TexasEscapes.comTexas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1800 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : TEXAS HOTELS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP : : SEARCH SITE
HOME
SEARCH SITE
ARCHIVES
RESERVATIONS
Texas Hotels
Hotels
Cars
Air
Cruises
 
 Texas : Features : Columns : All Things Historical

WILLIAM GOYENS

by Archie P. McDonald, PhD
Archie McDonald, PhD
This is the story of a free black man who lived and thrived in Nacogdoches during the days of slavery. William Goyens' saga is documented fully in a Master of Arts thesis written by Diane Prince at Stephen F. Austin State University nearly thirty years ago.

Goyens -- sometimes spelled Goings -- was born in Moore County, North Carolina, in 1794, to a free mulatto father and a white mother. He arrived in Nacogdoches in 1820 and lived there until his death in 1856. He remained illiterate but became a successful businessman and respected citizen of the community.
William Goyens TX Centennial Marker
William ("Bill") Goyens Centennial Marker
Photo Courtesy Sarah Reveley, July 2008
More Texas Centennial
Goyens operated a blacksmith shop, made and sold wagons, operated a freight line between Nacogdoches and Natchitoches, Louisiana, and ran an inn, or hotel-boarding house, in his home, which was located near the Plaza Principal. Goyens married Marey Pate Sibley in 1832. Sibley was white. She had one son by a previous marriage, but no children were born to her marriage with Goyens.

Despite his community standing, Goyens was a victim of slavery's harsh realities. Several times whites claimed that Goyens was a runaway slave and therefore their property. Goyens escaped seizure by taking such matters to court, where he was represented by such community leaders as Thomas Jefferson Rusk and Charles Stanfield Taylor, both signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
William Goyens TX Centennial Marker
William Goyens Centennial Grave Marker moved to the courthouse
Photo Courtesy Sarah Reveley, July 2008
William Goyens TX Centennial Marker showing damage
William Goyens Centennial Marker
Photos Courtesy Sarah Reveley, July 2008
More Texas Centennial
The best known incident of this nature involved a man named William English, who had Goyens apprehended while he was visiting Natchitoches in 1826. Goyens convinced English to allow him to return to Texas, where once again he established his free status in court.

Goyens performed good service for Texas during the Revolution from Mexico. With Adolphus Sterne and Sam Houston, he helped negotiate a treaty with the Cherokee to keep them pacified in East Texas while the Texans fought for their independence to the south and west.

Goyens grew prosperous during the days of the Republic and statehood. He built a large home and a gristmill west of Nacogdoches. His death on June 20, 1856, and subsequent burial near the junction of Aylios and Moral creeks launched a legend and a mystery: what became of Goyens' gold? Another story of buried treasure--not yet found--was launched.

A dozen years ago, another familiar story to an organization such as the East Texas Historical Association occurred in the Association's office. A father and daughter from North Carolina named Goings came looking for information on a long-lost descendant of their own ancestor, who turned out to be William Goyens' father. They were white. Slavery's legacy is long indeed.

All Things Historical >
Jan. 20-26, 2002 Column
(Archie P. McDonald is Director of the East Texas Historical Association and author or editor of over 20 books on Texas)
 
HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | TEXAS HOTELS
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES

Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | MAPS

TEXAS FEATURES
Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | HOTELS | USA | MEXICO

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
Website Content Copyright 1998-2008. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: August 1, 2008