The Civil War in Missouri

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Jason and Joe Smith. 

Photograph from Excelsior Gallery, C. Howland, proprietor, Lexington[?], Mo, 1863
MHM Photographs and Prints

Robert B. Smith, a farmer in Lexington, Missouri, enslaved six people in 1860. As was the practice at the time, their names are not recorded in the slave record—only their age, gender, and skin color. There were 2 women and 4 men between the ages of 18 and 50; three of them were identified as “mulatto.” The identity of one of the male slaves, Jason, is written on the back of this photograph. He is shown with Smith’s youngest child, Joseph, or Joe. The image suggests a somewhat intimate connection between Smith family members and their slaves, but the relationship between slaveholder and slave was not so simple, and probably varied greatly from household to household.