In search of plantation culture in the 1860 census

Posted on January 16, 2009 by

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Maybe I should have added “where it was and where it wasn’t” to the title of this post.

Anyway, I give you the following numbers to consider…

State # of slaveholders in 1860 % of owners with only 1 slave % of owners with only 2 slaves % of owners with only 3 slaves % of owners with only 4 slaves % of owners with only 5 slaves % of owners with only 6 slaves % of owners with more than 6 slaves
Alabama 33,730 5,607(16.6%) 3,663 (10.8%) 2,805 (8.3%) 2,329 (6.9%) 1,986 (5.8%) 1,729 (5.1%) 46.5%
Arkansas 11,481 2,339 (20.3%) 1,503 (13%) 1,070 (9.3%) 894 (7.7%) 730 (6.3%) 569 (4.9%) 38.5%
Florida 5,152 863 (16.7%) 568 (11%) 437 (8.4%) 365 (7%) 285 (5.5%) 270 (5.2%) 46.2%
Georgia 41,084 6,713 (16.3%) 4,355 (10.6%) 3,482 (8.4%) 2,984 (7.2%) 2,543 (6.1%) 2,213 (5.3%) 46.1%
Kentucky 38,645 9,306 (24%) 5,430 (14%) 4,009 (10.3%) 3,281 (8.4%) 2,694 (6.9%) 2,293 (5.9%) 30.5%
Louisiana 22,033 4,092 (18.5%) 2,573 (11.6%) 2,034 (9.2%) 1,536 (6.9%) 1,310 (5.9%) 1,103 (5%) 42.9%
Maryland 13,783 4,119 (29.8%) 1,952 (14.1%) 1,279 (9.2%) 1,023 (7.4%) 815 (5.9%) 666 (4.8%) 28.8%
Mississippi 30,943 4,856 (15.6%) 3,201 (10.3%) 2,503 (8%) 2,129 (6.8%) 1,809 (5.8%) 1,585 (5.1%) 48.4%
Missouri 24,320 6,893 (28.3%) 3,754 (15.4%) 2,773 (11.4%) 2,243 (9.2%) 1,686 (6.9%) 1,384 (5.6%) 23.2%
North Carolina 34,658 6,440 (18.5%) 4,017 (11.5%) 3,068 (8.8%) 2,546 (7.3%) 2,245 (6.4%) 1,887 (5.4%) 42.1%
South Carolina 26,701 3,763 (14%) 2,533 (9.4%) 1,990 (7.4%) 1,731 (6.4%) 1,541 (5.7%) 1,366 (5.1%) 52%
Tennessee 36,844 7,820 (21.2%) 4,738 (12.8%) 3,609 (9.7%) 3,012 (8.1%) 2,536 (6.8%) 2,066 (5.6%) 35.8
Texas 21,878 4,593 (20.9%) 2,874 (13.1%) 2,093 (9.5%) 1,782 (8.1%) 1,439 (6.5%) 1,125 (5.1%) 36.8%
Virginia 52,128 11,085 (21.2%) 5,989 (11.4%) 4,474 (8.5%) 3,807 (7.3%) 3,233 (6.2%) 2,824 (5.4%) 40%

The bad thing about this is that we can never know how many slaves were hired out, and how many were hired out to plantation-type situations. Incidentally, “plantation-type” situations does not always equate to slaves working in the fields. In the Shenandoah Valley, slaves were hired-out to iron ore furnaces. One of the largest operations in the Valley was ran by the Forrer family. By the opening of the war, the family owned three furnaces in Page County.

O.K., what about from the other way around? Highest number of slaveholders to the lowest number…

State # of slaveholders in 1860 % of owners with 500-1,000+ slaves % of owners with 200-499 slaves % of owners with 100-199 slaves % of owners with 30-99 slaves % of owners with 15-29 slaves % of owners with  7-14 slaves % of owners with 6 or less slaves
Alabama 33,730  0  34  312  3,362 (9.9%)  4,487 (13.3%)  7,416 (21.9%)  53.5%
Arkansas 11,481  1  6  59  711 (6.1%)  1,227 (10.6%)  2,372 (20.6%)  61.5%
Florida 5,152  0  2  45  428 (8.3%)  682 (13.2%)  1,207 (23.4%)  53.8%
Georgia 41,084  1  30  181  3,241 (7.8%)  5,733 (13.9%)  9,608 (23.3%)  53.9%
Kentucky 38,645  0  1  6  455 (1.1%)  2,673 (6.9%)  8,497 (21.9%)  69.5%
Louisiana 22,033  4  83  460  2,137 (9.6%)  2,398 (10.8%)  4,303 (19.5%)  57.1%
Maryland 13,783  0  1  15  359  1,032 (7.4%)  2,522 (18.2%)  71.2%
Mississippi 30,943  1  36  279  3,257 (10.5%)  4,379 (14.1%)  6,908 (22.3%)  51.6%
Missouri 24,320  0  0  4  187  1,015 (4.1%)  4,381 (18%)  76.8%
North Carolina 34,658  0  15  118  1,955 (5.6%)  4,006 (11.5%)  8,361 (24.1%)  57.9%
South Carolina 26,701  7  78  363  2,859 (10.7%)  3,860 (14.4%)  6,609 (24.7%)  48%
Tennessee 36,844  0  7  40  1,262 (3.4%)  3,367 (9.1%)  8,387 (22.7%)  64.2%
Texas 21,878  0  2  52  1.014 (4.6%)  2,281 (10.4%)  4,623 (21.1%)  63.2%
Virginia 52,128  0  9  105  2,646 (5%)  6,105 (11.7%)  11,851 (22.7%)  60%

As you can see in this table, I opted to leave out percentages where they were less than 1%.

These tables can be considered follow-ups to this post.

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