Farmville was the end of the line for the Upper Appomattox Canal Navigation System between 1795 until 1890. African Americans built the canal system. Tobacco and farm produce could be loaded into a James River bateau in Farmville and sent to Petersburg, Virginia. The canals were used until railroads became common. Many of the boatmen who worked in the Upper Appomattox Navigation, near Farmville were free people of color, who lived in the Israel Hill community. Israel Hill was home to free African American laborers, craftsmen and farmers freed around 1810, and White people. People of African and European descent worked for the same wages; built a church together and could be defended in court within the 350 acre town.