Britt Johnson

The story of Britton “Britt” Johnson is remarkable for many reasons. He was known to have been brave, a loving husband and father and a capable businessman. He was born into slavery although he was a freedman for at least several years before his death. Possibly related to the fact that he was at one time a slave and that his family line seems to have ended without any known descendants, detailed genealogy information about Britt Johnson and his family is still unknown.

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Z. N. Morrell

Zacharius Nehemiah Morrell is generally given to be his full name, though his exact name and spelling may vary in accounts. Often only his initials Z. N. are used. He was born on January 17, 1803 in South Carolina to John and Darcus Morrell. In his early years, he lived in Tennessee before coming to Texas. He became a Christian as a youth and though he was not formally educated, was an effective minister and a good writer. He was able to chronicle his own life and experiences on the Texas frontier. Though he was a minister, his experiences were similar to those of any other early settler.

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Elm Creek Massacre

October 13, 1864 was a key day in the lives of several north Texas families. In a valley known as Elm Creek, located roughly ten miles south of the town of Newcastle in the western part of Young County, several hundred Kiowa and Comanche tribesmen raided several homes. The settlers (some black and some white) had been living there a while and their homes were scattered along Elm Creek.

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Washington-on-the-Brazos

On April 29, 1900, the Houston Post carried an article commemorating an address in Brenham given by the Hon. Harry Haynes, formerly of the state legislature serving Washington County the previous San Jacinto Day. Haynes recounted some of the early history of Washington County. In it, he said that on June 17, 1819, a force of 30 men under General James Long left Natchez, Mississippi for the area to the west that was then under the control of Spain. By the time they arrived at Nacogdoches, they numbered 300 men. Long split the forces to explore both the Brazos and Trinity Rivers and establish fortifications. Along the way some of the troops encountered Spanish or Mexican troops, dispersed and returned to Louisiana. Among those who remained, some of them serving under a Captain James Walker came to a place on the Brazos which Walker initially called La Bahia. Captain John W. Hall had also passed through the area several years earlier and had been attracted to it but there was little or no settlement there by Anglos until the early 1820s.

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