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Forks of the Road Slave Market – Violence In Silence

“Just at the Forks, where the Washington and Kingston, or Palatine roads converge, stood a low squatty frame building used during the winter months principally, for the purpose of quartering Negroes – who were brought to this point from Kentucky and Virginia by traders who followed this business, more or less intensively, not only at this point but throughout the South, and especially in the cotton districts. This house, or quarter, had a triangular piece of ground attached to it, used as a parade or exhibition grounds. Coming to a point at the divergence of the two roads and running back wither 80 or 100 ft., these particular quarters were occupied by a Mr. James, a trader of note from Natchez, and throughout the South as far as the city of New Orleans, La.” [1]

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Forks of the Road Negro Market

Around 1905, Felix Eugene Houston Hadsell began to write his memoirs, reflecting on what he had observed as a boy at the Forks of the Road Negro Market outside Natchez, Mississippi, during the 1850s.

Born in Red Lick, Mississippi, Hadsell’s family came to Natchez from Cattaraugus, New York. Before that, the family suspects from Canada. His father Job Kenyon Hadsell was a boatman on the Mississippi River. He traveled in the heavy commercial traffic between Belmont County, Ohio, where the Hadsell family formerly lived, and New Orleans. [2] 

Young Hadsell grew up on St. Catherine St. in Natchez at the terminus of the Natchez Trace. The two roads formed the Forks of the Road triangle. The Hadsell home stood near the stately entrance to Monmouth Plantation, the home of Governor John Anthony Quitman, who also was from New York. Quitman was born in Rhinebeck, and like the Hadsell family, Quitman lived in Ohio before he arrived in Natchez to pursue a career as an attorney.

Negro Trading

Felix Hadsell titled the chapter of his memoir, Negro Trading.

“They were in the business of selling Negroes…From 1850 to 59 – as far as I know, up to the winter of 1860, this traffic was carried on without any interruption whatever between these dates, as it was in the fifties I saw these things.” [3]

Slave Traders in Lexington, Kentucky

Historical descriptions of slave markets in the period customarily typified the market environment as sinister and strident. Often violent, and rampant with deceit.

In the early 1840s and 1860s, some banking relatives of this Mr. James resided in Lexington, Kentucky. The town still displayed much of its rough and tumble frontier character acquired during settlement in the 1790s. Then, the central attraction in the town was the cockfights at John and Samuel Postlethwaite’s tavern. Samuel and his brother Henry Postlethwaite departed Lexington for Natchez, where they were engaged in a successful mercantile business. The Postlethwaite brothers also engaged in the commercial shipping of enslaved, “down the river.”[4] 

Lewis C. Robards – James Family Relation

Lewis C. Robards was the chief practitioner in Lexington’s slave trade and its leading dealer by 1849. [5] Robards was a distant cousin of Rev. Robert Sallee James. Both shared a fourth great-grandfather in Col. Robert “Potato Hole” Woodson. [6]  Among the five local traders in Lexington, competition from Robards [7] was brisk. He was an ever-present predator of inventory. Robards’ advertisements in the Lexington Observer solicited blacks to be sold in the Lower South, outside of Kentucky.

“I wish to purchase a lot of merchantable negroes for which I will pay THE HIGHEST CASH PRICE. Persons having negroes can find me at the Phoenix Hotel.” [8] 

In 1833 the Kentucky Legislature passed an act barring the importation of slaves into the Commonwealth for resale to the South. The growing slave populations within the counties of Kentucky, however, were perceived as a threat to the non-slave populace. In 1849, the act was repealed. Afterward, Kentucky became a prime slave market for exporting slaves. [9] 

Chattel Slavery Unprofitable in Kentucky

Chattel slavery became unprofitable in the Commonwealth. The Kentucky climate was unsuitable for farm work year-round. The tobacco market slowed. Hemp production was rising. Lands were given over to raising cattle.

The plantation system of the Old Dominion was being whittled away by land sales and speculation in Kentucky. The emergence of more efficient and economical smaller farms required less labor. [10] 

William A. Pullam, who with a partner Pierce Griffin also was a competing trader. The firm of Griffin & Pullam operated the slave jail on the south side of High Street, between Broadway and Mill streets. [11] 

Robards stored his enslaved stock there. The overflow he stored at his residence, Bruen House on Broadway, in coops behind the home in Mechanic’s Alley. As his inventory expanded, he later stored them in the Lexington Theatre on Short Street. Adjacent to the theatre, from a discreet apartment fashionably and opulently appointed but with bars on its windows, Robards offered stock of a less stigmatized hue. His quadroons and octoroons ranked at the top of Robards’ income scale, appealing more to “prosperous horse breeders, reckless turf men, spendthrift planters, gamblers, and profligates.” This class of inventory was the “fancy girls,” sought out to be concubines, selling at a premium of $1600 apiece. [12] 

Robards was even accused of abducting free or infirm blacks and enslaving them through a sale. The skin of the aged or diseased was greased. Gray hair was hidden under repeated applications of shining boot black. Robards presented them as being in prime health.

Robards sold his inventory at auction on Cheapside Street in the public square. Or, he sold them “down the river,” shipping them hastily in boats of the Natchez Steamboat Company, owned by the Postlethwaite brothers.

Slave Trading Made Profitable at Forks of the Road by “Private Sale” with Mr. James

Felix Hadsell’s memory of the business of Mr. James in “the Sunny South Land,” as Hadsell termed Mississippi, recalls a slave market distinctly different than Robards operated in Kentucky.

“These Black, or Negro-people were generally sold at private sale, and not on the Block at auction to the highest bidder, as is sometimes done in other stocks.” [13]

Among the strata of “soul drivers” in this profession, which included auctioneers, traders, agents, bird dogs, wildcats, kidnappers, factors, financiers, speculators, companies, insurers, banks, partnerships, and investment groups, Mr. James uniquely positioned himself as an upscale merchant in human resources.

As Hadsell noted, Mr. James presented his merchandise with refined theatrical attraction.

The Theater of Silence of Mr. James

Mr. James dramatized the formal art of presentation and performance.

At the Forks of the Road, the slave market of Mr. James appears in Hadsell’s memory more as a theatre of silence. Costumes and drama compelled the young boy’s repeated attention. Hadsell fell captive as an audience to Mr. James’ silent spectacle.

Rich Costumes

The principal characters on Mr. James’ stage, who spoke not a word nor uttered any sound, were arrayed in fine costumes, oddly elegant in their display and portrayal.

Star Talent with a Chorus

Each enslaved was cast in a role to play. The role Mr. James assigned to a slave highlighted the individual talents the enslaved possessed. The cast of roles corresponded to the advertisements Mr. James had placed. A “lot of twenty-five direct from Virginia, two or three good cooks, a carriage driver, a good houseboy, a fiddler, a fine seamstress.” [14]  He also offered mechanics and carpenters, against a background chorus of field hands.

“Besides field hands of both sexes and of all grades and prices, I have one Blacksmith, two Seamstresses, two Cooks of the first order and several carriage drivers and house servants of both sexes; as this is my last shipment (of the season) I now wish to close out as soon as I can and will sell them at the lowest possible prices for cash or approved acceptances on New Orleans payable in six months. Call and try me.”  [15] 

Choreographed to Effect

As Felix Hadsell recalled, Mr. James dramatized and choreographed his goods through maximum effect for their highest value. Impresario James was ever mindful of his audience of patrons and planters, and the preferences of the wealthy and genteel nabobs of Natchez.

While Mr. James assessed the level of income his chattels might produce by dramatizing their skills and talents, the planter in Mr. James’ audience the level of value the planter might assess.

A Cast of Thousands

“I remember having seen, during the winter months, two if not as many as three thousand Negroes on exhibition, parading, and marching in circles, performing other evolutions on their respective parade grounds. These evolutions were always interesting to me, and I have spent hours watching their maneuvers and manner of drills. These men dressed in navy blue suits, with shiny brass buttons and ‘plug’ hats, [16] was intended to capture most any boy’s attention, as they march single and by twos and threes in circles. The women wore calico dresses and white aprons, and for further ornament and effect, a piece of pink ribbon at the neck, with their hair matty and carefully braided.”  [17] 

Enslaved, awaiting sale
Precision Displayed in Restraint

“There were no commands given by anyone, no noise about it, no talking in the ranks, no laughter or merriment connected with this business. Silently and quietly, they went through those daily drills, headed by a leader who knew his place. As every other one in the ranks knew his or hers. After an hour or so of this exercise, they would orderly repair to the benches, prepared for them beneath the long gallery at the quarters, and seat themselves in rows. Men first. Women (and children) following in order of size, height, and sex.”  [20]

Costumes Not Included

Costumes were removed when a transaction was completed. To depart the premises in costume publicly labeled a slave as having recently been sold. [18] Some, who were purchased as house servants, later would find themselves wearing aristocratic clothing of a much finer quality than Mr. James provided. The costumes remaining at the Forks insured Mr. James of his economy and further profitability.

The costume art of Mr. James was an improvement in the practices of the trade in Kentucky. Men standing at auction in Lexington still displayed the customary ”roundabout” (i.e. a waist-length jacket), and trousers of course corduroy velvet, with good vests, strong shoes, and white cotton shirts,” sometimes topped by “a fashionably shaped black fur hat.” The women fared worse. They were displayed in plain or striped dresses made of unbleached grain sacks, cement sacks, or tough upholstery fabric, with course shoes and stockings. [19]

A Departure from Old Slave Trading Practices

The theatre of silence that Mr. James produced departed from the former practices of his profession in Natchez. In earlier pens at Forks of the Road, the enslaved were reported “either dancing to the sound of a violin, played by one of their numbers, playing at marbles, quoits (ed. a form of horseshoes), practicing gymnastics, lounging, sleeping in the sun, or idling about the door, while their masters, the ‘slave traders,’ regardless of them, were playing at cards or backgammon. Or the traders courted a buyer, their presence not producing the least restraint upon the noisy merriment around them.” [21] A vital and physically active stock was attractive to the planter, who was aggressive himself to settle his plantations in the region with the strongest, longest lasting, and most able of hands.

Andy Jackson had been consigning his slaves for sale at Natchez for a decade, since 1803 when the slave market first emerged in the center of the city, having relocated from the docks on the steamboat landing at Natchez Down-The-Hill on the Mississippi River. When Spanish trade restrictions were lifted by 1833, trade between Natchez and the north was opened and the bulk of the slave market again relocated outside the city at the site of the Forks.

Early Traders Franklin & Armfield at the Forks

The Forks of the Road location became a bustling crossroads when Isaac Franklin first rented a pen there. The location at first was called Slaveville. But the pen quickly slid more abusively into being called Nigerville. [22] 

Isaac Franklin & his nephew John Armfield, proprietors of the slave trading firm Franklin & Armfield, shipped slaves from Virginia to the Forks of the Road market in Natchez

Franklin together with his nephew John Armfield of Virginia were the most active traders in all the states until the competition arrived from Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky.

Home office Franklin & Armfield in Alexandria, Virginia

From the firm’s pen in Alexandria, Virginia, the firm of Franklin & Armfield transported more than 1,000 slaves annually to the Forks and to New Orleans. Franklin handled the sales personally. [23]  With as many as four thousand slaves per year being sold, and the price per slave rising and falling with the fortunes of the cotton market, [24]  competing slave traders saw a need to brand the market at the Fork more distinctly.

Mr. James Assured Discretion

By the mid-1840s plantation development surrounded Natchez and encapsulated the Forks of the Road. In effect, as young Felix Hadsell reported, the giant plantations turned the Forks into an exclusive and expensive country store, selling highly desirable goods and habituated routinely by local society.

Plantation neighbors were served conveniently and discretely at the local neighborhood slave market by Mr. James at the Forks of the Road

“A planter needing more field hands, and ready to purchase the same, comes to this Market, where this particular species of goods and chattels are usually kept for sale. When you are in need of groceries such as coffee, Sugar, or Butter you go to the nearest grocery, or market to procure them. This want, and the manner of supplying it duplicates the planters want, and manner of supply, both having the same end in view. I am not speaking of the act in itself, or the difference in the two commodities, the same thought that actuates the one leads up to the other, with no change, or difference, of feeling, or sentiment, in either. If I need sugar, and have the money, I feel free to buy it. With the same feeling, nothing prohibiting it, If I need a slave, and I have the money to pay for him, I go to the Market and get him.”  [25]

Plantation development surrounding the Forks required Mr. James to operate less obtrusively within his community. He approached his clientele with distinctive quiet and reserved discretion.

Mr. James Accommodated Patrons

Outside the market of Mr. James, the number of saddle horses, tethered or held by waiting servants, signaled the activity of those who had come to market to meet with him.

An occasional carriage signaled a lady might be inside with Mr. James, shopping for a house servant, not one of the master’s choosing but rather one of her own choices. Or perhaps more personally, she desired to obtain for herself a “pretty boy.”

Stationed at the secured entry gate, Mr. James positioned a sentinel, a young “yellow boy,” who stood watchful for approaching patrons.

Inside Mr. James offered stock in all varieties of hue: from negro to black, from dark brown and brown to copper, from dark copper and light copper to dark mulatto and bright mulatto. [26] 

Upon arrival, the patrons entered the high wide gate into the narrow courtyard. The yellow boy rang a bell to announce their arrival and entry. The cast stood to attention and assumed their rehearsed positions.

A sense of anticipation rippled among the enslaved. Each desired an instant purchase of themselves for the sake of their future, understanding full well it was best to be bought quickly. Those who remained too long in the pen likely would be acquired by masters of lesser consideration, those willing to use more severe and unrestrained enforcement against damaged goods or second-rate abilities purchased for no other reason than being a good bargain. A recitative warned every fresh arrival to the pen.

The Breaking Din of Quiet Voices

“None but poor nigger stay for be sol’ last.” [27]

Communications circulated quietly among the enslaved. Intelligence was offered to new supplemental arrivals who arrived in coffles from Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Maryland. Topics included their new surroundings in Mississippi, the uncertain knowledge of the new locale, its culture, and what could be expected of it. Social knowledge was softly transferred. The meaningful context was helpful to sustain the barter process with the enslaved, soon to come. [28] 

Mr. James did not wish to bear the burden of any additional financial support for his stock beyond the time necessary. He well realized it was better to discount and sell the slaves early than to have them more deeply discounted later out of market necessity. 

“In addition to a former lot of negroes, I received on the 22d of February a lot of thirty negroes and on the 26th a lot of thirteen negroes and expect about thirty more and have ordered a lot of about the same number to arrive in the month of April, consisting of field hands, house servants &c. of both sexes. Those wishing to purchase will do well to call and examine my lot as I am determined to put them down at the very lowest possible prices. Believing it the true policy to sell at small profits and make quick sales. I will guarantee to sell at $25 or $50 less than the same kind of negroes can be purchased from the regular traders in New Orleans.” [29]

The Bell Was Rung & Bargaining Begun

At the ringing of the bell, the moment of judgment and destiny was at hand.

“Good morning, gentlemen! Would you like to examine my lot of boys? I have a fine lot as ever came into market.”

In the vernacular of the day, Mr. James often referred to the male enslaved as “boys.” He intended to communicate youthfulness and the longevity that a planter might expect of his product under consideration for purchase. When directed towards the enslaved, Mr. James employed the same term of “boy” in the mutual understanding of a slave’s subjection. To the present day in the South, the term “boy” remains derogatory in nature. Addressing an individual as a “boy” is an insult today, as it was in the period of an adult negro for sale, who possessed a lifetime of useful and productive skills.

Prospects Were Assessed

The assessment of prospects commenced. At the top of the planter’s concerns was the condition of health and strength.

Planters waiting their turn to assess and purchase

In 1849 many of the local planters found their slave holdings decimated by diseases that followed a great flood. John A. Quitman lost 11 slaves at his Palmyra Plantation. Dr. Steven Duncan reported the most astounding figures: more than 100 died at his Issaquena County plantations. [30] 

Questions were posed to the enslaved regarding their diseases and medical history. Age? Cholera? Yellow fever? Chicken pox? Measles? Or whopping cough? How was their appetite? The enslaved were asked to relate the stories of any scars that were evident on their body.

Planters often asked from where the enslaved came. The greater the distance, the less chance of a loss by runaway.

“What family have you?”

As the moment of a purchase decision drew nearer, the questioning curdled and constricted with discomfort. “What family have you?” The question always was irritating but required by the planter. The reply was profoundly vexing for the enslaved.

Although pointed in its focus, rarely was the questioning brief. Most always the interview process seemed to endure endlessly for both planter and slave, ever skeptical, ever probing, ever twisting their fidgets and misery.

Within every question resided a scheme to reveal a lie. Using intimidation, cajoling, or outright foolery, the planter attempted to unmask the enslaved who was untrustworthy in the eye of the planter. The enslaved attempted to unmask the planter, who was equally untrustworthy in the eye of the enslaved. [31]

“Double Character” – Contrivances & Salesmanship

A Yankee traveler from New England, James Holt Ingraham, arrived at Forks of the Road in 1834 with his local host planter. [32] Ingraham described the puzzling indifference he witnessed of the enslaved. As his planter host had informed him, Ingraham reported the chattels not being very affected by their circumstances, and nothing giving them much sense of unease at all. Debasing theirs to animal existence, their lives were discerned by Ingraham’s host as spent in either one of two polarities, physical exertion or enjoyment. Ingraham concluded, “To this class, a change of masters is a matter of indifference; – they are handed from one to another with the passiveness of a purchased horse.” [33] 

Although the New Englander Ingraham later became seated as a scholar at Jefferson College in Natchez, on his initial arrival he had not fully grasped the theatre of masks into which he had stepped. His assessment was academic, short-sighted, and void of practical experience. Ingraham, relying upon the authority of his planter host, entirely misjudged the “double character” of the enslaved.

In this theatre, all the players wore masks. The judgment of the planter was as vital in the mind of the slave as was the judgment of the slave in the eye of the planter. The measured contrivances and salesmanship exercised by Mr. James added a third level of judgment.

The planter who entered the market fell under the anxious but scrutinizing eye of the enslaved. Over years the enslaved developed skills in character assessment. Enslavement taught them to personally employ reading the countenance of masters, overseers, and those associated with them. Such reading skills enabled the enslaved to conform their own conduct to expectations, hopefully neutralizing in the process harsh or brutal treatment for themselves or other unexpected consequences.

Most significant to those about to be purchased was the character of the purchasing planter himself – as much character as might be discerned at first sight. The personal appearance of the purchasing planter also was a measurable value for the enslaved. The color of a planter’s suit was as important as the cut of the suit in their appraisal. Each detail and manner of dress was to be judged as scrupulously as if the planter wore a shabby blanket coat, which some did.

Primarily, the enslaved were vigilant for any signal of profligacy or brutality in the planter. They were extremely suspicious of any signs of penury. Always the enslaved were equally focused to identify any measure of evil. [34] 

Likewise, the planter who posed many questions, revealed just as much about himself in return, often enabling the enslaved to parry with the barter of his or her own, regarding what might be the desperation festering in his mind.

Closing the Sale

“Would you be so good as to buy my wife?”

The question the enslaved asked of the planter might have surprised a visitor like Ingraham. But the question certainly came as no surprise to purchasing planter, who himself may have been thinking to ask, “Do you have a wife?”  [35] 

The purchase of a family of slaves was not always economically expedient for a planter. However, purchasing a family of slaves usually provided the planter some measure of stability and insurance against loss by runaways.

For the enslaved, drawing out a planter’s purpose for buying was the deciding factor if one desired to be purchased by a planter.

Newspaper advertisement placed by Thomas Green James

Unmasking the Identity of Mr. James

Mr. James, as described by young Felix Hadsell, is John Duke James 1808-1899. Mr. James operated The Forks of the Road Negro Market from 1845 until 1850. His two brothers Thomas Green James and David Daniel “D.D.” James from 1850 to 1860. They appear in Stray Leaves‘ genealogy database.

In 2003, descendants of these brothers came forward. Contacting Stray Leaves, they messaged, “We believe we are of your family.” The descendants provided some original documentation. Their DNA test, however, confirmed their kinship with 100% accuracy.

Prior to this stunning discovery, no reference to this particular descendant line was known to our James family. What followed was more than a decade of painstaking genealogical research to flesh out the unknown family history of these James descendants. Also new was the fresh research into the slave trade the James brothers conducted at the Forks of the Road in Natchez. The compilation of this new history will appear in Volume III of Jesse James Soul Liberty, The Forks of the Road.

Volume III also will report additional surprise discoveries relating to this line. Those include newfound descendant lines of Choctaw and Chickasaw relatives, descended from our James, plus their enslaved and their freedmen.

No publication date has yet been set for the appearance of Volume III. Until then, follow Stray Leaves and Subscribe below to receive new additions to this story.



[1]             Hadsell, Felix Eugene Huston, Diary of Felix Hadsell 1840-1914, Manuscript circulated among the Hadsell family and its descendants. Provided to the author by John Campbell, descendant; also, by Ser Sesh Ab Heter, “C.M. Boxley,” Coordinator of Friends of the Forks of the Roads Society Inc.

[2]             Hadsell.

[3]             Ibid.

[4]             University of Southern Mississippi Libraries Special Collections. Postlethwaite Records, M39. Samuel Postlethwaite married Ann Dunbar, daughter of William Dunbar, and established Clifton Plantation in Mississippi. The fortunes of the Postlethwaite brothers would rise and fall. Their first mercantile store was established in Natchez in 1802. Other business ventures followed. The establishment of the Natchez Steamboat Company made the family wealthy. While cargo transportation was a foundation of the fortune that was amassed, no doubt that cargo included slave transportation. The Postlethwaite fortune culminated in the establishment of the Bank of Mississippi.

[5]             Coleman, J. Winston Jr. “Lexington’s Slave Dealers and Their Southern Trade,” Filson Club Quarterly, (Louisville, Kentucky, January 1938) No. 1, Vol. 12, pp. 1-23.

[6]             Robards and James almost certainly never knew of their kinship as cousins. Their 4th great grandfather Dr. John Woodson, father of Robert “Potato Hole” Woodson, landed aboard the vessel George at Jamestown, Virginia on January 29, 1619. Four years later a vessel under a Dutch captain arrived at Jamestown with twenty Negros captured in Africa. Dr. Woodson purchased six of the Negros. In the family’s registration in 1623 at Fleur de Hundred, sometimes called Piersey’s Hundred, the enslaved are listed as “Negars.” No record of them exists showing any other name or identity. See Woodson, Henry Morton. Woodsons and Their Connections, 1915. See also: Robards, James Harvey.  History and Genealogy of the RoBards Family. Self-published, W.R. Voris Printer, Franklin, IN. 1910.

[7]             Coleman p. 9-10. Other slave traders of Lexington were Hughes & Downing who also sold at Forks of the Road, James G. Mathers, and John Mattingly who also purchased slaves in Louisville. By 1858 the Lexington slave traders numbered more than two dozen. p.16. An Adams County, Mississippi, Court Record book for slave sales in 1858-1860 identifies additional Kentucky slave traders Blackwell, Murphy, & Ferguson, W. T. White & Co., Charles P. Williams & P.H. Pogue, McCampbell & Harris from Lexington, Tarleton & James Atterburn of Louisville, Edward Herndon of Richmond, Virginia, and other traders from St. Louis, Memphis, and Davidson County, North Carolina.

[8]             Lexington Observer & Reporter newspaper, July 22, 1848.

[9]             Coleman, p.10. By 1849 fifty percent of the population of Bourbon County consisted of enslaved persons.

[10]           Dunnigan, Alice Allison, The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians” Their Heritage and Traditions, Washington D.C., The Associated Publishers Inc. p.15.

[11]           Bancroft, Frederic, Slave Trading in the Old South, (New York, Frederick Unger Publishing Co. 1931. p.132.

[12]           Bancroft pp. 130-131.

[13]           Hadsell.

[14]           Bancroft, Frederic, Slave Trading in the Old South, (New York, Frederick Unger Publishing Co. 1931. p.306.

[15]           The Concordia Intelligencer, May 15, 1847

[16]           The plug hat was similar to a derby or bowler hat, which is round and black, and hard with a narrow brim; similar to the bowler worn by British businessmen.

[17]           Hadsell.

[18]           Ingraham James H. The Southwest by a Yankee. New York, Negro Universities Press. 1968) Vol. II, p. 193. (Originally 2 vols.: New York, 1835)

[19]             Lexington Observer & Reporter, July 4, 1849. The description appears to be taken from the book The Southwest by a Yankee, by James H. Ingraham, first published by Harper & Brothers, New York, in 1835. Ingraham’s description depicts an early slave stand at Forks in the Road in 1834, prior to the enterprise of Mr. James. The earlier description appears equally attributable to practices in Lexington, as Bancroft later reported.

[20]           Hadsell.

[21]           Ingraham, p. 202.

[22]           Bancroft, pp. 300-301.

[23]           Barnett, Jim, and H. Clark Burkett, “The Forks of the Road Slave Market at Natchez,” Mississippi Now (Mississippi Historical Society, 2002.)

[24]           Ingraham, p. 244-245. In the currency value of the period and with good prices for cotton and sugar, field hands sold at $800. Body servants for $1,000. However, a skilled mechanic could bring $2,000. House servants or coachmen ranged from $1,000 to $1,300. A nurse or seamstress for $700 to $1,000. Children added $100 to the cost of a mother, increasing in value by $100 per year until maturity. House servants were most in demand and commanded the highest prices, as did any slave born and raised in the local climate.

[25]           Hadsell.

[26]           Court Record Book, Adams County, Mississippi, 1858-1860. Actual color descriptions.

[27]           Ingraham, pp. 202-203.

[28]           Johnson, p. 166-167.

[29]           The Concordia Intelligencer, March 6, 1847.

[30]             Scarborough, William Kaufman. Masters of the Big House. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press. 2003) pp. 147-148.

[31]           Johnson, pp. 166-176.

[32]             May, Robert E. John A. Quitman, Old South Crusader. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press. 1985, p. 67, f.381. Ingraham’s host may well have been John A. Quitman, a trustee of Jefferson College. Ingraham dedicated his travel book South-West by a Yankee to Quitman.

[33]           Ingraham. p. 164.

[34]           Johnson, Walter. Soul by Soul (Cambridge, Harvard University Press. 1999). pp. 165-167.

[35]           Johnson, p. 181.


The Passing of Dorvan Paul James, a Great-Grandson of David Daniel “D.D.” James

Forks of the Road presented by Ser Sesh Ab Heter-C.M. Boxley – The lecture was presented on September 13, 2016, by CAS Historical Studies and Library and Information Services of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

Coming Soon: Letter of David Daniel “D.D.” James – Silent on Slave Trading

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Stray Leaves Daily

Stray Leaves Daily

Daily updates from the family of Frank & Jesse James with stories, photos, & two searchable genealog

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4 months ago
Stray Leaves Daily

VIDEO of the Clay County Board of Commissioners bestowing honor upon our James colleague & friend Charlies Broomfield. Recognition begins at 2:00 min. mark.

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Congratulations Charlie!!

4 months ago
Stray Leaves Daily

We have hints from the Clay County Archives in charge of James Farm in Kearney, Missouri, that a road leading to the farm will be renamed Charles Broomfield Rd. Charlie was a Clay County Commissioner who took an active role in arranging the sale and transfer of James Farm from the James family to Clay County. See MoreSee Less

We have hints from the Clay County Archives in charge of James Farm in Kearney, Missouri, that a road leading to the farm will be renamed Charles Broomfield Rd. Charlie was a Clay County Commissioner who took an active role in arranging the sale and transfer of James Farm from the James family to Clay County.Image attachment

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Cant say that I understand the significance of this.

Do you have the address of Jesse & Frank James Cabin in Paseo Robles, California?

6 months ago
Stray Leaves Daily

FIND-A-GRAVE BLUNDERS LEAVE JAMES FAMILY HOWLING . . . Can you spot the errata in this Find a Grave post for the grandfather of Frank & Jesse James? The most glaring deception is the photograph!

History tells us the photograph was invented about the time John M. James was dying. Neither history, nor the administrator of this posting, Charlotte Raley McConaha, can tell us is how photographic technology made its way from France to the distant American frontier to take a photo of John M. James, months before his demise.

Another imprecise miscalculation in this post is the attribution of the middle name “Martin” to John M. James. The name never has been proved by evidence. To guess the name is unreliable and wrong.
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FIND-A-GRAVE BLUNDERS LEAVE JAMES FAMILY HOWLING . . . Can you spot the errata in this Find a Grave post for the grandfather of Frank & Jesse James? The most glaring deception is the photograph!

History tells us the photograph was invented about the time John M. James was dying. Neither history, nor the administrator of this posting, Charlotte Raley McConaha, can tell us is how photographic technology made its way from France to the distant American frontier to take a photo of John M. James, months before his demise.

Another imprecise miscalculation in this post is the attribution of the middle name “Martin” to John M. James. The name never has been proved by evidence. To guess the name is unreliable and wrong.