Southwestern Historical Quarterly
1 and No. 2 of the manuscript census returns were foreign born.26
Only five of these foreign borns held more than five slaves, and
only one, French-born Nathan Faller, held more than ten slaves.
Of these slaveholding foreigners there were thirteen Germans,
six Englishmen, four Irishmen, three Poles, three Frenchmen,
two Swiss, two Scots, one Italian, and one Canadian.
A similar study of slaveholding in Austin shows that eleven
of the 163 persons who owned slaves in the city were foreigners.
Eight of the foreign born slaveholders in the capital city held
fewer than five slaves, and no foreigner held as many as ten
slaves in 1860. In nearby New Braunfels three of the five persons
who held slaves within the city limits were foreigners. Not one
of the six slaveholders in Brownsville in 186o was a foreigner.27
There were numerous slaveholders among the foreign born pop-
ulation of San Antonio and Galveston, but the size of the total
population and the number of slaveholders in these towns has
made impractical a systematic correlation of foreigners and slave-
holding. Enough individual examples may be found to show
that slaveholding among foreigners in late ante-bellum Texas
towns was by no means unusual.
Many of the foreigners became social and economic leaders in
their communities. The Swedish merchant, Swen Magnus Swen-
son, one of the wealthiest individuals in Austin, for example,
became a leader in civic affairs and was instrumental in assisting
Swedish migration to Central Texas.28 A German political refugee,
Dr. Ferdinand Herff, became not only one of the most renowned
physicians and surgeons in the state, but also received national
attention for his services to the medical profession." The German
26This actually represents only those persons who held slaves within the city
limits; residents who held slaves outside the city are not included in these figures.
Schedule No. 2, Slave Inhabitants, simply lists names of slaveholders; only by cross
checking these names against information in Schedule No. 1, Free Inhabitants,
could the writer determine the nationality of the slaveholder.
27Based upon a study of the manuscript returns of Schedules No. 1, Free In-
habitants, and No. 2, Slave Inhabitants, of the United States Census, 1860, for
Travis, Comal, and Cameron counties.
28Swenson's total property in 1860 was valued at $276,650. Ibid., Travis county,
City of Austin, iii. For a brief account of Swenson's influence in Texas, see Walter
Prescott Webb and H. Bailey Carroll (eds.), The Handbook of Texas (2 vols.;
Austin, 1952), II, 697-698.
29Henry B. Dielmann, "Dr. Ferdinand Herff, Pioneer Physician and Surgeon,"
Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LVII, 265-284.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed January 27, 2015.