The Enslaved Community


Nanny was the enslaved cook at Locust Grove.

We know very little about her outside of her vital role running the kitchen. We don’t know how long Nanny ran the kitchen or how many enslaved people she had to help her with her duties. It would have been a grueling job with long hours to produce food throughout the day, clean up after meals, and ensure the fire was banked all night with coals to start the fire the next morning.

In an 1825 letter, Dr. John Croghan writes that:

“…Old Nanny officiates for me in the cooking department…..I […] made some peach preserves, about two pounds I suppose, and with all due deference to my Mother’s knowledge on this subject I think they excell that of her make.”

While John is bragging about his peach preserves, it is quite likely they were actually made by Nanny herself.

Nanny, or Nan, was given to Charles when some of the enslaved were divided between William Croghan’s children after his death in 1822, although the division took place in 1829. There are no other known records of her at this point in time.