Greenbury Logan, ca. 1798-1864: Texas Revolution soldier



Greenbury (Greenberry) Logan, who was born ca. 1798 in Kentucky, was emancipated by his white
father, David Logan, and emigrated from Missouri to Texas in February 1831, to settle in Stephen F.
Austin’s third colony.  

Logan was thirty-three years old when he arrived in Texas with his twenty-five year old wife, Judah
Duncan (ca. 1806- ca. 1832), and their five children. He obtained a Mexican land grant for a quarter
of a league of land on Chocolate Bayou on December 22, 1831, in present day Brazoria County, and
established himself as a blacksmith. Logan’s wife, Judah, and possibly all of their children, apparently
died shortly after their arrival.  

In 1832, Logan purchased a slave, Caroline Williamson (ca. 1802-After July, 1881), manumitted her,
and then married her on December 30, 1833 in Brazoria County. It appears the couple had no natural
children, since none were listed with them on the 1850 census. Furthermore, a petition filed by
Caroline Logan in the 1870’s indicated she was Greenbury Logan’s only heir, with the exception of
Margaret J. Burgstrom, the orphan of a Swedish immigrant, whom the Logan’s adopted.

Logan, along with approximately four hundred other free blacks who had entered the country by the
mid 1830’s, were afforded full citizenship rights by the Mexican government. Mexican law did not
prohibit interracial marriages, making the territory attractive to mixed race couples who wished to
legalize their relationships.  Despite the egalitarian environment of his newly adopted country, Logan
sided with the Texas colonists when conflict arose with the Mexican government.

Logan served at the Battle of Velasco on June 26, 1832, and later, in 1835, answered the call for
volunteers to march to Bexar. He joined Captain James Walker Fannin’s company as a private in the
middle of October, and was with a detachment of approximately ninety men from Stephen F. Austin’s
main force when they defeated a larger Mexican force, near Mission Concepción, on October 28,
1835.   

At Bexar, while serving in Captain John York’s Company, Logan volunteered to storm the works.  
He was wounded on December 5, 1835, the first day of action, when a ball passed through his right
arm. Having “almost entirely lost the use of his right arm,” the Texas Legislature praised Logan’s
conduct by declaring he had served “with distinguished alacrity.” He was discharged from the Army
at the age of thirty-eight, and opened a boarding house, tavern, and retail store in Brazoria with his
wife.  

The country’s regard for its black patriots was short-lived. On January 5, 1836, the Texas Legislature
prohibited blacks from entering the state, while granting temporary residency to those already there.  
Soon thereafter, the new constitution for the Republic of Texas was adopted, prohibiting any person
of color from residing in the republic without the consent of the legislature. Logan complained that the
constitution deprived him of “every privilege dear to a free man…no vote or say in any way.”  

On May 15, 1837 Logan petitioned the Texas Congress, stating “he had hoped that after the zeal and
patriotism” he had shown in “fighting for the liberty of his adopted country,” he might be allowed to
spend “the remainder of his days in quiet and peace,” but understood the constitution would not allow
him to do so without the consent of the legislature. Acting upon his petition, the legislature
recommended that Logan, and his wife Caroline, be “authorized to remain permanently and enjoy all
the rights, privileges, and immunities of free citizens.”  

In June 1838, Logan received a bounty warrant for 320 acres for his service from October 4, 1835 to
December 23, 1835, and a donation certificate for 640 acres for his service during the siege of Bexar.
Logan penned a letter to his Congressman, R. F. Forbes, on November 22, 1841, informing him that
he was in every fight during the campaign of 1835, and was the third man that fell when Bexar was
taken. Logan complained to Forbes of his ill treatment by the government, and finding himself in an
impoverished state, sought a pension, in the form of a remission of taxes, in order to retain his
property.

Logan passed away in 1864, without ever attaining the level of freedom he had enjoyed under
Mexican rule some thirty years earlier. His frustration was evident in his petition to the legislature, just
two short years after he had "shed his blood in a cause so glorious,” when he was forced to plead
with the legislature for the “privilege” of remaining in Texas. His widow, Caroline, lived out the
remainder of her years with her adopted daughter, Margaret, who married William A. Taylor, in Fort
Bend County, Texas, on September 10, 1863.   

On July 21, 1881, Caroline Logan received her last allotment of land for her husband’s service, 1,280
acres, which she sold the following month for two hundred dollars.   

Contributed by Stephen E. Taylor, Sam Houston State University


Sources:

Austin, Stephen F., and Villamae Williams.  Stephen F. Austin’s Register of Families:
From the Originals in the General Land Office, Austin, Texas. [U.S.]: V.
Williams, 1984.

Hooks, Michael Q.  “Free Blacks and Texas Land Grants.”  Texas State Genealogical
Society.  Stirpes.  Volume 26, No. 4, Dec. 1986. 168-69.

Schoen, Harold.  “The Free Negro In The Republic of Texas.” The Southwestern
Historical Quarterly 39 (1936): 292-308.

____.  “The Free Negro In The Republic of Texas.” The Southwestern
Historical Quarterly 40 (1937): 26-34, 169-199.

____.  “The Free Negro In The Republic of Texas.” The Southwestern
Historical Quarterly 41 (1937): 83-108.

Texas Supreme Court.  James Hazlett and C.E. Dickey v. T.M. Harwood et al.  Case
number 7012.  April, 14, 1891.  Web.  LexisNexis, accessed July 29, 2011.  

University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  Digital Library on American Slavery.  
Petition 11583702, Logan Greenbury.  Abstract of petition filed May 15, 1837, Brazoria Co., TX. http://library.uncg.
edu/slavery/details.aspx?pid=2079
Texas Black History Preservation Project
Documenting the Complete African American Experience in Texas -- "Know your history, know yourself"
Logan
Drawing by Kathleen Howell