

Block #1: Chips and Whetstones

Sponsored by: Friends of Linchester Mill

Located on the Assistant Millers house at the Linchester Mill site,
3390 Linchester Rd, Preston, MD 21655
Painted by Marjorie Scott, CRHS art teacher with help from Cameron Hinson, CRHS student

The Unveiling

March 9th, 2013, 1:30pm

The Story

A whetstone block is a sharpening stone used on knives, sickles, and other sharp farm implements. A small percentage of the enslaved Africans were selected to learn to use precision tools. They were often apprenticed to neighboring farms to learn their craft. These skilled slaves were essential to the farms and the various trades of their owners. Often, their skills brought in extra income through the common practice of renting them out to neighbors and fellow businessmen.

During those times, slaves would have the opportunity to interact with other slaves and freemen of color. These sources provided information of those sympathetic to their cause of freedom, and where help could be attained. Help consisted of forged documents, escape routes, locations of safe houses, clothes, and money. An example of a skilled slave who used these contacts was Frederick Douglass. He was rented as caulker on ships in the Baltimore Harbor.

Chips and Whetstones Block at Linchester Mill