Other Methods Southern Slaves Used to Make Money

The importing of slaves from other regions was outlawed in the United States in 1807. Northern states did have slaves prior to 1807. Between 1840 and 1850, the last slaves in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island either died or were granted their freedom. But slavery, especially in the South continued, a master having additional slaves usually by those born into slavery.

Slaves under the ownership of the master were given a set of clothes, just one set to last for years. Many times, they were given the fabric and someone had to sew together clothes for members of the family or friends. Their housing and food were provided but no wages.

One practice allowed by some masters was to allow a slave to purchase additional clothing. But they needed some other work that paid money. So many cottage industries or sidelines of work developed. Many made baskets or brooms and sold to other white settlers. They might have gotten chickens and could sell the eggs. Other skills used to make money included playing the fiddle for musical entertainment, telling fortunes, hunting wild game and selling the meat or hides. Any of this work was always after working the required hours for the master.

However, this was not true everywhere. Many areas passed codes making it illegal for slaves to sell goods they made. Where it was still allowed, it was a great assistance to have this additional source of money.

Photos: Slaves working the fields; families and inside their simple homes.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Slaves Fled to Mexico


British Slaveholders

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