Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 1, January, 1999 Page: 22
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
By the time the Methodist Episcopal church bought its lot, one of its trustees,
Benjamin Franklin Williams, already owned a lot in the same block. Williams purchased
his lot on November 8, 1865. Over the next three or four years, most of the rest of the block
also would be sold to blacks, including one lot which was sold to the Freedmen's School
Association of Columbus on May 27, 1867. In 1868, blacks began buying lots in an adja-
cent block. The same year, several other blacks acquired lots in an unincorporated area near
the river northwest of and adjacent to Columbus. Apparently, a number of the new owners
immediately constructed houses. The black community in Columbus would spread south
from those areas, eventually filling the until-then mostly vacant blocks between the city and
Two blocks west of the courthouse, a small black business community had also
begun to develop. The first black-owned business on the block, and probably in the county,
was a blacksmith shop, purchased from its former owner by two freedmen, Burrell Henderson
and Edmund Eason, on November 2, 1865. The two remained partners for fourteen months:
Eason sold his half of the business to Henderson on January 5, 1867. Horace Green, Lucy
Logan, and a new partnership featuring Eason, Simon Hunter, and Bartley Harbert bought
lots in the area in 1866 and 1867.35
Outside Columbus, a few other blacks were also acquiring land. A second
freedman's school cropped up north of Content. Charles Boettcher sold one acre in the
southwest corner of the Micah Andrews Survey for $20 to the trustees of the freedman's
school, Abner Granger, Richard Granger, James Granger, Calvin Greece, and Clifford
Gilham. The deed is not dated, but it was recorded on May 30, 1870. At Oakland, William
Isaacs acquired a lot in town in 1866 and a one-acre tract adjacent to town the next year. At
Alleyton, in March 1869, Sophie Bacon bought a block in an undeveloped though platted
area on the outskirts of town. Bacon immediately moved onto the site and constructed a
building. The first known comparatively large rural black landowner in the county was Tom
Braker, who acquired twenty acres about three miles southwest of Columbus on May 16,
1868. He was followed by two sets of partners, Henry Smith & Grandison Vincent and Ben
Mitchell & Sam Hayes, each of which acquired 107 acres near Cummins Creek between
Columbus and Frelsburg in late 1869.36
34 Colorado County Deed Records, Book L, p. 643, Book M. pp. 97, 123, 197, 208, 266, 268, 445,
447, Book N, pp. 81, 82, 83, 86, 88, 89, 90, 98, 103, 158, 168, 192, 226, 235, 307, 523, Book O, pp. 91, 146;
Daily Houston Telegraph, June 11, 1868. The trustees of the Freedmen's School Association were William
Norman, Willis Hunter, Harry Taylor, Henry Tanner, Allen Nail, Burrell Green, and Isaac Zumwalt.
35 Colorado County Deed Records, Book L, p. 598, Book M, pp. 194, 201, 492, 626
36 Colorado County Deed Records, Book M, pp. 428, 429, 759, Book N, pp. 516, 521, Book O, p.
203, Book 3, p. 619; Colorado County District Court Records, Civil Cause File No. 2868: Sophie Bacon v. John
Rosenfield, Administrator, Minute Book E, p. 408. Bacon had unusual difficulty in securing title to her land.
She bought the block from William Alley for $25, making a downpayment of $13. However, when Alley died
later in 1869, he had not yet signed the deed which would have transferred title to Bacon. Bacon offered the
remaining amount due on the block, $12, to Alley's estate. The administrator, John Rosenfield, did not accept
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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/m1/22/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.