Grayson County TXGenWeb
African - American Family History

     Grayson County was one of the earlier settled counties in North Texas. Its early population was made up of stock raisers, farmers and freighters who brought supplies in to the early settlers. Up along the Red River there were plantations. There were several of these of various sizes. These homes were not the often-pictured fine plantation homes but usually were two story cabins, later plank wood. The most ostentatious was "Glen Eden", which was located near where Preston Point is today. Pottsboro was named for the Potts family who had an early plantation in the same area. Many African-American families have the surname of Potts in their family tree. Fannin County also had many plantations and the early African-American families of Grayson County often can trace their roots to these families.
     By the 1870's Denison, Sherman, Van Alstyne, Whitesboro and Whitewright all had areas of town set aside for "'negro' neighborhoods". These show up sometimes in the town plats.  The Plat Book  is online.
    Often this included a business street or two containing African-American owned businesses, banks and even hospitals. These would grow and prosper until the horrible conditions of the 1920s and 1930s, when riots and KKK activity were at their height.  These business districts broke up and the economy of them was ruined.
      The golden age of railroading and commerce with factories, though, had been built up fast after the 1880s, and the railroads were in full use. This pulled more population into Grayson County and all of the railroad towns expanded greatly.  Many African-American citizens moved away from the farm at this time, seeking an easier life.  Besides the doctors, lawyers, dentists and bankers who held high positions in the African-American communities, the position of railroad conductor was held in high esteem. There were lots of railroad jobs of all kinds, making the cities a popular place to move for the able bodied.
     Whole neighborhoods of upper middle class rose up for the first time where formerly only a few African-American families were considered middle class. These were the undertakers, grocers, oculist, dry goods, feed stores, clothing stores and restaurant owners.
   This area was growing and was a vital port into the state of Texas.
   While doing your family research, if you find your ancestor dissappearing from the area for a time, check the Indian Territory where many young adults went to share crop for a while and make money. Also for those who settled in Indian Territory for good, their older generations may dissappear and appear in Indian Territory in their homes after they retire.
   Be sure to check the online city and county directories to track people from year to year. I would love to have your family story to add to the website.

Grayson County online resources

Saint John CME Church ~ Sherman

Hopewell Baptist Church ~ Denison

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church ~ Denison

Booker T. Washington Elementary & Junior High School
Van Alstyne

Morning Chapel CME
Van Alstyne

Samaria Baptist Church
Van Alstyne

White Rock Missionary Baptist Church

Black Friday

George Hughes' trial

Vaden Slave information

The Men & Women in World War II from Grayson County, Texas

This book has a 'Negro' Section in the back,
Here are the listings for that section.
Adams - Bevels
Boddie - Burton
Gilliam - Fulleylove
 Malvern- McKinney
 Turner- Wright

  • African-American Cemeteries in Grayson County - Online
Please help locate some of the missing cemeteries or add cemeteries to the list.


 Daniel A. P. Murray Pamphlet Collection
Timelines, historical references and much more

 Cyndi's list
Top List of Genealogical Links for African-American

Freedmen's Bureau Records - Texas
Freedmen's Bureau

"report of Union men and Freedmen murdered in Grason and Fannin Counties,"

 North Texas Baptist College and Seminary

US African America Griots

Rootsweb pages for African American Genealogy

Site designed to assist the African ancestored researcher, throughout the diaspora,
find a path to the last slaveholder or the suspected last slaveholder.
Records kept by the slaveowner are frequently the only clue to our ancestors,
particularly during the period 1619-1869.
African American Boards at Rootsweb

Center for African American Genealogical Research

This page is maintained by Elaine Nall Bay 2012
If you find any of Grayson CountyTXGenWeb links inoperable,
please send me a message.