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Case Auctions
Live Auction

Summer Fine Art & Antiques Auction - Day 1

Sat, Jul 8, 2023 09:00AM EDT
Lot 606

4 Early TN African American History & Related Documents, incl. Nashville & Memphis

Estimate: $400 - $500
Sold for

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

1st item: Pre-statehood legal document relating to Nashville and Davidson County, concerning a 1793 court case, Robert Nelson vs. Josiah Love, involving the sale of an enslaved man named Bob, dated 1794. 6 1/2" x 7 3/4" W. 2nd item: Bill of sale concerning an enslaved man named Jerry, sold by the Memphis-based slave trading firm Bolton, Dickens & Company to Colonel John Timothee Trezevant of Memphis, Tennessee, dated 1853. Document is signed by Wade H. Bolton, co-owner of the firm. 9 1/8" H x 7 1/4" W. 3rd item: Letter signed by Wade H. Bolton and L. A. High in acknowledgment of debt owed to the state of Tennessee, Shelby County, as a penalty "for running [a] horse race on [a] public road," dated 1841. 12 11/16" H x 7 13/16" W. 4th item: Four-page Smith County document pertaining to the sale of the estate of Jones and Sarah Bishop of Smith County, TN. Includes references to hire of "negro woman" and "negro man," along with sales of tools, cattle, horses, kitchen utensils, furniture, guns, and more, dated 1825. 12 13/16" H x 8 1/16" W. Note: Bolton, Dickens, & Company "was a professional slave trading firm that eventually became one of the largest in the country. It was made up of Washington Bolton, Isaac Bolton, Thomas Dickens, and Wade H. Bolton, and ran 'through transactions amounting in the aggregate to several millions of dollars.' They used innovative, seasonally-specific marketing practices to buy slaves in the Upper South and sell them in the Deep South, using Memphis as a convenient way station between the two regions. In 1854, the firm advertised in Memphis for the sale of slaves gathered in Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. By fall of that year, Thomas Dickens advertised for the firm in St. Louis, Missouri, but also purchased property in Richmond. Issac received slaves forwarded from Dickens and Washington Bolton and sold them at Vicksburg. Wade Bolton remained based in Memphis.The firm was later plunged into a bloody feud lasting from 1857 to 1870. It began about a week before the firm dissolved, when Issac murdered James McMillan in Memphis. He and Wade were arrested and imprisoned, and both were eventually acquitted. According to some members of the firm, Wade then refused to settle up with all the partners until and unless they shared in the expenses resulting from Isaac's trial, some of which it was alleged had resulted from bribes paid to witnesses and jurors. Wade's argument was that the trial had arisen out of McMillan's sale of a free man to the firm, though Wade also denied that he had refused to settle up and claimed he and Isaac had shouldered most of the expense from the trial themselves. Wade H. Bolton was later murdered by Thomas Dickens, who was nonetheless acquitted. Subsequently, Dickens himself was murdered" (Source: Prof. W. Caleb McDaniel, Rice University). Colonel John Timothee Trezevant enlisted as a private in Company A, Fourth Tennessee Infantry and later in Cheatham's Division, Polk's Corps. He was wounded by two bullets at the Battle of Shiloh and discharged in 1863 but a year later entered the service again as a Lieutenant of Engineers and served until he surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina in April 1865. He attained prominence for his many activities in Dallas. Directed the building of the Dallas Hunting and Fishing Club, President of the Security Mortgage and Trust Company, the Dallas Consolidated Street Railway Company and the Dallas Golf and Country Club (Source: Obituary, The Dallas Morning News, May 11, 1931).


Generally good condition with some small losses, toning, damp staining, and creases.

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Payment must be received no later than five (5) days after the sale.

If paying with a credit card, a 3% credit card processing fee will be applied to the final sales price (i.e. hammer price + buyer's premium + applicable taxes). If you have a credit card on file with Case, any winning bids will be automatically charged (up to $3000) along with applicable fees 72 hours after you receive your invoice unless other arrangements have been made.

If paying with wire transfer, please use the following information:
Bank: Pinnacle Bank
150 Third Avenue South, Suite 900
Nashville, TN 37201
Phone # (865) 766-3000
Swift Code: PNFPUS44
Routing, Transit, ABA: 064008637
Beneficiary: Case Antiques, Inc.
4310 Papermill Drive
Knoxville, TN 37909
Account #: NOT DISCLOSED (please refer to your invoice email for the Deposit Account Number or contact us )