Sabine County Slave Owners

The War Between the States (1861-65) is most commonly referred to as the "Civil War," but some writer has given it a more appropriate designation which is selected for the caption of this chapter. It was far from being a civil affair; it was a mortal combat between military giants and geniuses, with a million brave and loyal followers, and has had no equal in the history of mankind and was conducted on a larger scale and has been more far-reaching in its effect than any armed conflict since the beginning of the Christian era. It is not important that an attempt at enumeration of the many things which have been ascribed as causes for the stupendous combat should be made by the present writer.

Able historians (some favoring the North, some favoring the South, some measurably impartial) have furnished the world with many volumes setting forth sundry causes for the war, but after all the countless opinions and discussions have been submitted, the whole cause might be expressed in two words, African slavery. The cause was inherited. The people who lived and fought the battles in the sixth decade of the nineteenth century were no more responsible for the prevalence of slavery than the present generation is for the existence of distilleries or other approximate causes of universal evils. Long before the establishment of the great American republic was ever so much as dreamed of, trading vessels of the maritime nations of Europe were engaged in the slave traffic. The traders bought or kidnapped the natives and sailed from the African ports for America where a market was to be found for the ignorant slaves. In early days the cargoes of Negroes were usually supplemented by stocks of rum or other intoxicants, which were sold to the colonists, who in turn traded the fire water to the Indians who evidenced their appreciation of the liquors by inaugurating war dances and scalping the white settlers. The native home of the Negro being in the tropics, he could not adapt himself to the rigorous Northern climate, and slaves proved a bad investment for the New England colonists. Furthermore, in the early days of the slave traffic, the Northern colonists produced no crops more staple than navy beans, Indian corn and cabbages, while in the balmy, sunny South, cotton and tobacco, for which there was a worldwide demand, were raised in abundance (besides yams, 'possums and watermelons, sources of delight for the slaves!). Cotton and tobacco were yielding more wealth to the planters in the nineteenth century than was being produced from the gold mines of the world. The campaign against slavery did not begin until after the American colonies had won their independence from the British crown, and until millions of Africans had been unloaded in the South. The institution of human slavery was as old as the world and, up to the advent of the nineteenth century abolitionists, was considered as legitimate as the present relations between master and servant. But the world saw the South prospering with her slaves, and, for half a century an abolitionist was born every minute; for years the storm was gathering, for years the South labored and compromised to protect her States' rights and inherited property under the republican constitution, while her neighbors labored as assiduously to deprive her of these rights. The climax of the long mooted questions was reached with the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency of the United States in 1860, and the immediate withdrawal from the Union of the Southern states. Fate had decreed that the questions should be settled on the battlefield, and the story of the mighty struggle is told in the four years' War Between the States which followed, in which thousands of patriotic Americans gave up their lives fighting for what they deemed the right.

From the beginning the South was the greatest sufferer, for the reason that hostilities were, for the most part, confined to Southern soil. Pen will never be able to describe the privations endured in the South and the sacrifices made to keep her armies in the field; words could not describe what the Southern women endured during those dark days, in lack of food and clothing and grief for fathers and sons who had fallen in battle. During those years the children knew no school except the field, where their labor was required to produce food, and while thus occupied perhaps they heard the roar of cannon or the discharge of musketry that told of a battle in which the ones they loved were engaged. In many instances faithful slaves remained at their masters' home and did loyal service for their families. The Negro was considered more than mere property by the average slaveholder. Brought from his African home an ignorant savage, in half a century he had not only been instructed in the work of civilization, but in the tenets of Christianity. Four-fifths of the slaves were members of some of the various religious denominations, It is a matter of record that more than a hundred of the slaves of St. Denys, the founder of Natchitoches, were baptized in the Catholic faith, while the great number of negroes who are members of the Baptist, Methodist and other sects should suffice to show that their former masters regarded them more than mere chattels, African slavery is a thing of the past, and it has been asserted that the South would fight again rather than revive that ancient institution, but is an established fact that the Southern white man is still the Negro's best friend. The social life of the two races must ever remain separated, but left free from the meddling of political busy bodies who pass current as "statesmen," both will work in harmony in the work of building up the best civilization the world has ever known. While the people of the North are struggling to solve the problem of industrial slavery, the rejuvenated South, no longer suffering from the woes with which she was afflicted half a century ago, will jog happily and prosperously along, an interested but silent spectator.

In 1860 the white population of Sabine parish numbered about four thousand, and there were less than two thousand slaves. There were few really wealthy people in the parish, and many owned not more than one or two slaves.

The owners of six or more in 1861 were:

R. L. Armstrong
S. L. and Allen Arthur
Wade Anderson
T. A. and Mary Armstrong
J. H. O. Antony
Minerva Allen
W. M. Antony
John Q. and Francis Buvens
A. Barr
M. L. Branch
Theo. G. Boyd (suc)
D. A. Blackshear
G. B Burr
Beck & Harris
M. W. Burr
Willis Cooper
C. Carroll
Nathan and Mary Cook
James Cook
F. M. Carter
Maria Childers
W. W. Chapman
Rebecca Conerly
A. M. Campbell
John Caldwell
John Carroll
Joseph C. Coleman
F. Dutton
E. C. Davidson
J. D. Estes
W H Edmunson
Milton Evans
L. P. Edrington
W. C. Faircloth
J. M. Gibbs
Daniel R. Gandy
Lydia Godwin
C. Hainsworth
Allen Holland
Matthew Jones
D. O. Hay
John Kennedy
Isaac Kirk
S. G. Lucius
Bluford Lewing
Joseph Lynch
John Maximillian
Louis May
Joseph F. Montgomery
P. P. Massey
Mark McAlpin
John McGee
A. S. Neal
Valentine Nash
C. E Nelson
R. Oliphant
Care Palmer
Mary Provence
M. L. Price
Ann E. Pullen
John Presley
Mary Quirk
F Rollins
Isaac Rains
Solomon Royston
John R Smart
V. P. Smart
Mrs. Susan B. Smart
John I. Sibley
D W. Self
R. B Stille & Co.
Joseph D. Stille
John H. Stephens
T. B. Stephens
M. K. Speight
Stephen Smith
Nancy Stoker
William Stoker
W. W. Sibley (administrator)
R. L. F. Sibley
Mrs. Mattie Smith
John H. Thompson
M. B. Thompson
C. B Thompson
John A. Thompson
B. R. Truly
Jesse Wright
E. A. Winfree
Nancy Williams
H. L. Williams
L G. Walters
Madison West
James A. Woods
C. P. Waldrup
C. Antony

The largest slave holder was W. W. Chapman who owned sixty-five. The last assessment of the Negro as personal property was made in 1864.

Sabine Parish | AHGP Louisiana

Source: History of Sabine Parish, Louisiana, by John G. Belisle, Sabine Banner Press, 1913.

 

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