Moses Carver

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Moses Carver (1812–1910) was a settler and slave owner of George Washington Carver.

Moses Carver and his brother Richard migrated to southwest Missouri around 1838 from Ohio and Illinois. The Preemption Act of 1841 allowed farmers who lived on and improved 160 acres (0.65 km2) of land for six months to buy the land from the government at a low price. Moses Carver purchased a total of 240 acres (0.97 km2) in Marion Township, Newton County, Missouri.

As an early settler in the area, Carver selected a good site with an abundant water supply. He built a one-room log cabin with a window, a fireplace, and no floor. This is where he and his wife Susan initially lived, along with three nieces and nephews, whom they raised after Richard's death in 1839.

Though opposed to slavery on principle, Moses needed help as the farm prospered. In 1855, he purchased Mary, a thirteen-year-old slave girl, from a neighbor.

Mary later gave birth to several children, among whom were Jim and George. Towards the end of the Civil War, George and his mother were abducted, probably by bushwhackers. George was brought back, costing Moses a prize horse, but his mother was never seen again. After slavery was abolished in Missouri (1865), Moses and his wife Susan continued to raise Jim and George on the farm.

In a state strongly divided by the tensions leading to the Civil War, the independent-minded and eccentric Moses Carver was in a difficult position, since he offended Confederates by being a Unionist, and Unionists by owning slaves.

George left the farm when he was eleven to go to the black school in Neosho, Missouri. He returned to the Moses Carver farm on weekends, but never lived permanently with the Carvers again.

The Moses Carver farm became the George Washington Carver National Monument by an act of Congress in July 1943. The National Park Service maintains 210 acres (0.85 km2) of the original 240-acre (0.97 km2) farm.

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