Dr. Charles Bellinger Stewart Family Papers:
An Inventory of Records at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library
This collection began in 1840 when slavery and commerce in slaves was common and progresses until 1966. During this period, the Civil War, or the War of the Northern Invasion, was fought and lost, and Reconstruction took place. People who had been slaves were freed to become oppressed colored people. Much wealth was lost in the Civil War. The South needed decades to recover economically and politically, and its resentment towards African Americans simmered and increased over a century.
The collection begins in 1840 and takes place primarily in Montgomery County, Texas, north of Houston. Slavery was an accepted part of life and this collection contains the bills of sale of numerous slaves, known only by their first names, as was the custom.
Charles Bellinger Tate Stewart (1806-1885) was a very prominent Texan of the nineteenth century. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, he studied medicine, became a pharmacist and also earned a license in Texas to practice medicine. He was the first to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836 and used a button he found in a pocket as the Seal for the Republic of Texas. He designed the Lone Star Flag of the Republic of Texas. After fighting at the Battle of San Jacinto, Mr. Stewart served as an interpreter during the ensuing negotiations. After the Texas War for Independence, he served as Secretary of State for the Republic of Texas. In 1840 he became District Attorney for Montgomery County and was also a notary public. He served three separate terms in the Texas Legislature. After the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson granted him a pardon for his participation in the Confederacy.
The Stewart collection documents post war life with the death of a son barely reaching adulthood, a daughter attending college and an application to the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Dr. Stewart died in 1885 from internal injuries incurred when he fell from a roof.
The collection covers the time period 1840-1966. Included is an application to the Daughters of the Confederacy, bills of sale of slaves, a check, correspondence, death notices, deeds, election notices, information about Waco Female College, newspaper articles, obituaries, photographs, a presidential pardon, and tax records
Partially restricted due to frail condition of certain documents in the first folder.
Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Dr. Charles Bellinger Stewart Family Papers must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.
Dr. Charles Bellinger Stewart Family Papers. MSS 0150. Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center.
Donated by: Henry F. Lindley, Jr. and Mrs. Virginia Stewart L. Ford.
Processed by: Ron Drees, September, 2008.