Forrest (1821-77), who came from a poor rural family and remained quasi illiterate all his life, operated in Memphis, Tennessee, where he made a fortune. He was one of the richest slave dealers in the South. One of his ads read:
FIVE HUNDRED NEGROES WANTED. - We will pay the highest cash price for all good Negroes offered. We invite all those having Negroes for sale, to call on us, at our Mart, opposite Hill's old stand, on Adams street. We will have a good lot of Virginia Negroes on hand, for sale, in the fall. Negroes bought and sold on commission. HILL & FORREST.
His annual profits from slave trading alone-he also owned cotton plantations-were estimated at more than $50,000 (about $1 million in constant dollars.) He probably sold more than one thousand slaves a year. Recognized as a leader of his community, he was elected alderman in 1858. Forrest was a celebrated Confederate general during the Civil War, and the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.