Slavery and the Making of the University University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Manuscripts Department Slavery and the Making of the University

Battle House, 1892
In 1843 Judge William H. Battle moved his family from Raleigh to Chapel Hill so that his five sons could attend the university. Among the Battle sons was Kemp Plummer, then eleven years old, who would later be president of the university. The judge purchased a house that, according to family history, dated "back to the earliest days of the university," and enlarged it by adding eight rooms to the front of the structure.

Several outbuildings, including a well-house, two servant's houses, a barn, and a bath house, were also built almost entirely by slave labor. In letters to her husband William H. Battle, Lucy Battle describes the construction. "Harry says he thinks it would be best to put the fodder house about 8 feet from the other."

When Kemp Plummer Battle returned to Chapel Hill in 1876 to assume the duties of president, he bought the house from his father and added a one-story wing on each side to produce the house pictured in this photograph. He also named it Senlac. The house still stands, on Battle Lane, and now serves as the Baptist Student Union.

From Album, University of North Carolina [Richmond, Va.: Foster, Artist and Photographer, 1892] in North Carolina Collection (VC378 UVF).

Battle House, 1892