Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 1, January, 1999 Page: 10
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
concern, that freedmen would be adequately paid for their labor, by issuing an order that no
cotton be shipped from Alleyton until the producer had demonstrated that he had paid his
laborers by securing receipts from them. Though the planters protested, they went about
securing the receipts. When the second bureau agent assigned to Columbus, John T. Raper,
arrived on November 20, 1865, he was deluged with the receipts, and with requests for
permits to ship cotton. Raper however, refused to act. He had had only brief contact with
Whitall, at the railroad station, presumably as he was arriving and Whitall leaving, and was
therefore uncertain of the dimensions of the order or whether or not he had the authority to
release the cotton. Certainly, after they had unwillingly completed the paperwork that had
been decreed, the planters must have been embittered by the new bureau agent's failure to
comply with what they must have seen as his share of the bargain.'5
Raper, though, soon set about tackling some of the problems in the black com-
munity. On November 26, he addressed a large crowd of freedmen to disabuse them of their
belief that they were to receive land grants of some kind, and to discuss their options in a
realistic manner. Then, following the procedure which came to be known as "indenturing"
or "binding out," he began assigning orphaned black children to white families, who agreed
to house and feed them, and to use their labor, until they were adults. But Raper was des-
tined to spend few productive days in Colorado County. On December 25, 1865, he arrested
and fined a Fayette County man named Frederick Tate for assaulting a freedman in Colum-
bus. Tate, incensed, complained to Columbus' mayor, Fred Barnard, that Raper had ille-
gally detained and fined him, and filed charges of false arrest and swindling against him.
Barnard sent the city marshal to arrest Raper. Though the larger military units had left town,
the government still provided a small detachment of soldiers to assist the bureau agent.
Raper, backed by the soldiers, successfully resisted arrest. Though the situation apparently
resolved itself, Raper soon tired of bureau service. On January 15, 1866, he wrote letters to
each his military and his bureau superior requesting that he be mustered out of service. On
January 18, his military commander relieved him of duties with the bureau. The agent who
succeeded him, George Van De Sande, who arrived in April, had an even briefer and less
important stint in Colorado County.'6
Van De Sande's replacement, J. Ernest Goodman, was also destined to remain
in Columbus only a short time. But he did stay around long enough to become embroiled in
a controversy which led to a criminal indictment being handed down against him. Goodman
15 Letter of Leander C. Cunningham, November 20, 1865, Letter of John T. Raper, November 24,
1865, both in Barry A. Crouch Collection (Ms. 41), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus.
16 Letters of John T. Raper, November 29, 1865, December 26, 1865, to Edgar M. Gregory, January
15, 1866, to C. H. Whittelsey, January 15, 1866, Letter of Fred Barnard, December 26, 1865, Service Record of
John T. Raper, all in Barry A. Crouch Collection (Ms. 41), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Colum-
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 1, January, 1999, periodical, January 1999; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151405/m1/10/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.