Location: Richmond, Virginia, United States
Surnames/tags: Tayloe slavery
(This FSP is Under construction)
William Henry Tayloe, son of John Tayloe III, took over Mount Airy in 1828. Its enslaved population continued to increase, even as depleted soil led to crop shortfalls and declining profits. He and his brothers responded in part by acquiring cotton fields in west-central Alabama.
Between 1833 and 1862, William Henry Tayloe moved a total of 218 slaves (many teenagers) about 800 miles from Virginia to Alabama. Because the trans-Atlantic slave trade nominally closed because Britain ended slavery and because the U.S. Constitution's provisions against slave imports took effect in 1808, Virginia became a net exporter of enslaved people within the U.S. Although the U.S. had fewer than a million enslaved people as the 19th century began (mostly concentrated in the coastal and piedmont South), with the invention of the cotton gin and development of internal slave trading, there were four times as many enslaved people four decades later, working from Charleston to Texas.
Letter to Henry A. Tayloe to "Dear Brother" (B.O. Tayloe), January 5, 1835
From Walnut Grove (Marengo County, AL) to Washington City
George and myself only made 30 bales and George about the same. I wish you may visit me early this Spring to make some arrangements about your Negroes. If they continue high I would advise you to sell them in this country on one and two years credit bearing 8 per ct interest. The present high price of Negroes can not continue long and if you will make me a partner in the sale on reasonable terms I will bring them out this Fall from VA and sell them for you and release you from all troubles. On a credit your negroes would bring here about $120 to $130, 000 bearing 8 per ct interest. My object is to make a fortune here as soon as possible by industry and economy, and then return [to VA] to enjoy myself. Therefore I am willing to aid you in any way as far as reason will permit. You had better give your land away if you can get from $6 to $800 round for your Negroes -- and if you will incur the risk with me, and allow me time to pay you, I will give a fair price for one half bring them to this country sell the whole number and divide the proceeds of the sale equally. It is better to sell on time as by so doing good masters may be obtained.... I have rented land for your negroes and Henry Key's, and shall attend to them faithfully. Gowie [?] ran off about the 18th of December and has not been heard of. I hope to hear of him in a few days that I may put him to work. He went off without any provocation. I expect he is a deceitful fellow.
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