1785-1794 (born betw) William Goyens from North Carolina, moved to Texas

William Goyens born between 1785-1794 from North Carolina, moved to Texas

(Link to page on various William “Going’s” and other variations of last name.  See this page to compare this William Goyens to other William Going variations that were in the VA, NC, or SC areas in the 1700s.  List is not complete, but I’ve listed those I know about so far:  https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/various-william-goings-different-ones/ ).


William Going b. 1765  (Granville Co and Moore Co)  (unsure if this is correct, this is based on others’ reports.  If you have other information, please forward it and I will attempt to add all relevant information on this person).






1794 – William Goyens – born abt 1794 (Nacodoches Tx later in life – mulatto helped Texas)
William Goyens, a mulatto man, who settled in Nacogdoches, TX during Spanish rule was born in Moore Co, NC in 1794. He was the son of William Goings, a free mulatto, and a white woman. He came to TX in 1820. In 1832, he married Mary Pate Sibley, a white woman. She had one son named Henry, but William and Mary had no children. A Dr. Sibley was Pres. Thos. Jefferson’s Indian Agent and confidant living in Natchitoches, LA Perhaps there is a connection. (Ref: The New Handbook of Texas, Vol. 3, The Texas State Historical  Moore Co, NC.     http://lumbeeindiansandgoinsfamily.blogspot.com/2007/11/moore-county-nc-early-records.html

1794 – (birth year) – William GOYENS (1794-1856). William Goyens (or Goings), early Nacogdoches settler and businessman, was born in Moore County, North Carolina, in 1794, the son of William Goings, a free mulatto, and a white woman. He came to Texas in 1820 and lived at Nacogdoches for the rest of his life. Although he could not write much beyond his signature, he was a good businessman. He was a blacksmith and wagonmaker and engaged in hauling freight from Natchitoches, Louisiana. On a trip to Louisiana in 1826, he was seized by William English, who sought to sell him into slavery.qv In return for his liberty, Goyens was induced to deliver to English his slave woman and to sign a note agreeing to peonage for himself, though reserving the right to trade on his own behalf. After his return to Nacogdoches, he successfully filed suit for annulment of these obligations.
During the Mexican Texasqv era, Goyens often served as conciliator in the settlement of lawsuits under the Mexican laws. He was appointed as agent to deal with the Cherokees, and on numerous occasions he negotiated treaties with the Comanches and other Indians, for he was trusted not only by them but also by the Mexicans and Anglo-Americans in East Texas. He also operated an inn in connection with his home near the site of what is now the courthouse in Nacogdoches. In 1832 he married Mary Pate Sibley, who was white. Sibley had one son, Henry Sibley, by a former marriage, but Goyens and Mary had no children.
During the Texas Revolution,qv Goyens was given the important task of keeping the Cherokees friendly with the Texans, and he was interpreter with Gen. Sam Houstonqv and his party in negotiating a treaty. After the revolution he purchased what was afterwards known as Goyens’ Hill, four miles west of Nacogdoches. He built a large two-story mansion with a sawmill and gristmill west of his home on Moral Creek, where he and his wife lived until their deaths. During his later life Goyens amassed considerable wealth in real estate, despite constant efforts by his white neighbors to take away what he was accumulating. He always employed the best lawyers in Nacogdoches, including Thomas J. Rusk and Charles S. Taylor,qqv to defend him and was generally successful in his litigation. He died on June 20, 1856, soon after the death of his wife; they were both buried in a cemetery near the junction of Aylitos Creek with the Moral. At his grave a marker was erected by the Texas Centennialqv Commission in 1936. Many traditions grew up in Nacogdoches about this unusual man, and sometimes it is hard to tell just what is true and what is tradition.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bexar Archives, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Steen Library, Stephen F. Austin State University; Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin; Texas State Archives, Austin; Houston Public Library, Houston. Nacogdoches Archives, Steen Library, Stephen F. Austin State University; Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin; Texas State Archives, Austin. R. B. Blake; Moore Co, NC.

1820-21 – William Goyens moves from US to Texas per testimony in 1826 – See: Nacogdoches Archives – July 24 to Oct 31, 1826 Transcript. Vol. XXX., pages 56-59.–Aug 16, 1826. . . “William Goyens, an immigrant from the United States of the North, before you appears with the greatest humility that is due. I present that it has been for the time from five to six years that I have been by consent an inhabitant of this said town, by knowledge of the Commissioners, who in the year 1821 came from Bexar to this place, Don Juan Veramendi, Don Jose Anto Navarro and Don Erasmo Seguin, who at that time recognized me free, and as a citizen, as I have said. And Bill English having defied the authority of this said town, to make me a slave forcibly and against my wish, from which it followed that by the fear that I had no force to remove myself from the life, in the same manner as I had already escaped, he obliges me to pay all the charges that this would cause me, because in that time there was not in this town any method that may be able to subject any bad order of those that would wish to use those knaveries, and as a result of all that I have explained, I have loaned Mr. York a negro valued at $500.00, wherefore I have to Bill English $1000.00 that was the value of the obligation that I had executed to the said English to free my life, as I have said, and on account of the same negro I gave an obligation of the same $500.00 to the said York to pay them in goods; and I have always been prompt to pay it with the same goods, and he has never wished to receive them, and in the same amount I have turned on it some receipts, and we have adjusted the accounts, nevertheless Mr. York has never asked me for his payment, nor has he presented to the autority of this town, in order that I have any way of verifying his payment; in place of proceeding as a good man, he has formed a plot to go to the other side of the Sabine to show a paper of false sale given by Bill English, in order to take my liberty from me, and in order to use all this together on the other side of the Sabine, a guard of evil people to seize me, and having seized me, he carried me to the house of John Crutchfield, leaving my two wagons and animals, money of other people, and other things, all of value, at the same place where he seized me; and there in the same house of John Crutchfield they obliged me by force to execute a sale of a negro of mine for the sum of $400.00, the negro of mine having cost me $590.00, for which these same resulting against me the sum of $690.00, and having at the same time the first obligation of $500.00; and at the same time they have told me that if I had not given these obligations, that they would carry me there to sell me under it at the city of New Orleans, and to get myself out of danger of what they would not do with me, what they unjustly intended, I was obliged to execute the same of the negro, and the obligation before all this, I offered to Mr. York to pay him as I have said, and he answered me that he did not want any other manner of payment, only that I will give a piece of land; then I answered him, that I would look after it; and that I would look for Santiago Deone to buy in the Palo Gacho the land he has here, in case that I have it bought, to complete said payment to the said York; and the said Leone has only been awaiting the reply from San Antonio to complete the sale, that York and I have traded; and I to pay it to the said York, and with this the trade of York will be concluded; by which I ask you, in the name of the Mexican Republic, that they be made to pay for the time that they detained me with my wagons, which was four days, and also that they restore to me my obligations that they have unjustly forced me to make; also that he deliver to me the paper of the sale of my negro that he also unjustly made me to make.
Therefore, I ask and entreat that you may see me with the greatest consideration that is fitting, that by it I receive grace and mercy.
God and liberty. Nacogdoches, August 16, 1826.
William Goyens (Endorsed).
Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Supplement Number 11, pg. 26.

1826 July 30 – William Goyens gives testimony in a criminal matter regarding theft from Madam Coffey’s house of 720 pesos – people involved included Samuel Norris, Madam Dill, James Dill, Defendant negro Samuel, Captain Gaines, James Gaines, Luis Prosela.
Nacogdoches Archives – July 24 to Oct 31, 1826 Transcript. Vol. XXX., pages 35-37.
Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Supplement Number 11, pg. 19.

1826 Sept 2 – I, Pierre Mayniel, say that by this I declare that I have received from Senor William Goyens an obligation of 70 pesos, for part of the price of a lot and timber for a house which I sold him verbally, and that by this I obligate myself to give him the judicial sale for same upon his return from Natchitoches. Nacogdoches, Sept 2, 1826.
Pre Mayniel.
Nacogdoches Archives – July 24 to Oct 31, 1826 Transcript. Vol. XXX., pages 112.
Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Supplement Number 11, pg. 37.

1826 Oct 18 – State of Coahuila, Dist of Nacogdoches.
There having been presented in this my tribunal (William) Goyens and Thomas York, in the affair that is in this Archive growing out of having sentenced the second, by me jointly with two good men, whom I follow, that by his obligation that the first had given, the second will lose 100 pesos, and that he pay to the first his damages that the second has caused him, and the costs of justice; and I sign it on the 18th day of Oct, 1826, with the two men of my assistance.
Samuel Norris.
Of assistance: Joseph Durst and Patricio de Torres.
Nacogdoches Archives – July 24 to Oct 31, 1826 Transcript. Vol. XXX., pages 244.
Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Supplement Number 11, pg. 60.

1827 Feb 19 – It being necessary that they give their declaration in the writ that we are forming, as we indicate to you in our official communication of the 17th inst., the citizens of this neighborhood, William Goyens, Radford Berry and John McDaniel, we beg of you that you be pleased to give the proper order that they present themselves to complete it as promptly as possible, knowing to do it in the lodging house of the second attorney.
God and liberty. Nacogdoches, Feb 19, 1837 (1827?)
First Attorney: Stephen F. Austin. Second Attorney: Francisco Roxo.
To Senor Constitutional ALcalde of this town.
Nacogdoches Archives – Feb 9, 1827 to Jan 6, 1828 Transcript. Vol. XXXII., page 7.
Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Supplement Number 11, pg. 99.

1827 May 7 – Sale of a lot in Nacogdoches from Pierre Nayniel to William Goyens – page 6.  Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Volume 23, pg. 6.

1827 Sept 15 – We, the undersigned arbitrators in the case between Goyens and Roberts, have determined that Goyens is debtor for 39 pesos 4 reales, which he must pay within fifteen days counting from this date. For its certainty I, the said Goyens, and the above cited sign it, who are shown by our signatures below. In Nacogdoches, 15th Sept, 1827. Costs of Court, 6 reales each.
William Goyens,
Patricio de Torres,
Frost Thorn.
Nacogdoches Archives – July 25 to Dec 24, 1827 Transcript. Vol. XXXIV., pages 79.
Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Supplement Number 11, pg. 168.

1828 Jan 17 – (Summary) Citizens Mr. Rueg and Mr. Joseph Durst . . . defending that they had won the horse race, which was made on the 15th against William Goyens . . . the declarants submit themselves to again take the chance in the same race . . .
Pre. Mayniel
Jn Mora
Jose Ma Mora
Nacogdoches Archives – Jan 1 to April 12, 1828 Transcript. Vol. XXXIV., page 49-53.
Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Supplement Number 11, pg. 250.

1828 April 20 – Sale of a piece of land East of Na Nana Creek from Juan Jose Medina to William Goyens, April 20, 1828.
Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Volume 23, pg. 7.

1829 April 19 – Corporal William Goyens listed in Civic Company of Nacogdoches.
Nacogdoches Archives – Jan 1, 1829 to Oct 27, 1834 Transcript. Vol. XLI., page 369-374.
Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Supplement Number 11, pg. 376.

1829 April 24 – The undersigned arbitrators in the affair that grew up between William Goyens and Thomas Sanders in an affair to claim that Sanders makes against Goyens, we have seen come in this: Goyens presents and by a surety for the sum of 20 pesos, 6 reales for the term of one month, in which, in default of payment of these, he may place to Sanders an obligation of the same amount that is against Sanders.
And for its certainty we sign it in the presence of the Alcalde in Nacogdoches, 24th of April, 1829.
Signed: Anto Menchaca, Jn Egne Michamps, Jose Ignacio Ybarbo, Thos Sanders, William Goyens.
Nacogdoches Archives – April 15, 1829 to Dec 25, 1830 Transcript. Vol. XLII., page 12-17.
Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Supplement Number 11, pg. 376.

1829 Nov 6 – Sale of a Negro woman Sallie and daughter Louisa from Susan Callier to William Goyens, Nov 6, 1829.
Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Volume 23, pg. 9.

1830 Nov 13 – Sale of land at Junction of Banito and La Nana from Jose Mariano Procella to William Goyens, Nov 13, 1830. Transferred from Goyens to Isaac Lee, June 21, 1834.
Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Volume 23, pg. 11.

1831 Jan 11 – Petition in Alcalde Court of Henry Linley by attorney Antonio Menchaca agaisnt John Walker represented by William Goyens, Jan 11, 1831. Robert Bruce Blake Research Collection, Volume 23, pg. 14.

Goyens is mentioned in the “Robert Bruce Blake Research Collections in Volumes: Vols 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 11 sup, 12, 12 sup, 13, 13 sup, 14, 14 sup, 15, 15 sup, 17 sup, 18, 18 sup, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 29, 30, 35, 48, 50, 56, 64, 66, 67, 68.   https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1622062

1848 Dec 20 – William Goyens for the admin of estate of Henry J Sibley Petitions, Orders, Etc. 1842-1875. p. 234 Nacogdoches Co, Tx.

1849 March – William Goyens as admin of estate of Henry J Sibley, and Mary Sibley as guardian of minors. Probate Index: 1837-1910. Nacogdoches County, Tx. https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2115/007574096_00386?pid=536556&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D2115%26h%3D536556%26tid%3D%26pid%3D%26usePUB%3Dtrue%26_phsrc%3DTqH1363%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=TqH1363&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true#?imageId=007574000_00092

1856 June 21 – H C Hancock admr of est of William Goyens, decd.
Administrators Record, 1838-1895. Pg. 265-269. Nacogdoches Co, Tx
(Bond): https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2115/007574096_00386?pid=536556&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D2115%26h%3D536556%26tid%3D%26pid%3D%26usePUB%3Dtrue%26_phsrc%3DTqH1363%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=TqH1363&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true#?imageId=007574005_00174

1857 Sept 10 – Petition of William C Pollock, guardian of the estates of the minors Martha and Henrietta Sibly, both complaining of H C Hancock admin of the estate of William Goyen decd. Martha and Henrietta Sibley are the children (daughters) and only heirs of Henry J Sibley who departed this life in 1847. Henry J Sibley was and is the only child and sole heir of Mary Goyen who departed this life in said county in 1855, who was the lawful wife of William Goyen decd. William Goyen and Mary intermarried in the State of Coahuila and Texas (at the time a part of the Republic of Mexico) after Republic now State of Texas on or about the year 1828 . . . Both were living as husband and wife since that time . . . had in their possession and were the owners of a large amount of property . . . lands, negroes, horses, cattle, hogs, and other personal property . . . William Goyne died in June 1856 . . . (Sibley’s children making claim for 1/2 of the estate/property as heirs of Mary Goyen). . . no other heirs known of William Goyne . . .
Records of Partitions. 1856-1893. Bk C, p. 1-57. Nacogdoches, Texas

1858 April 23 – Charles Stokes petition re estate of William Goyens decd. Records of Partitions, p. 261-267. Nacogdoches County, Texas. https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2115/007574096_00386?pid=536556&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D2115%26h%3D536556%26tid%3D%26pid%3D%26usePUB%3Dtrue%26_phsrc%3DTqH1363%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=TqH1363&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true#?imageId=007574003_00159

1859 Aug 30 – Ad-litems appointed by court for “unknown heirs” of William Goyen file answer denying Sibley children’s claims . . . they state that William Goyen was a slave or a free negro, who’s marriage to Mary Sibley Goyen was illegal since she was a white woman . . . since the marriage was not valid, claiming that Mary’s children have no claim to the estate. bk C, pg. 6-7. Nacogdoches Co, Tx.

1859 Aug 30 – admin of est filed exhibit of the liquidation of the estate . . . slaves, personalty, listed . . .
Land amounts were:
4428 acres of land in Angelina County granted to Anastacis Bonilla.
3001 acres of land in Houston County granted to Jose T Trocella (or Procella).
1107 acres of land in Angelina County granted to Stephen Stanley
1414 acres of land in Nacogdoches County granted to Juan Ysidro Accosta.
900 acres of land in Nacogdoches County granted to Josiah Pettyjohn.
177 acres of land in Nacogdoches County headright of John Engledon.
320 acres supposed to be lost. . . bk C, pg. 7-8. Nacogdoches Co, Tx.

1859 Nov 1 – pg 57 – last page of William Goyen probate partition: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2115/007574096_00386?pid=536556&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D2115%26h%3D536556%26tid%3D%26pid%3D%26usePUB%3Dtrue%26_phsrc%3DTqH1363%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=TqH1363&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true#?imageId=007574004_00390

1867 Dec 21 – William Goyens estate – Washington L Denman admr – Admin Record, 1838-1895. pg 125 Nacogdoches Co, Texas

William Goyens decd, Probate Docket 1866-1879. pgs 186, 238, 344. Nacogdoches County, Texas.
p. 186: (says see pg 238): https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2115/007574096_00386?pid=536556&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D2115%26h%3D536556%26tid%3D%26pid%3D%26usePUB%3Dtrue%26_phsrc%3DTqH1363%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=TqH1363&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true#?imageId=007574000_00286
p. 238: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2115/007574096_00386?pid=536556&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D2115%26h%3D536556%26tid%3D%26pid%3D%26usePUB%3Dtrue%26_phsrc%3DTqH1363%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=TqH1363&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true#?imageId=007574000_00313
p. 344: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2115/007574096_00386?pid=536556&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D2115%26h%3D536556%26tid%3D%26pid%3D%26usePUB%3Dtrue%26_phsrc%3DTqH1363%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=TqH1363&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true#?imageId=007574000_00367

William Goyens, Melungeon
Becomes Texas Millionaire

William Goyens, believed to be a son of William Goings and Elizabeth Goings, was born in 1794 in North Carolina of a “free colored” father and a “white” mother. He rose above the
constrictions imposed by his dark skin to become an adventurer, a soldier, a pirate, an interpreter, a diplomat and a Texas millionaire and philanthropist.

Early in his life, he became aware of the stigma of a dark-colored skin in slave-holding North Carolina, and he went to the district judge and requested a certificate from the court establishing that he was “free colored,” the best he could do in North Carolina. He carefully guarded this treasured document and carried it with him wherever he went for the rest of his life, presenting it upon occasions to prove that he was not a runaway slave.

William Goyens learned in his early years in North Carolina that slavery was forbidden in the Spanish province of Coahuila y Tejas and concluded that his destiny lay there. He was aware that making his way across several slave states from North Carolina to Texas would be hazardous with his dark complexion, so he “became a Cherokee” and moved freely with the tribesmen toward the southwest. In 1814, “William Goyens of the Cherokee Nation” gave power of attorney to John Lowery to collect money due him.

When the British Navy showed up at the mouth of the Mississippi in December 1814 with 50 ships and 10,000 men under Maj.-Gen. Edward Packinham, William Goyens answered the call for volunteers.

When Gen. Andrew Jackson assembled his forces, William Goyens served in three different units in the Battle of New Orleans, according to “War of 1812 Veterans in Texas” by Mary Smith Foy. He was a private in the company commanded by Capt. James B. Moore. When his fellow soldiers resented “serving with a nigger,” he transferred to Capt. Jacob Short’s
company of U.S. Mounted Rangers. When that became intolerable, he was became a member of Capt. Samuel Judy’s company of Mounted Illinois Militia.

After the British withdrew following the death of Packinham and their defeat in the Battle of Chalmette, William Goyen affiliated with Jean Lafitte and his Barataria Bay pirates to avoid the threat of slavery, according to historian R. B. Blake. He jumped ship in Galveston Bay and made his way in 1821 to Nacogdoches, his original destination, according to
“Monument to a Black Man” by Daniel James Kubiak.

There his color proved to be an asset. When the Mexicans and Anglos there staged an uprising in the Guiterrez-Magee-Long revolt, the Spanish army came down hard. Nacogdoches had been nearly obliterated by the Spanish reaction, according to
“People and Places in Texas Past” by June Rayfield Welch.

Stephen F. Austin wrote that when he passed through the town in 1821, Nacogdoches had only five houses and a church left standing. The home of William Goyens whom the  Spanish commander regarded as neither Mexican nor Anglo was preserved.

William Goyens who fluently spoke Spanish, Cherokee and several Indian dialects was used by the Spanish, the Mexicans and later the Texans to maintain peace with the Indians who trusted him as well. Goyens became a negotiator as well as an interpreter.

He became a large property owner in Nacogdoches, opened an inn, a blacksmith shop, a gunsmith shop, a wagon factory and operated a freight line, hauling goods from Natchitoches, Louisiana to Nacogdoches. On a trip to Natchitoches in 1826, he was seized as a runaway slave by William English who planned to sell him in the Louisiana slave auction. He offered William English more money for his freedom than he would bring in the slave market and posted bond to guarantee payment.

Upon return to Texas he retained attorney [later senator] Thomas Jefferson Rusk to represent him in court. When his North Carolina certificate was produced as evidence, he won the case and was successful in getting his obligations to English declared null and void. Having had a taste of victory in the courtroom, he became a constant litigant, being involved in over three dozens lawsuits during the next decade.

On May 7, 1826 he bought a lot in Nacogdoches from Pierre Mayniel for 70 pesos, and this became the first in a long string of real estate transactions recorded in his name in Nacogdoches.

He was recorded as a blacksmith in the 1828 census of Nacogdoches. He was appointed by the Mexican government as an Indian agent to deal with the Cherokees, and upon occasions he negotiated with other tribes. He was trusted by the Indians and the Mexicans and Anglo-Americans in East Texas, as well.

A flood of Anglos from the southern states began to flow into Mexican Texas, many bringing their slaves with them, and the practice was gradually tolerated by the government. As further protection against being again labelled as a runaway slave,
Goyens became a slave owner himself. On January 3, 1829, he bought Jerry, 26-year-old slave from John Durst for 700 pesos.

In the Mexican census of 1828 the household of William Goyens was recorded:

“Goyens, William 43, single blacksmith
Linse, Jususa 20, agreg. single
Linse, Maria 26, widow
Manuel 10, her son”

On June 1, 1829, he was enumerated in the district “from Attoyac to Nacogdoches:”

“Goyens, William 44, single, blacksmith
Lindsey, Jesus 21, single
Lindsey, Mary, 27, widow
Manuel 11, her son [Henry]”

On June 30, 1830, he was recorded in the district “from Attoyac to Trinity River” and reported three slaves:

“Goyens, William 34, single, blacksmith, Catholic”
Maria Petra, 32, Catholic
Henry, her son 11
Sallie, slave 30
Luiza, her daughter 6
Juliana, her daughter 3″

In that year he was recorded as a Catholic, a requirement of every land owner in Texas. On January 18, 1831, William Goyens appeared on a “List of Foreigners living in Nacogdoches.”

On June 30, 1831, the enumerator recorded him “in the district from Attoyac to the Trinity:

“Goyens, William 36, single, blacksmith, Catholic
Ma. Polly 35, with him, Catholic
Henry 13, child of hers
Sexo, slave 32
Luisa 7, her child
Juliana 4, her child
Eli 1, her child”

In 1832 William Goyens, at age 38, proposed marriage to Mary “Polly” Pate Sibley, a white widow who was born in Georgia in 1795, also age 38. Her brothers came from Georgia to block her marriage to a black man, but then consented when they learned that she was marrying a “Melungeon” rather than a Negro, according to Benjamin Lundy. She had one son, Henry Sibley, by her first marriage who visited Nacogdoches frequently from
Louisiana. In the Mexican census, married women were listed by their maiden names. In 1832, the household was recorded as:

“Goyens, William 38, single, blacksmith, Catholic
Maria Mose 37, single, aggreg.
Henry 14, her son
Ma. Lera 34, slave
Ma. Luisa 7, her daughter
Ma. Juliana 5, her daughter
Ma. Ylalla 3, her daughter
Jose Juan 6/12, her son

In 1833, the family remained static:

“Goyens, William 39, single, blacksmith, Catholic
Maria Mose 38, single, aggreg.
Henry 15, her son
Ma. Sarah 35, slave
Ma. Luisa 8, her daughter
Ma. Juliana 6, her daughter
Ma. Ylalla 4, her daughter
Jose Juan 1, her son”

In 1833, “Leonardo Goyens, blacksmith” [unidentified] was enumerated, according to “Nacogdoches–Gateway to Texas, a Biographical Directory, 1773-1849” by Carolyn Reeves
Ericson. His enumeration read:

“Goyens, Leonardo 31 blacksmith, single
Ranu 31, aggregated
Maria 16, her daughter
Sally 14, her daughter
Thomas 12, her son
Priscilla 10, her daughter
Pole [Polly?] 8
Leonardo, 4, her son
Malinda 2, her daughter”

In 1834, the household of William Goyens was recorded as:

“Goyens, William 40, single, blacksmith, Catholic
Mose, Maria 39, single
Henry 16, her son
Ma. Laura 35, slave
Ma. Luisa 9, her daughter
Ma. Juliana 7, her daughter
Ma. Ellala 5, her daughter
Jose Juan 2, her son”

In 1835, in the last Mexican census, the enumeration read:

“Goyens, William 40, married, blacksmith
Pate, Marie 39, married
Goyens, Henry 16, her son
Calare, Robert 5,
Sallie 30, negro slave
Juliana 8
Haire 6
John 4
James 30, negro”
Jose Juan 2, her son”

In 1836, during the Texas Revolution, William Goyens was given the important task of keeping the Cherokees on friendly terms with the Texans. And a friend of his, Sam Houston, who also had lived with the Cherokees earlier, became general of the Texas Army. On May 10, 1837 he was referred to as an Indian agent in official Texas records.

Following the Revolution, Williams Goyens purchased land with a large promontory located four miles west of Nacogdoches which became known as Goyens’ Hill. There he constructed a large, two-story mansion, with a sawmill and a gristmill located on Moral Creek, just west of his home.

He appeared in the 1837 Nacogdoches County tax roll as the owner of 1,270 acres of land valued at $7,247. He bought a quarter league December 20, 1838 from William Gann, according to “Nacogdoches County Families.”

In the 1840 tax assessment of Nacogdoches County he paid a poll tax and an advalorem tax on 5,000 acres of land, city property in Nacogdoches, nine slaves, 30 head of cattle and a silver watch. The Republic of Texas made no allowance for a free Negro to vote nor to own land, producing additional evidence that William Goyens was not regarded as a Negro.

On April 12, 1845, William Goyens “of Nacogdoches County” gave a deed to Charles Chevalier for 1,107 acres [1/4 league] out of the John Walker League, according to adjoining
Cherokee County Deed Book I, page 36. Consideration was $1 per acre for the land which lay east of the Neches River.

On August 4, 1845, he deeded 100 acres to Mary Comb for $100, according to Nacogdoches County Deed Book I, page 76.

On November 19, 1845, he deeded 1/4 league to Thomas Jefferson Rusk, his attorney, upon payment of 1,000, according to Deed Book I, page 103.

He appeared on the advalorem tax list of Nacogdoches County in 1845. Although his skin was dark, he appeared on the 1846 polltax list of the county. The polltax of $1 applied to every white male resident of Texas over 21 and to women who were heads of households within the state, according to “Poll Lists for 1846, Republic of Texas” by Marion Day Mullins. Thirtyseven of the state’s 254 counties had been organized by 1846.

William Goyens deeded a house and lot in Nacogdoches to Alexander Toost “for $100 and compliance with bond,” as evidenced in Deed Book I, page 308. He made a deed to Matthew Mosely August 24, 1848 for 100 acres of land according to Deed Book K, page 45.

In December 12, 1848, he deeded land to Joseph Campbell at a price of $1.50 per acre, according to Deed Book K, page 45.

He was enumerated in the 1850 U.S. federal census, page 158 as the head of Household 344-344:

“Goyan, William 55, born in North Carolina, farmer, 12,000 real estate
Polly 55, born in Georgia, illiterate
Collier, Robert 31, born in Texas, farmer, $320 real estate
Darlin,Lewis 47, born in Delaware, farmer”

On October 4, 1851, William Goyens deeded 50 acres to Harrison Morrow for $75, according to Nacogdoches County Deed Book M, page 259. His charitable nature was revealed in his
gift of “two cows and calves” to Arena Paasche and children,” widow of D. R. Paasche in 1852, according to Nacogdoches County Deed Book K, page 690.

On March 15, 1853, he deeded to Jesse P. Bruton a tract of land for $1,712, according to Nacogdoches County Deed Book L, page 71. On June 24, 1854 he gave a deed to Jose Mariano
Acosta, Jr. to 50 acres for $50, according to Deed Book L, page 199. Upon payment of $500, he transferred land to Eli Willingham May 24, 1855, according to Deed Book L, page 634.

Arnold Barrett received from William Goyens a “labor and 20 acres” for $500 on November 12, 1855, according to Deed Book M, page 32. On January 1, 1856, he sold 100 acres to
Alexander Moyers for $150, according to Deed Book M, page 256. On January 17, 1856, he deeded to Thomas Collins 100 acres of land for $150, according to Deed Book M, page 357.

This land came from the original grant to Juan I. Acosta.

William Goyens sold 100 acres located eight miles southwest of Nacogdoches near Alazan Creek to Alexander Myers at $1.50 per acre on January 17, 1856. On the same day, he sold 100 acres to Thomas J. Collins at the same price.

Shortly before his death, William Goyens owned 3,818 acres in Nacogdoches County and 9,056 acres in neighboring Houston, Cherokee and Angelina counties. He died June 20, 1856, soon after the death of his wife. They were buried in a cemetery near the junction of the Aylitos Creek with the Moral.

In 1967, the value of his real estate was estimated at $1,863,450, according to Diane Elizabeth Prince who documented his life as her thesis at Stephen F. Austin University.

No children were born to William Goyens and Mary “Polly” Pate Sibley Goyens. Henry Sibley had died in March 1849. His two daughters, Henrietta S. Sibley and Martha S. Sibley became the heirs to the estate of William Goyens and Mary “Polly” Pate Sibley Goyens.

Henry C. Hancock, a Nacogdoches lawyer was appointed administrator of the estate at the time of the death of William Goyens.

On August 6, 1857, the heirs of Matthew Moseley received 120 acres of land from the estate in compliance with a title bond, as recorded in Deed Book M, page 53. On September 2, 1857, Jesse P. Bruboul received 1,071 acres of land located three miles west of Nacogdoches upon payment of $2.34 per acre, according to Deed Book M, page 598. This land was part of the headright of Henry Sibley.

Additional data on this outstanding man is provided in “Diary of Adolphus Sterne,” “Memoirs” by Benjamin Lunday and “Writings of Sam Houston.”

Historians have recorded his exploits for over 150 years, always crediting his accomplishments to a Negro. The Texas Historical Commission sought to honor him in 1936 by erecting a monument at his gravesite. On it was inscribed:

“William Goyens, born a slave [error] in South Carolina [error], escaped [error] to Texas in 1821. Rendered valuable assistance to the Army of Texas, 1836; interpreter for the Houston-Forbes Treaty with the Cherokees, 1836. Acquired wealth and was noted for his charity.

Died in his home on Goyen’s Hill, 1856. His skin was black; his heart true blue.”

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