Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, September, 1996 Page: 120
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
and, much further downriver, James E. Silvey, 1111 acres and seven slaves. Miller had
come to America in the mid-1820s, and had neither notified his family of his location or
of his continued existence until 1840. He had acquired his plantation in two deals: the first
on June 11, 1842, when he purchased land along the river that included the small lake that
shortly after would become known as Miller's Lake; and the second on February 11, 1846,
when he patented 320 acres in the name of William Alley, from whom, evidently, he had
purchased the certificate, to the southwest of and adjacent to his first tract. Alley's
plantation was on land he had inherited from his brother, Rawson, and Pinchback's on land
purchased from Miller. Upriver from Columbus, within the bend then known as Walnut
Bend, William Fitzgerald owned a plantation of 450 acres, which, in 1846, he operated with
the help of eleven slaves. Most curiously, another of the largest slaveholders, Charles B.
Stewart, owned 20 slaves but no land or other taxable property in the county. Another,
Thomas Ware, had a plantation of 1107 acres in the north part of the county which he
presumably had operated since he acquired it on May 19, 1840. In 1846, he had 17 slaves.
To his north was a 600-acre plantation, which had been purchased by Briggs W. Hopson
on March 8, 1840. In 1846, it was operated by Hopson's widow, Elizabeth Y. Hopson, and
staffed by thirteen slaves.7
Ware's and Hopson's plantations were nestled amidst the growing number of
smaller farms that were owned and operated by Germans, and isolated from them not only
linguistically, but because they were two of the very few in the area that used slave labor.
Whether for philosopical or economic reasons, the Germans who were settling in the area
in increasing numbers, by and large did not own slaves. In 1846, for example, of the seventy
slaveholders in Colorado County, only one was German. That man, Charles Kesler, did
not live among the other Germans, and owned only two slaves.8
Despite the verdict in his favor that he had secured in district court in 1841, four
years later Friedrich Adolph Zimmerscheidt still had not taken title to his league. On
November 22, 1845 he hired yet another attorney, Kidder Walker, to get the title. Walker
quickly succeeded. Zimmerscheidt finally got title to the land on which he had been living
for a decade on February 10, 1846. The same day, Elizabeth Pieper, after a similarly long
struggle, secured a patent for slightly more than 3000 acres in the name of her deceased
husband, Caspar Simon. Her earliest attempts had been blocked by the land office because,
at first, she had not paid the proper fees, then because part of the league she requested
overlapped that which Zimmerscheidt was seeking. Apparently to assure herself that the
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, Co-
lumbus, Texas. Walnut Bend would later come to be known as Shaw's Bend.
8 Colorado County Tax Rolls, 1846.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, September, 1996, periodical, September 1996; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151398/m1/8/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed August 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.