Author: Alexandra Finley

assistant professor of history at Mississippi State University
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Omohundro, Silas (1807–1864)

Silas Omohundro was a Richmond slave trader who also operated, with his enslaved concubine Corinna Hinton, a complex that included a slave jail and boardinghouse. Born in 1807 and raised on his father’s farm in Fluvanna County, Omohundro worked as an agent for the slave-trading firm Franklin & Armfield, in Alexandria, before moving to Richmond by the mid-1840s. There he ran a boardinghouse for slave traders and a jail where they confined enslaved men, women, and children awaiting sale. Omohundro also engaged in the direct buying and selling of slaves, including those he and other traders called “fancy,” a label that indicated that they were to be sold for sexual purposes. Although never legally married, Omohundro had children with at least three different women, including his slaves Louisa Tandy and Corinna Hinton. With the latter he had seven children and on at least two occasions introduced the light-skinned Hinton as his wife. In his will, executed in July 1864, Omohundro legally acknowledged Hinton’s children as his own and freed them and their mother.

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Hinton, Corinna (1835–1887)

Corinna Hinton was an enslaved woman who bore several children with the Richmond slave trader Silas Omohundro and helped him run his business. Little is known of Hinton’s early life. By the time she was thirteen years old, she was owned by Omohundro and had given birth to the first of their seven children. The two never legally married and it is unlikely that, as Omohundro’s property, Hinton could have consented to their physical relationship, although historians have varying interpretations. In addition to running the household, Hinton made clothes for slaves about to be sold and helped operate a boardinghouse. Omohundro died in 1864, freeing Hinton and acknowledging himself as the father of her children. She later went into business with a white journalist from Maine, Nathaniel Davidson. It is unclear whether the two married. Hinton died in 1887.

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Davis, Ann Banks (1830–1907)

Ann Banks Davis was an enslaved woman who bore several children with the Richmond slave trader Hector Davis. Little is known of Ann Davis’s early life. She likely was the daughter of an enslaved woman named Mathilda Banks and did not take the name Davis until later in life. By 1852 she was owned by Hector Davis and that year bore him the first of at least four children. The two never legally married and it is unlikely that, as Davis’s property, she could have consented to their physical relationship. By 1860, Hector Davis had moved Ann and her children to Philadelphia, where they continued to live after his death in 1863. He left them substantial money in his will but the end of the American Civil War (1861–1865) rendered much of his inheritance worthless or unattainable. Davis died in 1907.

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