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Sat, 05.09.1812

Timothy Meaher, Slave Trader born

Timothy Meaher

*The birth of Timothy Meaher is remembered on this date in 1812.  He was a white-American 19th-century slaver, businessman, and landowner. 

From Whitfield, Maine, he was the son of James and Susannah Millay Meaher. James & Susannah were both born in Ireland.  He came to Mobile, Alabama, around 1836 and owned a slave ship, the Clotilda.  He was responsible for the last illegal transport of slaves from Africa to the United States in 1860. 

His illegal capturing and transporting of slaves were made as a bet to see if Meaher could avoid the 1807 Act Prohibiting the Importation of Slaves. He reportedly described the bet as "a thousand dollars that inside two years I myself can bring a ship full of niggers right into Mobile Bay under the officers' noses." Meaher sold some slaves but took the rest to work for his brother James and himself. Meaher burned the ship to try and hide the evidence of his lawbreaking.  

The slaves were freed in 1865 because of emancipation, but he refused to help them return home or provide reparations. He sold them some land where they created the slave colony of Africatown.  The United States government attempted to charge Meaher, but he was never prosecuted due to difficulty proving the crime and the American Civil War.  Timothy Meaher died on March 3, 1892, in Mobile, Alabama. He is buried at the Catholic Cemetery in Toulminville, Alabama. The family has refused to make any statement "about their ancestor’s crime" or release his papers.  The Meaher family is still prominent in Alabama, with Meaher State Park bearing the name and Meaher Avenue running through Africatown

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