The enslavement of African Americans was the curse of early American life, and Texas was no exception. By 1860, the census found 182,566 slaves, over 30% of the total population of the State. Most slaves came to Texas with their owners, and the vast majority lived on large cotton plantations in East Texas. By the time of the Civil War, slaveholders controlled most of the wealth in Texas nd dominated politics at all levels.
In spite of their oppression, the slaves did not behave like a defeated people. Instead, they tried to make the best of their lives and to carve out what independence they could. Most slaves were allowed to be on their own in the evenings and during time off on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. They took full advantage of their time, to enjoy their families and try to keep them together; to build a remarkable religious community; and to create a rich nad influential cultural heritage, especially in the area of music.
When the Civil War came, Texas was not invaded, and the slaves continued to live and work as they had before. They realized that a Union victory would mean their liberation, and they listened for news the best they could and passed the word of any developments. It was not until June 19, 1865 that Union Forces ocuppied Texas and officially freed the slaves. The day would be celebrated in the years to come as "Juneteeth".
The Houston County Cemetery Book Third Edition 1987, states in its history of the Antrim Cemetery, that some say the first grave was that of a male slave and is unmarked. It is quite possible that the family of WF Gray, who came from England, and named the cemetery, was the family that the slaves buried here belonged to.
Created by: Carol Anne Hoch
Record added: Dec 13, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 81906209