BY: Rodney Howard
Dred Scott was a slave and social activist who served several masters before suing for his freedom. His case made it to the Supreme Court (Dred Scott v. Sandford) prior to the American Civil War.
Famous for suing for his freedom an his family freedom.
Dred Scott is 221 Years old in today but obviously he is deceased.
Dred Scott was born in Virginia in 1799 as a slave of the Peter Blow family. He spent his life as a slave, and never learned to read or write. Shortly after the Blows moved to St. Louis, Dred was sold to John Emerson, a military surgeon stationed at Jefferson Barracks.
Dred Scott was born in sometime around the turn of the century, often fixed at 1795, in Southampton County, Virginia. Legend has it that his name was Sam, but when his elder brother died, he adopted his name instead. His parents were slaves, but it is uncertain whether the Blow family owned them at his birth or thereafter. Peter Blow and his family relocated first to Huntsville, Alabama, and then to St. Louis Missouri. After Peter Blow's death, in the early 1830s, Scott was sold to a U.S. Army doctor, John Emerson.
In 1836, Scott fell in love with a slave of another army doctor, 19-year-old Harriett Robinson, and her ownership was transferred over to Dr. Emerson when they were wed.
In the ensuing years, Dr. Emerson traveled to Illinois and the Wisconsin Territories, both of which prohibited slavery. When Emerson died in 1846, Scott tried to buy freedom for himself and his family from Emerson's widow, but she refused.
1818: In 1818, Peter Blow and his family took their six slaves to Alabama, where the family ran an unsuccessful farm in a location near Huntsville that is now occupied by Oakwood University.
1824: Scott stood on solid legal ground, as Missouri precedent dating back to 1824 had held that slaves freed through prolonged residence in a free state would remain free when taken back to Missouri.
1836: In 1836, Emerson and Scott went to Fort Armstrong, in the free state of Illinois.
1837: In 1837, Emerson took Scott to Fort Snelling, located in what was then the free territory of Wisconsin.
1843: After he died in the Iowa Territory in 1843, his widow Irene inherited his estate, including the Scotts.
1857: Following the ruling, the Chaffees deeded the Scott family to Taylor Blow, who manumitted them on May 26, 1857.