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9 of the Biggest Slave Owners in American History

Col. Joshua J. Ward

Col. Joshua John Ward of Georgetown, South Carolina: 1,130 

Known as “King of the Rice Planters,” Ward had 1,130 enslaved Blacks on the Brookgreen plantation in South Carolina. In 1850, Ward controlled six large plantations and produced 3.9 million pounds of rice.

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50 thoughts on “9 of the Biggest Slave Owners in American History

  1. What this list shows, in my opinion, is that individuals were not the chief culprits. As it turns out, half the persons in Washington County, Texas, in 1850 were Black Slaves. Notice that there are no Texans on that list. That's almost certainly because the slave owners in Texas were, by & large, corporate entities. This is why the Civil War was an economic war as much as anything else. The economy of the Ante-Bellum South depended upon slave labor. The notion of eliminating slave labor threatened the economy!

  2. Farntella Graham says:

    this article is so FOS. we all know about the big corporations, in the north, especially, that profited from slavery. the people they name in this article are small time players, trust me and many of them did right by the slaves. many Black people have land in south carolina if they were lucy enough not to have it snatched back by the government.

  3. S.n. Kawn says:

    Its just sum info.this is why we wont get ahead we always have to ,ake a dilemna out of something DAMN still WILLY LENCH SYNDROME

  4. Bruce Leroy says:

    Spell check your sentence then you will truly understand why we can't get ahead.

  5. Good points Mitchell. Keep on mind too that many slaveholders owned plantations across the south. Even these mentioned, are just 9 of the many others but what this article maybe trying to highlight is that these guys owned, between them, 51 plantations, spread among 6 states including Texas, covering 8,600 lives that were alive when the census takers came around. No telling the number of slaves they killed prior to and in between census counts. I'm willing to also bet that there were many more plantations tied to their families through marriage and other familial connections, i e uncles, etc. that isn't counted. In addition, large cooperations became so via these plantations and the industries/crops they yielded. So, sure large corps were vested in the continuation of slavery. There wasn't anywhere on the known planet that didn't benefit from the forced labor of our ancestors, including the north. Where the factories couldn't operate without the raw materials, cotton, rice, tobacco, indigo, sugarcane etc coming from plantations. Read Claude Anderson's Black Labor White Wealth. Its an eye opener to read about the various companies started by slave profits, Aetna, Tiffanys, JP Morgan Chase and many more.

  6. Well, well well……. here is history. Slave name was WARD, I already new we were captured because we were RICE growers. Learned this about 15 years ago.

  7. Are u going to showcase any more.
    Slave Owners including Black Slave Owner this month?

  8. They missed the biggest of them all…George Washington!

  9. Oprah did a show quite some time ago regarding slavery in America. The show highlighted A very prominent slave owner by the last name of "Alston" and focused on how large this family is due to the number of slaves he owned. However, the Chatham county, NC location appeared to be the focal point of origin(?)….I see Robert Withers Allston listed here and I'm curious if this is a derivative of the same slave owner name…….

  10. Please do some very easy research before you post, Washington owned about 125 slaves total.

  11. Psuedo glorification of slavers ABS, really?

  12. secede from the Union, not succeed.

  13. So much history and money being made on the free labor of human beings. This country was built on the backs of our ancestors. Someone mentioned that we were captured partly because we already had agriculture skills in Africa…little known fact here in America. Keep it coming because this information was not in my history books…

  14. Ed Eller says:

    Farntella Graham all criminals. Every damn one of them. The fact that man corporations were as criminally culpable as they doesn't change that. "Did right" by them? Please! How do rightfully take away a person's humanity?

  15. Their families are still living well. What need to happen is these families should right the wrong, or pay with their blood for the sins of their fathers.

  16. Washington is the victim of one of a great misconceptions of all times first is they were not his slaves to start with(he got control of them when he married Martha)but after he was president he took advantage of va law to free them the law said if you did not register your slaves in jan the next year they would be free Washington did not sign up his slaves —problem was no free black was allowed to live in va but because some of the people on mt Vernon had family on other plantations-he did allow the free people to remain on his land and paid them out of the profits maid from his whisky business (no one had the nerve to go on his land and evict the blacks living there).

  17. Lee Bullard says:

    What sins did their fathers do name them is it more of a
    sin than the goverment giving for not working.

  18. Myron Wright says:

    Property should be used to build schools for black people…

  19. William Ellison Jr, born April Ellison was a FREE Black man that also owned MANY slaves in Sumter County South Carolina too! most Union Generals and staff had slaves to serve them! William T. Sherman had many slaves that served him until well after the war was over and did not free them until late in 1865.
    U.S. Grant also had several slaves, who were only freed after the 13th amendment in December of 1865. When asked why he didn't free his slaves earlier, Grant stated "Good help is so hard to come by these days."The so-called "Emancipation Proclamation" of Lincoln only gave freedom to slaves in the SOUTH! NOT in the North! This pecksniffery even went so far as to find the state of Delaware rejecting the 13th Amendment in December of 1865 and did not ratify it (13th Amendment / free the slaves) until 1901!

  20. this list is woefully inadequate. where are the alabama, georgia, north carolina, florida names?

  21. Freddie Cook says:

    Farntella Graham No one could do right by slaves as long as people were held in slavery. The "do well" would be to set them free and pay a wage for the work they performed.

  22. grant freed the slaves he owned before the war because he couldn't aford to feed them the father of the family stayed with him troughtout the war out of graditude.

  23. John Singleton Many black slaves remained with and loyal to their southern former slave owners too! In fact, that is why there is a very high concentration of black people that remained in Charleston, SC to this date that did not go north. Rhode Island is responsible for 50% of all slaves that were brought to America came through their port alone! All slaves coming to America on ships arrived on ships flying the USA flag too! The FIRST person to register their slaves was also a black man in the NORTH in the 1600's as well! Both the North and the South wanted to keep their slaves. It was the revenue of the south Lincoln wanted to fund his Federal Government because business was booming in the south and not supporting enough financially in the north that Lincoln brought freeing the slaves into it during the war. It was a POLITICAL move since Lincoln wanted to send all black slaves back to the jungle to recolonize abroad.His idea was shot down. He thought by freeing the slaves the south would have no labor to fund their secession war or own people. He wanted to destroy the south. He did so. However, he Didn't apply the Emancipation of slaves against any northern person that refused to free their slaves! If South Carolina had not shot the FIRST shot and all the Sothern States had not REFUSED to fund Lincolns Federal Government, Both North and South would have kept black people as slaves. That is a fact and means the war was indeed over MONEY!

  24. Norma Jay says:

    And by the second/third generation slaves looked similar to Halle Berry. Slaves in SC outnumbered citizens at one point in history!

  25. Waving the Black Panther flag as they burned the USA flag on the 22nd of June 2015 down town Charleston. The KKK waved thousands of US flags as they marched on DC in White hoods too. Just because racists use flags to taint, does not mean that is the meaning! Maybe if people got a true education, they would not be so ignorant. 50% of all slaves came through the UNION PORT of Rhode Island. All slaves came to America on USA flag flying or British or Dutch flags flying on them. No slave arrived in the USA on any ship flying a Confederate flag. All slaves were enslaved by their own people selling them from the 600's to Muslims until the 1600's when the first registered slave in America was to a BLACK owner in the NORTH. In reality, since there are still tribes in Africa that enslave their own to this date, SC firing the first shot ended with their freedom today. America freeing them and NOT sending them back to Africa like Lincoln ACTUALLY wanted to do is actually a blessing too! Had SC paid the 42% tariff Lincoln actually wanted instead of the 10% SC was willing to pay, they might have still remained slaves as well. The South freed all their slaves upon the Emancipation Proclamation. The North was not forced to and the last UNION slave freed was in 1901. The North had slaves too! In fact, the North had slaves before the South and long after the South freed their slaves. How about people understand that even after Lincoln freed slaves, he still wanted them separate from white people as well. A large number of slaves also remained with their former slave owners voluntarily after they were freed as well. Get the whole truth, not the twisted half truths and lies. Oddly, more black people are Muslim and not Christian faith. So, the Muslims enslaved them for centuries along with their own race, but white people in the USA that had them as slaves for a hair of a fraction of their entire history as being slaves are the bad evil ones? smh… None alive have been Legal slaves in America. You can't change the facts or history. If the flag goes, remove all Confederate war items from any and all city and state property too. Stop allowing the profiteering from it too! All these Plantations make money showing off those slave quarters. Tourism is OK but not the flag flying on its own war memorial? Give me a break. How about start issuing free 1 way out of the Free USA, where everyone is Free, to a country closest their actual blood line. If said country refuses them, send them all to Mexico! See how taking history and freedom away feels then. No Return allowed either! Give ignorance an ignorant solution. Beats all this crap for an excuse to start racial divide, right?

  26. Rick Adams says:

    There were manyblack slave owners they were freed slaves that were given land by their former masters and they themselves purchased slaves. Many of the freed slaves also fought for the south the GA 48th Brigade had many blacks in it as the the South Carolina militia. In early 2000 the largest slave farm was found to be in up state New York with an estimated 2800 slaves. Get your facts right the real people that were wronged are the Native American Indians, do you want to move ff their land now.

  27. Rick Adams says:

    do you want to pay with your blood for the sins of your forfathers you may want to rethink your idiotic remark

  28. Karen Croci says:

    Neither Grant nor Sherman owned slaves. Yeesh. Do some research.

  29. Gov. John L. Manning of Ascension, LA. I think the writer meant that he supported "seceding" from the Union – not succeeding.

  30. Bobbi Clark says:

    So, how many white slaves did these men own??

    Oh, yeah, that doesn't fit the narrative that only blacks were slaves

  31. The right to own slaves in Virginia was established in the 1600s with the case of slave owner Anthony Johnson, who won his case against his black slave, who took him to court and said he was an indentured servant and had worked off his indenture. The court sided with Johnson. After winning his case, Johnson later gave the "slave/servant" his freedom but the damage was done and the legal precedent was established throughout the South for the right to own slaves. One interesting fact: Anthony Johnson was a black man…. So the legal precedent to own slaves was established by, that's right, a black slave owner.

  32. In Census of 1830 there were 3,775 free blacks who owned 12,740 black slaves.Free black slave owners who lived in urban areas – Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, Natchez, and New Orleans – also faced difficulties with their slave property. "In the rare instances when the ownership of slaves by free Negroes is acknowledged in the history books, justification centers on the claim that black slave masters were simply individuals who purchased the freedom of a spouse or child from a white slaveholder and had been unable to legally manumit them. Although this did indeed happen at times, it is a misrepresentation of the majority of instances, one which is debunked by records of the period on blacks who owned slaves. These include individuals such as Justus Angel and Mistress L. Horry, of Colleton District, South Carolina, who each owned 84 slaves in 1830. In fact, in 1830 a fourth of the free Negro slave masters in South Carolina owned 10 or more slaves; eight owning 30 or more.

    … The majority of slaveholders, white and black, owned only one to five slaves. More often than not, black and white masters worked and ate alongside their charges; be it in house, field or workshop. The few individuals who owned 50 or more slaves were confined to the top one percent, and have been defined as slave magnates.

    In 1860 there were at least six Negroes in Louisiana who owned 65 or more slaves The largest number, 152 slaves, were owned by the widow C. Richards and her son P.C. Richards, who owned a large sugar cane plantation. Another Negro slave magnate in Louisiana, with over 100 slaves, was Antoine Dubuclet, a sugar planter whose estate was valued at (in 1860 dollars) $264,000 (3). That year, the mean wealth of southern white men was $3,978 (4).

    … [regarding Black ex-slave William Ellison] As with the slaves of his white counterparts, occasionally Ellison's slaves ran away. The historians of Sumter District reported that from time to time Ellison advertised for the return of his runaways. On at least one occasion Ellison hired the services of a slave catcher.

    …Following in their father's footsteps, the Ellison family actively supported the Confederacy throughout the war. They converted nearly their entire plantation to the production of corn, fodder, bacon, corn shucks and cotton for the Confederate armies. They paid $5,000 in taxes during the war. They also invested more than $9,000 in Confederate bonds, treasury notes and certificates in addition to the Confederate currency they held."[

  33. Ed Eller …….My guess is every single one has black descendants today…..using their surnames….and white descendants acting like they don't know.

  34. Gary Portier says:

    I would like to see you do the same for Blacks who owned Slaves, can you?

  35. Gary Portier says:

    I see you beat me to it, but I requested the same thing.

  36. Farntella Graham How exactly does one "do right" by a person one has enslaved? A few acres of land and we're square? SMH.

  37. Bourne Fyre says:

    If banks that profited from slavery has paid up then what's wrong with demanding these families who live in luxury to pay? It's a no Brainer

  38. Bourne Fyre says:

    These comments though

  39. Farntella Graham Did you know 1860 census reported 3,775 free blacks living in South Carolina who owned black slaves .Did you know .only 1.4 percent of whites in the country (or 4.8 percent of southern whites owning one or more slaves).Yes it was evil but both blacks and white owned slaves .Again very few white people even owned slaves .According to federal census reports, on June 1, 1860 there were nearly 4.5 million Black folks in the United States, with fewer than four million of them living in the southern slave holding states. Of the blacks residing in the South, 261,988 were not slaves. Of this number, 10,689 lived in New Orleans. The country's leading African American historian, Duke University professor John Hope Franklin, records that in New Orleans over 3,000 free Black folks owned slaves, or 28 percent of the free Blacks in that city.In 1860 there were at least six Blacks in Louisiana who owned 65 or more slaves The largest number, 152 slaves, were owned by the widow C. Richards and her son P.C. Richards, who owned a large sugar cane plantation. Another Black slave magnate in Louisiana, with over 100 slaves, was Antoine Dubuclet, a sugar planter whose estate was valued at (in 1860 dollars) $264,000 (3). That year, the mean wealth of southern white men was $3,978 (4).
    1. The American Negro: Old World Background and New World Experience, Raymond Logan and Irving Cohen New York: Houghton and Mifflin, 1970), p.72.
    2. Black Masters: A Free Family of Color in the Old South, Michael P. Johnson and James L. Roak New York: Norton, 1984), p.64.
    3. The Forgotten People: Cane River's Creoles of Color, Gary Mills (Baton Rouge, 1977); Black Masters, p.128.
    4. Male inheritance expectations in the United States in 1870, 1850-1870, Lee Soltow (New Haven, 1975), p.85

  40. yes black hisotry month is scam they never speak the real truth .

  41. Aren't "corporate entities" started by PEOPLE?

  42. We? It seems to me you have internalized self-hate and attribute negative behavior to being Black. Although Willie Lynch wasn't a real person and the letter was fake, it summed up what happens when a group is enslaved and oppressed.

  43. Bil VanCorbach Owning just one human being is too many.

  44. Tom Dunn Your ancestors may not have owned any slaves, but they and their descendants benefied from a 400 year racist system that only allowed whites to pursue the "American Dream".

  45. Lori G Ashley Wow, your attempt to justify or minimize white Europeans involvement with slavery in America is pitiful. Your "arguments" are all over the place. I guess you figured you should just throw out every assertion, no matter how idiotic, you could think of and see what sticks. Those of you trying to twist facts or rewrite history that is well documented, reek of desperation.

    This country was founded on racial division. Why are you pretending it is something new?

  46. "succeed" ???? Really?

  47. In Sampit South Carolina family names were Grants Coopers Whites and Small so many of us that we try our best to keep up with having family reunion every couple of years the names above from my mother side of the family my father side I was a Robinson my father mother was first cousin to a well known gentleman that people called him Dr. Buzzard real name was Stephen Robinson

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