Bernard Moore Campbell and his brother Lewis operated a slave pen at this location, 26 Conway Street, from 1844 to 1848. Like most successful traders of enslaved people at the time, the Campbells relied on agents working the region to supply them with “inventory.” One of them, John G. Campbell, worked the area around Port Tobacco in Southern Maryland, where he specialized in acquiring “slaves for life,” which would be more appealing to buyers in the New Orleans market. The brothers’ business at this location on Conway Street was modest, but when they purchased the more infamous Slatter jail at Howard and Pratt Streets, the numbers of people they shipped south increased dramatically.
Though the pen is long gone, at least one building dating from this era still stands a block away, Old Otterbein Church. One can only imagine what the congregants thought of this neighbor.