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Ask a Ranger: Freetown and Shaffer Tract Portion of Mayo River State Park

The river is perfect for paddling at Mayo River State Park
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Map of North Carolina – Mayo River State Park

Contact the park



Mayo Mountain access
and park office

500 Old Mayo Park Road
Mayodan, NC 27027

GPS: 36.4391, -79.9475

Deshazo Mill access

113 Deshazo Road
(off of Anglin Mill Road)
Stoneville, NC 27048

GPS: 36.5362, -79.9940


Anglin Mill access

Old Anglin Road/Mayo Beach Road
(off of Anglin Mill Road)
Stoneville, NC 27048

GPS: 36.5296, -79.9894

Hickory Creek access

Tyne Road
(off of Bennet Road)
Stoneville, NC 27048

GPS: 36.5093, -79.9984


Mayodan access

N.C. 135
(at Cedar Mountain Road)
Mayodan, NC 27027

GPS: 36.4073, -79.9650




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  • March to April:
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  • September to October:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
  • Closed Christmas Day


  • Monday to Friday:
    8:00am to 5:00pm
  • Closed state holidays




Ask a Ranger: Freetown and Shaffer Tract Portion of Mayo River State Park



A map of Shaffer Tract

Map of Shaffer Tract of Mayo River State Park, in Madison, N.C.
The land is owned by the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, but there is currently no public access. Per the park's Master Plan, the Division intends to build accessible trails and parking to create the Madison Town Access, as part of the long-term goals for the park.


A rough map of Freetown

A wider map view of the area, with the rough outline of Freetown.
In the 1800s, Black Americans who were formerly enslaved created "freedom colonies" or towns, which were all- or majority-Black communities across the United States. While many were established after the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War, Freetown was established prior to the Civil War by those formerly enslaved in nearby homesteads and plantations, including the Mebane Farm (later called Shaffer Farm). Creating their own towns allowed Black Americans to own businesses and houses and build their own churches, schools and civic communites, away from the white communities that shunned and, very often, terrorized them. Many towns, like Freetown, lasted through the Jim Crow era, but several were targeted by lynchings and massacres — most famously, the neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, Okla., dubbed "the Black Wall Street," that was destroyed by white mobs in 1921. Freetown was never incorporated, so the outline above is just an estimate, and it eventually became part of the town of Madison.


A photo of the Mebane House, located at the family's plantation, built circa 1855.

The Mebane House, home of Rev. William Nelson Mebane, who was a Presbyterian minister. Mebane and his family enslaved Black people to work on the family farms, including the homestead in Madison that came to be called Shaffer Farm.



About the Ask a Ranger Podcast

Ranger Crystal and Ranger Jess host the North Carolina State Parks Ask a Ranger Podcast series.

Their guests this episode is Fletcher Dalton, a historian who lived in Freetown when he was younger, as well as Bob Carter and Kitty Williams, two historians who work with Fletcher on preserving the history of Freetown. The group has a Facebook page, Remembering Freetown-Madison, and there is an exhibit at the Madison-Mayodan Public Library through the month of December about Freetown. The maps and photo included above were courtesy of Fletcher, Bob, and Kitty.

Email them at

For a full list of episodes, visit our BuzzSprout page.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast with Apple iTunes.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast with RSS feed.




Park Maps and Brochures:

Upcoming Events:

Saturday, July 30, 2022 - 8:45pm
Saturday, August 27, 2022 - 8:45pm
Saturday, September 24, 2022 - 7:45pm