|Nesbitt Memorial Library
Monday, November 30, 2009
Consider the Lily:
The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
By Bill Stein
(Copyright, Nesbitt Memorial Library and Bill Stein)
|Notes to Part 4|
1 Charles Dennis Spurlin, Texas Volunteers in the Mexican War (Austin: Eakin Press, 1998), pp. 154-155 (or Spurlin’s earlier Texas Veterans in the Mexican War (n. p., 1984), pp. 24-25); Colorado County Probate Records, Final Record Book B, p. 498. Though Austin is not known to have lived in Colorado County, his brother William Austin certainly did.
2 Hans Peter Nielsen Gammel, comp., The Laws of Texas 1822-1897, (Austin: The Gammel Book Company, 1898), vol. 2, pp. 746-747, 1344-1345, 1355, 1394-1396, 1534-1535; Petition to the Congress of the Republic to create Lavaca County, n. d. [c. 1841], Memorials and Petitions, Texas State Archives, Austin. Colorado County Deed Records, Book E, pp. 38, 90, 91, 276, 280, 281, 287, and 324 chronicle the purchase of plantations by Newell and Williams. La Vaca County eventually adopted the spelling Lavaca, and Hidesville eventually became Hallettsville.
3 Colorado County Commissioners Court Minutes, Book 1, pp. 5, 9, 21, 30-32, 34-35. That the building had been redesigned is indicated by actions of the commissioners court on January 11, 1848 and February 19, 1849. On the earlier date, they rented a room on the second floor of the courthouse to Thomas J. Neavitt for use as a school, stipulating that it must be vacated when it was required "for public uses." On the later date, they assigned offices on the ground floor to the county and district clerks (see Colorado County Commissioners Court Minutes, Book 1, pp. 46, 65). Fisher's original plan, of course, contained only one office on the ground floor. The second-floor room they rented to Neavitt was probably the courtroom, since the courtroom would have been the only room in the building that was not used on a daily basis.
4 Colorado County Deed Records, Book A, p. 50, Book C, pp. 58-77; Tax Rolls of Colorado County, 1846, or the convenient summation in Bill Stein, ed., "The Slave Narratives of Colorado County," Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, vol. 3, no. 1, January 1993, p. 30. Montgomery's plantation was the lower half of the Clement C. Dyer Survey. In 1845, there had been 874 slaves in the county. The decline of more than 300 is attributable to the massive loss of territory caused by the creation of Lavaca and Wharton Counties. For example, Washington Green Lee Foley, who with 68 slaves had had more than anyone else in Colorado County in 1845, was thereafter in Lavaca County, and John C. Clark, William Jones Elliott Heard, John D. Newell, and Gideon G. Williams, who had had 29, 28, 25, and 24 slaves respectively, were in Wharton County (see Tax Rolls of Colorado County, 1845).
5 Colorado County Deed Records, Book D, p. 214, Book E, pp. 88, 274, 313-318,
382, 383, 491, Book F, pp. 194, 372, Book G, p. 172; Tax Rolls of Colorado
County, 1846, or, for some of the slaveholders mentioned above, Bill Stein, ed.,
"The Slave Narratives of Colorado County," Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal,
vol. 3, no. 1, January 1993, p. 30. McNeill had come to Texas from Adams County,
Mississippi, in 1835 with his friend of ten years, James Bowie (see Colorado
County District Court Records, Civil Cause File No. 2111: M. A. Veramendi, et
al. v. W. J. Hutchins, et al.). He was, apparently, already a wealthy man.
Though it seems unlikely that he was able to generate significant income in
revolutionary Texas, he still had enough money to, in December 1837, through a
series of transactions, purchase a ten percent interest in all the remaining
unsold lots in the newly-created city of Houston (see Harris County Deed
Records, Book A, pp. 229-231, 441, 460).
Because of two odd transactions, the meanings of which are unclear, it seems that Herbert's slaves actually were owned by his wife, Mary. On June 27, 1844, Herbert conveyed 38 slaves to Henry R. W. Hill of New Orleans. Four months later, on October 30, 1844, Hill conveyed the same 38 slaves to Mary Herbert (see Colorado County Bond and Mortgage Records, Book C, pp. 99, 113).
6 Tax Rolls of Colorado County, 1846; Colorado County Deed Records, Book C, pp. 179-191.
7 Colorado County Deed Records, Book A, p. 47, Book C, pp. 88, 208, 213; Book D, p. 122, Book E, pp. 112, 292, 293, 510, Book L, p. 23; Tax Rolls of Colorado County, 1846; George Miller to John F. Miller, July 26, 1840, Colorado County Archives Collection (Ms. 10), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus, Texas. Walnut Bend would later come to be known as Shaw's Bend.
8 Colorado County Tax Rolls, 1846.
9 Friedrich Adolph Zimmerscheidt, Colorado District First Class File 16, Original Land Grant Collection, Archives and Records Division, Texas General Land Office, Austin; Colorado County Deed Records, Book F, p. 64; Caspar Simon, Colorado District First Class File 60, Original Land Grant Collection, Archives and Records Division, Texas General Land Office, Austin. The final Casper Simon Survey was 3043.23 acres, meaning that Elizabeth Pieper's decision not to hire another surveyor cost her nearly 1400 acres.
10 Colorado County District Court Records, Civil Cause File No. 223: Friedrich A. Zimmerscheidt v. Charles Kessler, Final Record Book B, pp. 520-530, Minute Book A & B, pp. 157, 182, 202, 240; Colorado County Deed Records, Book B, pp. 364-371. Though he did not say so, Kessler had, on January 29, 1840, already sold the 500 acres he hoped to get from Zimmerscheidt to a man from Philadelphia (see Colorado County Deed Records, Book I, p. 158).
11 Colorado County Deed Records, Book B, p. 31; Colorado County Bond and Mortgage Records, Book B, pp. 15, 31; Colorado County District Court Records, Civil Cause File No. 450: John Hennings v. Friedrich A. Zimmerscheidt, Minute Book C, pp. 731, 741, 745, 759, 760.
12 James Webb and Thomas H. Duval, Reports of Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas [Texas Reports], vol. 1 (Galveston, 1848), pp. 50-57; Oliver C. Hartley, Reports of Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas [Texas Reports], vol. 4 (Galveston, 1852), pp. 159-169; Colorado County District Court Records, Civil Cause File No. 223: Friedrich A. Zimmerscheidt v. Charles Kessler, Civil Cause File No. 450: John Hennings v. Friedrich A. Zimmerscheidt, Civil Cause File No. 521: Charles Kessler v. Friedrich A. Zimmerscheidt, Minute Book C, pp. 803, 852, 867; Colorado County Deed Records, Book H, p. 29. Hennings' name is spelled "Hemming" in the account of the supreme court case.
13 Colorado County Deed Records, Book E, pp. 297, 357, 547, Book F, pp. 65, 222, 269, 271, 348, 375, 389, 396, 504, 507, 514, Book G, pp. 39, 42, 66, 135; Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Schedule 1, Colorado County, Texas. The census listed 1536 free white people in Colorado County in 1850, of whom 552 were said to have been born in Germany. The activities of the Verein zum Schutz deutscher Einwanderer in Texas, commonly called the Adelsverein, which began bringing German settlers to Texas in the mid 1840s, seemingly had little to do with the growth of the German community in northern Colorado County. Most of the Adelsverein colonists apparently settled in and around New Braunfels in what would become Comal County or in and north of Fredericksburg in what would become Gillespie and Llano Counties.
14 Bexar District First Class File 781, Original Land Grant Collection, Archives and Records Division, Texas General Land Office, Austin; Gammel, comp., The Laws of Texas 1822-1897, vol. 2, p. 1384; Colorado County Commissioners Court Records, Book A, p. 59. Meusebach had arrived in Texas the previous April to assume the position of commissioner-general of the Adelsverein from the departing Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels. Since the Adelsverein's activities were centered in Comal County, well away from the Colorado County base of Hermann University, Meusebach's appointment might seem odd. However, Ervendberg, who had by then gone to Comal County, was still president of the board of trustees when the appointment was made. Both he and Meusebach seem to have had designs on eventually building the university in Comal County.
15 Colorado County Deed Records, Book D, p. 294, Book G, p. 489; Book H, pp.
566, 567, Book I, p. 78; Colorado County Commissioners Court Minutes, Book A, p.
101, Book 1, pp. 1, 9; Record of Appointment of Postmasters 1832-September
30, 1971, National Archives Microfilm Publication M841, Roll 122. That Frels
had sold his store to Jürgens before he conveyed the property on which both it
and Jürgens' home sat is deduced from the very low price that Jürgens paid for
the fifteen acres: $25. Certainly, had the store been included in the deal, the
price would have been higher. The two deeds by which Frels conveyed the small
tracts to Heinsohn and Jordt are dated August 5, 1853; and that by which he
conveyed the two tracts to Kross, February 17, 1854. However, one of Kross'
tracts, and Heinsohn's and Jordt's tracts, are depicted on a map that is
included in the deed to Heinsohn; and Heinsohn's and Jordt's deeds each refer to
the other's tract as a landmark, suggesting that all three of Frels' deals had
been made sometime earlier. One must imagine that Jordt's Store had certainly
been constructed before December 21, 1852, the date on which he became
On its first page, the booklet entitled The History of Frelsburg reports that at some point the locals took a vote to select a name for their community; that the contest was between Pipersville and Frelsburg; and that the vote was split along ecclesiastical lines, with the Lutheran Frels beating the Catholic Pieper by one vote. This story is attributed to "an unpublished manuscript detailing the recollections of Mrs. Otto Schneider." The woman in question was evidently Wilhelmina Marie Schneider, who, according to her tombstone in Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Cemetery in Frelsburg, was born August 1, 1885---more than thirty years after the name Frelsburg was first used. Her authority for the story of the election is unknown. Nowhere does it say who organized the election, or for what purpose the community needed an official name. Probably, the name Frelsburg was picked by Frels, who, in addition to being the postmaster was, after all, the owner of the town site. The place was not called Frelsburg in the Colorado County Commissioners Court minutes until May 18, 1852 (see Book 2, p. 65).
16 Colorado County Deed Records, Book G, p. 9; Baptismal Records and Marriage Records, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Frelsburg. In the records maintained by the county government, Father Jacobs signed his name, more conventionally, as John A. Jacobs (see for instance, Colorado County Marriage Records, Book B, p. 81). Little is known of Jacobs. He certainly was in Houston on February 15, 1847, when he baptized an infant girl (see Baptismal Records of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Houston, 1841-1860, Record No. 151). Shortly afterward, of course, he came to Frelsburg. Three years from the day of his first activity there, on April 5, 1850, he died of cholera at Indianola. In writing of his death, Jean Marie Odin called him "an old German priest," providing us with the closest thing to a physical description that we have (see The Metropolitan Catholic Almanac and Laity's Directory, for the Year of Our Lord 1851 (Baltimore: F. Lucas, Jr., 1850), p. 217; Jean Marie Odin to Antoine Blanc, April 19, 1850, Episcopal Collection, Papers of Jean Marie Odin, Catholic Archives of Texas, Austin).
17 Gammel, comp., The Laws of Texas 1822-1897, vol. 2, pp. 1524-1525. Bolton is described in the law as a resident of Colorado County, and he had been, albeit briefly. On January 27 and February 21, 1846, he had purchased most of the Alexander Jackson Survey on the Colorado River, which was then in Colorado County. Two months later, however, his land was removed from the county when Wharton County was created.
18 Telegraph and Texas Register, November 5, 1845, April 15, 1846,
December 7, 1846, December 21, 1846, May 10, 1847, June 14, 1847, July 5, 1847;
Galveston Evening News, March 3, 1846; Texas Democrat, March 11,
1846; Victor Bracht, Texas in 1848, Charles Frank Schmidt, trans. (San
Antonio: Naylor Printing Company, 1931), p. 10. The Kate Ward was built
and owned by two men, identified as Ward and Robertson. They may have been
Trowbridge Ward and Joseph W. Robertson, each of whom was named as a
commissioner in the law which created the second Colorado Navigation Company
(see Gammel, comp., The Laws of Texas 1822-1897, vol. 2, p. 937). Ward
may also have been Thomas William Ward, who was involved in later navigation
efforts, or Samuel Ward, who at the time owned a substantial amount of land in
Colorado County, or George W. Ward, a cotton merchant in Matagorda who sold the
land to Samuel Ward (see Colorado County Deed Records, Book D, p. 217, Book E,
p. 321). Probably, though, he was William J. Ward, the captain of the boat.
The above-cited issue of the Texas Democrat provides this physical description of the Kate Ward: "115 feet keel; deck the same; 24 feet beam; hull divided into 8 compartments, all water tight; 2 engines or 70 horse power. With wood, water &c., she draws 18 inches, and is capable of carrying 800 bales of cotton."
19 Telegraph and Texas Register, December 20 , 1847; Texas Democrat, March 31, 1849, July 7, 1849.
20 Texas Democrat, April 7, 1849, April 21, 1849, April 28, 1849.
21 Texas Democrat, May 19, 1849.
22 Texas Democrat, July 7, 1849.
23 Texas Democrat, July 7, 1849, August 4, 1849; Texas State Gazette, September 8, 1849.
24 H. A. Graves, comp., Reminiscences and Events in the Ministerial Life of Rev. John Wesley DeVilbiss (Galveston: W. A. Shaw & Co., 1886), pp. 33-34 which reproduces part of a reminiscence attributed to DeVilbiss. That the ministers arrived on February 3 must be deduced from allusions in several sources. First, one must realize that Palmer and DeVilbiss were appointed to the Egypt circuit for 1843 (see Macum Phelan, A History of Early Methodism in Texas 1817-1866 (Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1924), pp. 207, 212). DeVilbiss says that they arrived on a Friday (see Graves, Reminiscences and Events in the Ministerial Life of Rev. John Wesley DeVilbiss, p. 33). DeWitt Clinton Baker reports that the Colorado River flooded in February 1843 (see Baker, comp., A Texas Scrap-Book (New York: A. S. Barnes and Co., 1875) p. 327). Jean Marie Odin confirms that the flood was in the first week of February, by writing, on February 7, that he had heard of it (see Letter of Jean Marie Odin, February 7, 1843, Episcopal Collection, Papers of Jean Marie Odin, Catholic Archives of Texas, Austin). The only Friday in February before February 7 in 1843 was February 3. Similar detective work must be performed to fully identify the man from whom the ministers acquired the logs. DeVilbiss gives only Beeson's last name. It can be deduced that he was Leander Beeson rather than his brother Abel, for it was Leander who inherited the land that his father, Benjamin, had owned on the east side of the river, and who certainly lived on that land in December 1844, when the final division of the estate was made (see Colorado County Probate Records, Final Record Book B, pp. 428-431).
25 Graves, Reminiscences and Events in the Ministerial Life of Rev. John Wesley DeVilbiss, p. 34-36, 46-48; Jesse Guy Smith, Heroes of the Saddle Bags (San Antonio: The Naylor Co., 1951), pp. 37, 42, 44. One of William Menefee's sons, Quin Morton Menefee, eventually became a Methodist minister, and one of his daughers, Talitha Ann, became DeVilbiss's wife.
26 Colorado County Deed Records, Book E, pp. 114-118, Book I, p. 129, Book J,
pp. 652-654; Gilbert J. Jordan, trans. and ed., "W. Steinert's View of Texas in
1849," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, vol. 80, no. 3, January 1977,
p. 297, (or, in later published form, Wilhelm Steinert, North America,
Particularly Texas in the Year 1849: A Travel Account, Gilbert J. Jordan,
trans., Terry G. Jordan-Bychkov, ed., (Dallas: DeGolyer Library and William P.
Clements Center for Southwest Studies, 1999), p. 79); Records of Trinity
Lutheran Church, Baptismal Book, Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library,
Columbus, Texas. Fibiger, incidently, usually signed his name "ffibiger."
Sometimes, however, the name is signed "fr fibiger," suggesting that his first
name might have been Friedrich (see for instance, Colorado County Marriage
Records, Book C, pp. 1-3 for the shorter signature, pp. 9-11 for the other).
Probably he was Charles Frederick Fibiger, who, in the course of applying for
citizenship in the United States on August 2, 1851, declared that he had arrived
in Texas on December 26, 1846 (see Colorado County District Court Records, Final
Record Book B, p. 414).
The case might be made that the four acres the Thomases allotted to the Methodist church were never located, and that therefore no church was ever built on the Thomas tract. When, on March 25, 1852, the Thomases sold their holdings to Nathan Thomas, the deed specified that four acres had been "deeded to 'Methodist E Church'" and was "reserved for that purpose" (see Colorado County Deed Records, Book I, p. 129). On January 2, 1857, Thomas sold the property to John Samuel Hancock, and on June 11, 1868, Hancock sold it to Martha C. Tobin. Both deeds also state that four of the 108 acres had been "reserved" for the Methodists (see Colorado County Deed Records, Book J, pp. 652-654, Book M, p. 790). All three deeds reproduce the meticulous descriptions of the three adjoining tracts which Malinda Thomas pieced into her 108-acre farm. None specifies where within the three tracts the four acres that were to devolve to the Methodists were located. When Tobin sold the property to William Schoellmann on April 15, 1875, it was described as 108 acres, and there was no mention of any Methodist land (see Colorado County Deed Records, Book 2, p. 214). However, federal census takers noted three churches---a Catholic church and two Methodist churches---in the county in 1850 (see Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Schedule 6, Colorado County, Texas). The Catholic church was in Frelsburg. As we will see, one of the two Methodist churches was in Columbus. The other Methodist church must have been that on the Thomas tract.
27 Macum Phelan, A History of Early Methodism in Texas 1817-1866 (Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1924), pp. 295, 297, 323; Colorado County Deed Records, Book G, pp. 38, 41, 137; Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Schedule 6, Colorado County, Texas; Texas Monument, June 30, 1852. The precise location of the church in Columbus was subdivided lot 15, block 22. The adjacent lot, which they purchased on August 14, 1849, was subdivided lot 16. Further supporting the idea that the two Methodist churches in the county listed by the federal census takers in 1850 were those in the German settlement and Columbus is the fact that the only two ministers they listed were Thomas and Kolbe (see Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Schedules 1 and 6, Colorado County, Texas).
28 Colorado County Bond and Mortgage Records, Book D, p. 108; Texas Monument, September 4, 1850, November 6, 1850, December 4, 1850, March 5, 1851; Criminal Cause File No. 688: State of Texas v. William P. Gray; Minute Book C, pp. 855; William Bluford Dewees, Letters from an Early Settler of Texas (Louisville: Morton & Griswold, 1852. Reprint. Waco: Texian Press, 1968), pp. 307-308.
29 Texas Monument, June 30, 1852, August 17, 1853, August 31, 1853, November 9, 1853; Colorado County District Court Records, Criminal Cause File No. 132: State of Texas v. John C. Griffey; Minute Book C, pp. 998, 1282.
30 Colorado County Deed Records, Book G, p. 518, Book H, p. 633, Book K, pp. 302, 332; Colorado County Bond and Mortgage Records, Book D, p. 518. The records of the Caledonia Lodge #68 are closed to the public; therefore the date of their organization cannot be confirmed. However, in 1951, they published a small booklet in commemoration of their one-hundredth anniversary. They date their chapter's history from February 4, 1850, when, they report, permission to organize it was given by the Grand Lodge of Texas. Apparently, Augustus Jones was the prime mover behind the creation of the lodge and was responsible for naming it, after his birthplace, Caledonia, Missouri. The local masons go on to state that, curiously, Jones was not present at the organizational meeting on February 18, 1850, nor was he a member when the lodge was formally chartered, on January 24, 1851. Those present at the organizational meeting include Edward J. Bonzano, James M. Daniels, Thomas W. Harris, Archibald McNeill, John F. Miller, George Obrecht, Robert Robson, Robert Hardin Tobin, Asa Townsend, and Joseph Worthington Elliott Wallace. When the charter was approved, William Alley, Samuel Crabtree, Caleb Claiborne Herbert, John Mackey, Daniel Miller, William B. Perry, John H. Robson, E. F. Strippleman, Hugh Wilson, and Cleveland Windrow had joined them (see Centennial Celebration Commemorating the One Hundredth Anniversaries of the Charter Dates of Hubert Lodge No. 67, A. F. & A. M. of Chapel Hill, Texas and Caledonia Lodge No. 68, A. F. & A. M. of Columbus, Texas).
31 Colorado County Deed Records, Book F, p. 144.
32 Colorado County Deed Records, Book E, pp. 575-576, Book F, pp. 246-247, Book G, p. 431, Book J, p. 361; Judgement of the United States District Court, Thomas J. and Alexander C. Henderson v. James C. Abell and William J. Jones, Original Land Grant Collection, Colorado 1-82, Archives and Records Division, Texas General Land Office, Austin. To add insult to injury, for 1849, the Hendersons were assessed state and county taxes amounting to $10 on the three-fourths of a league they claimed they owed. Naturally enough, after the decision of the court, they refused to pay them. The tax assessor again seized the land, and Jones, evidently wishing to avoid further conflict, paid the taxes by again purchasing the land at a sheriff's sale, or rather 800 acres of it, for $11 (see Colorado County Deed Records, Book H, p. 54). The court's decision was no doubt based on the section 8 of the general provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas (see Gammel, comp., The Laws of Texas 1822-1897, vol. 1, p. 1079).
33 Colorado County District Court Records, Civil Cause File No. 1032: William J. Jones v. William H. Moore, et al.; Final Record Book D, pp. 462-480; Reports of Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas [Texas Reports], vol. 21 (Galveston, 1859), pp. 370-378.
34 Colorado County Mortgage Book B, p. 194; Texas Monument, February 9, 1853. The contract also states that a second book, to be entitled Life on a Frontier or Adventures of Will Dewees, was ready for publication. That book was never published and, most unfortunately, apparently is now lost. Letters from an Early Settler of Texas, which is cited many times in this history, is, despite its flaws, the single most valuable source on the early history of the Colorado County area. The first edition was published by Morton & Griswold of Louisville, Kentucky in 1852. A second edition was published by Hull & Brother of Louisville in 1854. The third edition carries no date, but is inscribed "Second Edition" on its title page and is said to have been printed by New Albany Tribune Print, it is thought, in 1858. The fourth and, to date, final edition of the book was published by Texian Press of Waco in 1968. It might be supposed from the copyright page that the book was published in 1853. If so, it must have been very early in the year, for the above-cited issue of the Texas Monument, published only six weeks into the year, contains what might be characterized as a review of the book, and certainly suggests that the writer had seen a copy of it.
35 Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Schedule 1, Schedule 4, Schedule 5, Colorado County, Texas; Elizabeth Avery Meriwether, Recollections of Ninety-Two Years (Nashville: The Tennessee Historical Commission, 1958), pp. 25-27; Texas Monument, November 6, 1850. Schedule 1 of the census lists only two school teachers, James Griffith and William Martin, however Schedule 5 reports that six schools with six teachers were active. As we have seen, there was a school in the German settlement in 1844. There was also a school at Reels Bend as early as 1846. Both were probably still active in 1850. One must suppose that there was at least one school in Columbus. The location of the other three has not been determined (see Colorado County Commissioners Court Records, Book A, p. 59, Book 1, p. 20). Dewey Homer Brown, in his thesis "The History of Education in Columbus, Colorado County, Texas" (Master's thesis, Sul Ross State Teachers College, 1942) states that there was a boarding school in Columbus in 1847 (p. 30). He cites an article in the Houston Telegraph of August 16, 1847. This article has not been found.
36 Dewees, Letters from an Early Settler of Texas, pp. 299-302; Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Schedule 4, Colorado County, Texas; Colorado Citizen, February 9, 1861; Charles William Tait to James Asbury Tait, January 7, 1851, Tait Family Papers (Ms. 32), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus.
37 Dewees, Letters from an Early Settler of Texas, pp. 299-302; W. Eugene Hollon and Ruth Lapham Butler, eds., William Bollaert's Texas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1956), pp. 4, 11; Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1939), vol. 2, p. 489; Colorado County Deed Records, Book H, pp. 148, 153, 154; Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Schedule 1, Colorado County, Texas; Texas Monument, February 11, 1852; Letter of William Jefferson Jones, July 12, 1887, Jones Family File, Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus; Fayette County District Court Records, Civil Cause File No. 899: Peter McGreal v. Leon de Serin, Minute Book G, p. 214; E. M. Wheelock, comp., Reports of Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas [Texas Reports], vol. 36 (Houston: E. M. Cushing, 1874), pp. 673-674. De Serin left behind the body of his young daughter, Leonia, who is buried in the Borden Cemetery. Legend has it that she was killed when she was thrown from a horse. The family was apparently gone from Texas by 1860, for they seem not to have been found by the federal census takers in the state that year.
38 Colorado County Deed Records, Book G, pp. 152, 154, 183. See also Dewees, Letters from an Early Settler of Texas, p. 307, wherein he comments, in a "letter" dated January 3, 1850, "The Germans and Americans seem to keep themselves aloof from each other." A probably false story about Muckleroy and his slaves is still sometimes heard in the north part of the county. The story goes that Muckleroy was so proud of a new rifle that he had just purchased that he bet a man, to whom he had been bragging about it, that with it he could shoot one of his slaves off his roof, which was at a considerable distance. The man, the story goes on, took the bet, and Muckleroy killed the slave with one shot. Moral considerations notwithstanding, it is difficult to imagine Muckleroy picking so valuable a target for his test when he might have easily picked some inanimate object. The story is probably indicative of the attitude that Muckleroy's German contemporaries had toward both him and toward slavery.
39 Seventh Census of the United States (1850) Schedule 4, Colorado County, Texas. Because each entry is spread across two pages, it is important to point out that the pages of the 1850 agricultural schedule were microfilmed in incorrect order. It is possible to reconstruct their order from the summary of the data presented on what were originally the last two pages, pages 13 and 14. The first page on the microfilm is original page 9; the second original page 12; the third original page 1; the fourth original page 4; the fifth original page 3; the sixth original page 2; the seventh original page 5; the eighth original page 8; the ninth original page 13; the tenth original page 14; the eleventh original page 7; the twelfth original page 6; the thirteenth original page 11; and the fourteenth original page 10. The statistics cited above are based on the reported production of Germans on original pages 5-10 of the agricultural schedule cited above, beginning with Bernard Fehrenkamp and ending with William Gaedeke. The sample, which encompassed most of the Frelsburg and Bernardo areas, embraced 87 farmers, 48 of whom owned land. Frels, Pieper, Zimmerscheidt, Schneider, and Beimer, all of whom owned more than 1000 acres, and Hermann Frels, George Herder, and Edward Ruhmann, all of whom owned more than 450 acres, have been excluded from the group identified above as "smaller German landowners." That group then contained 40 persons; and the group of persons who did not own land contained 39. The 40 land owners owned a total of 4087 acres, 526 of which were improved, and produced a total of 5665 bushels of corn. Of them, 34 owned a total of 405 swine, 26 produced 59 bales of cotton, 17 owned 304 head of cattle, and 15 produced 4250 pounds of tobacco. Of the 39 who did not own land, 22 owned a total of 322 hogs, 18 produced 2425 bushels of corn, 15 produced 28 bales of cotton, seven owned 88 head of cattle, and five grew 800 pounds of tobacco. Hermann Frels, Herder, and Ruhmann owned a total of 1739 acres, 79 of which were improved, and, between them, 95 cattle and 42 swine. They produced 14 bales of cotton, 10 of them by Herder, and 950 bushels of corn. Only one of the three, Ruhmann, grew tobacco.
40 Colorado County Tax Rolls, 1847, 1848, 1849, 1850, 1851; Colorado County
Deed Records, Book E, p. 404, Book F, pp. 27, 29, Book H, pp. 16, 355, 356, 643;
Letter of William P. Jewitt, September 26, 1844; Statement of W. W. Rives,
Charles William Tait Papers, The Center for American History, University of
Texas, Austin, or transcriptions in Tait Family Papers (Ms. 32), Archives of the
Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus; Seventh Census of the United States (1850)
Schedule 4, Colorado County, Texas. Apparently, the altercation which led to
Rives' death was precipitated when Tait expressed, in no uncertain terms, his
family's doubts about the suitability of Rives to marry into the family. Tait's
sister insisted on marrying Rives, and did so even as he lay dying of his wound.
That Washington arrived in 1850 can be deduced from the fact that he appeared on the federal census of the county taken that summer, but not on the tax rolls, which were compiled early in the year. Washington, who was the grandson of George Washington's brother, brought several artifacts from Mount Vernon to Colorado County.
The Thomas J. Henderson who moved into the Oakland prior to 1850 is different from the Thomas J. Henderson who with his brother, Alexander C., had purchased land from John Byrne in the 1830s. The earlier Thomas Henderson lived his entire life in Natchez, Mississippi, constructed a palatial home now known as Magnolia Hall in Natchez, and died there in 1863 at the age of 65.
41 Bill Stein, ed., "The Slave Narratives of Colorado County," Nesbitt
Memorial Library Journal, vol. 3, no. 1, January 1993, pp. 11-12 (or in
George P. Rawick, ed., The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography
(Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1977), vol. 5, part 4, pp. 1577-1583);
Plantation Rules; Charles William Tait to James Asbury Tait, August 12, 1850;
Charles William Tait to James Asbury Tait, October 2, 1850, all three in Tait
Family Papers (Ms. 32), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus. Two
sets of Tait's plantation rules have been located. Each begins with ten general
rules. One copy follows with sixteen particular rules; the other with nineteen.
The general rules are substantially the same in both copies; the particular
rules substantially different. The sixteen-rule version uses the names of
particular slaves, and assigns them particular tasks. The nineteen-rule version
does not (see Plantation Rules, Tait Family Papers (Ms. 32), Archives of the
Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus; Plantation Rules, Charles William Tait
Papers, The Center for American History, University of Texas, Austin).
One must suppose that miscegenation had been fairly common in the county for years. The first known report of it occurs on August 7, 1833, when Benjamin Lundy visited the home of the two Alley brothers (meaning apparently Abraham and William Alley, since John, Thomas, and Rawson had by then died). He found them living with "a handsome black girl, who has several fine-looking party colored children---specimens of the custom of some countries" (see Benjamin Lundy, The Life, Travels and Opinions of Benjamin Lundy (1847. Reprint. New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969. Reprint. New York: Augustus M. Kelley Publishers, 1971), p. 41).
42 Stein, ed., "The Slave Narratives of Colorado County," Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, vol. 3, no. 1, January 1993, p. 11; Colorado County Commissioners Court Minutes, Book 1, pp. 3-4. On May 9, 1846, a little more than a year after the Colorado County commissioners created the patrols, the state government passed a law which authorized the various counties to create them. The law specified that slaves could be given no more than 25 lashes, and allowed the patrols to arrest white people who were "found in any assemblage of slaves, or in or about any negro quarter" (see Gammel, comp., The Laws of Texas 1822-1897, vol. 2, pp. 1497-1501).
43 Texas Monument, November 6, 1850. The vote at Frelsburg, still called Cummins Creek by the newspaper, was 35 to 0 in favor of the bill. In Columbus, 24 persons voted for the bill and 45 against. The large slaveholders voted 9 to 0 against the bill at Thomas Ware's plantation.
44 Texas Monument, July 20, 1850, September 18, 1850, December 4, 1850, December 25, 1850, April 13, 1853; Fayette County District Court Records, Civil Cause File No. 563: Samuel G. Powell and Charles M. Coen v. Samuel Douglass. That the Colorado was built to specifications provided by her owners is deduced from a statement made in the Texas Democrat of March 31, 1849 that unnamed persons had gone to the north to procure a steamboat for the river. It may reasonably be assumed that Powell, Coen, and/or Douglass were among those persons, and that, since the Colorado was not delivered until nearly two years later, they ordered a new steamboat rather than purchase an existing one.
45 Gammel, comp., The Laws of Texas 1822-1897, vol. 3, pp. 803-806; Texas State Gazette, March 16, 1850; Texas Monument, September 4, 1850, October 2, 1850, October 9, 1850; Charles William Tait to James Asbury Tait, September 21, 1849, Tait Family Papers (Ms. 32), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus.
46 Texas Monument, October 23, 1850, November 6, 1850, December 18, 1850, December 25, 1850, February 26, 1851, March 12, 1851, May 14, 1851; Roy Grimes, ed., 300 Years In Victoria County (Victoria: Victoria Advocate, 1968. Reprint. Austin: Nortex Press, 1985), pp. 461, 512-513.
47 Texas Monument, January 15, 1851, February 5, 1851, March 12, 1851, March 26, 1851, April 2, 1851, April 16, 1851, April 23, 1851, May 7, 1851, May 14, 1851, May 21, 1851, August 27, 1851, September 3, 1851, December 17, 1851; Texas State Gazette, April 12, 1851. See also Democratic Telegraph and Texas Register, March 14, 1851, March 28, 1851, wherein the boat is referred to as the Colorado Ranger. The March 28 edition also contains a story that indicates that the flatboat the Colorado passed on its upriver voyage in March had been built and loaded with cotton in Bastrop.
48 Texas Monument, September 3, 1851, September 10, 1851, September 17, 1851.
49 Texas Monument, September 24, 1851.
50 Texas Monument, February 11, 1852, March 17, 1852, April 21, 1852, June 2, 1852, July 7, 1852, September 29, 1852.
51 Texas Monument, March 10, 1852, March 17, 1852, March 24, 1852, March 31, 1852, April 7, 1852, April 14, 1852, April 21, 1852, June 2, 1852. The Monument dutifully reminded its readers that the river was very low on September 24, 1851, October 8, 1851, January 14, 1852, and March 3, 1852. After the flood receded, there was an outbreak of disease that caused many fatalities. The settlers along the river blamed the flood for the disease (see Wesley Smith, A Family History and Fifty-two Years of Preacher Life in Mississippi and Texas (Nashville: University Press Co., 1898), p. 131).
52 Texas Monument, August 18, 1852, October 6, 1852, February 16, 1853, March 2, 1853, March 9, 1852, April 13, 1853; Fayette County District Court Records, Civil Cause File No. 563: Samuel G. Powell and Charles M. Coen v. Samuel Douglass, Minute Book F, p. 155. Coen and Powell, in their petition to the court, declared rather colorfully that the Colorado had routinely lost money, saying "that the Boat aforesaid in stead of making money, Since She has been in the trade, has Sunk money." The petition also states that, rather than just transporting it for a fee, the proprietors of the boat actually purchased the cargo.
53 Texas Monument, September 8, 1852, September 29, 1852, May 25, 1853, June 1, 1853, August 10, 1853, September 28, 1853, November 30, 1853, April 5, 1854. Two of the directors of the Colorado Navigation Company, John W. Gordon and John Duncan, were apparently so disenchanted with the efforts of the company that they contemplated hiring laborers on their own to remove the raft (see Texas Monument, December 15, 1852).
54 Texas Monument, August 24, 1853, September 14, 1853, October 26, 1853, March 8, 1854, March 22, 1854, March 29, 1854, April 5, 1854, April 12, 1854, April 26, 1854; Charles William Tait to James Asbury Tait, July 9, 1854, Tait Family Papers (Ms. 32), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus. William Jones Elliott Heard, who for many years had grown sugar at Egypt, dropped the crop after 1854. His neighbor, Eli Mercer, who had grown sugar since at least 1844, continued to do so at least through 1855 (see P. A. Champomier, Statement of the Sugar Crop Made in Louisiana in 1852-53 (New Orleans, 1853), p. 44; Champomier, Statement of the Sugar Crop Made in Louisiana in 1853-54 (New Orleans, 1854), p. 47; Champomier, Statement of the Sugar Crop Made in Louisiana in 1854-55 (New Orleans, 1855), p. 45; Champomier, Statement of the Sugar Crop Made in Louisiana in 1855-56 (New Orleans, 1856), p. 44; La Grange Intelligencer, November 28, 1844).
55 Gammel, comp., The Laws of Texas 1822-1897, vol. 3, p. 1478; Texas Monument, February 22, 1854, June 14, 1854, July 14, 1854, August 1, 1854, August 8, 1854, August 15, 1854; Samuel G. Powell, Milam District Scrip File 484, Archives and Records Division, Texas General Land Office, Austin; Galveston Weekly News, May 26, 1857; Annual Report of Steamboat Inspections for 1859, Fourth Supervising District (RG 41), National Archives, Washington. The law allowed land grants to persons who built seagoing vessels, whether they were propelled by steam or not, and to persons who built steamboats to operate in a river, lake or bay, but stipulated that the vessels had to be of a certain minimum size. The Betty Powell met the minimum, coming in at 166.85 tons by custom house measurement.
56 Texas Monument, April 5, 1854, August 29, 1854, October 3, 1854.