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Kaufman County ’s Tie to the “ Underground Railroad ”

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

Researched and submitted by Kathey Kelley Hunt



Most persons would never guess that Kaufman County Texas would have a tie to the infamous Underground Railroad, but it has a strong one.


   Kaufman County was named for David Spangler Kaufman, a man who came to the Republic of Texas at age twenty-four and became a respected attorney, orator, soldier and the first man from the new state of Texas to be elected to the U. S. Congress.   David Kaufman was born 18 Dec 1813 at Boiling Springs, Cumberland Co PA, son of Abraham Kauffman and Mary Ann Spangler. His views were pro-slavery.


~  Actual cover of a David S Kaufman Speech  ~
He delivered this speech on
Feb. 16th, 1847  in the US House of Representatives


   David Kaufman had a younger brother, Daniel, who was born 21 Apr 1818 and died 26 Jul 1902 . He remained in Cumberland Co PA all his life.  Daniel was an Abolitionist and his home was a stop on the Underground Railroad. It is hard to imagine how the relationship of these two brothers existed considering their strong and opposite convictions.  Below are summaries of their lives.


The Story of Daniel Kaufman


    In the early 1800’s more than half of Pennsylvania 's total slave population was in Cumberland County , and the Kaufman family lived among people who owned slaves.  The issue of slavery was strongly debated among Cumberland County residents and conflicting convictions on the subject divided the populace, and families.  Some of these residents helped runaway slaves escape to freedom. They hid them from their owners and transported them to safety in what became known as the Underground Railroad.


    At the age of 17 Daniel was of a strong will and even greater mind, and he became involved with the "Underground Railroad", hiding runaway slaves on a densely overgrown place called Island Grove which was about a mile from his family's home on Yellow Breeches River . He also hid slaves in his family’s barn, and later in his home, and was assisted in these endeavors by two of his brothers-in-law, Mode Griffith and Stephen Weakley.


    Island Grove, located on the Yellow Breeches Creek near Boiling Springs, still exists today. In the times of the Underground Railroad it was a small island that was almost completely covered with tall trees, low vines and shrubbery that made it nearly impassable, and a formidable hide out.    Daniel Kaufman hid the runaway slaves here, fed and clothed them, allowing them to rest and gather their strength before leaving for the next station on their journey.  


   In 1847 Daniel was sued by Maryland slave-owner, Mary Oliver for reimbursement for her loss of 13 slaves, who were traced to Kaufman's barn.   He was placed on trial for harboring runaway slaves. He lost that trial but the verdict was reversed in 1849 by the Supreme Court of PA. In 1849 he was sued again. This time he was assisted with attorney's fees by several abolition societies and that trial resulted in a hung jury. In 1852 he was tried again on the same charges, but in this verdict he was found guilty and forced to pay thousands of dollars in fines.

   In the Oct. 15, 1899 edition of the Philadelphia Press, in a story entitled "Agent of the Underground Railway" Daniel Kaufman related his life. In that story he stated that between 1837 and 1849 he assisted more than 60 runaway slaves and that to his knowledge none of those persons were ever caught or placed back into bondage.


    These adamant beliefs and convictions on the part of Daniel Kaufman are difficult to realize when they are presented that he was David Kaufman's brother. David had strong pro-slavery beliefs and married a woman whose father owned dozens of slaves in the Republic and during Texas' early statehood. This fact can only lead to thought as to whether Daniel and David actually corresponded during their lives. Records show that on 7 Jun 1848 Daniel sold to David a lot in the town of Boiling Springs for $100.00. This lot is located at the address of 111 Front Street, right next door to Daniel's infamous dwelling.


   Daniel married Catharine Fortenbaugh and they had only 2 children - a son who died as an adolescent and a daughter, Anna.


    On the side of Boiling Springs Lake, a historic marker directs visitors to the home built by Daniel Kaufman, who laid out the village, established its first schools and sold lots there for more than 50 years.   Daniel built the home at the intersection of Front and Third streets in 1880 and lived there until his death in 1902.   In irony his home sets across the lake from the home of Michael Ege, a man who owned many slaves during the times Daniel was helping in their flight to freedom.


     In 2002 The state of Pennsylvania placed a Historical Marker near the Daniel Kaufman home. It reads:

                                Daniel Kaufman (1818-1902) -- An agent on the Underground

                                 Railroad, Kaufman provided food, shelter and transportation to

                                runaway slaves.    In 1847, he was sued by a Maryland slave

                                owner in a significant case that attracted statewide attention and

                                resulted in a fine of $4,000. Kaufman laid out the Village of Boiling

                                Springs in 1845.

The Story of David Spangler Kaufman



He was born 18 December 1813 at Boiling Springs, Cumberland Co PA.  He was called "Spangler" by his family, as shown in family records and his father's Will.  After he became an adult David practiced the Jewish faith which was not of his heritage or lineage, nor the religion of his wife, and this fact has puzzled historians for more than a century.  His parents   and other members of his family were members of the Reformed Trinity Church of York Co PA.   


Forever a “Native Son” of Cumberland County

After moving to Texas David Kaufman was living more than a thousand miles from his family in Cumberland Co PA, and his views and politics varied greatly from those of his family and former neighbors, yet his accomplishments were recognized and he was still held in high esteem there.  The following is from the June 29, 1848 edition of the American Volunteer, a Carlisle PA publication, after Sam Houston wrote to the local officials announcing he and David Kaufman would celebrate Independence Day in Carlisle.


Celebration of the 4th at Carlisle

Our democratic friends of Cumberland County are likely to have a splendid celebration of there at national anniversary. Gen.Sam Houston, Col. Frazier and Honorable David S Kaufman, all distinguished speakers from Texas, will be present.  If our citizens find it convenient, they would be well repaid for a visit there on the occasion. Come on, every one of you. You shall receive a cordial welcome and witness a day of sentimental cheerfulness. The July 13th edition of the same publication offered the following accolade to David Kaufman, praising the speech he delivered on July 4th.


     "A toast to the Hon. David S Kaufman - born and reared amongst us, we know his exalted worth....a few years since he was but a quiet and unobtrusive youth living in our midst - now he is the popular and talented representative of the new State of Texas in the Congress of the Union.  His destiny is onward and upward, and yet higher honors await him at the hands of the people. A noble son of old Cumberland, who in his adopted state, has won a name and fame which rank him amongst the bravest and best, and promise a career of bright and extended usefulness.  We are fond of him as a citizen born of our county, and fond of 

him as a member of our party; like an affectionate son he comes, after years of absence, to visit his native spot.  It is a fitting tribute he should be one of those who added as another bright star to the galaxy of democracy."



His Education

    Kaufman began his education at home and by the age of 15 was placed in an apprenticeship as a Merchant in the mercantile of Mr. David Niven in Shippensburg, PA.  Within a year Mr. Niven saw that David took more interest in reading the books in his store than selling them and persuaded David's father to allow him to attend Dickinson College.  He enrolled in 1829, but did not finish his collegiate studies there, quickly realizing his desire for a higher form of education.  In 1830 he removed himself to New Jersey and in 1833 graduated from Nassau Hall at Princeton.  After graduation he studied law in Natchez, Mississippi, serving an internship under John A Quitman, a man who later became governor of Mississippi.  It is believed Quitman's adventuresome spirit, enthusiasm for exploring the frontier and zealousness for Texas independence from Mexico was a strong influence on his young apprentice's reasons for moving to Texas.


    In 1835 David Kaufman left Mississippi to begin his legal career in Natchitoches, Louisiana.  Two years later, through the urgings of his old friend, Quitman, David Kaufman settled in Nacogdoches in the Republic of Texas.  He was quickly recognized as a trust-worthy man, sought after to handle legal affairs of many of the men thought of as Texas' founding pioneers. It is apparent that Quitman trusted Kaufman with his own personal business dealings, as well. In early Nacogdoches records Kaufman is listed as the Agent of Record for Quitman, registering 1,070 acres of his land there on the Tax Rolls.


D S Kaufman, Esquire

    Within a year of his removal to Texas Kaufman's legal prowess and strong oratory skills had made him a very popular new comer to the Republic.  He was elected, as a Democrat to the Congress of the Republic in 1838, representing Nacogdoches. However, the fiber of the young man soon proved to be made from more than just his intellect, as in 1837 David Kaufman was also serving the Republic as a soldier.


    By 1837 Kaufman had removed to Sabinetown and had opened a law practice "Kaufman and Gould" with his partner, Charles M Gould.   In 1837  David S Kaufman is listed on the Poll Tax List for Nacogdoches and in 1840 listed as a citizen in Nacogdoches listed as:  "Kaufman D S    arrived in Republic June 1837 - 2nd class headright - 640 acres in Nacogdoches on 5 Oct 1838" (certification 14 May 1841).


Mentor & Soldier

    Kaufman became an integral part in putting an end to the Regulator-Moderator War in Texas 1837-1844.  The feud had proven a violent chapter in the Republic's history.  In 1844 Sam Houston sent an entourage of militia to end the fighting and though ten men were arrested only a truce negotiated by Judge William B. Ochiltree, Isaac Van Zandt, and David S. Kaufman convinced the sides to quit fighting.   


   In 1839, despite treaties made with Sam Houston and the Republic, the Cherokee Indians under the leadership of Chief Bowl began depredations against the growing number of settlers in east central Texas.  Kaufman, who was a Major at the time, served as an Aide to Gen. Kelsey H Douglass.  On July 15th and 16th, he was fighting in the Battle of the Neches, part of the Cherokee War, south of Tyler.  During the fight, the one in which Chief Bowl ( also known as Chief Duwali ) was killed, Kaufman was wounded in the face.  At first it was thought the wound may prove fatal as a ball entered his mouth and exited in front of his left ear.  However, Kaufman did recover though was scarred the remainder of his life.


His Political Career

    Although no record exists showing the Kauffman family owned slaves, his father-in-law, Daniel Long Richardson, was a slave owner and David Kaufman was Pro-Slavery.  He quickly made his presence known in Washington with a speech attacking the Wilmot Proviso, which sought to ban slavery in new territories acquired by the United States.  He had strong opinions concerning free persons of color within the US and the Republic of Texas as seen in "The Ashworth Law", an Act he co-authored and signed.  The law made it unlawful for a free person of color to emigrate to the Republic of Texas, required free persons of color to leave the Republic within two years unless those free persons who wished to remain post a bond,  permitted county officials to evict free persons of color from the Republic who do not post a bond and permitted the sale into slavery of any free persons of color who do not obey the law. The law also gave immunity to the above for certain persons of color whom were deemed pioneers in the Republic.  The law reads:


For the Relief of certain Free Persons of Color.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas, in Congress assembled, That William Ashworth, Abner Ashworth, David Ashworth, Aaron Ashworth, Elisha Thomas, and all free persons of color, together with their families, who were residing in Texas on the day of the declaration of independence, are, and shall be exempt from the operation and provisions of an act of Congress, entitled "An Act concerning Free Persons of Color," approved fifth of February, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and forty; and that the above named persons, with their families, are hereby granted permission to remain in this republic; anything in the laws of the country to the contrary notwithstanding


DAVID S. KAUFMAN                                                                                  DAVID G. BURNET

Speaker of the House of Representatives                                              President of the Senate


Approved December 12th, 1840.  



     The first elected office held by David Kaufman was that of District Attorney of San Augustine.  As well as serving in the House of the Third Congress of the Republic he served as Speaker of the House in the Fourth and Fifth congresses through 1843.  From December 1843 through June 1845 he represented Shelby, Sabine, and Harrison counties in the Senate of the Republic. 

    Though well-liked and respected by most during his legal and political career, Kaufman was not without his adversaries and enemies.  One man, James S Mayfield (1808 - 1852), was Kaufman's shadow and nemesis from his earliest days in Texas.  Mayfield moved to Nacogdoches at about the same time Kaufman did, and was also a lawyer.  He also served as a Captain with Kaufman during the Cherokee Wars under the command of H K Douglass.  From Feb. 8, to Sep. 7, 1841 Mayfield was Secretary of State for the Republic of Texas, and although he was elected to the Texas' Fifth & Sixth Congresses from Nacogdoches County there is proof he had higher political aspirations and ran for U S Congress the same year Kaufman won the election, which may have left a bitter side to him.  He was known as a scoundrel, and a definitely a man who craved attention.  In history there is recorded several instances where he shot, killed or sought to duel men in the Republic.

    On January 4th, 1842, during a session of the Texas House of Representatives, Mayfield, while speaking on a bill, spoke about fellow congressman Kaufman in an unsavory manner.  Later, after the session adjourned, Kaufman waited for Mayfield and called out to him.  An argument ensued, with threats made by both men.  Shots were exchanged and Kaufman was wounded in the abdomen.  (For newspaper articles concerning this gunfight, click here.)  According to records that wound never healed completely and some say it probably attributed to his death.  Strange as it seems the encounter must have been considered as a fair fight for apparently no charges were filed against either man.


    David Kaufman was described as a great orator whose forceful campaign speeches brought him notoriety.  He was in demand throughout Texas at colleges, political gatherings and Masonic lodges.  His filibusters and lobbying tactics in both the Texas and U S Houses are infamous.  While in Congress Kaufman argued unsuccessfully that Texas owned lands that are now parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, and Oklahoma.  He encouraged Governor Peter H. Bell to have Texas troops seize Santa Fe.  He also played a role in the Compromise of 1850, whereby the national government assumed the debts of Texas.  The compromise was ratified in December 1850, only one month prior to his death.


D S Kaufman died 18 January 1851 in Washington, D. C. It will never be known to what greatness David Kaufman might have achieved if he had not died.  His death was ultimately attributed to the wound he received when shot by Mayfield in 1842, as it never properly healed and in most likeliness caused an aneurysm.  Medical experts described his death as being within an hour of the onset of him collapsing, believing the cause of death to be from massive internal bleeding.


The National Intelligencer, February 1, 1851:

“Death of Mr. Kaufman;

It is our painful duty to announce the decease of the Hon. David S. Kaufman, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas.  About two o'clock yesterday he was in his seat in the House of Representatives, but, feeling a painful sensation about the region of the heart, he returned in a carriage to his lodgings at the United States Hotel.  He there lay upon his bed for some time, in apparent tranquil repose, in the presence of his wife.  About sunset he spoke, in reply to an observation from his child, and suddenly expired.  His disease was an affection of the heart.  Mr. Kaufman was a gentleman who had won general esteem by the amiableness of his disposition, and his death will be deeply regretted by his brother members, and be a loss to his State, in the National Councils, which few of her citizens can supply.”


    The funeral for David Kaufman was held February 4, 1851, in Washington DC and his remains interred in the Congressional Cemetery there.  In 1932 his remains were moved from Washington, DC to the Texas State Cemetery In Austin, TX.


  His tombstone in the Texas State Cemetery reads:


David Spangler Kaufman

Born  Boiling Springs PA

December 18th , 1813

Died Washington DC

January 31st , 1851


The back of Monument reads:

Member of the House of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Congress of the Texas Republic

Speaker of the House 3rd and 4th Congress

Charge d'Affaires to the United States in 1845

The first man in Texas to be seated - Jun 11 1846 - as a member of the House of Representatives to the U S Congress


Family of Daniel & David S Kaufman



Abraham Kauffman

B: 26 Nov 1780  Newberry Township, York Co PA

Son of John Kauffman & Christianna Landis

D: 13 Apr 1847  Cumberland Co PA


Md: 24 Feb 1803 Cumberland Co PA



Mary Spangler

B: 25 Oct 1781  York Co PA

Dau of Maj. Joseph Spangler (Spengler) & Elizabeth Gartner

D: 26 Sep 1841


Abraham and Mary had 9 known children - 5 sons and 4 daughters.  All were born in Pennsylvania.


John R      b: 17 Jan 1804  d: 1877- buried Greenwood Cem, Macon Co IL

Married #1 Susanna ( died 1837 - buried Mt Zion in PA )

Married #2 Margaret Montgomery on 26 May 1841 - IL

Elizabeth   b:10 April 1805  d: 20 Feb 1868   Buried at Mt Zion

Married Mode Griffith on 11 Feb 1830

Joseph       b: circa 1807  d: age 62 ( circa 1869 ) - Macon Co IL

Married Mary Ann _______

Mary Ann   b: 1808  d: 1823   * buried beside her parents in Mt Zion

Abraham    b: 5 Jan 1811  d: 28 Aug 1839 - Charleston SC

Married  Anna D Faber  on 17 Apr 1838 in Charleston SC

David S    b: 1813

Daniel        b: 21 Apr 1818  d: 26 Jul 1902 - Cumberland Co PA

Married  Catherine Fortenbaugh

Harriett     b: 31 March 1820  d: 30 March 1901- Cumberland Co PA

Married Stephen Foulk Weakley on 13 Apr 1841

Lovina K     b: 18 Feb 1822  d: 24 Sep 1888 - Warren Co IL

Married F A "James" Weakley


In the 1840's Daniel & David's two eldest brothers John and Joseph moved from PA to Macon Co IL.  Joseph was a farmer with mild political aspirations, serving as a Justice of the Peace, and John was a miller, a widower when he moved.  He remarried in IL.  Both men had large families.


Abraham, their   next eldest brother, started his career as a hardware salesman but like Daniel & David was of a scholarly mind which led him to become a reverend of two different religions.  He graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA and from Andover Theological Seminary.  He was a noted scholar of translating the German, Hebrew and Latin languages and was an early professor of Metaphysics.  In the year 1830 he was ordained a minister of the Presbyterian church, but grew weary of that religion and was determined to enter the Episcopalian church while residing in Boston.  On 7 Oct 1837 he was ordained a priest of the Episcopalian church and was sent to work at St. Philips Church in Charleston SC, where he died 2 years later from yellow fever.  He had one son.


The Mt Zion Cemetery in Monroe, Cumberland Co PA was the Kauffman family burial ground.  Many of Daniel & David's relatives are buried there.  They include:


Kaufman, Abraham, d. 13 April 1847, age 67 years


Kaufman, Mary, d. 26 Sept 1841, age 59 years


Kauffman, Daniel, 1814-1902

Daniel's wife, Catharine Fortenbaugh, 1824-1907

Daniel's son, Spangler G., d. 22 Oct 1873, age 18 yrs 15 days


Mary A., d. 13 Nov 1823, age 15 years



David & Daniel Kaufman's maternal grandfather, Joseph Spangler / Spengler** was a Major in the Pennsylvania Militia during the American Revolutionary War.


**York Co PA Wills 1749-1819

Name: Elizabeth Spangler Description: Wife Date: 28 Dec 1801 Prove Date: 2 Mar 1802 Remarks: Joseph Spangler.  Dec 28, 1801.  Executors: Frederick Hike and Jacob Gartner.  Dover Township.  Wife: Elizabeth Spangler.  Children: Jonas, Mary, Peter, Joseph, John, Jacob, Daniel and Elizabeth.



David Kaufman's Wife & Children

        On 21 April 1841 David Kaufman married Jane Baxter Richardson in San Augustine TX.  She was the daughter of Daniel Long Richardson, a soldier for the Republic at the Battle of San Jacinto, and his wife, Jane Baxter.

Jane was born 6 Jan 1824 in Georgia and died in Sabinetown, Texas on 19 Dec 1852, less than two years after David Kaufman's untimely death.


To David and Jane the following children were born:

1. Anna Maria Kaufman - born 6 Dec 1843 in Sabinetown, TX

      (she married John Garland Allen and died in October 1881 in Galveston, Texas)

2. David S Kaufman - born circa 1846-1847

3. Daniel Long Kaufman - born 1844

4. Samuel Houston Kaufman - born 27 Feb 1850 died 14 Aug 1851

5. Jane Baxter Kaufman - born & died 11 Aug 1851*


*Because of a marked grave in the Sabinetown Cemetery, Sabine Co TX, some researchers believe this child was born to the couple in 1851.  The tombstone is inscribed with only one date which at the time reflected that the interred person was born and had died on the same date.  The grave is located next to that of Jane Richardson Kaufman in that graveyard.  The date being only three days from the death date of Sam Kaufman leads researchers to believe there may have been an epidemic of some type in August 1851.


Daniel Long Richardson, father-in-law to D S Kaufman was a Slave owner .

The inventory of D L Richardson's estate included thousands of acres of land in as many as twenty-one counties, fifty-two slaves, a dwelling, a gin house, a black smith shop, a gristmill, a kitchen, stables, corn cribs, farm goods, cattle, oxen, wagons, and other implements.  Cash divided among four heirs amounted to approximately $120,000.



Additional information on David Kaufman

There are  four Texas State Historical Markers that mention David S Kaufman.  One is in Kaufman County and three are in Sabine County.


Kaufman County Marker

On the north side of the courthouse

**Marker erected in 1936 as part of the state's centennial - a granite and metal marker


Marker Inscription:


Kaufman County

Created February 26, 1848

Organized August 7, 1848

Named in Honor of

David Spangler Kaufman

1812 - 1851

Came to Texas in 1837 and

Located at Nacogdoches

Member of the Texas Congress 1839 - 1845

Member of the United States Congress


Sabine County Markers

Hemphill Courthouse Grounds

Marker Inscription:

A borderland between Spain and the United States, 1803-1819.  Entry for many Anglo-American colonists and travelers after 1820, first included in the municipality of Nacogdoches; after 1832 in the municipality of San Augustine; on December 15, 1835, it became the municipality of Sabine, borrowing its name from the river which forms its eastern boundary.  Became a county in 1836.  Organized in 1837.  Milam, county seat, 1837-1858, Hemphill, since 1858.  In the heart of the pinelands.  In memory of Benjamin Holt, Absolom Hier, Jesss Parker, members of the Convention of 1832.  William Clark Jr., James Gaines, signers of the Declaration of Independence, 1836.  Captain William Scurlock, a participant in the battle of Coleto under Colonel James W. Fannin, Jr. life spared March 27, 1836.  Isaac W Burton, Benjamin F. Bryant, John C. Hale, William Pace, Alfred Benton, Dr. Robert K. Goodloe, San Jacinto veterans and other founders and defenders of the Republic of Texas, who lived in this county, before or after the Revolution, Some of the distinguished citizens contributed by Sabine County:  David S. Kaufman, first U.S congressman from Texas; Sam D. McMahan, pioneer patriot; Littleton Fowler, early missionary; R. P. Sibley, J. C Caraway, captains in the CSA.



Marker Inscription:

Established by Herman Frazier in 1839.  Named for the river on which it was located.  A port of entry during the period of the Republic.  Among its earliest citizens were David S. Kaufman and Augustus Hotchess and Shadrick Morris.  Nearby lived Jesse J. Robertson and E. H. Hines.  Post office discontinued by 1880.


The Milam Masonic Institute.

Marker Inscription:

Many pioneers belonged to the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, an order active in education.  Among Masons settling in this area by 1845 were Republic of Texas leaders William Clark, James Gaines, D.S. Kaufman, Willis H Landrum, and F. M. Weatherred.  The Rev. Littleton Fowler (1803-46), a Mason, opened in 1845 in this county, the Midway Institute, which was soon absorbed by Red Mount Seminary.  Set to work at Red Mount (Milam), 1847, was Jackson Lodge No. 35 A.F.&A.M, with John Boyd, G. A. Norford, A. D. Oliphint, O. J. Polley, and J. T. Scruggs, as officers.  The Lodge soon operated the Milam Masonic institute, successor to the earlier schools. On the charter application (1853), M.M.I. was listed as an already 'flourishing school.'  Later, Sexton Lodge No. 251, A.F.&A.M., operated M.M.I., a great contributor to East Texas culture until tax-funded education became universal in the 1870s.  Among the supporters of M.M.I. were Masons with the family names Anderson, Causey, Davis, Deweese, Dorsey, Elliott, Gellately, Halbert, Harper, Harris, Jacks, Low, McCloskey, McGown, McMahan, Mason, Nethery, Noble, Pratt, Peeves, Penfro, Sanders, Slaughter Smith, Speights, Sweet, Tucker, Vickers, Watson, White, Whittlesey, Williams, and Yeiser.



***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.