Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 6
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
Counties, the alleged Alley children succeeded in securing a change of venue to Austin
County. But they failed to pursue their claims, and when the estate was divided, they appar-
ently were excluded.4
After the war, the county had supported paupers in various ways. In 1868, for
instance, the county buried poor persons who died, boarded and supported a number of
orphans, made cash payments to specified paupers, and rented a house for one indigent
woman, paying $100 for the year. Soon, it had established a "pauper list," to which persons
could be admitted, and thereafter receive monthly stipends, upon demonstrating that they
were incapable of supporting themselves, or upon volunteering to house a qualifying orphan.
The list became so burdensome that, in January 1871, it was strictly audited, and all but five
persons were stricken from it, each of whom were to receive $10 per month. The poor could
not be avoided, however, and reapplications soon added more recipients. So again, on May
16, 1876, the county cut the list down, this time to seven persons, and sharply reduced all of
their stipends. Within a few months, the local newspaper had begun suggesting that, as a
permanent solution to the problem, the county purchase some land and open a poor farm.5
The most noticeable change in the human demographics of the county was the
development of a German community in the town of Columbus. The Germans, who had
originally been almost exclusively rural, had begun moving into town before the Civil War.
The growing presence of Germans led to the formation of two societies in Columbus, one,
the German Casino, which was incorporated on April 17, 1871, the other, the German Germania,
which was incorporated on May 3, 1873. The former organization began with the intention
of promoting "social recreation of the members," but two years later, when the German
Germania was formed for the same purpose, the Casino changed its objectives to "the
promotion of morals, benevolence, and encouragement of musical and dramatic science."
The Casino had, since at least early 1872, operated a theater in Columbus that featured
dramatic performances, dances, and even exhibitions of gymnastics.6
4 Colorado County Probate Records, File No. 602: William Alley, Final Record Book H, pp.
701, 703, 705, 710, 721, 723; Colorado Citizen, November 2, 1871. William Alley died in 1869, Caroline
in January 1867. The plaintiffs were Walter Alley, Albert Alley, George Alley, Jane and John B. Burton,
Amanda and Pierce Henderson, Mary and Joseph Allen, Catherine and Ben Cloman, Julia and Briscoe
Calhoun, and Sarah and Ben Preston. Marriage records for two of the female plaintiffs, Jane Burton
and Julia Calhoun, have been found. Both women used the name Alley as their maiden names. The
earliest known use of the Alley name by one of these former slaves is on Jane Burton's marriage
license, which was taken out on November 10, 1865 (Colorado County Marriage Records, Book D, pp.
5 Colorado County Police [Commissioners] Court Minutes, Book 1862-1876, pp. 114, 115,
117, 121, 158, 175, 198, 200, 203, 210, 212; Colorado Citizen, September 7, 1876.
6 Hans Peter Nielsen Gammel, comp., The Laws of Texas 1822-1897 (Austin: The Gammel
Book Company, 1898), vol. 6, p. 1290, vol. 7, pp. 1044, 1402; Colorado Citizen, March 16, 1871,
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000, periodical, January 2000; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151408/m1/6/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.