John Berry Meachum, husband of Mary Meachum. He and his wife were both freed persons engaged in the efforts of the Underground Railroad through their church, home, and school. A pastor and founder of the oldest black church in Missouri he was also a skilled carpenter. A trade he taught to those he assisted, a skill that afforded him income to help free enslaved people by buying their freedom. As an educator he operated a school which taught both free and enslaved black students. When the state of Missouri banned all education for blacks in 1847 he circumvented the law by teaching classes on a steamboat on the Mississippi River. The efforts of John and Mary Meachum are today celebrated with the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing.
While a merchant in St. Louis Shaw began buying enslaved people in the 1820s with the earliest existing record being that of Peach in 1828. 1850 census records indicate Shaw owned nine enslaved people and by 1853 that number had grown to eleven, 1860 census records show him with eight enslaved people. Their names were not listed in either the 1850 or 1860 U.S. Census. Please see the historical timeline section for more information on this subject. Image is for reference.
While a young merchant in St. Louis Shaw began buying enslaved persons in the 1820s. In 1850 Shaw owned nine and by 1853 eleven; 1860 census records list eight enslaved persons. As with the 1850 census, their names were not listed. Please see the historical timeline for more information.
Bill of sale for purchase of enslaved person, Jim, by Henry Shaw in 1852. Back of record. Jim was most likely the unidentified male captured with Esther, her two children, and Mary Meachum in their bid for freedom in May of 1855. See PHO2020-0040.
Receipt from bounty hunter, Bernard Lynch to Henry Shaw itemizing costs incurred boarding captive enslaved persons, Sarah and Esther. Costs incurred arresting Esther and her subsequent sale to John D. Fondren of Vicksburg for $350. Dated July 30th, 1855. See PHO2020-0044.