Conditions for Southern Slaves



Work on the Plantations | Family Life

Conditions for southern slaves varied depending on the master’s wealth, the size of the plantation, and the crop.

In general, more slaves leads to stricter slave codes and harsher punishments.

*Punishment included whipping, mutilation, and sometimes murder.

*Masters were paid by the government for the “loss” of slave property.

Provided Always, and it is further enacted, That for every slave killed, in pursuance of this act, or put to death by law, the master or owner of such slave shall be paid by the public.



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Family Life

Letter from Maria Perkins to Richard Perkins
Charlottesville Oct 8th 1852

Dear Husband     I write you a letter to let you know of my distress  my master has sold albert to a trader on Monday court day and myself and other child is for sale also and I want to you let hear from you very soon before next cort if you can I dont know when  I dont want you to wait till Christmas  I want you to tell dr Hamelton and your master if either will buy me they can attend to it know and then I can go afterwards. I dont want a trader to get me  they asked me if I had got any person to buy me and I told them no  they took me to the court houste too  they never put me up  a man buy the name of brady bought albert and is gone I dont know whare  they say he lives in Scottesville  my things is in several places some is in staunton and if I should be sold I don't know what will become of them  I dont expect to meet with the luck to get that way till I am quite heartsick  nothing more  I am and ever will be your kind wife  Maria Perkins.
To Richard Perkins


This letter is from Yale University Library Manuscripts and Archives, New Haven, CT.


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