The Civil War in Missouri

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The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.


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Iron Spade Chisel Made by a Slave of Tilman Cullom

ca. 1850
MHM Collections

These tools were reputedly made by a slave of Tilman Cullom in Warren County, Missouri. Cullom moved there from Kentucky in about 1831, and quickly became one of the leading men in the community. In 1833, he was one of three judges in the first session of the first county court in Warren County. The 1850 slave schedule indicates that Tilman enslaved 15 people—6 males and 9 females—ranging in age from 8 weeks old to 45 years old. Some of the slaves would have helped to raise Cullom’s large family and do agricultural work, but these tools represent the diversity of other jobs that slaves in Missouri performed. A skilled blacksmith made the tools, which would have been used by someone, possibly another slave, trained in carpentry or woodworking.