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James Nious (1811-unknown)

Quilt square of blue and white fabric representing memory.
James Nious, "Memory"

James Nious was born in Maryland in 1811.


Jim Nious and Matilda Bird were legally married on 13 March 1869.


On 12 May 1881, James Nious placed an ad in the Southwestern Christian Advocate newspaper in New Orleans. The ad read:


Mr. Editor—I desire some information about my people. I left them in Anne Arundel county, Maryland, on West River, servants of Benjamin Winterson. Their name were Tafia, Diana, Bazile, Rachel and Hester Nious, Ben Crounce, Sarah Beechers. Of all these I should find one.

James Nious.

Lavernia, Texas.


James Nious appears in the 1880 Census in Wilson County. Living in his household in 1880 is Synthia Newton Nious (110). The 1850 Census records a Thomas Newton (white) in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Could this be the family of her enslaver?


James and Matilda had many children and grandchildren.


It seems likely that Matilda Bird Nious was the Matilda mentioned in Golson’s Bailey’s Light. I wonder if James Nious is Britt Bailey’s slave, James, that was inherited by J. H. Polley, and mentioned in several of J. B. Polley’s stories in “Historical Reminiscences.” Could he have taken his family’s name when he received his freedom?


His quilt square is “Memory.”


 

This biographical selection is from The Enslaved People of J. H. Polley Plantation, Whitehall, Sutherland Springs, Texas 1836-1865. The collection is the work of independent scholar, Dr. Melinda Creech. Dr. Creech compiled and presents a biographical sketch of each of the enslaved along with a unique historic Texas quilt for each individual since photos of the 28 enslaved are not available. The collection is available to view in person at the Sutherland Springs Historical Museum.


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