Rice C. Ballard papers, 1822-1888.

Creator: Ballard, Rice C. (Rice Carter), d. 1860.
Collection number: 4850
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Abstract: Rice Carter Ballard (c. 1800-1860) was a slave trader based in Richmond, Va., who worked in partnership with the large slave trading firm of Isaac Franklin and John Armfield in the late 1820s and early 1830s. By the early 1840s, Ballard had settled down as a planter with several plantations in the Mississippi Valley. He married Louise Berthe around 1840 and made his home in Louisville, Ky. Ballard and his wife had three children: Ella (b. 1841), and twins Ann Carter and Charlotte Berthe (b. 1847). Letters, financial and legal materials, volumes, and other material documenting Rice Ballard’s life as a slave trader and planter. Letters include several from Henry Clay about court cases involving the legality of the slave trade and one from Mississippi Governor John Anthony Quitman about payment of a debt. Letters and financial records, 1820s-early 1830s, document day-to-day operations of the interstate slave trade among Ballard in Richmond, Va., John Armfield in Alexandria, Va., and Isaac Franklin in Natchez, Miss., and New Orleans, La. Records, 1840s-1860, document Ballard’s administration, in partnership with Judge Samuel S. Boyd, of a number of cotton plantations in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi, especially Karnac, Magnolia, and Outpost. There are many letters from Boyd, from the overseers at the various places, and from Ballard’s cotton commission merchants in New Orleans. Letters discuss the slaves, improvements on the plantations, family life, politics (including especially the Know-Nothing Party), and financial arrangements. Also included are letters to and from Louise Rice about her life in Louisville, Ky. There are also three letters from slaves, 1847, 1853, and 1854, all from women asking Ballard for help with emancipation or with pending sales of themselves or others. Other materials in the collection supplement the letters with details of the slave trade, Ballard’s other financial activities, and plantation life.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection