Life of a Callaway County Slave

1 decade 2 years 1 month ago Wednesday, February 22 2006 Feb 22, 2006 Wednesday, February 22, 2006 6:22:12 PM CST February 22, 2006 in News

Celia was a new slave in the county when Paul Newsome bought her about 1850.

"[A] heroic figure, brave, intelligent, abused, a symbol of freedom, terribly sad, affectionate, she loves her children," summed up Gary Kremer of the State Historical Society. "I think the adjective I would use to describe Celia most in those last few weeks would be lonely."

She must have felt abandoned by everyone.

"Newsome purchased her at an auction after his wife had died," said playwright Thomas Pawley III. "And all the indications are that he purchased her primarily for sexual reasons."

After two years of living on a farm near Fulton, Celia already had two children by Newsome.

"As a widower, he wanted a woman," said Pawley. "And what did he decide to do? Go get himself a slave woman. And the slave woman had no way to protect herself."

While still a teenager, Celia fell in love with one of Newsome's other slaves, George. Black men like George were forced to watch white men rape the slaves' wives or lovers. So, George told Celia to end her relationship with Newsome.

"That, in itself, is an incredible dilemma for Celia. What does she do? The man she loves is giving her an ultimatum, but she has no control over her master's ability to sexually abuse her," Pawley explained.

Celia pleaded with Newsome's two adult daughters to help her, but they ignored her cries. So Celia confronted Newsome. She told him not to come near her or she would hurt him. When he did, she hit him with a log and killed him. In desperation, she tried to cover up the crime by burning his body. The coverup worked for a while but, in the end, it was her true love who turned on her.

"Ultimately George, her lover, became worried that no one would believe that this fragile, still-teenage women, the mother of two children and somewhat sickly because of her pregnancy, could have done this by herself," Kremer said. "He feared that he would be implicated, and so George apparently went to the authorities and told them that it was Celia who did it."

Celia admitted the murder, some said to save George. Missouri Congressman John Jameson, a slave owner himself, tried to offer self-defense at her trial.

But, the court did not let Celia testify before a jury of 12 white men, including six slave owners.

The old Callaway County Courthouse is long gone, but that's where jurors sealed Celia's fate. On Dec. 15, 1855, she was hanged. The Civil War was only six years away and, within the decade, slavery ended in Missouri. Newsome's family sold Celia's children to another slave owner. There are no records of her children after the war.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Children filled school gymnasiums across Columbia for the second day of the Unbound Book Festival. The festival showcases... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:42:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - April 20 marks the day of the Columbine school shooting, which claimed lives. The Columbia Missouri National... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:26:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A potential fire station project on an annexed lot in southwest Columbia could lead to quicker response times... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:21:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - After the deadly fire in Lake Ozark, officials from the Division of Fire Safety are working to... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:01:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - For 13 years, Rhonda Harper has been at the helm of Lincoln University's "Marching Musical Storm." ... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 2:26:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - It’s been a little more than two months since the Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 2:04:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities say a suburban St. Louis police officer fired at a would-be robber about four weeks... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 1:35:11 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Lab tests on an unknown substance sent to a Missouri lawmaker suggest it was pesticide.... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 1:31:19 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- Slimy fish, boat rides, hiking and tasty leaves are a few things 4th grade students experienced on Friday. ... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 12:59:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Assistant Principal Katie Helfer said it has been a long time coming, but Our Lady of Lourdes Interparish... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 12:21:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in Top Stories
LEE'S SUMMIT (AP) — Lee's Summit police are looking for a suspect after a woman was fatally shot inside... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 10:57:58 AM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
CLARKSBURG - Deputies arrested a man Wednesday after they said they found marijuana, drug paraphernalia and cocaine. Deputies went... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 10:54:00 AM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police have arrested a third suspect in relation to a March 26 shots fired incident in the... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 10:21:00 AM CDT April 20, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA – Marijuana advocates chose 4/20 as their day to celebrate, but this year, those in Missouri are hoping Nov.... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 10:16:00 AM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Authorities say a Springfield man charged with fleeing from officers and causing a deadly Springfield crash had... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 9:35:00 AM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The University of Missouri-Kansas City plans to eliminate 17 academic and administrate jobs. The Kansas... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 9:30:21 AM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Missouri National Education Association held a rally on Friday commemorating the 19th anniversary of the Columbine... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 9:27:00 AM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A homeless man has been convicted in the stabbing and beating death of a Springfield woman... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 9:25:18 AM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 62°
5pm 64°
6pm 63°
7pm 61°
8pm 56°