Treatment of the Davis Slaves

lelliott19

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Plantation management could follow a similar course, when demanding a high labour burden (eg. to work more land than usual per capita) from their enslaved workers and rigorously "sell them off" as soon individuals showed signs of strain or were no longer able to deliver the demanded performance. With slave prices high this policy could maybe also be profitable - even though it had terrific repercussions on people and especially their families.
By studying the "slave schedules" of the 1850 and 1860 US census and period documents of individual slave owners, it is possible to gather actual data instead of speculating. It is possible to compare the number of enslaved adults and children enumerated on one census, and the next. Some slave owners kept other records including names, marriages, family groups, and housing assignments. All of these records combine to offer a better understanding of what occurred and how. For example, on one relatively large plantation (est 1845 ish) in North AL:

The 1850 US census "Slave Schedule" shows 18 children and 23 adults
Age 12 and under = 13 (8 female 5 male)
Age 13-17 = 5 (3 female 2 male)
Age 18-35 = 19 (10 female 9 male)
Age >35 = 4 (3 female and 1 male age 75)
1850 TOTAL of 41 enslaved people

The 1860 US census "Slave schedule" for the same plantation shows 37 children and 33 adults
Age 12 and under = 27 (15 female 12 male; of these, 25 were born after the 1850 census)
Age 13-17 = 10 (4 female 6 male)
Age 18-35 = 28 (20 female 8 male)
Age >35 = 5 (2 female 3 male)
1860 TOTAL of 70 enslaved people

It's important to your point about "early slavery" to note that the initial, and some subsequent, enslaved individuals were obtained by this planter through inheritance. The number of enslaved people increased, over time, by nature. I've compared the ages of people from one census to another and there is no evidence that 'sell off' was part of the management of this particular plantation. After studying extensive records - from inheritance to the end of slavery - there is no evidence that any enslaved person was ever sold from this plantation.

It's also worth noting that only one enslaved person was ever 'purchased' by this plantation owner - the increase in number of enslaved was by nature, and by additional inheritance. The single 'purchase' was one enslaved man who was inherited by the brother of this planter, used as collateral by the brother, and purchased back by this planter. This was done to prevent the enslaved man from being auctioned to satisfy the brother's debt. The records are extensive and extremely detailed. If sales or other purchases had occurred, there would definitely be records.
 
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By studying the "slave schedules" of the 1850 and 1860 US census and period documents of individual slave owners, it is possible to gather actual data instead of speculating. It is possible to compare the number of enslaved adults and children enumerated on one census, and the next. Some slave owners kept other records including names, marriages, family groups, and housing assignments. All of these records combine to offer a better understanding of what occurred and how. For example, on one relatively large plantation (est 1845 ish) in North AL:

The 1850 US census "Slave Schedule" shows 18 children and 23 adults
Age 12 and under = 13 (8 female 5 male)
Age 13-17 = 5 (3 female 2 male)
Age 18-35 = 19 (10 female 9 male)
Age >35 = 4 (3 female and 1 male age 75)
1850 TOTAL of 41 enslaved people

The 1860 US census "Slave schedule" for the same plantation shows 37 children and 33 adults
Age 12 and under = 27 (15 female 12 male; of these, 25 were born after the 1850 census)
Age 13-17 = 10 (4 female 6 male)
Age 18-35 = 28 (20 female 8 male)
Age >35 = 5 (2 female 3 male)
1860 TOTAL of 70 enslaved people

It's important to your point about "early slavery" to note that the initial, and some subsequent, enslaved individuals were obtained by this planter through inheritance. The number of enslaved people increased, over time, by nature. I've compared the ages of people from one census to another and there is no evidence that 'sell off' was part of the management of this particular plantation. After studying extensive records - from inheritance to the end of slavery - there is no evidence that any enslaved person was ever sold from this plantation.

It's also worth noting that only one enslaved person was ever 'purchased' by this plantation owner - the increase in number of enslaved was by nature, and by additional inheritance. The single 'purchase' was one enslaved man who was inherited by the brother of this planter, used as collateral by the brother, and purchased back by this planter. This was done to prevent the enslaved man from being auctioned to satisfy the brother's debt. The records are extensive and extremely detailed. If sales or other purchases had occurred, there would definitely be records.
That's something not often mentioned or considered, but as families were larger, and often remained in one area, imagine in some circumstances inheritances could have been significant over time.
 

unionblue

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Davis nor Lincoln saw blacks as equals.

Funny thing about that comment.

It seems Davis could not bring himself to see the change coming at slavery full bore nor any of his long-held beliefs about the inferiority of black slaves.

Lincoln, it seems, could and did change, slowly, over time, even to the point of giving the vote to those blacks who had served in the Union Army and the very intelligent.

I admit, not a great leap forward, but it left Davis in the dust of history.
 

Tom Hughes

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Funny thing about that comment.

It seems Davis could not bring himself to see the change coming at slavery full bore nor any of his long-held beliefs about the inferiority of black slaves.

Lincoln, it seems, could and did change, slowly, over time, even to the point of giving the vote to those blacks who had served in the Union Army and the very intelligent.

I admit, not a great leap forward, but it left Davis in the dust of history.
It’s taken many years to acknowledge the equality of our fellow man. We all share the same planet and the same humanity. I guess this is what makes studying history so interesting to us.
 

unionblue

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It’s taken many years to acknowledge the equality of our fellow man. We all share the same planet and the same humanity. I guess this is what makes studying history so interesting to us.
In my own view, it has taken far too long to acknowledge the equality of our fellow human beings.

We all, as you say above, need to acknowledge we share the same planet and the same humanity.

Like the man said, "It is history that teaches us to hope."
 

yayasangel

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I had always heard that Jefferson Davis treated his slaves better than most slave owners.
Today I was in the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg and found this testimony of a former Davis slave and it backed up the things I had previously heard and read. It's worthy of consideration.:
View attachment 386181
so i'm wondering is there a way to see the slave rolls for Davis, family story says he owned my gg grandmother. i found her on the slave schedules, but cant seem to find her before 1850 or after 1850. i;m new to this so any help greatly appreciated. i agree how could he a great man, he owned other humans
 

19thGeorgia

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so i'm wondering is there a way to see the slave rolls for Davis, family story says he owned my gg grandmother. i found her on the slave schedules, but cant seem to find her before 1850 or after 1850. i;m new to this so any help greatly appreciated. i agree how could he a great man, he owned other humans
There were slave schedules for 1850 and 1860, but before those dates they only counted them by age category.
The only person listed was the head-of-household. Makes family research more difficult.

1840a.jpg

1840b.jpg
 

lelliott19

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so i'm wondering is there a way to see the slave rolls for Davis,
As @19thGeorgia said above, US censuses prior to 1850 only record heads of household and include tick marks for everyone else. In 1850 and 1860, enslaved people were enumerated on separate "Slave schedules" by owner's name, age, and race -- but not by name.

You might try the Mississippi State Archives to see if any plantation records like rolls or rosters from Brierfield are in their collection. Planters sometimes kept very detailed records. Many enslaved people came into the possession of the owner by inheritance. Sometimes wills and estate papers of the deceased will include names, ages, family groups, etc. I don't know enough about Davis to know from whom he might have inherited but, if you can find out, perhaps you can find mention of your ancestor included there?
 

Tom Hughes

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Location
Mississippi
so i'm wondering is there a way to see the slave rolls for Davis, family story says he owned my gg grandmother. i found her on the slave schedules, but cant seem to find her before 1850 or after 1850. i;m new to this so any help greatly appreciated. i agree how could he a great man, he owned other humans
We try not to delve too much into historical aspects of morality...just history....with that said, when reflecting on the historical aspect of the life of Jefferson Davis, yes, he was a very important man and achieved great things.
I think it's great that you can trace your ancestors back to the Davis family. Not many people can do that, much less trace slave ancestory to a particular owner, etc. Good luck in your search. Keep us updated on your findings.
 

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