In memory of

our

beloved ones

Fannie J. Newman

Died Dec. 21, 1891

Aged

89 yrs 10 mos

18 ds

H. Newman

newmanfh

Photo Credit:  Rosa G. Gonzales


Biography

 

Fannie J. Newman is the matriarch of a large African-American family that was a part of the Corpus Christi community after the Civil War.  They are found as early as the 1870 census (p. 169).  However, the information on them is conflicting both as to the dates of their birth and the place of the parents' birth.  In the 1870 census Fannie is listed with her husband Henry and what appear to be seven children ranging in age from 20 years old down to 4 years old.  However, Henry and Fannie are listed as 77 and 78 years old respectively.  This would be highly unlikely and would seem to indicate a mistake in recording of the parents' ages.  Henry is listed as born in Alabama, and Fannie is reportedly from Louisiana along with John (Lens?) who is a 20 year old living with the family.  Henry and the older boys are laborers while the oldest girl (20 year old Maria) is a washerwoman.  The 1880 census record further confuses the numbers.  Henry is no longer with the family, and Fannie is listed as head of the house.  But instead of gaining 10 years, she has lost 18 and is now reported as 60 years old.  This may be more accurate.  The children in both census records are listed as born in Texas.  However, in the 1870 census their father claims Alabama and Fannie claims Louisiana as native state.  In the 1880 census Fannie (as well as the children's father) is listed as born in Virginia.  In the 1880 census (p. 18A/D) only daughters Emily (Emma in the 1870) and Julia remain at home.  Presumably the other girls have died or married and moved away.  Ellen is listed as marrying in December of 1870 to Sanders Hicks (Vol. C).  However, on the family tombstone in Old Bayview she is listed as Ellen Newman.  This may be to clarify her relationship to the rest of the family or it may mean that she returned to her maiden name because of the death of Sanders or divorce.  It should be noted that Julia Brown who is also buried in Old Bayview Cemetery was Julia Hicks when she married E. M. Mack in 1879.  She subsequently married Nathaniel Brown in 1885 and is buried under that name.  At any rate it is unclear what became of Fannie's daughter Emily/Emma as she is listed in the 1870 and 1880 census but not listed among those buried in Old Bayview.  However, it may be that she married subsequent to her mother's death and is buried under that name elsewhere.  Emily/Emma is only two years older than Julia, and thus born about 1861-64 depending on whether you measure from the 1870 or 1880 census.  Fannie's son Samuel is listed among those buried in Old Bayview, and a short obituary in the Corpus Christi Caller announced his sudden death at a relatively young age.  The early death records of Corpus Christi say that he died of a ruptured aorta.  The local paper notes that he died while at his work at the home of Mrs. John Woessner where he served as a cook (see his obit under S. Newman).  The 1880 census also lists him as a cook (for a hotel).  There are two listings for marriages of a "Samuel Newman".  The marriage records of Nueces County note the marriage of Samuel Newman and Anike Coleman in September of 1873 (volume D).  Possibly she died or the couple divorced because Samuel is listed back at home with his mother and two sisters in the 1880 census.  The second marriage of Samuel Newman recorded (in volume E) was with Margaret Jackson in 1885.  Since he died August 22, 1887 (early death records page 30 #322).  On the other hand, there is no indication in local records as to what became of son Taylor Newman listed in the1870 census, but not the 1880.  Finally, Fannie's daughter Josephine appears to be the Josephine Newman who married Alexander P. Shaw in July of 1875 (volume D).  This would explain why she is not listed with the family in the 1880 census.  In fact there is a Josephine Shaw listed on p. 19A of the 1880 census of Nueces County (the Newmans are on p. 18A), but her husband is listed here as "Joseph" Shaw.  He is a laborer, and she is a laundress.  Her age is relatively close to what would be expected based on her youthfulness in the 1870 census.  However, she lists her parents as born in North Carolina.  Fannie was apparently beloved of her children as she is the only family member whose date of death and age are recorded on the family headstone.  They list her death on December 21, 1891 at the age of 89 years, 10 months, and 18 days.  If that is an accurate count, then she was born about February 3, 1802 and would have seen many changes in the United States of America from the War of 1812 to the Civil War and the emancipation of the slaves.  It is to be lamented that more is not known of this woman and that her story was not written down for future generations to reflect on for their enrichment.  Early death records of the city report that she died of a poisoned wound (early records page 64 #798).  It should also be noted that the presence of what appears to be her husband's name on her side of the stone ("H. Newman") and the footstone initialed "H. N." would seem to indicate that Henry is also buried in this common family plot or at least commemorated in stone.

 

Research and transcription: Michael A. Howell








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