Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sentimental Sunday: The Man Who Crossed The Brazos

Houston Texas July 8,1899. The Brazos River had reached its peak after flood waters put numerous towns under water. Negroes who lived between Brookshire and Fulshire were stranded. Relief parties were sent to pick them up and take them to dry land that was located in Brookshire.

In Navasota the water had receded about 7 ft and the tale of the ruined crops were evident. Crops teetering to the brink as they were choked by the rushing water. People were scrambling to the plantations where they worked because most were on higher ground and many of the Negroes lived on the bottoms.

In Hempsted there was an appeal to the governor and cities to send out food to the more than three thousand Negroes who also lived on the bottoms and were starving, because they had been without food for days. The same thing was happening in Richmond, and Calvert. The Railroads that served all these areas were washed out and under water, making life miserable for those who depended on them for various services.

While reading the story of the flood I ran across this amazing sketch of this rather handsome man.
The Houston daily post. (Houston, Tex.) 1886-1903, July 08, 1899

The old man was rescued from his little cabin out on Peach Ridge near Brookshire. He had been water bound for three days. He claims that he is 106 years old and his appearance indicates the truthfulness of the assertion. This sketch was made by the post artist while the old man was being taken to Brookshire.

I went to the census to see if I could find him and also to compare the age that he claimed to be if possible. Even though the artist had a different view of the man whom he thought was every bit his age of 106. I thought that he looked more like a man in his late eighties.

I am pretty sure this is a distinct possible for the Frank in the paper. The age fits plus the area where he said he was rescued from and where he was living. The only different is the spelling of his last name and as we know " Spelling doesn't count" especially in those days.

1870 census
Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Precinct 3, Fort Bend, Texas; Roll M593_1585; Page: 598A; Image: 591; Family History Library Film: 553084.

Name: Frank Spates
Birth Year: abt 1790
Age in 1870: 80
Birthplace: Louisiana
Home in 1870: Precinct 3, Fort Bend, Texas
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Post Office: Richmond
Household Members: Name Age
Frank Spates 80
Margaret Spates 50

Here is also another census that fits in with the areas that was under water and all located near each other but this is in Waller County. Spelling is off again but the age on the original census record fits whereas the index is off.

Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Justice Precinct 5, Waller, Texas; Roll T623_1676; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 52.
Name: Frank Sperght
[Frank Speight]
Home in 1900: Justice Precinct 5, Waller, Texas
Age: 1
Birth Date: 1798
Birthplace: Virginia
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Relationship to Head of House: Father
Father's Birthplace: Virginia
Mother's Birthplace: Virginia
Marital Status: Widowed
Household Members: Name Age
Caesar Sperght 50
Laura Sperght 51
Eda Sperght 19
Delia Sperght 18
Elisabeth Sperght 13
Wealthy Sperght 11
Frank Sperght 1
Frank Sperght 1

It is rather amazing how and when you cross the path of an intriguing subject or article even though you know very little about them. But as we live and breathe we all have a story. No matter how insignificant it is to you, there is always someone else that can capture that story and be blessed.
Mr Frank lived to a wonderful age if his years on earth through this article told the truth. And whats more amazing is that his life was spared again through this horrible flood. I would love to have listened to all he had to share along his travels.


Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

Great post, and great work on finding data on the man Mr. Spates (Speight)!
He was a rare man who was born in the 18th century, lived through the entire 19th century and most likely died in the 20th century. Wow! Hope I live to match his longevity!

Ms Vicky said...

With a sharp mind to go along with that longevity Angela. As always thanks for your appreciated comments

Anonymous said...

Wonderful page I love Your Spirit...Go Cowboys...Go Raiders....Go Lakers!