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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Guardianship of Minor Free Children of Color

I would like some help in interpreting or transcribing a historical document and to initiate a discussion on guardianship of minor free children of color. I have done one paragraph and would like some “different eyes” to take a look. It has taken me several hours over several days to figure out the best way to view the document. Initially I made a light table using an up light and a glass table and magnifying lens. I later scanned part of the document and found that an adobe pdf file provides some excellent high tech magnification and viewing of documents.

Some back ground information in, Austin County, Texas Celia and her children were manumitted from a John M. Allen in 1832. In 1837, Thomas Barnett is appointed guardian of her children and given power of attorney while she is alive (I think she was in ill health or as a free woman of color she was attempting to protect her self and her children). In 1833 she had to hire a lawyer to defend that she is a free woman of color. Celia dies in 1841, and a Stephen Miller is appointed guardian since Thomas Barnett resigns (I think because of old age).

In 1850, the document I am transcribing indicates that Nelson Munger is now appointed the guardian, of one of the children; because Yarboro called Sam makes a request to change appointment of guardianship from Stephen Miller who is about 70 years old to Nelson M. Munger, about 39 years of age. He is a lawyer, who is enumerated on the 1850 census a few houses over.

All of the men who have been appointed guardian have been white and held positions of power in the local government.

Do you know of any sources of information on guardianship in the 1830 to 1850 time period in Texas ?

Where did the money come from for the bond?

At what age did a person become an adult during this time period?
Transcription of first paragraph

Order of Appointment of Guardian

Estate of Yarboro called Sam a Minor of Color

It having been suggested to the chief Justice then Stephen Miller the former Guardian of colored minor children of free woman of color Celia manumitted and deceased. And one of said children, Bob Yaboro, commonly by Sam, being now (over?) the age of fourteen y o and having appeared before the city Chief Justice do profess forever and make a request that Nelson H. Munger * be appointed his Guardian. It is * * * * * * that the same Nelson H. Munger *** be appointed the guardian of the person * * of the * Yaboro (commonly called Sam) and that he gave bond in the sum of one thousand dollars for the faithful discharge of his estate under the appointment

November 15, 1850

Document Source: Austin, County, Sucession Record Vol. E page 376

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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