Beyond A Connection: How Access and Analysis Paint a Picture

This week marks the 209th anniversary of the Louisiana Slave Revolt. Last November, artist Dread Scott paid homage to the event by staging a re-enactment on the very same soil the event took place on, the German Coast, now known as Cancer Alley. The irony, I know.

Nine of Israel Elliot Trask’s enslaved were executed as a result of their involvement.

Today, and forever, we remember1:

  • Hector, originally from Congo
  • John, unknown origin
  • Louis, originally from Congo
  • Caesar, originally from Congo
  • Etienne, unknown origin
  • Nede, unknown origin
  • Lubin, originally from Congo
  • Nestor, unknown origin
  • Janvier, unknown origin

Israel had purchased the plantation on June 16, 18102 and was in possession of land and enslaved for less than six months by the time the revolt took place. It took him three years to secure the necessary funding needed to buy the place as the conveyors, Abraham Mann and William Barnard, of London (yes, THAT London) wanted to be sure he would not default on his obligation. He paid $80,0003, which is equivalent to more than $1.2 million4 today.

To secure the purchase, he took out two mortgages5 against his enslaved on Second Creek in Adams County, MS and his enslaved on Percy’s Creek in Wilkinson County, MS. Those he borrowed against include the earliest among the Trask 250+ with birth years that pre-date the founding of the United States.

If Israel defaulted on the terms of the sale, all the enslaved would have been sold off. Luckily, Israel paid the entire mortgage off in just two years. That’s how lucrative his plantation operations were.

By 1822, Israel divested his interests in plantation operations, yet his brother, James, who bought him out, continued to owe him a significant amount of money even up until Israel’s death in 1835. I find no record or mention of the New Orleans plantation following the release of mortgage in 1812, so I’m still trying to track down what happened with it once he owned it and where the enslaved went.

Now, this is all nice, right?  

But how in the world did I find this connection, confirm it, AND find more information when:

Listen in and see.

The Louisiana Purchase: A Heritage Explored”, Louisiana Digital Library, Baton Rouge, LA, Louisiana Digital Library, New Orleans Public Library, Louisiana Division/City Archives and Special Collections, Criminal case file no. 189, Territory of Orleans v. Hector, the slave of I.E. Trask, 1811, Territory of Orleans. City Court (New Orleans), Bill of information (in French). Accessed 28 Sep 2019.

Featured Image: Truelove Palmer Ross, born between 1848-1851 in Mississippi, died February 11, 1925, Lessley, Wilkinson, Mississippi. Truelove, her parents, siblings, and both sets of grandparents were enslaved by the Trask and Ventress families of Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Her maternal grandparents, Sago (born 1773-1785) and Fatima (born 1773-1785), were part of the group of enslaved people Israel Trask mortgaged against in 1810.



  1. Hall, Gwendolyn Midlo, comp, Louisiana, Slave Records, 1719-1820 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations Inc, 2009),, Louisiana, Slave Records, 1719-1820 Record. Enslaved with notations of origin were located in records for the estate of John Houghton. Accessed 28 Sep 2019.
  2. Israel Trask business records, 1807-1861 (inclusive); Harvard Business School, Baker Library, Special Collections, Bloomberg Center, Soldiers Field, Boston, MA 02163. Box 2, Folder 2, Legal Docs, Articles of Agreement, William Barnard and Abraham Mann with Israel Trask, 16 Jun 1810, Accessed 28 Sep 2019.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Friedman, Morgan. “The Inflation Calculator.” The Inflation Calculator,, accessed 28 Sep 2019.
  5. Adams, Mississippi, Deed Book F, Page 122, March 29, 1810; Israel E. Trask (Adams County, Mississippi Territory) to Abraham Mann and William Barnard (London, United Kingdom), Accessed 4 Jan 2018.; digital images, FamilySearch, Inc., FamilySearch (

    Wilkinson County, Mississippi, Deed Book A, Page 143, April 10, 1810, Isreal E. Trask (Adams County, MS Terr.) to Abraham Mann and William Barnard (London, United Kingdom), mortgage, accessed 8 Sep 2018..; digital images, FamilySearch, Inc., FamilySearch, (

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