Texas Voters Registration Lists 1867-1869 for Osborn Routt

What I enjoy most about the 2014 Spring Ancestor Challenge is the flow of information, resources, and support from the various research tribes within the AAGSAR Village! The Texas Tribe  has been PHENOMENAL to work with. In fact, it was Texas Tribe member, Terrence Garnett (My TX/LA Roots), who provided me with a copy of the Texas Voters Registration Lists 1867-1869 for my 3x great-grandfather Osborn Rowte (Routt) that provided an excellent clue about when he arrived in the Washington County Texas area!

Why is this 1867 Texas Voters Registration List so pivotal to my research?

This Voters Registration List is the first record to enumerate newly free slaves and all those who survived the Civil War in Texas. Therefore, it is the earliest public record I have after the 1860 US Census and prior to the 1870 US Census, that list my great-grandfather by name! So it is so-o-o-o exciting to learn that Osborn Routt registered for the privilege to vote on 28 June 1867 in Washington County, Texas! Line 1340 of the registry below has the following information: [1]

Texas Voters Registration Lists 1867-1869 for Osborn Rowte


Date of Registry: 28 June 1867
Name: Osborn Rowte
Place of Residence: [blank]
Precinct: [blank]
Time of Residence –
In State:  14 yrs
In County:  14 yrs
In Precinct: [blank]
Native:  Native
Naturalized —
How:  [blank]
When:  [blank]
Where: [blank]
Signature of Elector: Osborn Rowte [X]
General Remarks: Colored

According to the Person Details for Osborn Route, 1870 United States Federal Census, Osborne was 28 years old living in Washington County, Texas with his wife Sallie, and their children Jefferson, Buchanon, Mary Francis, and Louisa (my 2x great-grandmother)! Based on this information from the census, his estimated year of birth is around 1842. [2]

Osborn Route, “United States Census, 1870”

Though this Voters Registration List does not corroborate Virginia being his place of birth reported in the 1870 census, it does however report that he had lived in the Washington County, Texas area for 14 years by 1867 which would put his arrival in the state of Texas around 1853.

So based on this 1867 Voters Registration List and the 1870 US Federal Census, I know:

  • Osborn Routt was born in Virginia around 1842
  • Osborn Routt lived in Virginia at least until 1853
  • Osborn Routt was around 11 years old when he arrived in Washington County, Texas in 1853

Assuming that Osborn’s owner brought him to Texas, my conclusions at this point are:

  • The slave owner owned or purchased land in Washington County, Texas before  or around 1853
  • The slave owner may have been born or lived in Virginia

What are my next steps?

  • Search the 1870 US Federal Census of Washington County, Texas for other freedmen whose birthplace is Virginia
  • Search the 1870 US Federal Census of Washington County, Texas for landowners born in Virginia and who owned land in the area since 1853 or earlier
  • Search the 1867 Voters Registration List of Washington County, Texas, for those landowners I’ve identified from Virginia to determine if they’ve lived in the area since 1853 or earlier
  • Search the 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules to find which landowners I’ve identified owned slaves

Source Citation:

1. Ancestry.com. Texas, Voter Registration Lists, 1867-1869 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: 1867 Voter Registration Lists. Microfilm, 12 rolls. Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

2. “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MXGF-FYD : accessed 24 Feb 2014), Osborn Route, Texas, United States; citing p. , family 184, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000553107.

Wedding Wednesday: Routte – Routte, 1871

After the Civil War, many couples who had married as slaves and who desired to stay together, legalized  their unions by getting married. As a result, marriage became one of the very first civil rights that [newly free] African-Americans [were] able to exercise. [1]

I strongly believe this was the case for my 3x great-grandparents, Osborn and Sallie Routt! According to the 1870 Census (the very first census to document African-Americans who had been slaves before and during the Civil War), they were listed as a family with three children ranging in ages 7, 5, and 9 months. Their oldest child, Jefferson Routt who was 7 years old at the time, was born during slavery about 1863. So today for Wedding Wednesday, I celebrate the official marriage of Osborn and Sallie Routt, which took place, 9 July 1871!

Marriage Certificate of Osborne & Sally Routte, 1871

[Abstraction]

The State of Texas, to wit: Washington County, S.-S.
To all who shall see these Presents, Greeting:
Know We, THAT ANY PERSON LEGALLY AUTHORIZED TO SOLEMNIZE THE RITES OF MATRIMONY IS HEREBY LICENSED TO
JOIN IN MARRIAGE AS HUSBAND AND WIFE,
Osborne Routte and Sally Routte
and for so doing, this shall be your authority.

In Testimony Whereof, I, J. J. Stockbridge, Clerk of the District
Court here unto subscribe my name, and affix the seal of said Court, this
8th day of July 1871
J.J. Stockbridge, C. D. C. W. C.
By _____________, Deputy

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The State of Texas, to wit: Washington County, S. S.
This certifies that I joined in Marriage a Husband and Wife
Osborn Route and Sally Route
on the 9th day of July 1871.
Elder Butler

—–

Because marriage records vary from state to state and often contain several dates (a license date, a wedding date, a return date, and a filing date), I want to remind researchers to double check these records carefully and make sure to record the correct wedding date on their family group sheets and pedigree charts. At first, I had Osborn’s and Sallie’s marriage date as 8 July 1871 in my notes. But upon careful inspection of this certified marriage license, I now know that was the date they applied for the license. Their actual wedding date was 9 July 1871!

Source Citation:

1. Hunter, T. (2010, February 11). Slave Marriages, Families Were Often Shattered By Auction Block [Interview by M. Martin, Transcript]. In New Discoveries in Black History. NPR.

2. Washington County Marriage Volume 3: 488, County Clerk’s Office, Brenham, Texas.

2014 Spring Ancestor Challenge

When Luckie Daniels (Our Georgia Roots & Our Alabama Roots) and Felicia Mathis (Echoes of My Nola Past) invited me to join them on the new African American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research (AAGSAR) Group they were launching via Facebook, I had no idea that I would be joining, in my opinion, one of the BEST collaborative genealogy group for “serious” family historians and researchers in 2014. Luckie said it best when she wrote, “Slave Ancestry IS CHALLENGING WORK,” in one of her messages to the group. From that message comes one of the most exciting projects I have ever worked on with a group via the Internet . . . the  2014 Spring Ancestor Challenge – No Brick Walls Permitted!

I have accepted this challenge which officially begins Tuesday, October 1, 2013 and ends April 1, 2014. In essence, this is MY ANCESTOR WORK, but I’m not alone on this journey! I have met some awesome group members who have made the setup and preparation for this challenge so-so sweet (sending a special shout-out to the Texas Tribe . . . woo-hoo!). So I have a support system that is willing to lend a helping hand, consult with me when I need it, and support me when it looks like I don’t know what the heck I’m doing!

So without further adieu, here’s my 2014 Spring Ancestor Challenge  . . .

Masters & Slaves: The Texas Routts

The Challenge:

To determine the approximate date/location of my 3rd great-grandfather Osborn Routt’s birth in Virginia, as well as the approximate date/location of his death in Washington County, Texas.

Others:

Slave Owner(s):
William Robert Routt from Northumberland County, Virginia
Joseph William Routt from Huntsville, Madison, Alabama & Chappel Hill, Washington, Texas

Years:

1830-1910

Tribes:

Texas – Chappel Hill, Washington County
Alabama – Huntsville, Madison County
Virginia – Northumberland County

Summary:

It was the “5 Generations” photo I found above in an old family photo album featuring my 97-year-old 2nd great-grandmother, Lula (Routt) Green, that initially launched my research into my father’s side of my family tree. Based on a few names my dad could remember, I was able to glean from the 1870 & 1880 census records that Lula Routt, born 12 September 1867 in Chappel Hill, Washington County, Texas, was the daughter of Osborn and Sallie Routt. Lula was born just 2 short years after slavery ended in Texas. Prior to 1867, her parents were slaves on one of the major plantations in the Washington County, Texas area. To learn more about who the slaveholders were in that area, I wrote to Chappel Hill’s local Historical Society, who put me in contact with one of their respected historians, Nathaniel Winfield, in 1998. It is through email conversations with Mr. Winfield, that I discovered that Osborn & Sallie Routt were probably once slaves on his great-grandfather’s plantation – Mulberry Bower. According to Mr. Winfield, his great-grandfather (Joseph William Routt) came to Chappel Hill, Texas from Huntsville, Alabama in the mid 1840’s. Both the 1870 & 1880 census records report Osborn was born in Virginia about 1835. If Osborn was born in Virginia, how did he end up in Texas on the Mulberry Bower Plantation? Well according to a free Google e-book I was fortunate to download titled, A History of Texas and Texans, Volume 4 by Frank White Johnson, Joseph William Routt was the son of William Robert Routt, ” . . . a slaveholder and planter of Virginia . . . ” So in light of that family connection it is very possible that William Routt may have been the original owner of Osborn which resulted in him being passed down to the son as a part of the father’s estate.

Related Post – Treasure Chest Thursday: Mulberry Bower

References:

Google Book: A HISTORY OF TEXAS AND TEXANS by Frank White Johnson
Genealogy of the Joseph William Routt Family
Genealogy of the William Robert Routt Family

References Needed for Further Review and Analysis:

Probate Will of William Robert Routt
Probate Will of Joseph William Routt
Estate Inventories for William Routt & Joseph Routt
Insurance Policies for William Routt & Joseph Routt
Plantation Records for William Routt & Joseph Routt (if available)
Sharecropping Records for Osborn Routt
1850 & 1860 US Federal Census Slave Schedules for William Routt & Joseph Routt
Tax Records for William Routt, Joseph Routt, and Osborn Routt
U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880
U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885
U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918
Washington County, Texas Death Records
Local Histories & Pamphlets
Chancery Records Index
African-American Newspapers
Church & Baptism Records*

For Family, Friends, and Visitors:

What have I missed?
Are there any other references and resources I need to explore?
If yes, let me know in the comment section below!

*Special thanks to Shellye (My Genealogical Journey) for reminding me to include Church & Baptism Records to my list as well!

Surname Saturday: Routt, 1st Generation

Surname Saturday is one of the popular “Daily Blogging Series” going on at GeneaBloggers.com! This series is intended to give genealogy bloggers a chance to discuss a surname and mention its origin, its geographical location(s), and how it fits into their family research. So I’ve joined the foray and plan to share information regularly about the surnames I’m researching in hopes that others who are researching those surnames will connect with me!

ORIGIN

With regards to origin, in Ancestry.com’s THE ROUTT NAME IN HISTORY, Routt is English and “probably a topographic name for someone who lived by a patch of rough ground.” According to the 1920 US Federal Census, majority of the Routt immigrants that came to America were from England.

One of the challenges I’ve faced with my Routt research has been with the various spelling of the surname (Rault, Roatt, Rout, Routt, Routte, Route, Roult, Rowte, Rote) in birth, census, death, and marriage records. I believe the reason why there are so many variations of  this surname is due to my ancestors, who were slaves, not being able to read or write. Therefore, they could not tell the person recording their information how to accurately and consistently spell their name all the time. So if the person recording their information wasn’t familiar with how the surname was spelled, or wasn’t a good speller in general, then variations of the surname was bound to happen. But from what I have been able to glean from records, most of my ancestors spelled Routt with two t’s at the end — which was the same way their slave owner, William Routt, spelled his name.

 GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION(S)

Routt immigrants came to the United States from the Eastern region of England (Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire). Once in the US, by the 1840’s there were Routt households in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina. By the 1920 census, a majority of Routt households resided in Kentucky, Texas, and Ohio.  With farming being the principal occupation among most Routt immigrants, and with the rise of plantation agriculture in colonial America, many Routt immigrants owned slaves and operated medium to large plantations.

In an email I received from Genealogist, Virginia Hill in 1998 who shared information from ALL OUR YESTERDAYS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHAPPELL HILL compiled by Mr. & Mrs. Nath Winfield (very knowledgeable local historians), cotton merchants observed that certain Texas counties — Brazoria, Washington, Ward, and Matagorda – “were superior to regions in the United States for cotton production. Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Carolina then produced an average of 3 bales ‘to the hand’ while the average production of cotton in these Texas counties were seven bales.” I’m sure the prospect of producing seven versus three bales ‘to the hand’ of cotton was what prompted cotton merchant, William Routt, to move to the Washington County Texas area from Huntsville, Alabama bringing with him one of the 1st generation of  ancestors on my father’s father side  – Osborn & Sallie Routt

MY FIRST GENERATION OF ROUTTS

According to the 1870 United States Federal Census
Osborn was 28 yrs old, born about 1842 in the State of Virginia.
Sallie was 23 yrs old, born about 1847 in the Alabama.

Children of Osborn & Sallie:
Buchanon 10 yrs old, born about 1860 in TX
Jefferson Routt  7 yrs old, born about 1863 in TX
Mary F Routt  5 yrs old, born about 1865 in TX
Louisa Routt  9 months old, born about 1869 in TX

Per the Washington County Marriage Records (Certificate No. 12680, Vol. 3, Pg 488) Osborn and Sallie were joined in marriage as husband and wife on 9 July 1871. Considering the date of their marriage and the birth of their children, one can only conclude that even though the institution of slavery did not officially allow slaves to marry, Osborn and Sallie obviously stayed together. Once slavery ended in Texas, they made their union legal!

According to the 1880 United States Federal Census
Osborn is 45 and Sallie is 30, which is a major discrepancy with how old they should be by this time. This also tells me that they literally had no idea as to how old they were, or when they were born (which is not unusual when you consider they could not read or write). But if I believe the 1880 Census information with regards to their ages, then Osborn would have been born around 1835 and Sallie around 1850.

Another change in this census is regarding a young male child stated as “son” – Buchanon, who would be 20 yrs old by this time. He is no longer living with the family.  
Some possible reasons for him not being enumerated with them are:
1) he is a young adult living and working on his own,
2) he’s married with a family of his own nearby or in another town, county or state,
3) he may have died between 1870-1880 from an illness or accident.
4) he may not be the biological son of Osborn and Sallie; he may be an extended family member to Osborn or Sallie (i.e. brother, nephew, cousin) living with them with
5) even though he was listed under the surname Routt in the 1870 Census, his given surname may not be Routt

But, three more children are now listed with this family:
Charlotte Routt  8 yrs old, born about 1872 in TX
William Routt 6 yrs old, born about 1874 in TX
John Routt 4 yrs old, born about 1876 in TX

So if you have some of my 1st Generation Routts in your family tree, let me hear from you because I’m — Claiming Kin!