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Roberts, Thomas, Bonds
Historical Society

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“I am still not able to trace my roots to progenitors on the continent of Africa, I have unearthed, nevertheless, an American heritage that is distinctive, meaningful, illustrious, captivating and also extremely enigmatic.”

Coy D. Robbins​

Established in 2022, The Robert, Thomas, Bonds (RTB) Historical Society tells stories of human resiliency within the RTB family. 

The Roberts and Thomas families left their roots in North Carolina to establish a new community in the northwest territory of Indiana, which at the time was a new state in the union and slavery was not allowed.  Being one of the first black pioneer families and free people of color to come to the wilderness in search of freedom from racial harassment and depression, the stories of these families are a part of our history to which we pay homage.

While navigating this website we take you through the experiences, lifestyles, struggles, as well as successes of our ancestors.  We are working with the National Forestry, National Researchers, and interested partners to recreate the culture and heritage of the Lick Creek Settlement. The settlement also known as Little Africa or Paddy’s Garden has since become public lands and is under management of the US Forest services.  Remaining amid the forest lands is a cemetery with marked graves of ancestors from the Roberts, Thomas and Bonds families and remnants of a A.M.E church that thrived in this pioneer community.

In the 1850s, Black land ownership in Lick Creek peaked at about 2,300 acres. 

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