The Civil War in Missouri

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Coverlet Made by a Slave of William King

ca. 1855
MHM Collections

Enslaved women performed a number of household duties. Cooking, cleaning, and laundry were the primary chores, but they often assisted the plantation mistress with child care, sewing, weaving, and other tasks. Mollie Renfro Sides, a former slave, recalled that after her mother finished the cooking, “she he’p [helped] weave on de loom, an’ spin an’ knit.”This overshot coverlet was reputedly made by an unidentified slave of William King, a farmer and merchant in Callaway County, Missouri. The 1860 slave schedule indicates that King enslaved 12 people—6 males and 6 females, none older than 30 years old.