The objective of the Free People of Color of Texas Project is to identify all or as many Free
People of Color as possible who resided in Texas prior to the Civil War. While trying to identify those people others born in Texas but residing in states other than Texas have also
been identified. Those people are also included in the project.
Texas was a province of Spain from the early 1500's until Mexico overthrew the reins of the Spainish and became the Republic of Mexico in 1821. Mexico then ruled Texas from 1821
until 1836 when Texas became it's own country, The Republic of Texas. On February 19, 1846 the American flag was raised over the capitol building in Austin and Texas became the
State of Texas. During the four years of America's Civil War, 1861-1865, Texas was one of the Confederate States of America and reverted to being a state of the United States when the war and Reconstruction ended.
In 1829, during the Mexican period, Mexico emanciapted or set forth a program to emanciapte over time all slaves in the country. A proviso in Province of Tejas, however,
allowed slavery to continue, which it did, until the time of the Texas Revolution in 1836.
While The Republic of Texas was built on the concept of slave labor the framers of the Texas Constitution feared and hoped to prevent bloody slave uprisings such as those that had
occurred in Haiti and Virginia incited by such people as Veasy and Nat Turner. With their fear that Free People of Color might incite slaves to revolt or be models slave might wish to
emulate they legislated that no Free Person of Color was to reside in the Republic of Texas.
What the constitutional framers did not then know was that Free People of Color were already in Texas and were supporting Texas and were enrolled with Texans militarily in
gaining Independence from Mexico. As the Republic settled down after the fighting and the people learned Free People of Color were legally unwelcome in Texas the Free People of
Color and their many friends, including politicians and fellow soldiers petitioned the legislature for exemptions to the law.
From 1836 until the end of the Civil War Free People of Color were legally discouraged
from emigrating and living in the Republic of Texas as well as the State of Texas. While there were never any round-ups of illegal resident Free People of Color many came and lived
their lives in Texas. Some petitioned to legally remain.
Like other slave states Texas discouraged emancipation of slaves by slave owners. Like
those other states, when a slave owner wished to emancipate a slave he had to apply to the legislature. If his wish was granted he had to post a bond with the local court and the slave
had to remove out of the Republic or State or be sold back into slavery. In many cases, however, the slave owner simply emancipated the slave and the slave quietly left Texas for other lands with his "Freedom Papers".
Below is a list of over 250 distinct surnames of Free People of Color who resided in either
the Republic of Texas and/or the State of Texas or another state of the United States prior to the Civil War. The final report will also include the names of others associated with them,
such as people they lived with or slave owners who may have emancipated them. The associated names, whether White, Black or other may well lead researchers to other information on those named.
A fact that may surprise many people is that many of the Free People of Color in Texas, some of whom are enumerated in the list below, may have never been slaves, nor might their
ancestors have been, all the way back into the Colonial period of the United States.
Also, another fact that may surprise many people is there were many Free People of Color in Texas, while they were illegally living in Texas, may have owned slaves of their own. In
some cases the slave may have been their own family member but in many cases the slave was no kin at all and was bought at an estate sale or auctions like other slaves.
Researchers descended from or who have information on any of the Free People of Color
families whether listed below, or not, are invited to contact Mic Barnette. The main criteria for this project is the person or family was a Free Person of Color who either lived in Texas
or was born in Texas and lived as a Free Person of Color in another state or country.
Thank You for your interest,