Cabell County's Empire for Freedom


Sampson Sanders was the wealthiest landowner in Cabell County, [West] Virginia during the antebellum period, and the owner of fifty-one slaves that came to him through inheritance. Sanders never purchased or sold a slave, and upon his death, he manumitted all his slaves and provided them with the means and land to start a new life as free men and women in Michigan. This remarkable man taught his slaves to run his holdings rather than hire an overseer, and in defiance of Virginia laws, it is evident that some of his slaves could read, write and cipher.

Readers and historians will appreciate this well researched perspective of life on Sander’s unique plantation, as well as the history of its slaves. Thanks to nearly complete records, Carrie Eldridge is able to trace family origins back to Hannah, the family matriarch, and reconstruct the history and evolution of an African-American family from 1780 to the present. Numerous illustrations, appendices, a bibliography and indices to people and places enhance the text.

Carrie Eldridge

(1999, 2004), 2016, 8½x11, paper, index, 184 pp.

ISBN: 9781585498840