Of street names at Fairvue two stand out: Isaac Franklin Drive and John Armfield Court.

Franklin, original owner of Fairvue and partner Armfield were the biggest slave traders in American history. They shipped thousands of humans from Virginia to Louisiana, reaping enormous profit. Franklin himself enslaved 600 at Fairvue and his five Louisiana plantations.

Despite causes they financed (with slave money), the two aren’t famous except as notorious slave traders. Descended from Isaac Franklin’s brother I’ve studied the history. From inherited papers I recently published “Love’s Young Dream: The Letters of Dr. Edward Noel Franklin to Miss Nannie Hillman—1871” that includes my great-great-grandfather’s account of the final days and death of his surrogate father, John Armfield.

Presuming the infamy of these two was not well-considered when the street names were chosen (just 16 years ago), our city and its developers can do better. If Southern nostalgia is real estate marketing strategy why not Wisteria Way or Gardenia Court? Reasoning for this shouldn’t have to be explained.

Terry Martin,


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