Young’s Spring and Spring Park Historic Site
By Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
Historical Significance

Spring Park is the closest modern feature to Young’s Springs, the site where on August 10, 1800, fellow conspirators elected Gabriel the General of the Rebel Army. Gabriel was enslaved on the Brookfield Plantation in Henrico County. Enslaved men from Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover, and Caroline attended the meeting, when Gabriel outlined his plan to overtake the capital and convince Governor James Monroe to support more political, social, and economic equality between blacks and whites. The event became known as Gabriel’s Rebellion, the largest planned slave uprising in Virginia history.

The rebellion was planned for the night of August 30, 1800 when slaves from neighboring counties were to meet just north of Brook Bridge on Brook Road. Once assembled, the rebels would kill the plantation owners in the area to insure the secrecy of the plot, then proceed to Richmond where they would kidnap Governor Monroe and persuade him to accept their demands.

The scheme failed due to a massive thunderstorm that made roads and bridges impassible. The rebel leaders rescheduled for the next evening, but it was too late. Two slaves from Meadow Farm, Tom and Pharaoh, informed their owner, Mosby Sheppard, of the plot. Sheppard notified Governor Monroe, who called out the militia to protect the capital. Gabriel escaped down the Chickahominy River but on September 23, 1800, he was arrested and imprisoned at the newly built Penitentiary. The Henrico Court tried and convicted Gabriel and more than twenty rebels for conspiracy. Gabriel was executed at the Gallows on October 10, 1800.

Gabriel Prosser at the time of the insurrection was twenty-four years old, six feet two inches, literate, and a blacksmith by trade. He was described by a contemporary as “a fellow of courage and intellect above his rank in life.” With the help of other slaves including Jack Bowler and George Smith, Prosser devised a plan to seize control of Richmond by killing all of the whites (except the Methodists, Quakers and Frenchmen) and then establishing a Kingdom of Virginia with himself as monarch. Prosser and the other revolt leaders were probably influenced by the American Revolution and more recently the French and Haitian Revolutions with their rhetoric of freedom, equality and brotherhood. In the months prior to the revolt Prosser recruited hundreds of supporters and organized them into military units. Although Virginia authorities never determined the extent of the revolt, they estimated that several thousand planned to participate including many who were to be armed with swords and pikes made from farm tools by slave blacksmiths.

Haki Kweli Shakur 5-13-51ADM
Seed of Gabriel Prosser

Gabriel Prosser’s Plan, Historical Meeting spot, 1,000 Slaves Peoples Army – Haki Kweli Shakur