List of slave children purchased by James Chesnut of Camden, 1815

Printable PDF Version

Related Lessons

Document Description:

This 1815 list of African American children purchased as slaves by James Chesnut, politician and plantation owner from Camden, South Carolina, documents the commercial value of children born into slavery in the antebellum South. Family separations were routine, as members of slave families could be bought and sold from one area of the country to another at any time, including children. The significance of African American slave children in the southern economic system is illustrated by their numbers; between 1820 and 1860 more than two-fifths of those enslaved were younger than fifteen, and one-third were less than ten years old.*

*Figures from Marie Jenkins Schwartz, Born in Bondage: Growing Up Enslaved in the Antebellum South (Cambridge: Harvard University,2000), 5.


List of Negroes Purchased for James Chesnut, Esq. James Chesnut Papers, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.


James Chesnut Papers, List of Negroes purchased for James Chesnut Esquire, 1815

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the events that led to the Civil War, the course of the War and Reconstruction, and South Carolina's role in these events.

Indicator 3-4.1 Compare the conditions of daily life for various classes of people in South Carolina, including the elite, the middle class, the lower class, the independent farmers, and the free and the enslaved African Americans.

Indicator 3-4.2 Summarize the institution of slavery prior to the Civil War, including reference to conditions in South Carolina, the invention of the cotton gin, subsequent expansion of slavery and the economic dependency on slavery.

Lessons Using this Document

They're Only Children


Statement on reproduction and use