MISSOURI SLAVERY
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MISSOURI SLAVERY: An Introduction


MISSOURI is highlighted here. Click the above map to view large U.S.A. map.

BRIEF HISTORY

The Beginnings of Slavery in MO
Philippe Francois Renault is traditionally considered to have introduced Negro slavery to Missouri. It is said he brought 500 Negroes with him about 1720, from Santo Domingo to work the lead mines in the Des Peres River section of what is now St. Louis and Jefferson counties. Upper Louisiana (part of which became MO) was not as conducive to cotton growing geographically as Lower Louisiana, but there still existed possibilities for slave labor in tobacco and hemp production, as well as in the cultivation and production of grain and live stock. This caused an influx of slaveholders and their chattel into Missouri. A majority of these slaveholders came from the worn out lands of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. Figures taken from census returns give some idea of the rapid growth of slavery in Missouri prior to the Civil War.

Slave Labor on MO
In 1860, only 36 counties had 1,000 or more slaves. In general, most of the Missouri slaveowners held only one or two slaves. Missouri slaves were used in a wide variety of tasks. They were employed as valets, butlers, handy men, field hands, maids, nurses and cooks. Masters often hired out their slaves during periods when the slave was otherwise likely to be unemployed.

During the 1850's the crews of river boats on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers were generally black. Aboard the boats, hired-out slaves served as deck hands and cabin boys or as stevedores.

The Missouri slave, like the Missouri farmer, became somewhat a jack-of-all-trades. Tools and implements that broke had to be mended, livestock had to be cared for, old buildings needed repair and new ones had to be built. Many slaves became skilled laborers--blacksmiths, carpenters, masons, bricklayers, horticulturists, as well as general all-around trouble shooters for the entire farm. In fact, the slave and his family and the master and his family were, more often than not, a team, sharing the burden of work together in the field. Unfortunately, the partnership failed when the profits were to be shared.

---From OFFICIAL MANUAL,
State of Missouri, 1973-1974: The Role of the Negro in Missouri History; http://www.umsl.edu/services/library/blackstudies/slavery.htm

LINKS
MO Genweb: General Missouri genealogical information.
MO African-Americans: An abundance of resources -- Slave Schedules, marraiges, cemeteries, some plantation info. and more




MISSOURI SLAVE WORKPLACES
Listed by County and Workplace Title Followed by Owner(s). Workplaces with unknown titles are listed as the owner's name (itallicized, first name in parenthesis).

COOPER CO.

Higgerson's Farm: Higgerson
Ravenswood Farm: Leonard

JACKSON CO.

(Ben) Moore's Plantation: Moore

ST. LOUIS CO.

(Will) Adams' Farm: Adams
(William) Cleveland's Farm: Cleveland
(Kitty) Diggs Plantation: Diggs
Larimore Farm
Lewis Plantation: Lewis


WHERE TO FIND MO SLAVERY RECORDS

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