Cover, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents, List of Maps

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pp. ix-xi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

This book would not have been possible without the encouragement and help of many people. My colleague Bob Calvert convinced me that the story of what happened to a forgotten Texas freedwoman named Azeline Hearne could be written...

Abbreviations Used in Notes

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pp. xv-xvi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

By the end of the twentieth century all recollection of Azeline Hearne had vanished in the slow eddies of time. When her name appears in surviving documents, it is usually spelled “Assaline” or “Asaline” or, less frequently, “Azalene,” and incorrectly most...

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1. No Place for a White Man to Live

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pp. 7-31

The history of the Brazos River is deeply entwined with the story of Anglo American settlement in Texas. Eighteenth- century Spanish explorers christened it “el Rio de los Brazos de Dios,” or “the Arms of God.” Originating in the West Texas...

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2. Thar Am No Parties on Marster’s Plantation

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pp. 32-66

The economy of Robertson County flourished on the eve of the Civil War because of slavery. Speculation in slaves and cotton lands might have hindered the growth of local industries, but investment in slave agriculture in no way deflected capital...

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3. A Supposed or Pretended Will

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pp. 67-99

At the time of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, there existed thousands of children of former slaveholders who, during slavery, had considered concubinage as their right. Legitimizing children born of former slave parents...

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4. Unheard of in Any System of Procedure

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pp. 100-130

In 1868 Robertson County underwent a dramatic transformation. Lum Hearne’s prewar offer of a gift of land to the H&TC Railroad ensured that its postwar continuation would bypass Wheelock and Owensville and run closer...

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5. A Most Wanton Violation of Private Rights

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pp. 131-158

The 1869 cotton crop in the Brazos Bottoms was by all accounts excellent. One observer predicted that, in the absence of bad weather, cotton worms, or some other unforeseen event, planters would make so much money that they would not know what to do with...

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6. It Seems Mighty Queer to Me, Lawyer

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pp. 159-192

At the beginning of 1870, there were good reasons for Azeline Hearne to believe that if she stayed in Robertson County she would lose everything. The unaccountability of the Freedmen’s Bureau in managing Sam Hearne’s estate had culminated...

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7. Endeavoring to Wrong, Cheat, and Defraud Her

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pp. 193-225

In the fall of 1874, three months after the rendering of the judgment against Azeline Hearne in the Hall case, fifty male citizens of the Empire of China appeared in the Robertson County District Court. The Chinese immigrants, who were formerly...

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8. The Old House Hasn’t Killed You Yet

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pp. 226-244

The world surrounding a litigant’s life is always more fascinating than the written allegations made by attorneys in prosecution or defense of a lawsuit. Over twenty persons filed sworn depositions to questions propounded by counsel in Azeline...

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9. Divested by the Courts

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pp. 245-257

For all practical purposes, Azeline Hearne’s case against Harvey Prendergast and H. L. Lewis had only a threadbare chance of life after Judge W. D. Wood made his ruling against her in the Robertson County District Court. Because there was nothing...

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Conclusion

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pp. 258-270

Radical Republicans in the northern states at the end of the Civil War understood that enfranchisement, land, and education had to be secured for southern blacks before there could ever be hope for, in Massachusetts senator Charles...

Appendix: Timeline of Major Legal Events

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pp. 271-277

Bibliography

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pp. 279-294

Index

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pp. 295-310