Richmond’s Slave Trade History and Place Exported People
White Virginians bought ca. 100,000 Africans from Atlantic slave traders.
Purchases occurred along major rivers and in some towns. Bermuda Hundred and Osborne’s Landing sales dominated in the Richmond-Petersburg region.
Some secondary sales probably occurred in or near Richmond
The Revolutionary War interrupted, and Virginia legislation (1778) ended, legal importation.
Late 1760s Va. Gazette ads
Not necessarily. Richmond was only a small village before 1776.
British ships stayed within British customs districts. “Upper James” customs district ended at Bermuda Hundred.
Main market for Africans was in the rapidly expanding Piedmont area, 1740s to 1775.
Most Richmond and Manchester sales were of Virginia-born people.
Customs Districts Atlas of Early American History , ed. by Lester Cappon
Forced African Immigrants to Piedmont Virginia, 1725-1775 Source: Morgan and Nicholls, William and Mary Quarterly 46 (1989):219. Percentage computations added.
RICHMOND, November 28, 1770. RUN away from the subscriber, three negro fellows, imported this last summer from Africa in the ship Yanimarew. One is about 28 years of age, 5 feet 9 or 10 inches high, slim made, long visaged, and of a very dark complexion; another of about the same age and complexion; the third about 26 years of age, 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high, well made. They are all a little pitted with the smallpox, and cannot speak so as to be understood in English. They went off well clothed, in the common dress of field slaves; osnabrug shirts, cotton jackets and breeches, plaid hose, and Virginia made shoes, with a dual blanket each. It is imagined that they were seen some time ago (along with three others of the same cargo) on Chicahominy, and it is supposed that they are still lurking about the skirts of that swamp. Whoever apprehends the said negroes, and delivers them to me at Richmond, or secures them so as I can get them, shall have FIFTY SHILLINGS reward for each, besides the allowance by law. JAMES BUCHANAN.
Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon), Williamsburg, December 13, 1770.
Bermuda Hundred and Osborne’s Landing, Fry-Jefferson Map, 1751 Osborne’s Landing
Virginia Gazette , September 22, 1772 Virginia Gazette , July 10, 1762
Bermuda Hundred is more than a half hour’s drive from Richmond. Boats would obviously take much longer. Bermuda Hundred is near the confluence of the Appomat-tox and James Rivers Osborne’s Landing: 18 mile drive from Richmond. Osborne’s Landing is near Dutch Gap and Henricus Historical Park.
Rocky Ridge (Manchester), July 15, 1766 Rocky Ridge, October 12, 1769 Rocky Ridge, November 22, 1769 Rocky Ridge, February 1, 1776
Richmond Slave Sales, February 1770 and July 1777
Impact of the Slave Trade ( Atlas of Early American History , ed. by Lester Cappon.)
From importation to exportation Gen. C. C. Pinckney (S.C.), Constitutional Convention, 1787: Virginia “will gain by stopping the importations. Her slaves will rise in value, & she has more than she wants.” 1787-1807: Organized interregional slave trade began. 1792: Virginia Governor learned major reason for eastern Virginia slave rebelliousness: the “practice of severing husband, wife and children in sales.” January 1, 1808: Importation of Africans is illegal throughout the U.S., leading Deep South to go to Virginia and other markets. 1840 to Civil War: Richmond dominated exportation of enslaved people from the Old Dominion.
Total for ALL of Virginia, 1790-1863: 515,075. One half = ca. 257,500. Other scholars believe 300,000 were sold away from Virginia. Copyright Phillip Troutman, 1998 http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/collections/stats/slavetrade/migrmaps.html
Exportation by sea: Rocketts, by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1796
Manchester Docks (south bank) and Rocketts (north bank) 1865
Who exported ca. one-half million people from Virginia?
Traveling slave dealers
Richmond slave traders
Robert Lumpkin ( Creole )
Dunlop, Moncure & Co.
Pulliam & Davis
George W. Apperson ( Creole )
Many others as well: “a cohort of professional experts”
Robert Harold Gudmestad. "The Richmond Slave Market, 1840-1860." Master's thesis, University of Richmond, 1993.
Lumpkin’s Jail site, late 1830s to 1865 Broad St.
Michie map, 1865 Lumpkin
Lumpkin’s former property
Lumpkin’s Jail Archaeology proposal, 2005
Lumpkin’s Jail Mutual Assurance Society Policy renewal, 1851
Late 1860s drawing
Shockoe Valley, 1865
Manchester Docks (south bank) and Rocketts (north bank), 1865
Sold down the river?
But some could escape when a ship was wrecked.
Some escaped by revolting: The Creole Revolt, 1841 ( after the Amistad case).
Lumpkin and other traders thereafter used ships less often. They relied more on overland “ship-ment”—i.e. on foot in “coffles” and on railroad cars.
Creole manifest of enslaved “cargo,” 1841, bound for New Orleans
The interstate slave trade cost
Minimal for white Virginians. Often a gain.
White leaders sometimes claimed selling away enslaved people improved Virginia.
There is no possible measurement.
Lewis Miller watercolor, 1853
Eyre Crowe painting, Richmond, 1853-4
First African Baptist Church Gregg Kimball, American City, Southern Place , 135
Prices: Robert Gudmestad, "The Richmond Slave Market, 1840-1860" (Master's thesis, University of Richmond, 1993), 125-6; estate inventories, Richmond city, 1858-1861; http://www.cwartillery.org/art-cost.html ; “ x 20”: Charles B. Dew.
Note: The inflation calculators used to compute 2005 equivalencies for 1860 prices can be misleading. In spite of seeming exact, they are only approximations.
Comparisons: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Peter V. Daniel’s books (1860 estate): $853. Sorrel mare and colt, $100 each. Piano with stool: $600. Rent of 3 tenements: $572. A 10-inch Confederate Columbiad artillery piece: $1,012.
1857: Richmond Enquirer estimated city slave auction receipts at $3,500,000 (2005 estimates: $71,897,935 or $102,642,411) Another newspaper reported $4,000,000 in receipts. (2005 estimates: $82,169,069 or $$117,305,613)
Frederick Douglass on the Richmond Slave Jails
Douglass speech, Halifax, Eng., December 7, 1859: “Slave marts and churches stood in the same market place. The groans of the slaves being sold in the shambles of Richmond were sometimes drowned by the pious shouting of their masters in the church close by.” Frederick Douglass Papers , Ser. 1, vol. 3 (1864-1880), 284.
In the early nineteenth century, there was “a basic reality of chattel slavery—that slaveholding required slave trading.”
Adam Rothman, “The Domestication of the Slave Trade in the United States,” in The Chattel Principle: Internal Slave Trades in the Americas , ed. Walter Johnson (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2004), 33.
Remembering, Retracing, Memorializing, Reconciling Ancestors and Relatives Ship manifests Slave Traders’ records Freedmen’s Bank Narratives; Family stories Distinctive names Famous forced migrants Madison Washington, Creole revolt leader The Richmond Slave Trail Shockoe Reconciliation Statue