Slaves at Clapp's Factory
Kemis has been told that if we can document that there is even one slave
buried in the Clapp's Factory Cemetery, we probably will be eligible for
grant money. There is no question but that there are slaves buried
there. Slaves were owned by the company that operated the factory, and
segregation did not become the standard practice until after
Reconstruction. The only place in the Clapp's Factory community where
anyone would be buried is logically the Clapp's Factory Cemetery.
On 31 DEC 1835, James A. CHAMPMAN of Warren Co, GA, sold for $900 to
Ebenezer C. CHANDLER and Julius R. CLAPP two Negro Slaves, a 25-year-old
woman named Lucinda and her youngest child, a four-month-old son named
As evidenced in liens filed in 1837 and 1838, CLAPP and CHANDLER were
partners in carpentry. By 1837, they had begun acquiring interest in
the Clapp's Factory business. When CHANDLER died in 1847, CLAPP bought
from the heirs all of CHANDLER's interest in their various investments,
which logically would include any slaves the partners owned.
In 1848, Charles D. STEWART sold in separate deeds to Henry V. MEIGS and
George HARGRAVES interest in the Clapp's Factory enterprise, each
including "an undivided 1/8 interest in two slaves, Myer and Sheppard,
engaged in work at the mill."
In 1862, Henry V. MEIGS sold to Julius R. CLAPP his interest in the
business, and "also, one undivided eighth interest in the following
Negroes: Shepherd, John, Jake & Dick, heretofore owned and employed by
the said Columbus Factory Company..."
One would conclude that the slave called Myer in 1848 was either sold
(if so, there should be a record) or died, unless he escaped to the
North. If he died, he most likely is buried at Clapp's Factory.
Note also the reference to slaves in the following, from photocopies
provided by Sue GILBERT - no source given - begins on p. 11:
The COLUMBUS (CLAPPS) factory, in addition to making cotton goods,
also produced woolen goods, operated a tannery, a shoe factory, a grist
mill noted for its fine quality of corn meal, and a saw mill. This
large concern was located on the river just north of the city on the
present site of Bibb Mills. On the bluff above the mill were located
the company houses, gardens and other facilities for the workers. In
1861, the textile units of this factory employed 110 men and women.
From 600 bales of cotton and 60,000 pounds of wool, the mill annually
produced 300,000 yards of cotton cloth, 75,000 yards of woolen goods and
40,000 pounds of yarn and thread. The 30 slaves in the tannery and shoe
factory tanned 5,000 sides of leather and manufactured 12,000 pairs of
heavy shoes for field workers. Upon the outbreak of the war, the mill
increased its output more than threefold to meet the demands for all its
products. By December 1862, raw wool and hides had become so scarce
that the company was hard pressed to maintain its accelerated
production. They instituted a barter system whereby they distributed
finished goods in exchange for raw materials needed. The COUMBUS
Factory also owned the bridges across the river. There are two islands
at the bridge site. It took three bridges to span the river. A short
one in the center and two larger ones on the Alabama and Georgia banks.
There were no piers [p. 12] needed for the bridges. All this was
destroyed by the Federal forces on 17 April 1865. (Footnote for this
passage: Diffee William Standard, Columbus, Georgia in the Confederacy
(New York: The William Frederick Press, 1954), Chapter 3, p[p]. 27-28.
Also: Personal Letter Written by Mr. Clapp now in possession of Mrs.
Loretta Chappell, Librarian, W. C. Bradley Memorial Library.)>>
I would like to find out the source of this passage, as well as locate
the items referenced at the end - does anyone know when Mrs. CHAPPELL
was librarian at the Bradley, and where she is now? - jml
We know from the published funeral notice of Julius R. CLAPP (1876) that
at least some of the former slaves stayed on in service at the factory
or to CLAPP personally. Any that died while still residing in that
community would likely be buried in the cemetery as well.
I have not checked the Muscogee Co. 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules to see
if the Clapp's Factory slaves are listed, but I will do so as soon as I
am able. If anyone else has references to slaves working at Clapp's
Factory, I would appreciate knowing about them.
John in TX
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