Part 6, Note 61

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Colorado County Tax Rolls, 1864; Colorado County Marriage Records, Book D, pp. 105, 127. The average value of a rural slave was based on the value of the slaves on the plantations mentioned above, plus those of the largest plantations near Oakland, the three plantations upriver from Columbus, the plantations near Harvey's Creek, those at Walnut Bend and upriver from Walnut Bend, and those near Frelsburg, all of which will shortly be discussed. The plantations considered in this study contained 2813 slaves (about two-thirds of all the slaves in the county) valued at $1,566,100, or $556.74 each. All 4086 slaves in the county in 1864 were valued at $2,299,455, or $562.76 each. These valuations, of course, were in Confederate money. Its relative value in United States dollars can be roughly deduced by a comparison of the values placed on four taxable commodities, horses, cattle, sheep, and rural land, by the tax assessor during and immediately after the war. Unhappily, the valuations for the first three of these commodities for 1863 and 1864 are lost. For 1861 and 1862, the assessor assigned an average value of $44.89 to horses, $6.00 to cattle, $2.55 to sheep, and $7.43 to an acre of rural land. For 1865 and 1866, he assigned values of $30.73, $4.07, $1.91, and $5.14 to the same commodities. All four commodities were reduced in value by about thirty percent. If the same had held true for slaves, then the average slave had a tax value of about 400 United States dollars in 1864, and the average rural slave about $10 less (see Colorado County Tax Rolls, 1861-1866).