Richmond Business Directory for 1859–'59 (Richmond, Va.: J. W. Randolph, 1858), 54. Collections of the Library of Virginia.
Hector Davis and the other large-scale traders in Virginia routinely advertised in newspapers and city directories. They annually purchased and sold between eight and ten thousand men, women, and children for transportation to markets in the states in the lower South, making it the largest commercial business in the state. In 1859 Davis's Richmond auction house, alone, sold slaves with a market value of more than $2.67 million, more than the value of all of the flour exported from Virginia that year, when Richmond had two of the largest mills in the country, and almost equal to the value of all of the tobacco exported from Virginia to other countries.