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AfriGeneas Slave Research Forum

Slave Auction: Savannah 1859

Thank you for drawing attention to this important online resource, the description of the sale of Pierce Butler's slaves at Savannnah, Georgia, in 1859. This was the same Pierce Butler who had married and later divorced Frances Anne (Fanny) Kemble. Kemble published her unflattering account of experiences on Butler's plantation in Journal of a Residence on a Georgia Plantation in 1838-1839. First published in 1863, this book has been reprinted in many editions and is readily available. She writes about many of the same slaves who showed up in the sale catalog 20 years later.

VKN drew my attention to the 1987 book by Malcolm Bell, Jr., Major Butler's Legacy, a fascinating account of the low-country slaveholding Butler family and their descendants from colonial times to the twentieth century. Chapter 18, "The Weeping Time," contains a full account of the 1859 sale and a critique of the New York Tribune article that adds details the reporter could not have known. The bibliography in this book should assist any researcher who thinks his or her ancestor was a Butler slave; the Butler family papers and other documents are preserved in publicly-accessible archives and libraries which the author carefully identifies.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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