|AFRICAN AMERICANS The establishment of the Freedmen's
Bureau in the state aided this transition from
slavery to freedom. But given the continuing
racial animosity that separated blacks and whites
after the war, this was not an easy task.
|AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHURCHES Through its relationship with the
Freedmen's Bureau , however, the ME Church was
able to secure ownership of church buildings, a
valuable asset in the Methodist competition for
black adherents who owned little property.
During years immediately after emancipation,
black Texans sought to satisfy their hunger for
education. Officials in Washington recognized
that appetite, and many education-minded private
citizens in the North insisted that schooling was
essential to the freedmen's progress and social
order. Accordingly, the Freedmen's Bureau joined
hands with such groups as the American Missionary
Association and negotiated with church officials
for the use of their buildings as schools.
|ALLEN, RICHARD In 1868 he served as an agent of the
Freedmen's Bureau and as the supervisor of voter
registration for the Fourteenth District of
|AUSTIN COUNTY Capt. George Lancaster,
head of the local Freedmen's Bureau office in
1867, declared that racial animosities in the
area were so intense that only a spark was needed
to set off an explosion.
|BAKER, CULLEN MONTGOMERYSomewhat later, the Union Army and
the Freedmen's Bureau came to the area, and Baker
focused his attention upon harassing and killing
employees of the Bureau and their clients. In
December 1867 Baker also wrought havoc upon
Howell Smith's family because of their alleged
"unorthodox" relations with the black
laborers they employed. He was wounded, but the
local citizenry and the army failed to capture
him. Baker returned to the Reconstruction scene
again in mid-1868 as the leader of various
outcasts and killers. He and his group are
credited with murdering two Freedmen's Bureau
agents, one in Texas and another in Arkansas, and
numerous black men and women, all the time
eluding the army.
|BARKLEY, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN After the war he was named to the
Tarrant County Registration Board, and in
November 1867 he was appointed county judge, a
position he held until 1870. He also served as
subassistant commissioner of the Freedmen's
Bureau in 1867-68.
|BARTHOLOMEW, EUGENE CARLOSWhen the army was disbanded,
Bartholomew worked for the Freedmen's Bureau at
Galveston and Austin, his duty being to establish
schools. In July 1870 he was appointed
superintendent of education and second assistant
clerk of the House of Representatives.
|BEXAR COUNTY In the late 1850s and 1860s several
additional schools were opened, including the
German-English School, St. Mary's Hall, and a
Freedmen's Bureau school for the children of
newly liberated slaves.
|BLACK CODES A variety of sources provided the
pattern of the new codes. Antebellum southern
laws that regulated free blacks and the laws of
northern states designed to do the same furnished
the model for regulation of black civil rights,
while directives of the Freedmen's Bureau and the
legislation of other Southern states supplied
examples of statutes that attempted to control
The black codes never fully accomplished their
goals. On January 3, 1867, Gen. Joseph B. Kiddoo
of the Freedmen's Bureau declared the contract
law biased against freedmen and prevented its
enforcement. This made the other labor codes
|BLACK COLLEGES During the initial phase of
Reconstruction, the Freedmen's Bureau took the
lead in establishing elementary and secondary
schools for the former slaves. By May 1866 the
Bureau had set up more than 100 schools across
the state. Though staffed primarily by white
Southerners, Bureau schools were an affront to
many white Texans and were the object of much
criticism and hostility. Where funds and
volunteers permitted, white Northern religious
denominations also established elementary and
secondary schools. Groups such as the Freedmen's
Aid Society, the American Missionary Association,
and the American Baptist Home Mission Society were
in the vanguard of these early efforts.
|BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS It opposed a request for funds,
which presumably would benefit former slaves, by
Episcopal bishop Alexander Gregg,
who did not have the trust of the committee.
Instead, committee members expressed their
preference for the work of the Freedmen's Bureau
|BOWIE COUNTY The soldiers were under the
direction of William G. Kirkman,
a former Union Army captain who was to act as an
agent of the Freedmen's Bureau for the district.
The number of troops in the county was just large
enough to provide a galling reminder of the legal
authority vested in the army of occupation, but
not large enough to provide protection for area
African Americansor Unionists.
|BRAZORIA COUNTY During Reconstruction, federal
troops were stationed at Brazoria and Sandy
Point. A Freedmen's Bureau agent arrived in the
county in 1865, the Union Leagueorganized and
registered black voters by the mid-1870s, and
voters elected black legislator George T.
Ruby as early as 1870 and Nathan
H. Haller as late as 1894.
|BRAZOS COUNTY County blacks and white landowners
struggled to work out their new economic and
social relations, and a series of Freedmen's
Bureau agents, occasionally backed by small
numbers of federal soldiers, attempted to mediate
between the groups.
|BRYANT, CHARLES W. Charles W. Bryant,
who represented Harris County at the state
Constitutional Convention of 1868-69, was born a
slave in Kentucky around 1830. He arrived in
Texas after the Civil War and served as a
Freedmen's Bureau agent and a minister before
winning election to the convention.
|BURLESON COUNTY The eastern half of the county, in
which the black population was concentrated, fell
within the twentieth subdistrict of the
Freedmen's Bureau ,variously headquartered in
Grimes and Brazos counties. The records of the
subassistant commissioner include numerous
reports of violent crimes committed by whites
against blacks in Burleson County.
|CARPETBAGGERS Honey, a clergyman
and chaplain of the Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry, Ruby,
a black newspaperman and teacher, and Wheelock,
a Unitarian minister and teacher, all came to
Texas in 1865 as employees of the Freedmen's
Bureau school system. Only Walker
and Davidson came after 1867,
but both were in the United States Army and
assigned to units that were already in the state.
|CASS COUNTY Throughout 1867 and 1868 there were
repeated reports from agents of the Freedmen's
Bureau in Marshall that freedmen were being
cheated and physically abused in Cass County, but
neither federal troops nor an agent of the Bureau
was ever stationed in the county.
|CENTERVILLE, TX During Reconstructiona Freedmen's
Bureau agent and an infantry company were
stationed in Centreville.
|CHAMBERS COUNTY The Freedmen's Bureau opened a black
school at Wallisville in 1869, and other black
and white schools opened in 1871.
|CHAPPELL HILL, TX From 1868 to 1870 the town had a
Freedmen's Bureau school.
|CHIRENO, TX The Freedmen's Bureau organized a
branch in Nacogdoches, and by 1866 black soldiers
had been sent to Chireno to ensure propriety in
|COLORADO COUNTY Columbus was occupied by federal
troops in June 1865, and was intermittently the
site of small garrisons through 1870. Freedmen's
Bureau agents stationed in Columbus opened
schools for black children and attempted to
mediate labor contracts between planters and
|CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1868-69
Ruby, a black agent for the Freedmen's
Bureau schools, led the fourth block and
supported black civil rights and free education.
|COOMBES, ZACHARIAH ELLIS Coombes and the other Dallas County
elected officials were removed in November 1867
as "impediments to Reconstruction"
after repeated assertions by the local Freedmen's
Bureau agent that they refused to protect black
lives and property
|DAVIDSON, JAMES He actively supported efforts by
the local Freedmen's Bureau agent to educate and
protect freedmen. During his service in
northeastern Texas he became associated with
prominent Republican politicians Amos
Morrill and Albert H. Latimer.
|DEGRESS, JACOB CARL MARIA DeGress entered Texas as General
Mower's aide-de-camp in June 1865. He
assumed the duties of assistant commissioner of
the Freedmen's Bureau of the eastern division of
the state. From 1865 to 1868, in positions at
Galveston, Houston, and New Orleans (where he
became secretary of civil affairs as well as
inspector general of the Freedmen's Bureau ),
DeGress helped administer the Bureau during the
first years of radical Reconstruction
|DEWITT COUNTY From April 1866 until December 1868
a subassistant commissioner of the Freedmen's
Bureau served at Clinton.
|EDUCATION FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS
|EDUCATION The Freedmen's Bureau brought in
teachers from the American Missionary
Association, primarily from the North, to teach
in black schools. Later, some white Southerners
and educated blacks taught, but the early
African-American schools were often the subject
of controversy and suffered discrimination and
|EVANS, IRA HOBART Evans then joined the Freedmen's
Bureau at Wharton but resigned on January 31,
1868, angered by his superiors in the Bureau ,
whom he considered incompetent.
|FARM TENANCY Most tenants in the period just
after the Civil War were black, and the
Freedmen's Bureau supervised the signing and
implementation of tenant-farming agreements in
areas where it had local agents until it closed
its local offices in December 1868. Although the
agents sometimes complained that black women did
not want to work as long in the fields as they
had before the war and that many blacks did not
want to work as many hours as they had as slaves,
they generally reported that African
Americansworked well as tenants when treated
|FOURTH WARD, HOUSTON The Fourth Ward's role as a center
of education was strengthened in 1870, when the
various Freedmen's Bureau schools in the city
were consolidated at Gregory School, the first
public school for blacks in Houston.
|FREEDMEN'S Bureau Second, the size and shape of the
districts were determined by the ability of the
Bureau to provide protection to the agents rather
than by the ability of the agents to fulfill
their duties in their districts. Matthew
Young, stationed at Belton in August
1867, for example, was responsible only for Bell
County. Lt. Adam G. Malloy, on
the other hand, stationed the same month at
Marshall, was responsible for Harrison, Marion,
Panola, Rusk, Davis, and Upshur counties.
|GALVESTON COUNTY E. M. Gregory,
assistant Freedmen's Bureau commissioner for
Texas, established a Bureau headquarters in the
Galveston customhouse on September 5, 1865. With
tuition eliminated and eight Bureau teachers
active in Galveston city schools, school
attendance increased by 400 percent in 1867,
despite the schools' poor condition and the
return of yellow fever in that year.
|GODDIN, MORTIMER H. Provisional governor Andrew
J. Hamilton appointed Goddin to the
position of justice of the peace in Polk County
in October 1865. Goddin won election to the same
office on June 25, 1866, and served until
December 1867. In the meantime, on April 1, 1867,
he accepted appointment as subassistant
commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau in Polk
County. His tenure as a Bureau agent had few calm
moments. His efforts to aid freedmen and his
sneering smugness at the defeat of the
Confederacy drew the wrath of white conservatives
and led him to fear for his life and threaten to
arm blacks and use them to uphold the law. One
Polk County Republican commented that local
newspapers made Goddin seem non compos mentis but
that in fact he was a "terror of the Rebels
in this county." A Bureau agent in
neighboring Tyler County, however,
criticized Goddin's judgment in dealing with
Southern whites and contended that he had such
bitter personal feelings that he introduced
politics into all relationships. The Bureau
removed Goddin from his post in September 1867,
and soon thereafter he was assaulted by four
armed men and "compelled to beg for his
|GREGORY, EDGAR M.
|GREGORY INSTITUTE Gen. Edgar M. Gregory,first
assistant commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau
in Texas. after the institute's incorporation,
all of the schools established by the Freedmen's
Bureau in Harris County were abolished, and the
pupils attending them were transferred to Gregory
Institute. Largely as a result of the institute's
status, Harris County had the largest number of
black students in school in Texas in 1871-734
males and 760 females.
|GRIMES COUNTY To assist the county's large
population of freedmen in their transition to
citizenship, an office of the Freedmen's Bureau
was established in June 1866. Most of Grimes
County was placed within the Bureau 's Twentieth
Subdistrict, which was variously headquartered in
Courtney, Navasota, Millican, Anderson, and,
finally, in Bryan in Brazos County. The
Freedmen's Bureau established a court system to
dispense justice to the former slaves, protected
the freedmen in their exercise of the franchise,
and supervised the signing of labor contracts.
Many of the first educational institutions for
African Americans established in the county were
created during these years by the Freedmen's
Bureau , which founded schools in Courtney,
Anderson, and Navasota. Reports filed by the
subassistant commissioner describe a general
breakdown of law and order in Grimes and
surrounding counties and make clear that though
considerable violence was perpetrated by whites
against whites, blacks against blacks, and blacks
against whites, most of the violent crime in this
period was committed by whites against blacks.
|GUADALUPE COUNTY A Freedmen's Bureau office opened
in Seguin in 1866 and supervised work contracts
between former slaves and area farmers until
|HAMILTON, JEREMIAH J. In 1866 he served as a secretary for
the Texas State Central Committee of Colored Men,
which opposed white paternalism and worked with
the Freedmen's Bureau .
|HEALTH AND MEDICINE He became the City Hospital
physician and admitted poor patients authorized
by the city or county of Galveston, sailors and
foreign nationals authorized by the customhouse
and foreign consuls, African Americans sent by
the Freedmen's Bureau ,and a few private
|JEFFERSON COUNTY Though outside the jurisdiction of
the Freedmen's Bureau in 1865, the county was
made a subdistrict of the agency by 1868 to help
blacks learn to read and write.
|JUNETEENTH In the state capital Juneteenth was
first celebrated in 1867 under the direction of
the Freedmen's Bureau and became part of the
calendar of public events by 1872.
|KIDDOO, JOSEPH BARR
|LA GRANGE, TX La Grange was
occupied by federal troops in 1866, and an agency
of the Freedmen's Bureau was established there to
protect the rights and welfare of the many freed
slaves in the surrounding area. Friction between
the federal authorities and ex-Confederates in
the town led to a number of altercations that
sometimes, as one source put it, "reached
proportions of a first-class riot."
|LATIMER, ALBERT HAMILTON In 1867 he was appointed supervisor
of voter registration for North Texas. From April
to August of that year he served as a
subassistant commissioner of the Freedmen's
Bureau ;he resigned the position to accept an
appointment as associate justice of the Texas
|LAVACA COUNTY Although a detachment of federal
troops and a Freedmen's Bureau agent were
stationed in Hallettsville, relations between
local whites and the soldiers and governmental
officials were generally peaceful, and most of
the county's citizens occupied themselves with
rebuilding their lives.
|LEON COUNTY Two companies of black federal
soldiers stationed just outside of Centerville to
assist the Freedmen's Bureau representative were
the target of several violent attacks.
|LIBERTY COUNTY The Freedmen's Bureau operated in
Liberty from 1866 until 1868, with Dr. J.
Orville Shelby and A. H. Mayer serving
as the Bureau representatives for most of the
|MARSHALL, TX Reconstructionafter the war was
bitterly controversial, as the town became not
only the base for occupying forces but the home
for an office of the Freedmen's Bureau as well.
|MILITARY HISTORY The army also backed the Freedmen's
Bureau ,which helped former slaves secure labor
contracts, established separate courts, and set
up a rudimentary education system.
|NELSON, JULIA BULLARD However, by the time Julia Nelson
came to Texas, the Freedmen's Bureau had made
education one of its top priorities; by 1870 it
had sixty-six schools in the state. Although the
Bureau officially ceased its educational work in
Texas soon after Nelson arrived, schools for
blacks remained, and teachers like her continued
to be sent to staff them. In Columbus she was
initially the only teacher in the black school,
and she met the expected opposition from local
whites to her work.
|PRAIRIE LEA, TX Reconstructionbrought hardship to
the town. Neither the stationing of troops nor
appeals to the Freedmen's Bureau could fully
establish order or prevent violence.
|POE, CAROLINE In Marshall, Texas, she organized
one of the two Freedmen's Bureau schools for
blacks in Harrison County and taught a monthly
average of fifty students in 1868-69 despite the
lack of support from the white community, the
financial limitations of local blacks struggling
in a year of poor crops, and the absence of a
salary from the Bureau . In 1869, along with the
other Bureau teacher, William Massey,
she helped found a new school building to replace
the two rundown schoolhouses that had been the
only places of education for black children in
Marshall. Despite the end of the Bureau 's
educational efforts in Texas in 1870, the fall of
1871 found Caroline Poe back in the schoolroom as
one of twelve teachers hired for Harrison County
following the passage of the Texas public school
law of 1871.
|RED RIVER COUNTY Finally, after Charles F.
Rand, Freedmen's Bureau agent and winner
of a Presidential Medal of Honor for bravery in
action during the Civil War, fled from the county
fearing for his life in August 1868, a detachment
of federal troops under Maj. George Starkley was
stationed in Clarksville.
|RICHMOND, TX After the end of the war, many
emancipated slaves from surrounding plantations
began to move into Richmond's environs; in 1866
an agency of the federal Freedmen's Bureau was
established at Richmond, and in 1867 a company of
federal troops were stationed there. Allied with
white Republicans, the area's blacks controlled
local politics until 1889, when whites in the
area seized control after the Jaybird-Woodpecker
|ROGERS, CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS Rogers seems to have established a
reputation as a violent opponent of
Reconstructionby beating up John H.
Morrison, a Freedmen's Bureau agent, and
by murdering Dan Cary, a
Republican marshall of Palestine.
|RUBY, GEORGE THOMPSON He joined the Freedmen's Bureau at
Galveston, began administering the Bureau 's
schools, served as a correspondent for the New
Orleans Tribune, and taught school at the
Methodist Episcopal Church of Galveston at a
salary of $100 a month.
|SAN AUGUSTINE COUNTY In 1868 a mob drove the black
registrar out of the county seat and harassed the
local Freedmen's Bureau agent.
|SHELBY COUNTY During ReconstructionShelby County
received little attention from federal political
or military authorities. Neither federal troops
nor an agent of the Freedmen's Bureau was ever
stationed in the county.
|SMITH COUNTY In 1867 Tyler became the
headquarters of a subdistrict of the Freedmen's
Bureau ,and the Bureau 's agents, occasionally
supported by small military garrisons, attempted
to secure voting rights, fair labor contracts,
and educational opportunities for the blacks of
Smith County and its environs. Race relations
rapidly deteriorated as the white citizens
resisted these initiatives. Smith County
authorities refused to cooperate with the agency
in enforcing labor contracts violated by white
landowners and in investigating the numerous
cases of violence against blacks. By 1868 the
Freedmen's Bureau subcommissioner complained that
a white "reign of terror" characterized
the district, and he and several agency personnel
were personally involved in a shootout with local
toughs. In June 1868 white citizens attacked
schoolchildren attending the year-old black
school in Tyler, forcing temporary suspension of
the school. The Bureau closed in 1869, but racial
tensions continued to disrupt the county.
|SMITH, GEORGE W. He and his troops became embroiled
in a controversy between the local newspaper
editor and the Freedmen's Bureau representative.
Two and one-half years later Smith was accused of
theft of Freedmen's Bureau funds and convicted by
a court martial board.
|TITUS COUNTY Moreover, two companies of the Sixth
United States Cavalry, under the command of Maj.
Samuel Henry Starr, were stationed in
Titus County in May of that year. As troop
commander in an area not covered by the
Freedmen's Bureau ,
|WACO, TX Lt. A.F. Manning,
the Freedmen's Bureau agent assigned to the town,
complained in 1867 that a local grand jury
refused to indict a white man accused of killing
|WALLER COUNTY An agency of the Freedmen's Bureau
was established at Hempstead in 1866, and in 1867
two companies of federal troops were assigned
there. The emancipation of the area's slaves
disrupted the local economy and led to the
breakup of many of the large plantations; cotton
production plunged, and as late as 1870 remained
significantly below prewar levels.
|WASHINGTON COUNTY Because of the area's large
population of ex-slaves, an agency of the
Freedmen's Bureau was also established there.
Relations between the federals and the white
population were often tinged with hostility. D.
L. McGary, the editor of the Brenham Banner,
frequently attacked the Freedmen's Bureau in his
paper, and his arrest by federal authorities in
1866 led to increased tensions.
|WHARTON COUNTY Freedmen's Bureau schools operated
after 1865, and in 1868 the Reconstruction
convention set land aside for public schools
required to serve at least four months of the
|WHEELOCK, EDWIN MILLER