FSU History: Founding Fathers
In a short letter written to a local author, an unknown member of the Andrew J. Chesnutt Family describes the beginnings of their father’s legacy in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The letter provides detail about his local business ventures, African American education in Cumberland County, North Carolina, and his eldest son Charles W. Chesnutt.
The letter explains that Mr. Andrew Chesnutt lived in Cleveland, Ohio at the beginning of Civil War. With his parents in Fayetteville, North Carolina he had ties to the southern town and eventually moved back with his family. He opened a grocery store on Gillespie Street but only to suffer from the lack of business from a farming community. Soon he transitioned to gain a better business footing in Fayetteville by purchasing a farm on Wilmington Road and opening a transfer business that transported goods using dray wagons.
During his lifetime, Andrew Chesnutt is noted as serving several offices including being a founding member of the Howard School, a judge of the board of elections, a Justice of the Peace, and secretary of the Zion Methodist Church.
Through the writer of this letter his legacy for education in Fayetteville places him as the forerunner for opening public schools in the area for African Americans. Andrew Chesnutt is described as an educated man who collaborated with six other men to purchase a lot of land on Gillespie Street to construct the Howard School.
This blog series strives to introduce the notable seven men, principals, presidents, chancellors, and other leaders credited with the founding and up building of Fayetteville State University. Over the course of this academic year, research will be provided to offer a glimpse into their lives.
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
Chesnutt Library Finding Aid