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Search and Learn about the Louisiana Slave Trade

Louisiana StateThose having African-American ties in Louisiana would want to review an online site titled Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy 1718 – 1820.  Not only those who had slaves as ancestors, but also those who held slaves in Louisiana and surrounding regions would be interested in this database. Though the efforts of Dr. Gwendolyn Hall, a New Orleans writer and historian, along with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a collection of databases have been assembled covering Afro-Louisiana History and especially the African-American slaves in Louisiana.

Dr. Hall put together the personal history of some 100,000 slaves who were brought to Louisiana from the 1700s into the 1800s.  The databases contain information of African slave names, their owners, ages, their mates, place of origin, name of plantation, price paid for a slave, along with public testimony by slaves.

This is a free to use database on the Internet. There is a search engine to assist in locating individuals. Those searches can be done by a name, even a given name, the person’s gender, racial description (black, mulatto, Indian), location of a plantation, the owner’s name or a seller’s name.

A selection of numerous slaves names that relate to the search engine information provided will then appear.  Each one can be called up individually. For example:  the male black named Adam, age 15 years old who belonged to Benjamin Brown and was sold by Jordan Johnson for $600 on February 26, 1816 in New Orleans.  Information was also provided of whether Adam had his mother with him, along with any special skills held by Adam. Lastly, the information stated where the slave, Adam was taken to the Parish of Feliciana.

There is the case information on Hannah, a black female, adult, who was being sold from the estate of a deceased individual named Johnson on April 19, 1819 who was from East Raton Rouge.  The female slave had an inventory value of $900.00.  She was not being emancipated. No information of what happened to Hannah.

Just reviewing some of the documents gives you a better insight into the slave trade.  There is the example of Ambrose, an black infant male, who was sold by Thomas H. Williams to Joseph Vidal on Feb. 18, 1814. The document did state the infant was sold for $8,000 with his mother.

The database does show that many slaves were sold off after the master died in the household. Sometimes the slaves were sold to relatives of the master.  The example was Moses, age 28, a black male, who was sold along with his female ‘mate’ Helen, age 26, to settle the estate between the widow of the master and his mother. Moses was sold for $3,100 on Sept. 22, 1819.

This site will provide a fascinating search in history and hopefully offer some interesting family history.

< Return To Blog Hello. I am writing a book about the history of the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, LA. There was reportedly a slave by the name of Chloe working for the Clark Woodruff family in the late 1800's. I don't have her last name. I am trying to verify that she existed. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much. Rebecca Pittman
Rebecca Pittman 21/06/11

I always believe in starting with the known information -- so that would be Clark Woodruff (1791 to 1851). So doing a good deal of researching various sources the following is what I found. Some of it you may already known. Clark Woodruff born Aug. 23, 1791 in Litchfield, CT and died Nov. 25, 1851 in Oaklawn Plantation, Carrollton, LA Wife of Clark: Sarah Matilda Bradford born 1798 in St. Francisville, LA and died 1824 in St. Francisville, LA. Sarah Matilda and Clark Woodruff married Nov. 19, 1817 in Louisiana. The Woodruff family lived in the Feliciana Parish - St. Francisville. In 1820 they had 5 slaves. In 1830 they had 30 slaves. Twins born to Sarah Matilda and Clark were Cornelia and James Woodruff died in 1824. One child: Mary Octavia Woodruff born Oct. 3, 1818 in St. Francisville, West Feliciana, LA and died Nov. 30, 1889 in New Orleans, LA Mary Octavia married Lorenzo Augustus Besancon - who was born July 1, 1812 in New York and died Jan. 21, 1853 in New Orleans, LA. Mary and Lorenzo married May 10, 1838 in New Orleans. The 2 sons of Mary and Lorenzo were: Octave Besancon born in 1843 in New Orleans. Octave worked as an assessor with the Internal Revenue Dept. at the customs house in New Orleans. He died in June 1905 in LA. Clark Woodruff Besancon born Feb. 22, 1848 in New Orleans. Clark was a lawyer. He died Jan. 5, 1901 in New Orleans. The two daughters were Leoline Francesca Besancon born 1839 and died in 1919. Julia Besancon born 1841, married R. L. Preston- a lawyer and she died 1878. In 1850 - in the Left bank of the Mississippi River in Jefferson Co., LA - in the household was Clark Woodruff (spelled Woodroof) age 59, owned $30,000 in land and His daughter Mary Octavia (name listed as Woodroof) age 31 and her four children (Leoline, Julia, Octave and Clark). Mary Octavia’s husband, Lorenzo Augustus Besancon , was not listed in the household. 1850 Slave census for Clark Woodroof in Jefferson Co., Left bank of the Mississippi River was: Eight slaves total. One black male age 60, one mulatto male age 60, one black male age 30, one mulatto male age 30, one black male age 31, one mulatto female age 18, one black female age 14 and one mulatto female age 1 year old. No names for any of the eight given. In 1860 Mary Octavia Woodruff Besancon was a widow, age 42, caring for her four children. She had $21,000 in land value and $5000 in personal property. She had two slaves, one females age 45 and one male age 15, each mulattoes - no names listed. The son of Clark Woodruff Besancon (1848-1901) was Clark Woodruff Besancon Jr. born 1874 in Louisiana and died 1929 in Texas.
alice 21/06/11

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