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.
- African-American Cemeteries in Grayson County - Online
Please help locate some of the missing cemeteries or add cemeteries to the list.
- Atchison Slave graves and location are mentioned in newspaper article - 1955.
- Blue Creek Cemetery (same as Independence Springs Cemetery)
- Cannon Cemetery (African-American section)
- Coffee Plantation Slave Cemetery
- Coleman Cemetery - I'm still looking for it, please email me if you know where it is.
- County Farm Cemetery - Many African-Americans were buried in this cemetery. Race is noted, if possible, for genealogical purposes.
- Davis Cemetery - grave of Joe Davis
- Galbreath Cemetery (aka Bethel Cemetery)
- Georgetown Black Cemetery
- Iron Ore Cemetery ~ aka Pool Cemetery or Price, Burton, Hite Cemetery
- Jeremiah Cemetery - NW of Bells
- Luper Cemetery (Black Cemetery for Pilot Grove area)
- Magnolia - Denison's African American Cemetery - ran out of room & has grown over into Fairview Cemetery which is next to it. Fairview has an office & records.
- Mt. Olivet Cemetery - I am still looking for this cemetery but have some records for it.
- OakHill - includes an old separate section of the cemetery that was African American
- Oak Wood Cemetery ~ Denison has an African American section.
- Potts Cemetery ~ started as the Potts Family Slave Cemetery
- Preston Bend Slave Cemetery- aka Coffee Plantation Slave Cemetery, moved for building of Lake Texoma
- Van Alstyne Cemetery
- Virginia Point Church and Cemetery has a Slave Cemetery behind it, there are only unmarked graves.
- West Hill Cemetery - Sherman's main cemetery has a large African American section
- (NOTE : graves without markers are recorded in the cemetery office. Maps available there.)
- Whiterock Cemetery ~ NW of Whitewright (death records sometimes note this as Ida Cemetery)
The Last Buffalo "Walter Potts, Oldest Documented Buffalo Soldier"
By E.B. Hogan
The book chronicles the life and family of Walter Potts, including Grayson County & Fannin County families, such as the Browns of Honey Grove and the Oliphants of Ravenna.
Top List of Genealogical Links for African-American
"report of Union men and Freedmen murdered in Grason and Fannin Counties,"
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|