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Clotilda: Last Known US Slave Ship

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
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Surnames/tags: Slavery Black_Heritage
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US Black Heritage Project

The Clotilda was the last known US slave ship to bring captives from Africa to America, arriving at Mobile Bay in 1859 or 1860. Although slavery was still legal at the time, bringing new slaves to America was made illegal in 1808. The slaves were hidden in the cargo hull. Somewhere between 110 and 160 slaves were brought over.

To hide the crime, the ship was burned and sunk in Mobile Bay. Remains of the ship were recently found.[1]

Cost of these slaves: $9000 in gold and merchandise

Names of known slaves who survived the voyage American Name|African Name|African Tribe

  • Adams, Philly
  • Africa, John
  • Africa, Lancer
  • Allen, Pollee|Pollee, Kupollee|Yoruba
  • Allen, Rose
  • Auro, Ernes
  • Auro, John|Oroh, Wouro|Edo or Dendi
  • Brunston, Ardassa|Adissa|Yoruba
  • Cooper, Katie|Monabee, Monolabi|Yoruba
  • Dennison, Lottie|Kanko, Kêhounco|Yoruba
  • Johnson, Samuel
  • Keeby, Anna
  • Keeby, Ossa| |Housa
  • Lee, Josephina
  • Lee, Peter|Gumpa|Fon
  • Lewis, America/Maggie
  • Lewis, Celia|Abila, Abile|Yoruba
  • Lewis, Charles|Oloualay, Oluale|Yoruba
  • Lewis, Cudjo|Kazoola, Kossola|Yoruba
  • Livingston, Zuma|Ar-Zuma|Nupe
  • Nichol, Lillie
  • Shade, J.B. Jaba, Jerry|Jaba, Jabi, Jabar|Jaba, Jabi, Muslim?
  • Shade, Polly
  • Smith, Sally, aka Redoshi (sold to Washington Smith of Dallas County, Alabama)
  • Thomas, Anthony
  • Turner, Clara|Abache|Yoruba
  • Wigfall, Shamba|Shamba|Shamba?
  • Williams, Allie
  • ?|Ahdabi|Yoruba
  • ?|Ajemo
  • ?|Ajua|Mina/Ewe
  • ?|Alloko|Yoruba
  • ?|Bossah|Yoruba
  • ?|Koloko|Yoruba
  • ?|Cooyaka
  • ?|Coozaloo, Gossalo|Holli?
  • ?|Deza
  • ?|Esso
  • ?|Fabumi|Yoruba
  • ?|Foloroah
  • ?|Gockilago
  • ?|Gohoby|Yoruba
  • ?|Goobee
  • ?|Iyouha
  • ?|Lahla
  • ?|Luwe
  • ?|Messa, Meïssa|Muslim
  • ?|Ojo Facha|Yoruba
  • ?|Okégbalê|Yoruba
  • ?|Sakaru|Yoruba
  • ?|Sanalowa
  • ?|Somee

Captain: Captain William D. Foster (1825-1901)

Timothy Meaher, a wealthy businessman, hired Captain William Foster to illegally smuggle a ship load of captive Africans from the Kingdom of Dahomey, in West Africa, to Mobile, Alabama. He initially used 32 of the enslaved Africans as workers on his plantation.

Burns (Byrnes?) Meaher and John Dabney reserved a number of the slaves prior to their importation and acquired them when they arrived in Mobile.

Others involved in the smuggling:

Richard Sheridan


  1. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/clotilda-slave-ship-alabama-60-minutes-2020-11-29/

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There is a three-part series in the podcast "Family Ghosts" regarding The Clotilda & the descendants that live in Africatown: https://familyghostspodcast.com/ They are Season 3 Episodes 1, 2, 3. Descendants claim Charles Lewis was the brother of Cudjoe Lewis per episode 1. The first episode speaks to some of the Lewis family descendants. (I have not listened to episodes 2 and 3 yet).
posted by Liz Marshall