Ads for Slaves Lost, Found, and For Sale in the Pages of The Dallas Herald

by Paula Bosse

runaway_negro_dallas-herald-1856(Dallas Herald, June 7, 1856)

by Paula Bosse

When one is browsing through Texas newspapers from the 1850s and 1860s, one shouldn’t be surprised to see things like this. But that doesn’t make them any less shocking. Black men and women were not regarded as people, but as property — in all of these “ads” you could easily substitute “horse” for “negro.” I think I always wanted to believe that slavery wasn’t much of an issue in Dallas — but it was. The name of one man, E. M. Stackpole, a successful shopkeeper, kept coming up a lot in these advertisements. In addition to the general merchandise of his store, he seemed to do a pretty brisk trade in buying, selling, hiring (more like leasing from other slave-owners), and hiring out slaves. One of his ads is below. (By the way, the word “likely” was a common adjective for slaves; it meant, basically, “worthy of purchase.”)

trade_for_negro_dallas-herald_1856(March 15, 1856)

negro-auction_dallas-herald_091558(Sept. 15, 1858)

negro-auction_dallas-herald_102058(Oct. 20, 1858)

negro_for_sale_dallas-herald_1861(1861)

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All advertisements from The Dallas Herald, via UNT’s Portal to Texas History site.

My lack of knowledge about slavery in Texas is appalling. The Wikipedia entry provides a good overview; read it here.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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