Monday, November 27, 2017

Slavery in the Neighborhood

Browsing around on the Library of Congress website I located a map of Dinwiddie County, which was published by James D. Scott of Philadelphia in 1854. On it are listed the various towns, villages, roads, railroads, rivers and other geographical features one might expect to find on a historical map. However, it also lists a number of the farms and plantations owned by the citizens of the county.

I took a snippet view of the area where I currently live and then searched the 1850 census to see if I could find how many slaves each of these individuals owned. What I was able to turn up is as follows:

Robert Jones = 25 slaves

Dr. Albert Boisseau = 13 slaves

Joseph G. Boisseau = 8 slaves

John Pegram = 24 slaves

Francis Wells = 5 slaves

John Hawks = 1 slave

James Smith = 6 slaves

Nicholas Clemmens = 4 slaves

I was unable to find enslaved listings for R. Dyson, Mrs. Fitts, Mrs. Alden, and J. Boswell. Perhaps these individuals did not own slaves or maybe they moved the the area after the 1850 census was taken. Regardless, the majority of the citizens in the area did own slaves and this map's hidden information shows just how much the institution was infused into the neighborhood's society and economy.


  1. Tim, I need to do this for Boyle County, KY. Unfortunately I only have a landowner's map for 1876, but I'd think many of the names from 1860 Census would still be in the same places. THANKS for the idea.
    Mike Denis, Danville, KY

  2. Hi Mike, Thanks! I may try to do more of these in the future.