|African American Lifeways|
Members of the team were:
- Shawn Carlson, team leader
- Sue Moss, contributor
- unny Nash, contributor.
Among the first African Americans in Southern Brazos County to purchase land, the Peterson homestead was established about 100 miles Northwest of Houston after the Civil War near the Brazos River at the Grimes County border of Brazos County in Central Texas in an area that would become part of the City of College Station, Texas, in 1938.
In commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the City of College Station, Texas, the College Station Historic Preservation Committee presents a photographic exhibition of historic images, The Peterson Legacy: AnAfrican American Experience, 1868 – Present, reproduced by author and photographer, Sunny Nash of Long Beach, California, an internationally acclaimed photographer, recognized by Women in Photography International. The exhibit, funded by Ron and Mary Bryan of College Station, will open to the public at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, on October 23, 2013.through a donation to Brazos Valley Speaks! of the Oral History Division of the Carnegie History Center in Bryan, Texas, and prepared by Nash.
|Ned Peterson II & Sisters|
From The Peterson Legacy
By Sunny Nash
Texas A&M University in College Station purchased a portion of the Peterson land in 1940, held the land for about 50 years and, in the early 1990s, planned construction. Because of historic classification, the Peterson property required a thorough examination and a published report before construction could begin. My contribution to the examination was to conduct oral history interviews, photograph artifacts and and reproduce family photographs and documents.
In the past, mishandled data regarding African Americans complicated record gathering.
|Ned Peterson I, WWI, 1917|
From The Peterson Legacy
By Sunny Nash
There were incomplete birth, death and marriage records, careless spelling of names, multiple first names and disregard for last names during slavery.
For example, various Texas records named Ned Peterson, Edward with no last name, and called him, Ned No. 3, to distinguish him from other African Americans with the same first name. In spite of past omissions, archaeologists exhumed, labeled and stored bits of China dishes, pottery, colored glass and jewelry, and uncovered stone steps, window glass and part of a kitchen while artists rendered representations of farm buildings. Historians searched county and state records for marriage, childbirth, landownership, voting, purchase, livestock and crop production, credit and death records.
By 1864, Ned Peterson had left Virginia, which could mean self-purchased freedom, voluntary surrender by his owner, forgery or running away. Many slaves, hearing rumors of coming freedom, left without confirmation. Like other Texas pioneers, Ned probably traveled by horseback, wagon and foot down the Atlantic Coast and around the Gulf states. Longer than the direct route, the coast’s milder climate and big cities provided temporary work. When Ned reached Alabama, he met Elizabeth Roe, who would become his wife. Ned and Elizabeth’s great-granddaughter, Billie Stewart Smedley, said she heard family stories that her great-grandmother, Elizabeth, may have been an American Indian or a descendant of African and Native American ancestors. Either way, Elizabeth was probably raised as a slave in Alabama.
The story of the Petersons, From Excavation to Oral History by Sunny Nash, appeared in the November/December 2002 issue of Ancestry.com (Magazine).
By Sunny Nash - Published 05/22/2009
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