From the Howard County Advertiser 9 Jan 1903

SLAVES IN MISSOURI IN 1860--
THERE WERE 114,000 IN THE STATE ONE COUNTY ONLY HAD NO SLAVES

The death at Independence last week of a pioneer resident and announcement that before the war he was one of the largest slave owners in Jackson county called to mind the fact that this county was once a place where slavery was common. In fact there was time when not to owns slaves was in this county an evidence of poverty, or what was worse in the eyes of many people, an inclination toward abolition ideas.

Jackson County was credited by the census of 1860 with having 3,944 slaves, the property of 898 different owners. The fact that the number of slaves averaged considerably less than five to each owner was due largely to the existence of three very fair sized towns in which each family, of any standing, social or financial, had one or two slaves for household work. Lafayette County, our nearest neighbor, on the east, had 909 slave owners, eleven more than Jackson County, but the census credits Lafayette county with 6,374 slaves, or 2,330 more than Jackson county had. In Lafayette county the average was a little more than seven slaves to each owner and the number of owners who had only one or two slaves was much smaller than in Jackson county.

In those days hemp was the principal product in Lafayette County. Hemp rope was used to tie cotton bales and it was always in demand. The late General Jo Shelby owned a rope walk in Lafayette County in those days. R. H. Keith, who lived in Lafayette county and came of a family of extensive slave owners, says that in those days little besides hemp was shipped out. The farmers raised everything their families and slaves needed to eat and wear and the hemp rope brought ready money for taxes, luxuries and to buy more slaves with.

In Jackson County the farming was votes now as there were slaves then, but in Lafayette the Negro population is not as large today as it was in slave times. Howard was another of the large slave owning counties, and Boone ranked high. Boone County is the home of the Missouri University, and it is an odd fact that the only person now connected with the State University who considered himself a part of the institution forty-five years ago is the old negro janitor who went to Columbia as a slave to the president of the university, and when given his freedom became at once an employee of the institution.

Sometimes men in politics refer to the river counties of Missouri as strongholds of Democracy. The river counties were the home of slavery in the early days. Half of the slaves in the state were owned in counties that border on the Missouri River. The element that predominated in politics in those days is today in many counties the ruling influences. The counties along the Mississippi above St. Louis had more slaves than those along the river south of St. Louis. They were settled earlier and were more prosperous. The counties along the river were settled first because they had the means of transportation. They also had the level, fertile river lands where farming was profitable and slaves would be worked to the best advantage. These counties are, with few exceptions, strongly democratic to this day.

Away down in the Barren Ozark Country, 150 miles in those days from the nearest means of transportation, the settlers took their slaves with them. The counties of Missouri in 1860 were the same as now, except St. Louis. Yet only one county in all the state was without slaves. That was Douglas county, on the southwest slope of the Ozarks, where to this day the screech of a locomotive whistle has never echoed from the rocky hillsides and where men and women may be found 40 years of age who never saw a railroad and do not believe that the same element which makes lightening can possibly be made to draw carriages full of people on the streets of the big cities.

As reference has been made to the democratic proclivities of the old slave-holding counties it is but fair to add that in proportion to the total vote cast Douglas County has the second largest republican majority of any county in Missouri. The total number of slaves held by Missourians in 1860 was 114,931. They represented an investment of a good many millions of dollars and when they were freed many men who had been rich before became poor.

The counties that held slaves in Missouri in 1860, with the number of slaves and slave owners in each were as follows, the figures being taken from the United States census of that year.

COUNTY
TOTAL SLAVEHOLDERS
TOTAL SLAVES
Adair
33
86
Andrews
240
880
Atchison
29
59
Audrain
327
1,166
Barry
54
247
Barton
11
21
Bates
112
442
Benton
123
599
Bollinger
55
245
Boone
885
5,034
Buchanan
468
2,011
Butler
15
52
Caldwell
72
222
Callaway
855
4,523
Camden
66
266
Cape Girardeau
302
1,533
Carroll
262
1,068
Cass
307
1010
Carter
8
20
Cedar
72
111
Chariton
410
2,839
Christian
66
229
Clark
122
455
Clay
651
3,455
Clinton
283
1144
Cole
169
987
Cooper
732
3,800
Crawford
52
182
Dade
107
346
Dallas
40
114
Davies
116
358
DeKalb
52
137
Dent
45
156
Dunklin
44
171
Franklin
293
1,601
Gasconade
28
76
Gentry
44
118
Greene
338
1,668
Grundy
97
285
Harrison
13
25
Henry
298
1,245
Hickory
69
195
Holt
88
309
Howard
801
5,886
Howell
67
136
Iron
67
313
Jackson
898
3,944
Jasper
107
335
Jefferson
137
564
Johnson
465
1,896
Knox
94
1,895
Laclede
67
305
Lafayette
909
6,374
Lawrence
76
284
Lewis
350
1,279
Lincoln
573
2,840
Linn
143
577
Livingston
139
605
Macon
200
660
Madison
197
467
Maries
26
64
Marion
817
3,017
McDonald
25
72
Mercer
12
24
Miller
71
238
Mississippi
160
1,010
Moniteau
137
745
Monroe
733
3,022
Montgomery
373
1,647
Morgan
138
649
New Madrid
238
1,777
Newton
141
426
Nodaway
35
127
Oregon
13
26
Osage
71
256
Ozark
11
43
Pemiscot
74
268
Perry
187
739
Pettis
393
1,882
Phelps
24
84
Pike
871
4,055
Platte
674
3,313
Polk
145
512
Pulaski
20
56
Putnam
12
31
Ralls
378
1,791
Randolph
504
2,619
Ray
475
2,047
Reynolds
14
38
Ripley
30
78
St. Charles
379
2,181
St. Clair
133
574
St. Francis
195
877
Ste. Genevieve
119
618
St. Louis
1,156
3,346
Saline
693
4,876
Schuyler
16
39
Scotland
51
131
Scott
91
503
Shannon
3
13
Shelby
234
724
Stoddard
83
215
Stone
8
16
Sullivan
28
102
Taney
24
82
Texas
21
57
Vernon
54
136
Warren
229
1,034
Washington
188
1,028
Wayne
71
261
Webster
73
220
Wright
29
66
Total
24,320
114,931