Slavery On The Tracks 

The other day I was looking for slave owners in Baldwin County, Alabama and I came across BALDWIN COUNTY, ALABAMA LARGEST SLAVEHOLDERS FROM 1860 SLAVE CENSUS SCHEDULES and SURNAME MATCHES FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS ON 1870 CENSUS Transcribed by Tom Blake, March 2003 on roots web.com. As I look down the list of slave holders I see NORTHERN RAIL ROAD COMPANY, 41 slaves. You mean to tell me a railroad companies owned slaves? Yes, according to the site Railroads and the Making of Modern America “By 1860 the South’s railroad network was one of the most extensive in the world, and nearly all of it had been constructed with slave labor.” I knew slave labor built the railroad along with other infrastructures but to see a company listed with individuals as slave holders was a little strange to me. Then again slavery was a big business “Railroads bought and sold slaves with contracts and elaborate, printed bills of sale. They recorded these events in balance sheets and company account books. Railroads also developed forms for contracts to hire enslaved labor from slaveholders. Because the company was liable for the “loss” of enslaved “property,” contracts often spelled out detailed provisions for accidents and the conditions of labor.” The image below is a Receipt for Sale of Slaves to the Mississippi Central Railroad Company, March 5, 1860

 

rail-sla-0008-01

Source: Railroads and the Making of Modern America:

Document source: Newberry Library, Chicago, IL, Illinois Central Railroad Collection, Newberry Library, IC 6 M6.55, Box 27

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Categories: Projects | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Slavery On The Tracks 

  1. Wow! I learned something new. I didn’t know that railroads owned slaves. Thanks for sharing this.

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