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La Charrette Village

Interested in what Lewis & Clark, Daniel Boone, Zebulon Pike, John Colter, President Jefferson and other notables thought about America's newly acquired westernmost village? Enjoy the west...before it became distorted by TV, movies and novels.

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Location: Port Aransas, Texas, United States

A retired professor of Food and Animal Science at Texas A&M University, The University of Connecticut and Texas Tech. A cowboy in my previous life...never thought about being a professor or an author.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Slaves at La Charrette


The abhorent practice of slavery on the earliest frontier of the Louisiana Purchase often goes under reported, or overlooked, by many historians. The informative article at the title link is typical. Aspects of slavery existed among the Native Americans for eons, frequently representing those captured in battle. Some were captured on the Lower Missouri before La Charrette was established there and sold into the slave trade in the old south. Later slaves (mostly blacks or those of mixed African-Native American heritage) were sold at public auction as documented in the sale bill pictured here.

La Charrette's first known squatter, Jean Marie Cardinal, Sr., held Nicholas Colas as his Native American slave. Soon after Cardinal's 1780 death, Colas married his Native American wife and became the father to their children who later resided at La Charrette, Cote sans Dessein and St. Louis. Black slaves arrived at La Charrette with the family of Daniel Boone in the later 1790s setting into motion the exceptional mixing of people so vividly protrayed at La Charrette. Thus it is apparent that the practice of slavery was well underway before the United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase, or when the great Western Expansion followed decades later. Americanization and social progress would follow along at a much slower pace.

A partial list of slaves associated with La Charrette include: Nicholas Colas who belonged to Cardinal; Derry was Boone's servant; York, William Clark's servant visited the village twice as a Corps of Discovery member; Joseph, a French-Indian (and four others) were owned by Don Carlos Tayon; Flanders Callaway sold his black slaves Venus, Daniel and Westly for $450 to his son James in 1815 but by 1837 still owned four female slaves named Kipley, Lucinda, Dorcas, and Livina plus Jeff, a 'boy'. Other Missouri slave holders also listed their slaves as chattel property as revealed at http://www.centerplace.org/history/misc/soc/soc14.htm and were taxed accordingly.

Slaves freely offered their support during the Civil War as explained at http://www.duboislc.org/MissouriBlacks/p03_CivilWar.html Pvt. George C. "Uncle Cal Wyatt" Martin (1831-1937) of southern Warren County was one of them, later to establish himself as the longest living Civil War veteran of the County. But at the time of his death full civil liberties were not yet available to minorities like "Uncle Cal." The evidence of social progress since the founding days of La Charrette represents milestones of the greatest order.

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