How a Grad Student Uncovered the Largest Known Slave Auction in the U.S.

by Jennifer Berry Hawes, photography by Gavin McIntyre for ProPublicaJune 16, 2023, 5 a.m. EDT Lauren Davila made a stunning discovery as a graduate student at the College of Charleston: an ad for a slave auction larger than any historian had yet identified. The find yields a new understanding of the enormous harm of such a transaction. Go to story: https://www.propublica.org/article/how-grad-student-discovered-largest-us-slave-auction

Stampede Timeline – 1850s

This timeline of "slave stampedes" from across the nation details nearly 200 attempted group escapes as reported in period newspapers, with the majority coming from the Upper South states of Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and Virginia. According to the existing sources, these stampedes involved nearly 12,000 freedom seekers between 1847 and 1865. Clearly, some of these attempts ended in tragedy, but a surprising number were successful, or least never produced definitive accounts of capture. The few reported stampedes in Northern states typically described alleged fugitive slaves fleeing to avoid rendition under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. The…

Abolitionists in Missouri

Read more about the article Abolitionists in Missouri
"Huck Finn and Jim" Lithograph by Thomas Hart Benton, Missouri State Historical Society

Two Kinds… Although there were people in Missouri throughout the pre-Civil War period who abhorred the institution of slavery, those who advocated its abolition were a minority.  Their views were bitterly opposed and often suppressed by the irate proslavery forces.  There were two kinds of abolitionists:  (1) those who only advocated ending the system and (2) those who acted illegally to spirit slaves away.  The Missouri slaveholder did not discriminate between the two and considered the first as bad as the second.  …Among Three Groups Abolitionists in Missouri can be classified into three groups:  (1) certain…

Half-Way House: A Platte County Landmark and More

Photo above "Halfway House, Platte City-Weston toll Road, Hwy. 273" from Memories of Weston, Missouri, Vol. II Millennium Edition - 1837 to 2000, p. 16 The Half-way House, Underground Railroad, and John McCurdy Records from the Platte County Civil Court and from the Weston Court of Common Pleas, show that one John McCurdy was frequently arrested on charges of aiding and abetting slaves to run away to freedom. He was also charged with transporting them out of the State of Missouri. Most, if not all, of those cases occurred in 1850-1851-1852. It is known that John…

Peter Mortgages Lot 92 Block 8 Weston to Joseph Kurtz SEP 29 1859

Copy of the original handwritten record of Peter Floersch's mortgage of Lot #92 of Block 8 in Weston in 1859. The purpose of the mortgage is not known. Transcribed record of Peter Floersch's mortgage of Lot #92 of Block 8 in Weston in 1859. The purpose of the mortgage is not known.

Elizabeth Floersch Sells Platte County Farm to John Pitt – $600 ($20K) JUN 15 1855

Copy of the original handwritten record of Elizabeth's sale on 15 June, 1855 of the farm purchased by John Floersch in Oct,1843. Transcribed record of Elizabeth's sale on 15 June, 1855, of the farm purchased by John Floersch in Oct,1843. This sale followed the death of John on 13 Jan, 1855, in the Jefferson City, MO, Prison. Following this sale, Elizabeth moved to Pottawatomie County, KS to live with son Michael. Note the error in the description of the land at line 8: "South west quarter"; in the original sale to John, it was described as…