A Guide to the Ann Raney Thomas Coleman Papers, 1849-1892, 1958
Born in Whitehaven, England, Ann Raney (1810-1897) sailed to Texas with her family in 1832 to make a new start after her father’s bankruptcy. Ann finally arrived in Texas in the midst of revolution, after pirates off the coast of Cuba ransacked her ship to America. Both of Ann’s parents died shortly after she arrived in Texas.
In 1833, Ann married cotton planter John Thomas, with whom she had several children. The couple lived at Caney Creek before fleeing to Louisiana in 1836 during the Runaway Scrape, a mass exodus of settler during the early stages of the Texas rebellion against Mexico. While evading Mexican spies, Ann aided the Republic of Texas in the battle of Velasco by making bullets and patches and dispatching the supplies. When Thomas died in 1847, Ann married storekeeper John Coleman to prevent the loss of her Mississippi plantation. Coleman abandoned Ann shortly after moving the family to New Orleans, leaving Ann to support herself and her daughter Victoria with housekeeping work. In the 1850s Ann lived in Powder Horn and Matagorda, Texas, finally divorcing Coleman before moving to Lavaca where she supported her daughter and grandson with her sewing. During the Civil War, Ann experienced the shelling and burning of Lavaca by the U. S. Army. Plagued by poverty, she spent the remaining years of her life moving often, including stays in Bolivar Point, Hamshire, Hallettsville, Victoria, and Cuero, working as a housekeeper or teacher. At the urging of a niece, Ann began writing about her life in 1875.
King, Richard C. “Coleman, Ann Raney.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed November 12, 2010.
Winfrey, Dorman H. “Review: [untitled].” Arizona and the West. Vol. 14, No. 1 (Spring, 1972): 73-75.
Consisting of correspondence and reminiscences, the Ann Raney Thomas Coleman Papers, 1849-1892, 1958, document Coleman’s tumultuous life. Typed transcripts of letters and reminiscences (1849-1892) concern Coleman’s life in England, journey to Texas, and life in the United States, including her experiences in the Texas Revolution, the Runaway Scrape, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Additionally, the collection includes a 1958 letter from Samuel E. Asbury describing his acquisition of transcript copies from Duke University.
This collection is open for research use.
Ann Raney Thomas Coleman Papers, 1849-1892, 1958, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Alison Beck, 1979.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers