TIMELINE Slavery in Florissant
The African American history of the Florissant area begins under Spanish rule in the 1790s, though slavery had begun in Missouri in 1720 under French rule. Though on a small scale, it was very real and oppressive.
The first enslaved person recorded in Florissant was in 1796. Earlier records from the Spanish census shows none. Enslaved people likely traveled to Florissant with migrating white families.
The enslaved population of Florissant was documented at 17, and would only increase from there.
Anti-slavery activists in the Florissant area meet at the home of Elisha Patterson and adopt a resolution calling for the abolition of slavery when Missouri becomes a state.
Liza Nebbit, a neglected enslaved child of about 10 years old, was brought to Florissant by Bishop DuBourg and left with Mother Philippine Duchesne at Florissant. We know that the Chambers family had interaction with Mother Duchesne’s convent.
Six enslaved people (three enslaved couples) were brought to Florissant from Maryland with the arrival of the Jesuits at St. Stanislaus. We know that the Chambers family interacted with the Jesuits, and their enslaved persons interacted with each other.
Richard Graham, whose wife was a Mullanphy daughter and who lived on the nearby estate “Hazelwood,” noted that 16 enslaved people at his estate died from cholera. We know that the enslaved persons at Taille de Noyer interacted with the enslaved persons at Hazelwood.
Charles Chambers died, and at the time of his death he enslaved eight adults and 14 children at Taille de Noyer. Their names are unknown.
The State of Missouri ended slavery in the state with the passage of the anti-slavery ordinance on January 11 of that year. Segregation and discrimination continued, though.
About this time, the Doss family came to work at Taille de Noyer. They were household workers for the last descendants to live in the house and lived in quarters on the grounds of Taille de Noyer.
The Taille de Noyer house was moved 200 yards to save it from demolition, but all the various peripheral construction and outbuildings, including servants’ quarters that would have been home to the Doss family, were destroyed.
The famous court case Jones v. Alfred B. Mayer Co. is decided by the US Supreme Court, prohibiting discrimination in home sales. It started in North County when a homebuilder refused to sell to a mixed-race couple, Joseph Lee and Barabara Jo Jones.
Ferguson, MO experiences massive protests in the wake of Michael Brown’s killing. The protests, taking place just four miles from Taille de Noyer, opened a new chapter in Civil Rights history.
The Florissant Valley Historical Society, in response to the 1619 Project, began exploring the history of African Americans in Florissant with a series of articles in its Quarterly magazine.
The Society publishes a volume on African American history, In the Walnut Grove, recognizing the experience and contributions of enslaved African Americans at Taille de Noyer and in the Florissant area.
A permanent exhibit on African American history is installed at Taille de Noyer, honoring the fact that the house has two distinct stories to tell.
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