Historical marker #1988 celebrated the communities of Petersburg and Newburg in Jefferson County. Unfortuantely, the marker is no longer standing.
Before this area became Petersburg or Newburg, it was known as Wet Woods due to the swampy prevailing conditions. Perhaps because of this tendency to hold water, Eliza Curtis Hundley Tevis, a free black woman, was able to purchase land in Wet Woods during the antebellum period before the Civil War. Tevis was once owned by John B. Hundley and she successfully sued Hundley’s estate for backpay owed to her for work done after she was freed. She and her husband purchased 40 acres of land in the “Wet Woods,” which she eventually left to her nephew. Prior to Emancipation, Tevis also purchased several of her family members so that they would not be sold to other plantations or farms. This made Tevis one of the very few black “slaveowners” in Jefferson County, but also indicates this was more of a strategy to keep families together under the legal system of slavery rather than an exploitative economic relationship.
The name “Petersburg” derives from freedman Peter Laws, one of the first to purchase land and construct a home here following the Civil War. Like Laws, hundreds black Kentuckians used their new freedom to build a new life for themselves in this community in eastern Jefferson County. The neighborhood emerged just north of the Newburg area that was initially settled prior to the Civil War.
The “Newburg” community began in the 1830s with the arrival of German immigrants. Over the course of the nineteenth century, it became a thriving area with commercial and residential areas, a post office, and transportation connections with Louisville proper. The name “Newburg” eventually came to be applied to the entire area, subsuming Petersburg, and more than 3,000 African American residents of the hamlet, into the broader community.
The marker reads:
Named Petersburg after freedman Peter Laws built log cabin in area after Civil War. Oral tradition holds that freed slave Eliza Curtis Hundley Tevis farmed here from about 1820. She and her husband bought 40 acres at Indian Trail and (now) Petersburg Rd., 1851. As a land and slave owner, Tevis prospered and became a strong religious influence in the community. Over.
Newburg - Newburg ("new town" in German) was settled in 1830s by four German immigrant families. Located near Poplar Level and Shepherdsville Roads, it became a coach stop to Louisville in 19th century. It had a post office, hotel, shops, and homes. Descendants of freed slaves remain in the area today. Presented by Louisville and Jefferson County African American Heritage Committee, Inc.
The marker was dedicated in 1996.