A Common Grace was created by Janet O. “Phoebe” Kilby, who is a descendant of John Kilby of Culpeper County, Virginia (1715 – 1772). Her intent is to document on this website persons enslaved by her family and the descendants of those enslaved persons. (Note that currently known enslavers among her ancestors are documented here.) The A Common Grace site will eventually document other persons enslaved in Culpeper, Rappahannock and Madison counties, Virginia, prior to the end of the Civil War in 1865 and their descendants, as descendants of those enslaved persons supply the data.
Phoebe established the Kilby Family Endowed Scholarship Fund in December 2013 in order to honor these enslaved persons and their descendants in recognition of their strength and resilience and to contribute to making amends for their mistreatment.
Why A Common Grace? Because we as human beings all share a common grace. And truly, we are all cousins. But more specifically, when in 2007 Phoebe first contacted by email Betty Kilby Baldwin, a descendant of persons Phoebe’s family enslaved, Betty responded “Hello Cousin.” Then when Phoebe met Betty’s brother James M. Kilby, they discovered they had even more in common. When one day they sat down to a meal together, James said grace. It was word for word the same grace that Phoebe’s father used to say at the dinner table. We share A Common Grace.