1859 Mapping Results

Several of our class research questions centered on geography. We wanted to know the places that slaves left from, where their masters believed that they were going, and were they were going. After mapping both the individual papers and my aggregate sample, I finally have some answers for 1859. It appears that most slaves fled counties in far west Arkansas, east Texas, or northwestern Louisiana, all of which contained large concentrations of slaves. Where masters believed slaves were going was less conclusive, but the map suggest three basic possibilities: returning to previous places of abode including cities and southern states further was, western Texas or Indian territory, and Mexico. In contrast to scholarly arguments that tended to emphasize Mexico, few owners actually believed that Mexico was the finally destination. Slaves also seemed to be migrating westward rather than southward based on the locations captured. Some of these possibly intended to move towards Mexico, but were they were apprehended points more towards a straight western migration that would have brought them into less settled areas, ComancherĂ­a and Indian Territory. There was no guarantee of safety amongst the Indians, but there was an option, especially amongst tribes like the Seminole. Less settled areas also provided a better opportunity to hide or create maroon colonies.