Letter Written to Slave Broker Z. B. Oakes in Charleston, S.C.  – He was the dealer that ran the SLAVE PEN… which became the “Old Slave Mart Museum”! – THIS LETTER WAS FOUND AND KEPT AS A SOUVENIR WHEN CHARLESTON FELL TO THE UNION ARMY IN MARCH OF 1865

When you visit Charleston, S.C. and take a tour one of the sites you will walk or ride by is the Old Slave Mart Museum.  The letters of Ziba Oakes were found in the old slave pen on February 20th, 1865.  They were eventually given to William Lloyd Garrison and then donated to the Boston Public Library. 

Our letter is one page written in nice dark ink on blue stationery.  On the reverse, written in a different hand, is the following:

A letter to a Broker                                   Town Hall March 7th Malden
from a slave holder.                                 March 7th “Carlton”
Found in a Broker’s                                  Obtained by
shop when the city was                           Rev. J.W.F. Barnes
captured by the Union
March 1865
S.C.    J.W.S.

Now, for the letter.  It was written by William Lastingers who lived in Alapaha, Georgia.  The topic: asking for prices of Negroes.  Z. B. Oakes was a prosperous Charleston slave broker who was originally from Maine!  All the letters that are in the Boston Public Library were written to Oakes by A. J. McElveen.  We could not find any other letters written by Lastingers.  The McElveen letters stretched from January 1852 to April 1857.  Our letter is dated September 26th, 1857. 

The old slave mart on Chalmers Street was owned by Z. B. Oakes.  A war correspondent for the Boston Daily Journal by the name of Charles C. Coffin was one of the first to rummage through the old slave mart, and he obtained various souvenirs there to take back to Boston.  Fellow correspondent from the New York Daily Tribune, James Redpath carried off the entire correspondence of McElveen found there.  On March 9th, 1865 Coffin and William Lloyd Garrison made a speech at Boston’s Music Hall.  Perhaps it was just before this speech, on March 7th, that this “souvenir” was given to Rev. J. W. F. Barnes? 

For display obviously a color photo of the docket on the reverse could be shown.  This is the only letter that we have ever seen for sale related to Z. B. Oakes and the “Old Slave Mart”. 

#B180 – Price $595

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