AfriGeneas Brick Wall Forum
Slavery in Early Texas
Here is what I know are about my enslaved ancestors and the last slave holding family.
Using the 1870 U.S. Census for Red River County, Texas, I discovered that my gg grandmother Julia Whitaker (23) is listed as the domestic servant for Robert F. Whitaker II. I then examine the 1860 Census and Slave Schedule. Rober F. Whitaker II is listed on both. On the Slave Schedule is listed as owning three slaves - one male age 27 and two females age 13 and 12.
Examing the probate records for Red River County, Texas, I found the estate paper of Anna Whitaker (the mother of Robert F. Whitaker II) who died June 1853. In her will dated December 1849 but was entered in the probate in November 1853, she bequeath my gg grandmother Juliet (Julia) to her son Robert F. Whitaker. An inventory of her estate listed four slaves - one woman named Jane (26) and three girls Juliet (7), Mary (4), and Lucinda (baby).
Further investigation of the probate records uncovered that Anna inherited these slaves from her husband Robert F. Whitaker I who died 1848 in Red River County, Texas. In his will dated 26 July 1847, he bequeath his entire estate to his wife. The inventory of his estate list two slave women and four slave girls dated October 1848.
Robert F. Whitaker I and his family migrated to Red River County, Texas around 1844. The family also lived in Bastrop County, Texas between 1836-1843. They arrived in Texas around 1837 based on the 2nd Class Land Grant he received from Board Land of Commissions. Prior to migrating to Texas, the family lived in Greene County, IL from 1816-1836.
According to U.S. census, tax, and deed records for Greene County, IL from 1816-1836, Robert F. Whitaker I did not own slaves while there. The last documented activity I have for Robert F. Whitaker before leaving Greene County, IL is the selling of land for $1000.00 on 7 October 1835.
The first time that Robert F. Whitaker I is seen as owning a slave is on the 1840 U.S. Census for the Republic of Texas in Bastrop County. However on the Bastrop County Tax roll, he is listed as owning four slaves - one over the age of 15 but younger than 50 and three under the age of 15 for the same year.
My brickwall is that I have been unable to determine when or where Robert F. Whitaker I could have acquired his slaves although I have narrow the time period to 1836-1840.
I have examined court and county records (i.e. probate, civil court, tax, deeds, etc.) of the surrounding counties that existed during the early period of the Republic of Texas. I can not find any activity pertaining to this family in Texas until 1840.
Any assistance you can provide on how to tackle this would be greatly appreciated.