Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 1, January, 1999 Page: 8
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
At least three other Colorado County plantation men joined Crisp in Brazil,
though perhaps not immediately. Preparing for his departure, Philip E. Waddell conveyed
the block he owned in Columbus to his daughter on August 26, 1867 and sold his plantation
south of town on January 13, 1868. He probably left that May, shortly after he gave his son-
in-law his power of attorney. By then, Frank Turner and John F. Hicks, who was a son-in-
law of William Harbert, had also gone to Brazil. The new Brazil plantations, however, were
quite different from those to which the Texans had become accustomed. For one thing, they
were considerably smaller. For another, the new Brazilians could afford few if any slaves.
Crisp, who had been one of the richest men in Colorado County only a few years before,
was reduced to what he called "living on a small scale" on "a small place in Brazil with a
good mud house on it [and] with a few hands." However, he was at least partly reconciled to
his reduced standard of living because in Brazil, there was "a free government where a
white man is white and a negro black without any Bureau to make us equal or below the
Other Colorado County plantation men moved to Mexico, where, though they
could not own slaves, at least they could shelter themselves from the machinations of their
former American brethren, now to them conquerors, and remove themselves from the dan-
gers caused by rampant discontent and the routine carrying of weapons. Among those who
settled with numerous other Americans in the state of Veracruz on the eastern coast of
Mexico near the town of Tuxpan was John Gilbert Montgomery, who was in Mexico as
early as November 20, 1866, when his wife had a baby there, and who bought land near
Tuxpan on July 11, 1867. Several other Colorado County men, including Asa and William
T. Townsend, and three sons of Henry Terrell, Edmund D., Henry, and Benjamin S., also
settled near Tuxpan.'2
11 Colorado County Deed Records, Book M, pp. 503, 598; Colorado County Bond and Mortgage
Records, Book F, p. 231; Letters of John H. Crisp, March 15, 1868, March 19, 1868, December 17, 1870, all in
Small Manuscripts Collection (Ms. 5), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus. The impulse to
flee the country was common, even if the means to do so were not. In March 1867, George Millan McCormick,
a Confederate veteran, wrote his brother, "the Rads are hard at work on us wish I had money would leave this
Yankee cursed county" (see Letter of George M. McCormick March 22, 1867, Draper/McCormick Papers (Ms.
6), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus). Crisp's letters mention five other Texans who settled
in Brazil: Peter Hardeman, A. Thomas Oliver, John Perkins, J. H. White, and T. B. White. Because his family
did not like living in Brazil, Hicks moved back to the United States, though not to Colorado County, in 1870.
Oliver was killed by his slaves, apparently in 1873. Waddell lived in Brazil for nine years, then returned to
Colorado County. Crisp remained in Brazil for the rest of his life. He died there on July 7, 1888, a little less than
two months after the May 13, 1888 law which abolished slavery in Brazil (see Letter of John H. Crisp, October
12, 1874, Small Manuscripts Collection (Ms. 5), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus; Eagle
Lake Headlight, June 6, 1908; Colorado Citizen, October 18, 1888; Robert Edgar Conrad, ed., Children of
Gods Fire: A Documentary History of Black Slavery in Brazil (Princeton University Press, 1984. Reprint.
University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994), pp. 480-481).
12 Galveston News, May 14, 1867, April 4, 1869; [Mexico City] Two Republics, September 5, 1868;
Conveyance of property by T. J. M. Richardson to John G. Montgomery, July 11, 1867, Montgomery Family
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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/m1/8/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.