Saturday, August 29, 2009

Calvin's Brand

Calvin Williams came to Seguin on a fine horse, which he traded in 1878 for a piece of property that became the Williams homestead in Seguin. Tax records state that for the rest of his life he was never assessed local taxes on any property, other than his homestead. This would indicate that he never again was able to acquire taxable property. Curious, because he registered a brand with the County, which meant that he must have owned some livestock, perhaps out of view of the tax man. Calvin's registered livestock brand and ear marks are near the bottom of the photo.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Slave Transactions of Guadalupe County, Texas

The book mentioned in the previous post, Slave Transactions of Guadalupe County, Texas was published last week, and I was excited to have a few copies come in the mail. My research didn't uncover any of Joe Williams' slave ancestors, but it did help me understand the difficult environment that shaped the lives of his grandmother, Fanny and his mother, Lettie. If you are interested in learning about the Guadalupe County slave trade and the 1,500 slaves that are mentioned in the book you can order it through Janaway Publishing (, or you can contact me directly.

In my ongoing search for Fanny Williams, I will travel soon to Panola County, Mississippi. That is the last place of residence for Fanny's slave master, W.R. Elam before he migrated to Texas with his slaves. I will search there for any slave transactions that include Fanny and her children. I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Guadalupe County Slave Trade

My search for Fanny Elam, Joe Williams's grandmother has resulted in a book that will be published next month called Slave Transactions of Guadalupe County, Texas. I was able to locate from County records over 400 slave transactions, including bills of sale, slave mortgages, slave registers and probate records. These records include the names of about 1,500 slaves from Guadalupe County, and about 600 slave owners. Unfortunately, Fanny Elam was not among those found, nevertheless I hope the information will be valuable to others. The photo is Guadalupe County's second courthouse, built in 1857 by Ezra Keyser with slave labor, and where slave auctions were held on the first Tuesday of the month. I was surprised at the extent of the slave trade in this part of Texas, and have gained a new appreciation for what the slaves contributed to the local community, and of course for what they endured in the process. Although I did not find Fanny Elam, it helps me understand Joe Williams's background a little better. (Photo courtesy of the Seguin Heritage Museum.)

The book's publisher is Janaway Publishing. If interested, they can be contacted at 1-888-219-7932. Some folks in Seguin are doing a group order to save on shipping. Please let me know if you want to be included. Thanks.