James and Patience Crain Black papers, Inclusive: 1862-1892, Bulk: 1862-1863
The James and Patience Crain Black Papers are a well-researched collection of letters to and from each other during the American Civil War. The letters document James’ service in the Confederate army on the Texas coast, and Patience’s life on the home front with their young son Joel.
James Black, born around 1830 in Alabama, moved to McLennan County prior to the Civil War. He possibly had arrived between 1860 and 1861, since there is no record of him in the 1860 census.
Patience Crain was born on 1842 April 10, in Henderson, Texas, and her family moved to Harris Creek in 1855. At 19 years old she married 31 year old James Black in 1861 September. The Black family had only a little time together before James enlisted to go fight in the Civil War in 1861 or 1862.
There are as many questions about which Confederate unit James Black served with when he fought in the Civil War, as there are about when he enlisted. One source claims he fought in the 15th Texas Infantry, and there is a James Black listed in the muster rolls for that unit, but the service record geographically of where the 15th Texas served does not match the locations cited in his letters. Mentioned in the thesis written about these letters is “Cooke’s Regiment,” and the only Cooke’s Regiment in Texas at the time was the 1st Texas Heavy Artillery, whose service record geographically does match where James wrote from. Furthermore, in James’ letter to Patience on 1863 July 12, his signature indicates that he was promoted to first lieutenant, Company D, Cooke’s Regiment, 1st Texas Heavy Artillery.
If James Black was in the 1st Texas Heavy Artillery, he spent most of the war watching for Union invasions along the Texas coast, as the letters document. Most of the correspondence between Patience and James is about events at home, and not troop deployments, stations, or other military matters.
While James was away at war, Patience raised their son Joel. Her letters are full of news about Joel, other family members, and neighbors, relieving some of the homesickness that James experienced while away from his family.
Patience, James, and Joel all survived the Civil War. The family reunited and continued living in McLennan County. A daughter, Julia Montgomery, was born to the couple in 1866. Patience Black died just three years later, in January 1869, and was buried in Harris Creek Cemetery, McLennan
County. After Patience’s death, James married her cousin, Hannah Milner, in 1874. At least 20 years younger than James, Hannah had a child by a previous marriage, plus four or five together with James.
This collection is one of the most well-documented Civil War collections at the Texas Collection. The letters are available in transcribed book form, and the thesis “’Yours Heart and Hand:’ An Analysis of the Correspondence of James and Patience Crain Black, 1861-1865” was completed in 1990 on this collection. There is also a collection of transcribed letters not contained in The Texas Collection between James and Patience Black online at the McLennan County TX GenWeb site. A further collection of letters between James and Patience Black is housed in the University of the Pacific archives. See the Related Materials section of this finding aid for more information about these two collections.
The James and Patience Crain Black Papers were acquired by gift in two separate transactions from private donors, one donor representing the Waco-McClennan County Library. The first gift of
everything except the photographs in the collection was given in September 1979 by Roger N. Conger, via the Waco-McClennan County Library. The second gift, 27 photographs, was given by Donald R. Black on 8 August 1997.
The collections begins in 1862 and ends in 1892. The literary and photographic series are entirely undated. Records include correspondence, legal, literary, and photographic
All requests for copying of materials must be submitted to The Texas Collection in writing. Please use the Request Form for Copying Materials sheet. Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator (s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
The collection is open for research.
General condition: Average.
James and Patience Crain Black Papers, Accession #74, Box #, Folder #, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
Accession No. 74. Acquired 1973-04-17
Described by Paul T. Fisher. Released on 2013-06-17.
Archivist's Notes: This collection has several outside works associated with it. All the letters between James and Patience Crain, including letters still held by the family that are not in this collection, were transcribed, bound, and filed in the Texas Collection as “The Correspondence of Lieutenant James Black, C.S.A. and his Wife Patience Crain Black: January 20, 1860 through March 19, 1865, and Other Related Material in Two Volumes.” This two-volume set also includes photographs not in the collection held by the Texas Collection.
It is unknown if these two volumes also contain transcriptions of the
letters posted online at the TXGenWeb site.
Detailed Description of the Collection