THE WILD MAN OF THE NAVIDAD

Source:  McIlvane, Myra Hargrave,  
Shadows on the Land: An Anthology of Texas Historical Marker
Stories. Austin: Texas Historical Commission, 1984, p. 79. Institute of Texan Cultures, 1997

     Slaves along the Navidad River in Lavaca and Jackson Counties called it "The Thing that Comes," for, though no one saw it, there was always evidence that Something had come.  

     On moonlit nights from as early as 1836, people would find food missing from their cabins, even though an intruder would have had to step over sleeping dogs to reach it. Families stopped fattening hogs, because a fat hog would inevitably be replaced by a scrawny one. Though valuables such as watches or money were never taken, sometimes tools would disappear only to reappear later, beautifully polished. Occasionally searchers would find a camp, but "The Thing" never returned while they waited.

      Finally, in 1851, residents of the county captured a solitary African who wore no clothes and spoke no English. Later that year, a sailor who spoke the man's African dialect came traveling through. Turned out, the man was a prince who'd been sold into slavery as a child. After reaching Texas, he and a companion had escaped, but the companion had died from exposure after a few years.

      The Wild Man of the Navidad was sold into slavery in Victoria and lived in Refugio and Victoria Counties until his death in 1884.

"Wild Man of the Navidad"
Historical Marker in
Lavaca County

Wild Man of the Navidad: truth or tall tale?
Article by Randy Reese in Victoria Advocate Online, July 23, 2002

Wild Man of Navidad at Sublime
Article from Handbook of Texas Online

According to some accounts, the "Wild Man of the Navidad" 
was sold first as a slave to Pelitiah Bickford of Refugio County and 
later to Bickford's father-in-law, Seaborn Lewis of Victoria County.  
He was known as "Jimbo".

Pelitiah Bickford
1860 Census - Crescent Village (Hynes Bay) - Refugio County

Pelitiah Bickford
Marriage to Sarah Elizabeth Lewis, daughter of Seaborn Lewis
Victoria County

Pelitiah Bickford
1870 Census - Refugio Post Office - Refugio County

 
 
 

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