Midwives Retirement

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Midwives Retirement

If the flag was flying outside Peggy Faribault’s house then folks knew she was there to assist in bringing a child into this world.

Faribault was one of a handful of Black midwives who served families throughout the Hillsborough area, delivering generations of babies of all races and ethnicities. Both Faribault and midwife Fanny Breeze (namesake for the Eno River’s Fanny’s Ford where she crossed on her way to deliveries) were formerly enslaved women.

Breeze, born in 1830, and Faribault, born in 1843, were both beloved members of the Hillsborough community. Their occupation allowed them to move around Hillsborough in a way that most Black people were not able at the time.

Some of the midwife’s stories have been lost to time, but we do know that Breeze, Faribault, and likely other black midwives moved into town to retire in a community that was near the corner of Exchange Park Lane and Faribault Lane.

Even as they aged, though, that did not mean they stopped delivering babies. Seletha Ferribo, a descendant of Peggy Faribault, has a 1931 birth certificate showing that at the age of 88, Faribault was still assisting children into the world.

“It is fascinating that the women were smart enough to provide for themselves and be put in a community of like women. At that point in time, that was a very novel kind of thing to do.” 

Beverly Scarlett