The Civil War in Missouri

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Pair of Men’s Shoes from the William B. Sappington Family, Possibly Made by a Slave

ca. 1850
MHM Collections

This pair of shoes from the William B. Sappington Family of Arrow Rock, Missouri, is claimed to have been made by slave labor. Though this cannot be proven, enslaved people in Missouri did assist in trades such as painting and bricklaying. Learning how to make shoes would have been a particularly useful skill, given that slaves in Missouri often wanted for adequate footwear, especially during the winter.