Courtesy of the Missouri History Museum
"The Last Sale of Slaves," oil on canvas by Thomas Satterwhite Noble, 1871, depicts the last slave auction on the steps of the Old Courthouse in St. Louis.
January 1, 1861: The last slave auction was held in St. Louis on the steps of the Old Courthouse, although this fact is disputed. According to lore, about 2,000 people showed up to jeer and interrupt the proceedings. Finally, the auctioneer gave up and the event was ended. However, historical research shows there may have not been an upheaval as the legend has it, and slave auctions may have continued into the year 1864. However, the slave auction on January 1, 1861, was immortalized in painting by Thomas Satterwhite Noble.
This post was contributed by Ross Malone. A historian and a retired school teacher, Ross has authored many books about Missouri’s history, weird facts, and folk tales. He has also written children’s historical fiction. Visit his website, and buy his books in the Missouri Life store