Saturday, February 1, 2014

Major Questions About 3rd Great Grandpa Major Perry

                 A few years ago, it started with finding this on

                           New Orleans, Louisiana, Slave Manifest

Name:Major Perry
Estimated Birth Year:abt 1829
Ship Name:Phoenix
Port of Departure:Richmond, Virginia
Port of Arrival:New Orleans, Louisiana
Date of Arrival:17 Nov 1847
First Shipper/Owner:David Cume
First Shipper/Owner Residence:Richmond
Second Shipper/Owner:Nathaniel Matthews
Second Shipper/Owner Residence:New Orleans
Record Type:Arrivals (Inward Manifests)

My maternal 3rd great Grandmother Amanda Perry's father was named...Major Perry. 

                                             Her Death Certificate reflects this

                        Months later I received an email from an associate of Nancy Jordan, 

                            a volunteer affiliated with Olivewood Cemetery in Houston, Texas


                                                  Sent: Friday, October 7, 2011 11:04 AM

Subject: Interesting find...

Hi Cecelia,
I was searching for Major Perry and all I found were business listings from 1882-1895 in Houston for a barber named Major Perry.  He worked for Ed Banks who was born in 1853 and coincidentally is buried at Olivewood.  Since no age is given on the business listings, this could be someone who was a contemporary of Ed Banks - rather, someone born about 1850, perhaps a brother of your Amanda Perry, or it could be her father born about 1830 (based on Amanda Perry Chappel's birth in 1848).   It could be either one.  BUT DARN, I can't find a single census entry for ANY Major Perry.  
The only census record I have for Amanda is 1900 in Columbus with both her boys and her 2nd? husband Charles Mcuen.  It states she was born in Texas in 1848 (on Wm Massey's death certificate it says Houston, Texas).    Interestingly, it says she had 10 children, 7 of whom are still alive in 1900.  We need to find the other children!  
But, in the meantime, I ran across a very interesting ship manifest...
Major Perry, age 18, black male, 
Ship Name: Phoenix
Departure: Richmond, Virginia
Arrival: New Orleans, Louisiana
17 Nov 1847 
First Shipper/Owner: David Cume,
Residence: Richmond
Second Shipper/Owner: Nathaniel Matthews
New Orleans


                            This is my maternal Great Grandfather William Massey Chappel and wife Cora Harvey. William's parents were Amanda Perry and Louis Chapple, although "Father" isn't noted on his Death Certificate. Much thanks to Marlive Taylor-Harris for supplying me with Louis Chapple's information! She and I are the great grandchildren of brothers William and Lewis Chapple/Chappel. Yes, the surname has a few spellings.

William Massey Chappel Death Certificate

Note "Columbus,Texas" as his birthplace. Columbus, Colorado County, Texas

Now, the fun starts. I researched "Nathaniel Matthews" from the Slave Manifest. An advertisement, "Negroes For Sale" was placed December 1, 1847 in The New Orleans Times Picayune a Nathaniel Matthews. 
I found an article after Google searching Nathaniel Matthews, about a town named "Matthews" in Colorado County, Texas.


MATTHEWS, TEXAS. Matthews is on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway at the junction of Farm roads 950 and 102, on the southeastern boundary of Colorado County. The community is named for John Matthewsqv, who came to the area in 1827 and bought the land from James Nelson, one of Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists. Tax records indicate that John Matthews prospered during the years before the Civil War, and the community that grew around his holdings served not only his plantation but also others in the area. In 1860 he was listed as owning 140 slaves. Following the Civil War many of the freed slaves settled in the area and increased the demand for goods and services. By 1880 the community had a store, a blacksmith shop, and a cotton gin. The post office was established in 1895 with Mary McRee as postmistress, and it continued in service until 1905, when mail began to be delivered regularly from Eagle Lake, six miles north. By 1900 Matthews had four businesses, a school, and a population of 100. The population remained the same until after the 1960s, when labor-intensive cotton production was replaced by mechanized grain production, primarily of rice and corn, and cattle grazing. In the mid-1980s only one business remained to serve the large family-operated farms.
Colorado County Sesquicentennial Commemorative Book (La Grange, Texas: Hengst Printing, 1986).
Jeff Carrol

John Matthews?? Colorado County, Texas?? Slaves?? Is THIS man

connected to Nathaniel Matthews named on Major Perry's Slave

Manifest???? Oh, I was about to find out!

                                                    I found this:

MATTHEWS, JOHN (1796–1861). John Matthews was born in Campbell County, Virginia, in 1796, moved to Texas around the time of the Texas Revolution, and settled in Jackson County. In 1837 he moved to the east side of the Colorado River in southern Colorado County, where he bought lands granted to James Nelson in 1824. His first home was built in the riverbottom, but frequent flooding drove him to a higher site that became known as Matthews Prairie. His new home was built by slave labor with cypress lumber brought by ship from Florida to Columbia on the Brazos River and then hauled overland by ox-drawn wagons. The 1840 tax records credit Matthews with 2,222 acres and seventeen slaves. The 1850 census valued his property at $10,000 and showed ownership of fifteen slaves. As his holdings increased, a community named Matthews developed in the area around the plantation, and by 1860 his total property, including 140 slaves, was valued at $225,000. That year he produced 10,000 bushels of corn and 589 bales of cotton on 800 acres of improved land. Matthews never married. In January 1861, when he became ill, his brother Nathaniel took him back to Virginia for care. Before leaving Texas John deeded the entire plantation to his brother who, in turn, passed it to his children. John Matthews died in Virginia in 1861.

Colorado County Sesquicentennial Commemorative Book (La Grange, Texas: Hengst Printing, 1986).
Jeff Carroll

                           NATHANIEL!! ....."his brother Nathaniel took him back to

 Virginia for care." Hmmmmm.

                   Another point of interest is one James Nelson named in the

above article.                                             

NELSON, JAMES (ca. 1786–?). James Nelson, tradesman and farmer, was born about 1786 and traveled to Texas in November 1821 on the schooner Lively, having reached an agreement with Stephen F. Austin to work in the Austin colony building cabins and stockades and cultivating at least five acres of corn. By 1823 he was serving as tanner and currier in the community at Beeson's Ferry on the Colorado River, near the site of the present town of Columbus. He took the oath of allegiance to the Mexican government on April 20, 1824, and, as one of the Old Three Hundred colonists, received title to a sitio of land in present Colorado County on August 7, 1824. Later in the year, however, unable to pay his debts through inability to collect fees owed to him, Nelson journeyed to Louisiana to obtain employment as an engineer aboard the steamboat Natchitoches. By 1826 he had returned to the Austin colony to engage in farming and stock raising. County censuses for 1823 and 1826 describe him as a widower and father of four children.
Nelson served as a private in the Texas army from March 4 to June 4, 1836, in Capt. William J. E. Heard's Company F, First Regiment, Texas Volunteers. Nelson was among the wounded at the battle of San Jacinto. In recompense for his services he was granted a headright certificate in 1838 for one-third league of land in Colorado County. In 1837 and 1838 he served as coroner of Colorado County. He married Mary Slaughter in Colorado County on January 12, 1840. That year he reportedly held title to 300 acres of land and owned ten slaves.
Colorado County Historical Commission, Colorado County Chronicles from the Beginning to 1923 (2 vols., Austin: Nortex, 1986). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932).
Charles Christopher Jackson

                  What is the significance of the surname "NELSON" ?

 Amanda Perry, my 2nd Great Grandmother had a firstborn son named Chet

CHAPPLE born about 1875 in Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas. The

puzzling thing is, according to an Affidavit of Family History of Manda Chappel

aka Manda Chapple AND W.H. Chappel aka W.H. Chapple aka W. Henry

 Chappel..(whew!) he was also known as : John NELSON !!!! 

Now, small towns have ALL kinds of mingling going on. STUFF happens, but

I'm wondering why Great Grand Uncle Chet chose an alias so far removed from

his name! Was it an homage to a dear family friend? Was the NELSON name a

clue to a connection between the PERRY, MATTHEWS, and CHAPPLE families??

Maybe he was just fond of his mother Manda/Amanda and

younger brother W.H./Henry??? I really can't talk about them, as it is a trend

that has trickled down to me.

So, if I had a couple of Tin cups with something in them, I'd hand one to 3rd

Great Grandpa. The other, I'd press it to my lips....but not before asking

Grandpa Major some major questions. My first one being,

"Sir, WHO'S your Daddy?"....followed by

"Who's your Mama?"

"Were the other PERRY folks on your Slave Ship blood kin to you?"

"Was PERRY the name of the dude that owned and sold you to Nathaniel

MATTHEWS??" I'd have a few more choice questions, the last one being

"Grandpa, WHO named you "Major" and


The Dig continues.......



  1. You was on it Cecelia! I wonder if that Ship Record is him? I've not gotten that far or seen one for my family yet. Wonderful how you and Livvy are related. Great Texas History. Let me know what you find. I'd be asking him those questions too!

    1. True, Liv and I both snatched the same Slave Manifest before she and I even met! I was focusing on the MATTHEWS connection, and she was focusing on PERRY!! Colorado County, Texas is where all these roads lead, and you bet I'm following it :) Thanks for your support :)

  2. Wow, Cecelia! This is awesome work! How (sadly) wonderful that your enslaved ancestor had a first and last name enabling you to have more certainty that it's him on the manifest! Keep up the great work. I'll be reading!


    1. I thank you much, Renate, and I will surely share what else I dig up!

  3. Great research cousin . . . woo-hoo!

    I've been meaning to ask you, do you have a copy of the "Negroes For Sale" was placed December 2, 1847 in The New Orleans Times Picayune a Nathaniel Matthews? Let me know. If you don't, I am going to see about getting a copy of that advertisement.

    I also meant to let you know that I think I spotted our 3x great-grandfather in the 1880 Census in the city of Navasota, Grimes County, Texas. I believe his first wife Amanda has died for I show him in 1880 married to a Tina Perry. Here is the link to that information -

    Good work cousin. I will keep you posted on other research information that I find on him!

    1. Marlive, thanks so much! We're both on it! I have seen the information, and I surely will send you anything else I find!

  4. I ALWAYS love a call to the Ancestors because when you do so, they come. I don't see Mr. Major having you in as much o a head-lock as I do him leading you by the hand. Remember my saying they feed us the "breadcrumb" to allow us to process? You've done a fabulous job CC! And like a true detective you're questioning [and documenting] EVERYTHING. That's where the answers always live -- in the crumbs we've discovered but don't quite yet make sense. Keep them close. Your answers will follow -- soon!:)

  5. Great job on your research. I have never come across a manifest yet but was very interested in reading what you found. Okay, whew is right on the names. Still I was able to easily follow the many names, I can't wait to see what else you dig up.

    1. Thank you Bernita, I'm glad you were able to follow the name game!! I appreciate your support :)

  6. Just wanted to know about your Cook family? When and if they came to Texas?

    1. Hello Anonymous! I'm still working on the particulars of my Cook family. Louis Cook's (abt.1815) state of origin was Mississippi, according to the census records. Missouri was mentioned as his birth state by some COOK 4th cousins. His son Henry b.1844 in Richmond,Fort Bend County, Texas was my 2nd great grandfather, and his siblings, with their descendants, have been here ever since.