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Gulf Coast wreck ruled out as last slave ship

Investigators have determined that an old wooden wreck found on the Alabama Gulf Coast isn't the last slave ship to land in the United States, the Alabama Historical Commission said Monday.

Posted: Mar 6, 2018 2:41 PM

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Investigators have determined that an old wooden wreck found on the Alabama Gulf Coast isn't the last slave ship to land in the United States, the Alabama Historical Commission said Monday.

A statement released by the state agency said the ship remains found north of Mobile are too large and new to be those of the Clotilda, which was burned nearly 160 years ago after delivering captives from what's now the west African nation of Benin to Mobile in 1860.

A reporter found ship remains on a river bottom during an unusually low tide in January and published an article, prompting a historical review.

Even though the remains are not the Clotilda, the discovery shows the need for a wider study of shipwrecks on the coast, said James P. Delgado, a senior vice president of SEARCH, Inc., which participated in the examination.

"We believe that a comprehensive survey of the area with a range of modern technology, followed by an examination of each wreck encountered by knowledgeable professionals will be the best means to find the physical remains of Clotilda," Delgado said in the statement.

State and federal experts who examined the wreck recently said the ship in the mud was about 160 feet (50 meters) long, while the Clotilda was 86 feet (25 meters) long. Also, the wreck had three masts, while the Clotilda had two.

The wreck in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta had what appeared to be marks indicating fire damage, but the review showed those marks actually were caused by wood-eating marine organisms, the statement said.

Also, the construction methods used on the wreck didn't become common until after the Clotilda was built, and the wreck didn't appear to include oak, which was used on the slave ship.

The Clotilda sailed to Africa on a bet by an Alabama steamboat captain and plantation owner who wanted to show he could sneak slaves into the country despite federal troops stationed at forts that guarded the mouth of Mobile Bay.

The ship delivered 110 captives to Mobile in the last known instance of a slave ship landing in the United States. The captain took the ship up the delta and burned it; the people became slaves, and they and their descendants lived after the Civil War in an area near Mobile known as Africatown.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313942

Reported Deaths: 7240
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21580258
Hinds20330415
Harrison17879309
Rankin13594278
Jackson13429246
Madison10088217
Lee9970174
Jones8370163
Forrest7670152
Lauderdale7188241
Lowndes6387146
Lamar622486
Lafayette6184118
Washington5332133
Bolivar4801132
Oktibbeha462198
Panola4582106
Pearl River4506146
Marshall4435103
Warren4386121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4107133
Union410076
Neshoba4030176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock378486
Leflore3493125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3316105
Scott315773
Alcorn312768
Yazoo311469
Itawamba299777
Copiah296865
Coahoma295179
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Prentiss279760
Adams278782
Marion269080
Leake267473
Wayne262641
Grenada261386
Covington258281
George247848
Newton246261
Winston227081
Tishomingo226667
Jasper221048
Attala214273
Chickasaw207757
Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182433
Tallahatchie178541
Clarke177980
Calhoun170532
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105226
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96533
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67230
Jefferson65528
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531404

Reported Deaths: 10985
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765501522
Mobile41036805
Madison34789503
Tuscaloosa25788453
Montgomery24340589
Shelby23449249
Baldwin21154308
Lee15882171
Calhoun14511314
Morgan14306279
Etowah13843353
Marshall12232223
Houston10570281
Elmore10068205
Limestone9974151
Cullman9676194
St. Clair9661243
Lauderdale9427241
DeKalb8831186
Talladega8227176
Walker7241277
Autauga6926108
Jackson6814112
Blount6678137
Colbert6306134
Coffee5519119
Dale4838111
Russell441538
Chilton4296112
Franklin426082
Covington4129118
Tallapoosa4023152
Escambia393677
Chambers3573123
Dallas3551152
Clarke351161
Marion3122101
Pike310977
Lawrence300398
Winston274473
Bibb260964
Geneva250477
Marengo249564
Pickens234461
Barbour231057
Hale223077
Butler216069
Fayette212562
Henry188844
Cherokee185245
Randolph180542
Monroe177540
Washington167339
Macon159650
Clay156756
Crenshaw152557
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107628
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
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