notess awd Documewts
Notes oh rexas' armest Slaeholders, 1860
RALPH A. WOOSTER
HE PRINTED RETURNS of the Eighth Census of the United
States number fifty-four holdings of one hundred or more
slaves in Texas in 1860.1 These great planters constituted
the very apex of the ante-bellum Texas social structure and yielded
far more influence in the socio-economic development of the state
than their numbers would indicate.2 A study of their personal
characteristics will furnish some insight into the composition of
this small but most influential segment of Texas society on the eve
of the Civil War. It will also add to the general economic picture
of large plantation life in the ante-bellum period.
Although the printed returns of the Eighth Census give a
county-by-county breakdown of the number of various size slave-
holdings, the only source for the names of individual slaveholders
is the manuscript returns of Schedule No. 2, Slave Inhabitants,
where slaves are listed by names of holder.3 A careful search of
these returns yielded the names of some fifty-one planters who
held one hundred or more slaves in 186o. Then by searching
'Eighth Census of the United States, Agriculture of the United States in z86o
(Washington, 1864), 240-241.
2For the role of planters in general in ante-bellum society see James G. Randall,
The Civil War and Reconstruction (Boston, 1937), 60-62.
sThe manuscript Texas returns for Schedule No. 2, Slave Inhabitants, of the
United States Census, 186o, are in the National Archives, Washington, D. C. The
writer used microfilm copies in the Library of Lamar State College of Technology,
Beaumont, Texas. There is some discrepancy between the numbers given in the
printed returns and the number of holders of one hundred or more slaves listed
in the manuscript returns. For example, the manuscript returns show holders of
one hundred or more slaves in Limestone, Red River, San Augustine, and Trinity
counties, whereas the printed returns fail to list such holdings for these counties.
On the other hand, in several instances (Austin, Matagorda, Robertson, and Wash-
ington counties) the printed returns list more holdings of one hundred or more
slaves than the writer could locate in the manuscript returns.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/. Accessed November 24, 2015.