McBride, Stephen Alexander, Thomasville, GA>Grimes, Jasper, Newton Counties, TX, Slaveholder Gen. Edward Blackshear
Submitted by Joan McBride
My story is of all of my paternal ancestors who were taken to Texas by their owner General Edward Blackshear in 1820. He migrated from Thomasville, Georgia to the Moses Austin Colon. I have documented all of them and obtained Texas First Families for them (3) and Gone to Texas certificates (2). As a result of 40 years of research, I have written and self-publlished 4 books, created a website, created a seminar for the Newton County Middle School which taught the children how to search for and find their ancestors. Now, the Newton County High School is launching a Jr. History group. With the Deep East Texas Archeology Society, I requested and was granted an archeology project which recovered Indian artifacts, some dating back more than 10,000 years. About that same time, I had my DNA tested and now participate in 2 DNA projects.
My research revealed that my ancestors were both slaves and slave owners. As if by Divine Guidance, I was able to locate all of the records maintained by the slave owners. The emotions I experienced were many. I learned that one of my paternal great-great grandmothers (Hannah) had been as a gift to Edward Blackshear, 2 weeks before her 18th birthday. I had to put my research down and cope with my feelings.
I followed their migration from Grimes County Texas to Jasper and Newton County Texas. That is where they were prior to and following emancipation. Newton County is where my great grandfather, along with his father-in-law established Shanklleville. Stephen acquired over 4000 acres of land, built and owned a cotton gin, saw mill, grist mill, the community store, a blacksmith shop, and built, owned and staffed McBride Normal College. He also sent out the word that any ex-slaves (freedmen) wanting to settle down in the community were welcome to come. Some came. He helped them all.
Stephen Alexander McBride gave the land for Shankleville Community Cemetery, Enterprise School and Church of God in Christ.
All of the documents from my research have been donated to the Newton County History Center. They are archived in a file which was purchased specifically for them.
During the last 10-12 years, I have had the continuous support of Mrs. Bonne Davis-Smith, Chair of the Newton County Historical Commission and other community leaders.
There is so much I could post here but it would be simpler for you to visit my website:
Thank you for the opportunity to share a bit of my family history.
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