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Biographies and Obituaries of Kaufman Co. African-American Pioneers

Donated by: Kathey Hunt, Co-Coordinator of Kaufman Co., Texas TXGenWeb Project

Obituary of "Uncle Ben" Quinney 1841 - 1922
Kaufman Herald -  February 3, 1922


It reads:

Death of Uncle Ben. Well known Colored Man

“Uncle Ben” Quinney, colored, died last night on the farm of W. Porter, after a short Illness. “Uncle Ben” as he was known to everyone, was 81 years of age, and had been with W.C. Porter for years, coming to Texas with the late Capt. J. B. Porter 44 years ago, living with the Porter family for the greatest part of his long life. He was a native of Mooringsport,  La. Mr. Porter stated to a Tribune reporter today that in his opinion the aged negro was one of the amplifications of the Christian life he had ever known, and that his influence on the members of his race could hardly be estimated. Mr. Porter went to Cartwright Swith this morning to make arrangements for the funeral, burial to be made there on the Porter farm, where Uncle Ben’s wife is buried.


If you are a descendant of Ben Quinney, or have information about his life and family, the Kaufman County, TXGenWeb Staff would like to hear from you. Please contact 




Hester Robertson



Known as "Aunt Hester", to all who knew her, she and her husband, George, came to  Kaufman County  some time right after the Civil War from  Harrisonburg,  Louisiana. Born there as a slave of Elbert Guice, she continued to work for the Guice family after emancipation. She was the personal maid of Guice's daughter Cornelia, who became the wife of Benjamin F. Kitchen. The Kitchen family brought Hester to  Kaufman County  wit

h them. Hester worked for the Kitchen, Guice and Price families the remainder of her life. In 1925 she had a reunion with some of the Kitchen children she raised, who at that time were in their 50's and 60's. She died in Elmo at the age of 90, on 16 Dec 1926, and is buried in the Shady Grove Cemetery beside relatives. She is considered a true African-American Pioneer of Kaufman County.



Tribute to Tom Terrell, a true Pioneer of  Kaufman County 


Tom Terrell was born in  Kentucky circa 1835, a slave of Jonathan Wilson Terrell & his wife Azalea Johnson. He came to Texas  in 1844 when the land that is now  Kaufman County was still the Republic of  Texas.

Azalea Johnson Terrell died and J W Terrell remarried Nancy Amelia Love in 1854. J O Terrell, the writer of the tribute below, was born in 1856. As J O Terrell states his father died in 1861, and by his own account Tom Terrell was J O Terrell's father figure, teaching him all he need to know about becoming a man.  What goes beyond reproach for that time is that J O Terrell grew to be a man of character and he recognized what Tom Terrell had been to him and honored the man in a Tribute that can be seen below.

Tom Terrell died August 9, 1904. At this writing, July 2002, it is not known where he was buried,  but believed to be in the old  Terrell  Pioneer Cemetery.  Nothing is known about his family either.


Obituary of Tom Terrell

Terrell Daily Transcript -  August 10, 1904


Tom Terrell's Obituary reads:

Tom Terrell, a good old colored man of the ante-bellum days, died last evening at his home west of the city, aged 69 years. Uncle Tom came to Texas from Kentucky in 1846 with J. O. Terrell, father of J. O. Terrell, of San Antonio, and Mrs. A. H. Ables of this city. He was a man of many sterling qualities and held the esteem of all the white people who knew him. He was buried this afternoon.

Terrell Daily Transcript - August 13, 1904


Isabella "Belle" Stuart Carter Johnson, a Pioneering African-American Woman of Kaufman Co.


In mid - 1846 William Peters came to Texas and received land through Mercer's Colony. He had come from Virginia with stops in TN and MO along the way, bringing with him his 2nd wife - Sarah, his son James, his widowed daughter Martha Jane Weatherford & her son David, and his youngest daughter Tabitha. He also brought with him two young mulatto girls named Hannah and Isabella - slaves - who were his biological daughters.


In early 1847 Isabella and Hannah went with Peters' daughter Martha Jane to Henderson County Martha had married Robert H Love in April 1846 and they were living at Kingsborough, in the home of Robert's father, William Love. In 1849 Robert Love died and Martha Jane and her son went back to live with her father, then in Anderson Co TX. However, the two girls remained in William Love's household. They were watched over by a man called by the name Toney Stuart and his wife Lucy, both slaves on the Wm Love place. The girls evidently thought of the Stuart couple with great regard because they both began using Stuart as their surname.


By 1851 the Peters family had established themselves in Kaufman County and Martha Jane married again to William H Carter. In 1860 Isabella was living in the Carter household, and was treated like family, as in reality, she was Martha Jane's sister. During this time Isabella began using Carter as her surname for the first time. Also, by that time, Hannah was in the Charles Crouch household.


In approximately 1862 Isabella "Jumped the Broom" with Richard 'Dick' Johnson, a slave of John K Love. John Love was the brother of Martha Jane's deceased husband, Robert Love. The Carters and John Love lived near each other and it is not known whether Dick and Isabella lived together at that time, or were housed on separate properties. It is known that after emancipation - 1866 in Texas - Isabella continued to work in the Carter house although she and Dick lived with John Love. Along with their children and her sister Hannah, they were all enumerated in the Love household on the 1870 census:

1870 Kaufman Co TX Census, Page 4, enumerated on 6 Jul 1870 - Household 19 / 19



1870 Kaufman Co TX Census, Page 4,  Enumerated on 6 Jul 1870 - Household 19 / 19

*this is Lucinda Johnson as an Infant
**This is Isabella's sister, Hannah Stuart


John K Love







Dick Johnson





- / 100






Domestic Servant
























Un-named Baby*







Steward (sic), Hanna*




Domestic Servant




Her exact date and place of birth is not known but according to census records the year of birth would have been 1845. It is not known exactly when she died, but evidently it was prior to 1903, as no Death Certificate has been located for her and it is known by Bible records and from her descendants that she died in Kaufman , TX. According to Bible records Isabelle Stuart Johnson Carter is buried in an unmarked grave next to her son T J Johnson at Kaufman Pioneer Cemetery. She worked for Martha Jane & William Carter from about 1866 until 1871. One of the last things Isabella did with the Carter family was have her photograph made.


Front and Back of the CDV made of Isabella Stuart Johnson Carter in 1871
Found in the Carter - Kelley Family Bible


In the summer of 1871 both William and Martha Jane Carter died. During the years 1871 to 1882 it is not known exactly what Isabella was doing, but there is record she worked for Eliza Weatherford, Martha Jane's daughter-in-law. And in November 1882 she began working for Martha Jane & William's daughter Mollie Carter, who married that month to Edwin Kelley. The memoirs of William Kelley, Mollie & Edwin's son, state Isabella lived in their house on 2nd North Street in Kaufman from the time he was about 6 years old ( 1894) until she died. It was around 1890 that Isabella began using the surname CARTER on Tax Records and other legal documents, and the inscription on her son Toney's tombstone, "5th child of Isabella Carter" proves she was using the Carter surname at that time.






Richard "Dick" Johnson

According to Kaufman Co Voter Registration List of 1867 - the first list of African-American resident males after Emancipation - Richard "Dick" Johnson came to Texas in 1851, and was born in VA.

Dick Johnson is buried at Mt Hebron Cemetery - tombstone reads: born Jan 1835 - died 31 Jan 1891 . Through records it has been determined that Dick was probably the slave of William Johnson before becoming property of John K Love.


The Children of Isabella & Dick

To Isabella & Dick Johnson, 5 known children were born:
Frank Johnson
Richard Alonzo "Bud" Johnson
Bob Johnson
Lucinda Johnson
Toney Joe Johnson

We know that at least three of the children received some education as they were counted on the 1884 Kaufman County Scholastic Census report of the Colored Scholastic population in the city of Kaufman - July 7th 1884 . They were listed as: Rich Johnson - age 14, Lucinda Johnson - age 13 & Tonie Johnson - age 9


Frank Johnson

Born December 1863 and it is unknown as to when and where he died but it was after 1921. On the 1880 Kaufman Co Census Frank had left his family's home and was living in the Joshua Calip household, listed as age 18, born TX & Farm Laborer.


Frank married Lillie Carlisle 20 Dec 1888 (Kaufman Co Marriage Book 4)
She was born circa 1873 and died before 1920. Daughter of Jeff & Louisa Carlisle, who were both slaves in early Kaufman
, County.

Frank & Lillie had known children:

Jefferson           born 5 Oct 1889
Charles             born Sep 1891
Preston             born May 1893 - died 24 Dec 1934 Kaufman TX buried Old Oakwood
Ophelia (f)        born Sep 1898
Frank Jr           born 1896 - died 1921
Frankie (f)        born 1899
another daughter whose name is illegible on the 1910 census as 1 year old.


On 1920 Census Frank is in Terrell , TX married to a woman named Lizzie. Living with them are his son, Frank Jr - age 24, and her daughters:
Jessie Orange - 19
Leola Grissle - 16
Eva Grissle - 12

That year his son Preston is living in Kaufman, listed with his wife Bessie and Frank's 2 youngest daughters Ophelia-23 and Frankie-20.

On August 5, 1897 , Frank Johnson shot and killed another black man named Sam Moore on the main street in Terrell. He was arrested and jailed for the crime. His trial did not come to court for a year and a half.


Kaufman Sun - 13 Aug 1897  - Frank Johnson, colored , killed Sam Moore, also colored, on Aug 5th at Terrell by shooting him with a shotgun.

Terrell Times Star - Aug 13th 1897 - Last Thursday Frank Johnson shot & mortally wounded Sam Moore, both parties Negroes.

Terrell Times Daily - 24 Feb 1899 - Frank Johnson, colored, who killed another Negroes more  than a year ago in this city, had the jury return a verdict of not guilty by reason of Self Defense.


Bob Johnson


According to the 1870 census Bob was born in 1868 and evidently was deceased by 1880.


Richard Alonzo "Bud" Johnson 

Born circa Feb 1867 - he died 2 Feb 1904 in Kaufman Co TX & according to his death certificate was buried in the Post Oak Bend community, and is probably interred at Lone Star graveyard. He died interstate, with no probate to be found in Kaufman County. He is seen in official documents as Richard A, R A, Bud & Alonzo Johnson.

He married 13 Sep 1888 in Kaufman TX., Melissa "Masella" Sanders, born circa 1873 but it is unknown as to when and where she died. Masella is found on records as Marzella, Mosella, Mozella, Melissa & Marsella. Her surname is written on the Marriage Certificate is Anderson, but researchers feel this was an error made by the clerk. It is on her son Jim's birth record that it was proven her maiden name to be Sanders.


On the 1880 Kaufman County Census in Precinct 5 she is found living in the household of John Patterson as a Servant Girl, listed as Mosella Sanders, age 7, Mulatto & born in TX. Also, Only a few houses away on the 1880 Census Kitty Sanders is found living as a Servant, Widowed, age 55 born TN in the household of Nancy Jackson. This Kitty is found living with Bud and Masella in the 1900 census, listed under the name Kittie Perry


Bud & Masella Johnson had 7 known children:

Alberta (Alphretta) Johnson      born Dec 1890
Columbus Johnson                    born Feb 1892
James Odell Johnson                born Apr 1893 - died 5 May 1917
Richard "Jim" Johnson   born 12 May 1895 - died 5 Mar 1964
M T "Rebel" Johnson                born May 1896
Amanda ParaLee Johnson        born Mar 1898
Mabel Johnson                         born 1902

After Bud's death Masella remarried Richard Joiner on 28 May 1905 in Kaufman Co.
Masella & Joiner had three children:
Clarence Wilbur Joiner born 1906
Catherine Joiner                        born 1908
Jeanie M Joiner                        born 1910


Masella is on the 1920 census with Richard Joiner, but on the 1930 census he is found alone, listed as a widower.

Bud & Masella's daughter Alphretta married Edgar B Miller in Kaufman County - 30 Mar 1908- Bk 10, pg 198. In 1910 they are residing in Grayson Co TX with 2 children: Edgar Jr & Lana A.


Lucinda Johnson

Born Kaufman TX 25 Dec 1869 - Died 27 August 1938, per Death Certificate - Kaufman County Death records Book 38, Page 190, listed as Lucinday; daughter of Dick Johnson and Bell Stewart. There is no Probate found for Lucinda Shannon in Kaufman CountyTX. She is buried in an Unmarked grave at Kaufman City Cemetery. She Married 15 Jun 1890 - Kaufman County Marriage Book 5 John Shannon. Born 24 Jan 1869 Henderson Co TX - Died 25 February 1944, according to his Death Certificate recorded in Kaufman County Death records, Book 44/45, Page 130. Buried in Unmarked grave at Kaufman City Cemetery, probably next to Lucinda. His parents were Arthur Shannon and Ester Elizer Nickles. Per 1867 Tax Records, Arthur Shannon came to Texas in 1857 - born in NC.


Lucinda and John probably met in school. John was counted on the 1884 Kaufman County Scholastic Census report of the Colored Scholastic Population as John - age 15. On the 1900 Kaufman County Texas Census, Lucinda is found listed as head of her own household and listed her Marital Status as "Divorced", having given birth to 5 children, 3 of whom were still living.


On the 1900 Census for Texas , John Shannon is found residing in Montgomery County , near some of his relatives, living as a married man with a young woman named Mary, listed as his wife. Recorded as "married 1 year". *This leaves researchers to speculate on this situation.


By the 1910 Kaufman County Census, Lucinda is back living with John Shannon, listed as his Wife. On the census they list they have been married 18 years and have 2 children living - Sam 15 and Tom 13.

Known Children of Lucinda and John Shannon:

Will Shannon                born Nov 1891 - died before 1910
Sam Shannon               born Mar 1893
Tom Shannon               born 11 May
1895 - Died 1981


Lucinda & John's son Sam Shannon married Claudie McDowell in Kaufman on 19 Oct 1922 but by the 1930 census he was back living with his parents and she listed herself as "widowed" in her brother's household. No Divorce Decree has been located for them and she died 1960. By 1940 Sam was living with Elizabeth Swanson as husband and wife. They had a daughter - Sylvia Ann Shannon - born 9 Mar 1945 , died 30 Jul 1948 and buried in an unmarked grave at the Kaufman City Cemetery. Their son Tom Shannon married Delilah Thompson in Kaufman 7 Jun 1927.


Toney Joe Johnson

Toney's tombstone in the Kaufman Pioneer Cemetery tells all there is known about his life. It is inscribed: "5th child of Isabella Carter" "Born 9 June 1872 - Died 7 July 1891 ". These inscriptions substantiate that he is the Toney listed on the 1880 census as Dick & Isabella's Son -age 7. He was probably named for the man Isabella recognized as a father figure - Toney Stuart. Below is a photo of his tombstone.






"Aunty" Emily Patterson

Submitted by Linda Feagin Harwell

Terrell Tribune - 14 Jan1935



The Tribune had an interesting caller this morning in the person of Aunty Emily Patterson, colored, who claims to be 100 years old. While she has no birth certificate to establish this, she was attended by several of her young friends who vouched for the authenticity of her claims. She came into the office "under her own power" and with but little assistance from those who attended her. Aunt Emily says she was born in 1834, twenty-seven years before the outbreak of the Civil War. She remembers full well "when the stars fell" but she can not recall the year when this event occurred. It must have been in 1866, however, the year of the "second shower," the previous phenomena of this kind having occurred in 1833. Aunt Emily was born in  Mississippi, but came with her master, George Dawkins, to Arcadia, Louisiana, where she lived until thirty-five years ago, moving to  Hawkins, Texas , where she resided until last October, when she came to Terrell to spend her remaining days. She is making her home with a niece, Ella Powell, on South Delphine "until she can get her a house." She has a son, George Patterson, living in Terrell, and two daughters live in Wills Point.

Aunt Emily speaks very kindly of her master during slavery times. "Mistah Dawkins never sold any of his slaves," she said, "and he always treated us kindly." She has an abiding faith in the future and is ready to go when de "ole mastah calls. But I'm going to stay here jes as long as I can," she added.


***No documents on this page may be copied or used on any other website without the expressed permission of Kathey Hunt of Kaufman Co., Texas TXGenWeb Project.