Columbus State University Archives

5. Slavery and Trade


5. Slavery and Trade


The trade in slaves and the labor they produced was the foundation of Columbus both in supporting the plantation economy of cotton and the city’s rising industrial power. Slaves built and worked in the mills and they labored as blacksmiths, carpenters, and domestic servants. Because of slavery’s central role, Columbus had three slave depots: Hatcher and McGehee; Harrison & Pitts; and S. Ogletree. Between 1858 and 1860, Hatcher and McGehee sold 465 slaves for an average of 1,000 dollars per slave. Cotton was not the only agricultural product in the region. A Jewish planter, Raphael Moses, came to Columbus in 1849, pioneering the careful packing of peaches in champagne crates, revolutionizing peach production in the state. However the peach industry did not become established until the early twentieth century. Steamboats and then the railroad (1853) were busy linking the city and its agricultural hinterland to regional, national, and international markets

Carey, A. (2011). Sold Down the River: Slavery in the Lower Chattahoochee Valley of Alabama and Georgia: University Alabama Press; 1, Co-published with the Historic Chattahoochee Commission edition.

Bibliographic Citation

Advertisement for slave sale, Hatcher & McGehee. Columbus Tri-Weekly Enquirer July 27, 1858. (Courtesy Columbus State University Archives).


Advertisement for Slave Sale.


“5. Slavery and Trade,” Columbus State University Archives, accessed May 21, 2019,

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