The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 518
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
vivid pictures of different aspects of the institution as it devel-
oped in a border state between the Revolution and the Civil
War. The story centers about Lexington and the blue grass
region with very little attention to conditions in other portions
of the state.
The few slaves who were first brought into pioneer Kentucky
were treated somewhat as comrades. They not only worked
side by side with their masters to clear and plant the fields, but
they also helped to fight the Indians. Later, wealthy planters
from Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina brought larger
groups of servants, and plantation life began.
In the two chapters which describe the rising aristocracy,
their houses, servants, fields and small industries, Kentucky
slavery is pictured as a kindly, paternal institution, the least
objectionable to be found anywhere. But the remaining two-
thirds of the book presents a less idyllic story. The increasing
number of blacks, the activities of the abolitionists and the
horrifying tales of bloody insurrections in other states induced
a more rigid control by town guards and rural "patterollers."
The rapid expansion of the cotton and sugar fields in the lower
South created a heavy demand for Negro labor there and
brought into Kentucky, where slave labor was less profitable,
the dreaded and hated "niggah trader"; debts and the settle-
ment of estates often forced both field hands and house servants
to the auction block, with resulting long coffles of blacks and
mulattoes moving by land or boat down to the markets of
Natchez, New Orleans and other towns. There are many pa-
thetic descriptions of auctions where the helpless victims were
torn away from their homes and families to satisfy the de-
mands of creditors or the cupidity of the callous professional
Meanwhile two kinds of "nigger stealers" had entered the
scene: crafty thieves who seized and carried away free Negroes
whom they sold into slavery further South, and abolitionists
from the North who spirited slaves away to freedom in Canada,
New England or elsewhere. There were occasional cruel owners
from whom the Negroes desired to escape; there was the fear
of being sold down the river; and the bondsmen even of kindly
masters were often dissatisfied with their lot. To their aid
came the organizers of the "underground railroad" who sent
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/569/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.