Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fanny Williams

Joe's grandmother Fanny was a slave who probably spent much of her life in Seguin. I have been searching through deed and probate records at the courthouse trying to locate her. Census records indicate that she was born in Tennessee around 1840. I found several Guadalupe County slave transactions involving women named Fanny, including three transactions of young girls named Fanny being purchased, three transactions in which slaves named Fanny are mortgaged by their owners, and five probated estates with slaves named Fanny. Unfortunately, none fit the age for Fanny Williams.

One of the nearest matches was a young woman named Fanny listed in the inventory of the estate of Joel Newton. Newton died in 1856. The inventory of his estate is reproduced in the photo above, and you can see a 12 year old Fanny second from the bottom. Fanny was hired out by the estate administrator at $5 per month while the estate was in probate. Joel Newton's widow, Mary Newton, was eventually given possession of Fanny and two other slaves from her husband's estate.

Since Fanny's marriage license with Calvin Williams lists her maiden name as Elam, I think it is more likely that she was a slave of W.R. Elam who owned a farm near Cibolo Creek in Guadalupe County, as well as 5-10 slaves from 1857 to 1865. I have not been able to locate any slave transactions related to the Elam family, and only one slave name. In 1855 a 14 year old slave of the Elam's named Lucy was killed in an Indian raid as she was carrying water from Lipan Creek to nearby field hands. This account is related by A.J. Sowell in his fascinating book Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas.

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