A Guide to the Israel Worsham Family Papers, 1837-1881, 1953, 1975
The Worsham and Landry families came to Texas, then part of Mexico, from Alabama in 1829. Israel Worsham's parents, Jeremiah and Catherine Landrum Worsham, received Headright grant # 5, (a league and labor of land), in Stephen F. Austin's colony. Israel, born in 1820, received 320 acres of land in Montgomery County in the Republic of Texas in 1839. He was elected to the Sixth Texas legislature in 1855-56, and was in the Montgomery County Home Guard in the U.S. Civil War. After the war, he represented Montgomery, Grimes, and Brazos counties for the House of Representatives, in the Eleventh Texas Legislature (1866), where he helped sponsor an act for the punishment of vagrants. In 1867, he wrote the description of Montgomery County for the Texas Almanac. He was a member of the Council of Laborers, an order of farm workers in the southern states. He also served as an election judge for Montgomery County Precinct 4 in 1880-1881. His home, "The Worsham Place," was on the old Post Road to Houston; the two-story Greek Revival House was known for its hospitality.
Israel and his wife, Emily Womack Worsham, had five children: Ophelia Frances, Alice Tabitha, Mattie Myrtella, Josephine, and Jefferson Davis Worsham. Israel died in 1882 and was buried in the family cemetery on his plantation.
The collection contains papers of Israel Worsham, his father Jeremiah Worsham, and other immediate family members. It also contains the papers of Israel Worsham's great-great-granddaughter, Ella K. Daggett Stumpf, which deal with her research on Israel Worsham and the Womack family. This research led to a biographical entry on Israel in the New Handbook of Texas.
Jeremiah Worsham's papers consist of correspondence between himself and other family members. Of particular interest is a letter to Jeremiah Worsham from Israel Worsham while Israel was stationed at Camp Leon in 1842.
Israel Worsham's papers, which are largely financial, are divided into seven subseries: Correspondence, Slave Sales, Financial Records, Political Involvement, Military and Veteran Records, Employment Agreements with Freedmen, Council of Laborers, and Election Administration Records.
The Correspondence subseries (folder 3, 1853-1860) consists of two letters from family and one from a friend concerning local politics.
The Slave Sales subseries (folders 4 and 5, 1842-65) contains bills of sale and receipts identifying slaves that Worsham purchased by name, relationships, and physical description.
The Financial Records include both pre- and post-Civil War documents. The accounts and receipts (folders 6-15, 1844-79) include receipts for taxes, dry goods, memberships, and services such as music lessons for his daughters. Of special interest are the records from the Civil War years (folders 10 and 11) which include receipts for his sales of cotton, those for musical lessons for his three daughters, and receipts for war taxes and "tithes" from both the Confederate and Texas state governments. Post-Civil War records include accounts with freedmen; contracts with Royall's Cotton Worm Destroyer and the International & Great Northern R. R. Co.; and an insurance policy for his home with the Merchants' Insurance Company. An undated item (folder 15) may be a list of groceries, containing items like cabbage and corn sugar.
The Political Involvement subseries (folders 16 and 17, 1855-1856) contains a list of the members of the Sixth Legislature of the Texas House of Representatives and the proceedings of a meeting of delegates at Danville. Israel Worsham is listed as a member of the House and was present at the meeting.
Israel Worsham's Military and Veteran Records (folder 18, 1863-1864 and 1873) contain a certificate of disability, letter of enrollment, and a certificate of membership for the Texas Veteran Association. The enrollment letter gives a physical description of Israel.
The Employment Agreements with Freedmen (folder 19, 1866-1867) contain two employment contracts for members of the Colguin family to work on Israel Worsham's farm and in his home.
The Council of Laborers subseries (folders 20 and 21, 1874 and 1876) contain one booklet with the constitution and bylaws of the order, one booklet describing the rituals of the order, and three certificates of membership for Israel Worsham that also describe the titles he held.
The Election Administration Records (folder 22 and 23, 1880-1881) contain one document appointing Israel Worsham as an election judge, and two election returns for Montgomery County Precinct 4 signed by him in his capacity as an election judge.
The Ella K. Dagget Stumpf Papers, mostly date from around 1975. Folder 24 contains several typescript drafts of her biographical sketch of Israel Worsham with her handwritten annotations. Folder 25 contains her notes, bibliography, and transcriptions on Israel Worsham, and a carbon copy of a letter (17 May 1975) she wrote to Joe Frantz, then director of the Texas State Historical Association, that accompanied her biographical sketch of Worsham for possible inclusion in the Texas Handbook.
The Womack Family Research (folder 26, 1953) contains a Worsham-Womack family tree sketch of descendants, and a 1953 letter to Mrs. Stumpf regarding the death of Abner Womack at the hand of John C. Womack.
Other Family Correspondence (folder 27, 1843 and 1861) contains two pieces of correspondence. One letter is written to Carrie from Edmund (no last names indicated) and the other is written to John Worsham from Samuel Worsham, which marks the death of Samuel's mother.
This collection is housed at UTSA's Main Campus and must be accessed via the John Peace Library Special Collections reading room. To request access, please use the Collections Request Form.
Permission to publish material from the Israel Worsham Family Papers must be obtained from University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.
[Identification of item], Israel Worsham Family Papers, 1837-1975, MS 144, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.
Israel Worsham's papers regarding slave sales, financial records, and Ella Stumpf's biographical research on Israel Worsham were received as a purchase from Maggie Lambeth, rare book dealer, in 2005 (Acc. 2005-078). The remaining materials were donated by Duncan McClusky, May 2015 (Acc. 2015-013).
Processed by Glenn L. McMullen, May 2006.
Addition processed and encoded by Katie Rojas, Manuscripts Archivist, March 2016.
Detailed Description of the Collection