E.A. Coleman Papers

E. A. Coleman was born in 1810 in Gosine County, Connecticut.1 By 1861, she had moved to Texana, Texas and lived on a farm. Coleman’s father and sisters, however, lived in Kansas. Coleman was a strong supporter of the Southern cause and in her letter to her sister Lucinda on March 9, 1861; she describes the conditions in Texas now that the state have officially succeeded from the Union. It is interesting that Coleman was such a strong southerner, yet her family lived in Kansas which was a free state and contained many abolitionists. There is no information though to prove what side Coleman’s sisters and father supported.

Coleman apparently had a high social status, as she claimed to have access to the Texas state legislature and frequently attended “meetings.”2 She was also working on creating a new flag that would fly at the state capital, she described the flag to her sister saying, “It has a blue centre with 7 stars of white in a circle and two red and one white stripes. Tomorrow the Legislature of Texas convenes, and it is to be raised tomorrow, as soon as we can get it done. We will soon have to add more stars. The Presidents message has caused one State to secede, Arkansaw and rumor says, Virginia. We know when Virginia leaves, all the rest will leave, except Missouri – that is uncertain. Then we shall have peace in our borders, and the northern people will then quarrel among themselves, as much as they please.”3

Coleman did not try and hide her hatred of President Lincoln and the Abolitionist movement citing, “I’m sure I dont want to see brother fighting against brother – as I am almost sure will be the case – now Lincoln has come into power he being the head and front of Abolitionism.”4 She also blamed those in Kansas for working with the Native Americans to gain horses from southerners. Before the Civil War began, violence erupted along the Kansas – Missouri border surrounding abolition and Kansas’ admission to the Union. Citizens from across the country were divided on the issue of slavery in Kansas. Thefts, murders, and destruction of property were prominent throughout the region as abolitionist and pro-slavery men attempted to physically force their political opponents from the territory. Coleman had obviously not forgotten about the “Bleeding Kansas Era.” It is unknown when Coleman’s family moved to Kansas, or if they were victims of the boarder war. Much is unknown about E. A. Coleman, but her letter provides interesting insight into her perspective of national and regional events in the early period of the war.

Contributed by the Pearce Civil War Collection, Navarro College

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  1. 1860 United States Federal Census; Census Place: Jackson, Texas; Roll: M653_1298; Page: 370; Image: 193; Family History Library Film: 805298.
  2. E.A. Coleman Papers, 1861, Pearce Civil War Collection, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas, http://www.pearcecollections.us/fa_ind.php?fid=112
  3. E.A. Coleman Letter to Lucinda, Mar. 9, 1861. Coleman (E.A.) Papers, 1861. 1996.060. Pearce Civil War Collection, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas, pg 4.
  4. E.A. Coleman Letter to Lucinda, Mar. 9, 1861. Coleman (E.A.) Papers, 1861. 1996.060. Pearce Civil War Collection, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas, pg 1.