City Was Big Slaveholding Section
was the only slave holding state West of the Mississippi.
This encouraged slave-owning emigrants from Virginia, North
Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi to come to
Missouri bringing with them their slaves.
were many slaves in the state, approximately 115,000 were
freed at the time of the emancipation.
Monroe City area was a big slaveholding section of the
state. In Monroe County alone, according to the 1860 census,
there were 3,063 slaves compared to 11,722 whites. Going
back to the 1840 census, the first after the county was
organized there were 1,687 slaves, making up one-sixth of
the population. In the 1850 census the number had increased
to 2,048 out of a population of 10,541.
County tax record of 1860 shows that the more land a man
owned the more slaves he owned. Farmers used more slaves
because of their economic dependency upon slave labor.
According to these records, D. W. Majors owned 2,254 acres
of land and listed 34 slaves. He had the highest number of
slaves listed for one man in the county. The same record
shows property taxes were paid for 2,407 slaves, with the
assessed value of $316,795. The high discrepancy between
this tax record and the census suggest that either owners
didnít report all their slaves or werenít taxed for
babies or older slaves.
were valuable and they were traded, inherited, rented, sold
privately, and at auctions. Dealers came from the south to
make a profit in slave labor. They were generally disliked.
1840 Ralls County bill of sale (from Alma Lindhorst) shows
that E. F. Bell, bought a Negro girl about the age of eleven
the sum of $350.
prices paid for slaves fluctuated. A 1936 Monroe County
History Book states that some slaves were valued at $3,000.
Ownership of slaves seem to have been a mark of greater
wealth and higher social position.
labor played an important role in the growth of the area.
Their labor helped clear the land, plow the sod, plant and
harvest the crop. They also helped build business houses,
homes, barns, and fences. Slave labor was also used in
mills, factories, lumbering, building railroads, river work
and domestic work.
Emancipation of slaves brought a need for a different kind
of adjustment. Uneducated slaves were forced into the manual
labor market. Most of them knew only farm work, but migrated
into towns. Many found life difficult, the men never finding
work and the women working as domestics.
Black History was written for the next 100 years and
information was difficult to find.