Slavery in Clay County, Missouri

The Dimmitt, Ringo, Dougherty House, slave quarters and kitchen.

Photo by Gary Gene Fuenfhausen

Built c. 1848-50s, Liberty, Missouri, the Dimmitt House slave quarters and kitchen has two-rooms, back to back, and a central chimney with fireplaces (or a flue for stoves) that serviced both rooms. The Dimmitt quarter, built in this saddlebag form, is the "second major building type used" for the big house kitchen. Usually, the two-room structure served as a quarter for a slave cook and her family sharing one room while the other was used for food preparation. The Dimmitt house's slave quarters and kitchen represents a better class of building, being built of bricks rather than common log construction.


Photo by Gary Gene Fuenfhausen

Dimmitt, Ringo, Dougherty House
242 West Franklin, Liberty, Missouri
c. 1848 to 1870s

The original portion of the house was built by Saint Clair Dimmitt, c. 1848 to 1856. Dimmitt was a local merchant, and by 1860 a major hemp planter in eastern Clay County. Dimmitt sold the house to Richard Ringo, brother of merchant Samuel Ringo, and is credited for updating the structure.

Several years after the Civil War, L. B. Dougherty, a Captain in the Confederate 1st Missouri Brigade, and son of local Multnomah plantation owner, Major John Dougherty, owned the house.


"A short history of the institution of slavery in Clay County, Missouri"

By Gary Gene Fuenfhausen

African Americans share equally in the founding of Clay County, Missouri, and until recent times this honor was often ignored. From the early 1800s through to the Civil War, slave labor was used in the clearing of land and in the building of Clay's villages, towns, farms, and plantations. Slaves also contributed to Clay County's antebellum economic prosperity while working as bonded men, women, and children. Holding many different positions in the community, Clay's slaves worked as domestics, blacksmiths, cooks, farm hands, hunters, preachers, and in other more technical professions, like carpentry and in the hemp trade as breakers and rope makers.

Clay County was organized in 1822 in honor of Kentucky statesman and slave owner, Henry Clay, a namesake that became a symbol of its Southern and agrarian heritage. As early as 1819, settlers from the Upper South were living in the Far West of Clay County, and by 1824, it is estimated that 2,035 people were located within its borders. In that same year, 11% (231) of the settlers, Clay's founding forefathers, were African American slaves. Almost a decade later, Clay County's slave population had increased to 16.5%. By 1840, the percentage of enslaved African Americans had almost doubled. Ten years later, Federal Census takers reported over a quarter of the County's citizens were slaves, and by 1860, some townships in Clay County reported as much as 34% captive African American men, women, and children.

Because of its large slave population during the early decades of the nineteenth century, Clay County's whites were concerned with issues of slave control. In 1824, the County Court organized the first "slave patrols" for keeping order and dominance over the bonded population. In 1827, slave patrols were also organized in Liberty and in other County townships, such as Fishing River and Gallatin. Although slaves roamed freely on their Masters' farms and plantations and in Clay's towns and villages, so as to complete their daily chores, slaves found after curfew without a pass or permission from their masters were considered truant and punished by public officials.

Other early Clay County Court decisions dealt with issues of slavery. In 1828, the Court approved the first emancipation of Tom, belonging to Henry Estes, and Sylvia, owned by John Evans. Joseph Collett, a free "man of color", purchased his wife Hannah and her two children, America and Eliza, and freed them through the Court in May of 1828. A year later in 1829, the first slave was hung when the County Court sentenced Annice, owned by a Mr. Prior, for the murder of her two children and the attempted murder of a third child.

During the early decades of Clay County's organization and settlement, migrating Southerners found the local environment adaptable to the Blue Grass and Nashville Basin systems of agriculture. These methods of farming, as in Kentucky and Tennessee, were dependent on slave labor, diversified farming, the raising of cash crops and traditional Southern livestock, and the selling of its agricultural goods in the Deep South.

Many of Clay's farmers grew cotton, tobacco, and hemp, and raised pigs, horses, and mules for commercial profit. As early as 1823, reports had reached St. Louis that 25,000 pounds of cotton was successfully cultivated in central and western Missouri. Just three years later, in 1826, the first hemp crop was planted in Clay County. By 1858, Clay's borders were included in the "region of the hemp culture" which was also the seat of Missouri's tobacco district. In 1850, Clay County produced 20,050 pounds of the "brown gold" (tobacco). Inspired by their success, Clay's farmers and planters believed that "great prosperity could be gained" from tobacco's extensive planting. Other slave owning Clay Countians found that marketing their Missouri pork, horses, and mules in the Deep South was a lucrative trade. For example, in 1859 James S. Lightner shipped 270 tons of pork by steamboat from Clay's Missouri River shore to the Deep South. Darwin Adkins, also of Clay County, found large profits in the trade of horses and mules in Louisiana and Mississippi. While livestock and cash crops were important to most Clay County agrarians, large quantities of corn were also necessary for the feeding of both people and animals. As in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, corn was a staple in Clay County and a commercial crop. Clay County planters J. V. Thompson, John D. Hall, Abijah Withers, and Michael Arthur were among the County's largest corn growers and raised between 5,000 and 15,000 bushels of corn (each) in 1860. Thompson, Hall, Withers, and Arthur were also some of Clay's largest plantation owners, having 1,000 or more acres and between 20 and 40 slaves (each). Other Clay County plantation owners included William Stark, Colonel John Thornton, Major John Dougherty, and mule and horse trader Darwin Adkins.

Merchants also benefited from Clay County's agricultural success and slave dependency. For example, businessmen Robert G. Gilmer and John D. Holt housed and shipped tens of thousands of dollars of Clay's cash crops from their Richfield (Missouri City) "mammoth" sized warehouses. Both men were slave owners; Gilmer owned 6 slaves in 1860 and Holt 5. Other Southerners in Clay County entered into a business trade manufacturing cotton and hemp products. Jonathan Atkins owned a cotton gin and Waltus Watkins a cotton carding and spinning mill. Clay's important hemp manufacturers were Lightburne, Wymore, Burris and Arthur; Michael Arthur was also the County's most important slave dealer. Arthur and other Clay Countians enjoyed a lucrative business in slave trading in Clay County. For instance, in just one day on January 1, 1859, $20,000 worth of slaves were sold in Liberty.

By 1860, Clay County was a model of a great commercial agricultural economy, a vision promoted by Southern slave owners and Presidents Jefferson and Jackson. By the outbreak of the Civil War, Clay's population had swelled to 13,023 with 26.5% (3,455) of its inhabitants African American slaves. In 1860, the Federal Census reported that Clay County ranked 7th among Missouri's 113 counties (Footnote 1) for the highest "Cash value of farms," 8th among the counties with the most plantation owners (Footnote 2), 9th in hemp production, 10th for the largest slave population, 10th in corn production, and 12th for the most slaveholders in the State.

During the Civil War, Clay County's African American slaves suffered. Slaves in Clay County received the brunt of the brutalities of the Civil War, as the County's strong Southern sympathies and culture brought a plague of unwanted Union occupations and guerrilla warfare. Some whites, whether local or from other areas, viewed slaves as the cause of the war. An example of this belief is exemplified by the senseless murder of a slave owned by Abijah Withers. In the summer of 1864, unknown assailants shot a male slave owned by Withers just "for fun" as he was returning from a delivery trip to Liberty. Other slaves were also murdered in Clay County from 1862-65, such as a male slave owned by Mrs. Richard Price who suffered inhumanely when he was assassinated in August 1863. By the end of the year 1863, an unknown number of slaves were killed at the hands of both Northern and Southern patriots.

Not only did slaves live in daily fear of being murdered during the Civil War in Clay County, they also did not know if they would be captured by guerrillas, sold off, or moved further south for safe keeping. Jayhawkers from Kansas pillaged the Clay County countryside and made off with at least a hundred slaves with the idea of holding them for ransom, trading them for goods in Kansas, or selling them. Some of Clay's masters also sold their slaves as they realized their investment in human flesh was quickly shrinking; an example is when John W. Rolling sold 22 slaves in February 1864 for the unbelievable price of $2,080. Some of Clay County's slaves did escape to freedom, only to be returned back into bondage with the assistance of Union officials.

By 1864, the County's population had dropped to 11,235 people. In that same year, only 15.6% of the residents were slave. The majority of the slaves in 1864 were women, so it can be assumed that many of Clay's African American men either joined the Union army or escaped. For example, during January 1864 a "considerable numbers" of Clay's slaves crossed the river into Kansas. By 1864, many of Clay's slaves knew all to well that once a slave had successfully escaped into Kansas and established residency, in the ex-slave towns and villages like Quinderro, Kansas, "he was practically as free as if he had his deed of emancipation in his pockets."

With the close of the Civil War, African Americans began a new chapter in the struggle for racial equality in Clay County and Missouri. Freedom finally arrived for Clay County's slaves when the Missouri legislature passed the State's slave emancipation act on January 11, 1865. Known as "Manumission Day," slavery ended all across the state. Five years later on January 1, 1870, Clay County and Missouri's African Americans received the right to vote.

1. In the 1860 Federal Census, Missouri reported 113 counties. Missouri has 114 counties, the missing county being the "City of St. Louis." The City of St. Louis was included in St. Louis County for the 1860 Federal Census.
2. The accepted definition of what constitutes a "plantation" is a slave owner who owns 20 slaves or more. Some historians and academics have also required that a plantation be made up of 500 acres or more, the number of acres required for self-sufficiency.

The following is a list of slave owners I discuss in my book "A Guide To Historic Clay County, Missouri, Architectural Resources and Other Historic Sites of the Civil War." The people that I mention have been associated at one time or another with these historic sites and buildings still found throughout the County. Most of the buildings I mention are standing today, some open to the public. In my book, I provide more details on the Civil War in Clay County and on the people who built or owned the historic sites mentioned.

The format that I have used is simple: slave owner's name; building and location; business pursuits; and number of slaves owned. The first item is the slave owner's name followed by the year that the individual migrated to Missouri and the state they migrated from. The next is the name of the house, building, or plantation, and the year the structure was built with its location. The following information is the person's cash crop(s) and/or (Southern) livestock raised, and/or business venture(s). In some instances, I have indicated that the person was a "diversified" farmer or planter, that is, one who grew many different commercial crops and goods for personal (home use) consumption, or a "general" farmer, who usually grew crops and raised livestock for mostly home use. The next item that follows is the number of slaves owned by that individual as reported in the 1850 and 1860 Federal Census for Missouri and Clay County. The average number of slaves per Clay County owner in 1860 was 5.3. In some instances, I have indicated how many slave houses (quarters) the slave master owned. In 1860, the average number of slave houses per Clay County owner was 1.2 with 4.3 slaves per house. Both the number of slaves per owner and slave house data for Clay County are below that for other major Missouri hemp producing counties, like Saline. In Saline County for 1860, the average number of slaves per owner was 7, average number of slave houses 7, and the number of slaves per house was 5.7. For Saline County, their numbers of slaves per owner and slave-housing practices were more in keeping with other areas of the Deep South, as compared with Clay County. Following this data I have added additional details, such as any known slave names or other important documented facts about the slave(s) or master(s).

Adkins, Darwin (1835 from Scott Co., Kentucky)
Adkins House, built 1859, Liberty, Missouri
Hemp planter, horses, mules, swine, corn, and general farming
20 slaves (1860) living in 6 slave houses

Antioch Christian Church, built 1858-59, Kansas City, Missouri
Organized by Rev. Moses E. Lard, see Lard
In 1859, Rev. R. C. Morton was pastor, see Morton Family

Arnold, Eldridge (c. 1838 from Virginia) and Finetta Ann
Woodneath, built 1855-56, near Liberty and in Kansas City (North), Missouri
7 slaves (1850)
5 slaves (1855)
2 slaves (1860)
Slaves owned in 1855 were: Anna, Mary Jane, Lucy, Henry, and David

Arthur, Michael (1825 from Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky)
The "Mansion", Estes/Arthur House, built c. 1859, Liberty, Missouri
Slave dealer, hemp manufacturer, hemp planter, mules and horses, corn, and general farming
34 slaves (1850)
30 slaves (1860) living in 4 slave houses

Atkins, Jonathan Q. (c. 1830 from Kentucky) and Mary S.
Atkins House, begun c. 1826, Kansas City (North), Missouri
Diversified farming
5 slaves (1860) living in 1 slave house

Bell, Daniel (Bell family from Kentucky, 1837)
Bell House, built c. 1840's, rural east Clay County, Missouri
4 slaves (1860)

Claybrook, George E. and Mary Frances Holton (both 1845 from Mason Co., Kentucky, and George c. 1825 from Amelia Co., Virginia)
Claybrook, built 1858, rural Clay County, near Kearney, Missouri
Horses, mules, swine, corn, and diversified farming
4 slaves (1850)
8 slaves (1860) living in 2 slave houses
Claybrook slave histories:
Adeline and Allen are gifts from George's father to Mary in 1841. The slave Allen is 14 in 1844. In 1845, the Claybrook family and slaves arrive in Clay County, Missouri. In 1850, census reports indicate Claybrook's owned a male mulatto slave age 19 (Allen) and 3 females ages 25, 15, and 10.
Claybrook purchases slaves from the estate of James L. Hickman in January 1859, and their names are Cooper and Sam.
In April 1860, George purchases a boy, Sandy, age 14
From 1862 to 1863, George and Mary's farm, Claybrook, is liquidated because of unpaid loans. It is known that George's Southern sympathies most likely are the cause of the loans defaulting since the Union minority gained control of the local government and local institutions beginning in 1862 with the invasion of the Union Armies that same year. In 1862, a County Court's list of Claybrook's assets include slaves: Sam age 39; a man named Cooper age 75; a woman named Ann age 24, Lydia Ellen age 2, and a boy about 1 named Jack. In 1863, George and Mary's estate including its slaves are sold. (Source: 1850 and 60 Federal Census; and Claybrook, A House Of Dreams, by Carolyn M. Bartels. Shawnee: Two Trails Publication.)

Clay County Courthouse, Liberty, Missouri
During the antebellum period, slaves were sold on the old courthouse steps because of court ordered estate liquidations. For Missouri as a whole, as in Clay County, January was the month that Courts cleared the books and sold slaves.
The present building was built in 1935 and replaced the 1857 Greek Revival structure, which also replaced an earlier building.

Cockrell, John William and Elizabeth Mitchell (1846 from Virginia)
Cockrell/Garth House, completed 1857, Liberty, Missouri
8 slaves (1850)
8 slaves (1860)
John William Cockrell of Liberty was the cousin of Missouri political figure, slave owner, and Confederate General Francis Marion Cockrell. Francis Cockrell's family left old Virginia at an earlier date.
John William Cockrell and his sons were builders and constructed many of the brick homes in the area, both before and after the Civil War. The Cockrell's fine brick house in Liberty was sold c. 1860, after William's death in 1859. (See next owner William G. Garth) It is possible that some of the slaves owned by John William Cockrell were trained as carpenters in Cockrell's construction trade.

Compton, Dr. James T (c. late 1830's from Prince William Co., Virginia) and Mary Anne Wirt
Oak Ridge Manor, begun 1829, Kansas City (North), Missouri
Built by David Hale, bought by James and Mary Anne Compton in 1844.
General farming
2 slaves (1850)
2 slaves (1860)

Dougherty, Confederate Captain Lewis B. (Born in Indian Territory, today Kansas, and lived at Multnomah)
Dimmitt, Ringo, Dougherty House, built c 1848-70s, Liberty, Missouri. The House has a slave cabin, brick servants' quarters, in the rear.
5 slaves (1860) living in 1 slave house at Multnomah
Dougherty was the son of Major John Dougherty who built the great plantation estate Multnomah. (See Dougherty, Colonel John.) Saint Clair Dimmitt built the house and sold it after a fire in 1856 to Richard Ringo, brother of Samuel Ringo. (See Samuel Ringo.) Following the Civil War, Dougherty moved from Multnomah and bought the Dimmitt-Ringo house in Liberty.

Dougherty, Colonel John (c. 1808 From Kentucky and moved to Clay County c. 1837) and Mary Hertzog
Multnomah Plantation was built in 1854 and burned in 1963. The house was one of the most elaborate and largest Greek Revival mansions in Missouri and was 3 stories tall. Location was in Kansas City (North), Missouri.
24 slaves (1850)
56 slaves (1860) living in 11 slave houses
27 slaves owned by Dougherty family (1850)
69 slaves owned by Dougherty family (1860) living in 14 slave houses

Estes, William W. (family from Virginia, born in Saline Co., Missouri) and Catherine Lincoln
The "Mansion", Estes/Arthur House, built c. 1859, Liberty, Missouri
Diversified farming
9 slaves (1860)

Garth, William G. (c. 1830's from Georgetown, Kentucky, raised near Columbia, Missouri) and Katharine Berry
Cockrell/Garth House, completed 1857, Liberty, Missouri
4 slaves in 1860 living in 1 slave house
Garth was a Union supporter and captain in the Enrolled Missouri Militia.

Hughes, Daniel and Elizabeth (1824 from Bourbon Co., Kentucky)
Hughes Log House, c. 1820s to 30s, rural Clay County, and relocated to Shoal Creek late 1900's, Kansas City, Missouri
Reported as owning slaves

Hughes, Graham L.
Riverview, Hughes House, built 1848-49, Liberty, Missouri
Legend states that near here Clay County's first emancipated slaves lived. (See introduction)

James Family (1841 from Kentucky)
Jesse James Farm House, begun c. 1822, near Kearney, Missouri
Diversified farming
6 slaves (1850)
7 slaves (1860) living in 1 slave house
Robert and Zerelda Cole-James were the parents of the famous outlaws Frank and Jesse James. Robert died in 1850, and Zerelda married Benjamin Simms. Mr. Simms died and Zerelda married Dr. Rueben Samuel in 1855.

Lard, Moses E. (from Tennessee)
Lard House, built 1853, Liberty, Missouri
1 slave (1850)
Lard was a preacher in the Christian Church and for a while taught at the Camden Point Female (Christian Church) Academy, Camden Point, Platte County. (See Antioch Christian Church.)

Lightburne, Major Alvan (1836 from Scott Co., Kentucky)
Lightburne Mansion, Hall, built 1852, Liberty, Missouri
Hemp planter and manufacturer, general farming
18 slaves (1850)
12 slaves (1860) living in 2 slave houses
The "rope walk" was located not far from the house, as were the original slave houses. During the Civil War, a slave, owned by Mr. Rees, burned the ropewalk and was convicted.

Major Family (1850 from Franklin Co., Kentucky, and 1799 from Culpepper Co., Virginia)
Major House, c. 1850's, Kearney, Missouri
Livestock, corn, hemp, and general farming
12 slaves (1850)
12 slaves (1860) living in 2 slave houses
20 slaves owned by family (1860) living in 5 slave houses
Reverend John Sleet and Lucinda (Smith-Slaughter) Major moved their entire family, 5 sons and 5 daughters, and slaves from Kentucky in 1850.

Marsh, James and Martha Patsy (1824 from Kentucky)
Marsh House, built c. 1827, near Kearney, Missouri
7 slaves (1850)
Brother Alfred Marsh grew the first hemp crop in Clay County in 1826.

McKee Family
McKee House, built 1864, near Excelsior Springs
Melvin and Phoebe Gromes-McKee
Diversified farming
3 slaves (1860) living in 1 slave house
Melvin's father, David McKee (1832 from Clay Co., Kentucky), owned 13 slaves in 1850 and 4 slaves in 1860.

McQuiddy, David
McQuiddy Home, built 1846, rural Clay County near Liberty, Missouri
8 slaves (1850)
8 slaves (1860)

Miller, Madison (1836 from Berkley Co., Virginia) and Ann (Kentucky)
Miller House, built c. 1840, Liberty, Missouri
4 slaves (1850)
7 slaves (1860) living in 2 slave houses
Miller was the first Mayor of Liberty and married slave dealer Michael Arthur's daughter, Ann Arthur.

Morton Family, see Thornton and Antioch Church
Thomas Morton came from Kentucky in 1842, sons Robert, Henry, William
Morton House, c. 1840s, Kansas City (North), Missouri
General farming
17 slaves (1850)
25 slaves owned by the Morton family in 1860 and living in 5 slave houses

Nall, William (1832 from Scott Co., Kentucky, parents from Culpeper Co., Virginia) and Morning Harrison (Kentucky)
Nall House, c. 1832, Kansas City (North), near Claycomo, Missouri
9 slaves (1860) living in 2 slave houses

Ringo, Samuel (Kentucky) and Elizabeth Wirt
Ringo House, or The Pines, or White Horse Inn, c. 1837-40s, Liberty, Missouri
The Ringo's were merchants owning stores in Liberty, Richmond, and Gallatin
8 slaves (1850)
8 slaves (1860)

Routt Houses, both in Liberty, Missouri
Spring Avenue, built c. 1856
Franklin, built c. 1860's
Colonel Henry L. and Katherine Routt
2 slaves (1850)
4 slaves (1860)
Colonel Routt was a prominent local attorney in Liberty, and with his Southern sympathizers he captured the Liberty Arsenal, 1861. The taking of the Arsenal and its supplies was the first military action taken against the United States in Missouri.

Smithey House, built 1857, Liberty, Missouri
James Smithey
1 slave (1850)

Price, Richard

see Price Plantation

Thornton Family
Western Farms Plantation
Thornton, Colonel John (1820 from Howard Co, Missouri, and 1817 from Kentucky) and Elizabeth Trigg (1818 from Estill Co., Kentucky)
Thornton Mansion, built in 1829 rural Clay County, near Liberty, relocated in the 1980s to Shoal Creek Missouri, Kansas City (North), Missouri
Thornton served in the military and was a judge in the State Legislator, a hemp planter, miller, owned a ferry on the Missouri, and diversified farmer.
21 slaves (1847)
18 slaves (1850)
19 slaves (1860)

In the 1820s, Colonel John Thornton's "man" Black John was known in the area for his great hunting skills. Black John would simply go out with his gun at "odd times" and fill both tables of the Thornton and Allen families with wild game.
In 1847, when John died, the names of Thornton's slaves were: "old" (Black) John, "old" Ivory, George, Henry, Harrison, William, Frederick (Fred), Angeline, Mary (Molly), Pelina, Little Ivory (small boy), Clemons (Clem), Narcissa, Nancy (child of Narcissa), "old" Judy, Tom, Tabitha, "old" Sam, Ailse, Emily, and child of Emily. The Thornton slaves were divided among Mrs. Thornton and her children.
The Thornton's daughters all married prominent people in the area as did their son, whose namesake was secessionist John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. The children are:

Eliza Jane, to Alexander Doniphan (from Kentucky), who owned 5 slaves in 1860 living in 1 slave house.
Caroline, who married William Jewell Trustee, Oliver P. Moss; their home was Lindenwood and they owned 7 slaves in 1850 and 10 slaves in 1860 living in 2 slave houses.
Susan M. to Doctor James D. McCurdy, St. Joseph, Missouri.
Adeliza to William Morton, owning 5 slaves (1850), and 7 slaves (1860) in 1 slave house. (See Morton Family)
Mary to Robert W. Donnell (North Carolina), wealthy entrepreneur in St Joseph, Missouri, she owning 5 slaves in 1860.
Frances (Fannie) to Colonel John Doniphan (Kentucky), Weston, Platte County, owned 20 slaves in 1860. John Doniphan was a Union supporter in the war and served in its local militia.
Theodosia to Leonidas M. Lawson
John C. Calhoun "Coon Thornton, Confederate Colonel, to Louisa Sue Archer of Platte County, the Archers owned 1 slave in 1860.

Dinah Allen, sister of Elizabeth Thornton, married noted Clay County pioneer Colonel Shubael Allen. The Allens owned Liberty Landing, and near there was their log house in which they lived in for many years. In 1822, after their marriage, The Allens and Dinah's "black waiting girl" rode from Howard County, Missouri, to Clay County and settled near the Landing and Western Farms Plantation. Although, Mr. Allen died in 1841, Dinah continued farming and owned 6 slaves in 1850.
A famous incident in the history of Clay County is the attack on Dinah Allen by her slave. On April 1, 1850, Mrs. Allen's slave, Anice, with a white accomplice, Mr. McClintock, struck her in the head with an ax in an attempt to kill her. Mr. McClintock believed that Mrs. Allen kept a "good deal of money" in the house and wanted to steal it. After securing the affections of the slave Anice, McClintock promised her marriage after their escape to California. Prior to the attack on Mrs. Allen, a slave woman had been accused of the attempted poison of the Wade Moseby family of Clay County. The event that took place only a few weeks before left many whites in the County on edge. Several days had passed, perhaps a week, when both Anice and McClintock were accused and jailed based upon the slave girl's confession. On May 9th a crowd appeared at the courthouse and demanded that an example be made of the slave girl. After Anice sought penance from the Reverend Moses E. Lard, she and her accomplice was brought before a mock trial. The assemblage of men and spectators accepted the slave woman's testimony and sentenced her and her white accomplice to death. The hanging took place that same day near Liberty, with McClintock maintaining his innocence and Anice reasserting her confession as being true.

Watkins, Waltus S. (1830 from Woodford Co., Kentucky)
Watkins Mill, or Bethany Plantation, begun c. 1839, near Lawson, Missouri
Cotton milling business, Liberty in 1830s, Bethany plantation and Woolen Mill, 1840s to 1884, and diversified farming
House built 1850-54 and Mill in 1860
3 slaves (1850)
3 slaves (1860)
Although Watkins owned slaves, he preferred free workers in his mill and in other trades on his plantation, thus explaining the small number of bonded persons. Waltus's brother, James Watkins, owned a large estate and mansion and in 1850 and 1860 he had 8 slaves living in 1 slave house. The large brick home owned by James caught fire and burned in the 1980's.

Withers, Abijah (1834-36 from Woodford Co, Kentucky, and 1807 from Fauquier Co. Virginia) and Prudence Blackburn White
Withers Plantation, founded 1834, house built 1842, and moved in 1960's to Missouri Town 1855, Jackson County, Missouri
9 slaves (1850)
20 slaves (1860) living in 3 slave houses
In 1834, Abijah and Merit, an African American slave, built a log house and slave houses on the Withers' new Clay County estate. While Mr. Withers returned to Kentucky, to fetch his family and slaves, Merit remained on the plantation and was in charge. Merit must have stayed on after the Civil War, for family legend states that only one slave returned at War's end. Robert Steele Withers, who inherited the plantation in 1906, states when he was a boy Uncle Merit and Aunt Anisty lived in one of the two slave cabins that were still "inhabitable". Aunt Anisty was the cook. A middle-aged man named George worked with the "Negro field help" and was known to have "seen the last day's of the War Between the States." Robert Withers remembered the following slave songs that the African American servants and field hands sung while living on the Withers' Plantation after the Civil War:

Anisty's Song
Oh! Hits a long way
To de furwell lane,
Oh! Ma honey, ma honey, ma sweet.
You kin ast brother mink and
You kin ast brother crane,
Oh! Ma honey, ma honey, ma sweet.
Dey'll both look wise and
Dey'll tell you de same,
Oh! Ma honey, ma honey, ma sweet.
Oh! Ma honey, ma honey
Ma heart's delight!
Oh! Ma honey, ma honey, ma sweet

Merit's Song
An' he gave up de ghost

George's Songs
Oh! Jeff Davis, don't you know
I'se got a house in Baltimo?
Street cyahs runnin' right by de do.
An Oh! Ma little gal Dinah. Oh!
Yass Oh! Ma little gal Dinah, Oh!

I eats when I'm hungry
I drinks when I'm dry
If whiskey don't kill me
I'll live till I die!

Wymore, William (Kentucky)
Hughes/Wymore House, built c. 1840-50s, Liberty, Missouri
Hemp manufacturer, hemp planter, horses
8 slaves (1850)
13 slaves (1860) living in 3 slave houses

Young, William
Sundown Farm, begun in 1824, west of Kearney, Missouri
Purchased in 1835 by Colonel William Young, who died in 1835. The house passed on to Young's wife and children.
Original Slave house and other outbuildings survive
13 slaves (1850)
Colonel Young did own many slaves, for in his will it stated "a third of my slaves shall stay with my wife and the other two-thirds will be divided among my children." Legend states that a family slave, the "washwoman", stayed on and continued living in the "wash" house.


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Research and Photographs by Gary Gene Fuenfhausen.  All published materials on this site are fully copy written and may not be used in any manner without the written consent of its owner.   

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