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Melinda [Perkins] Morgan McPherson(1825-unknown)

Quilt square of blue and white representing the evening star
Melinda Perkins Morgan McPherson, "Evening Star"

Josephine Golson in Bailey’s Light writes: “Cato had married one of the Negro women of a neighboring stockman, so Polley bought the woman and her young son, as he did not think it just to separate mother and child.” Perhaps this son is Bill. Golson lists Bill as one of the enslaved persons that was freed by Mr. Polley. She writes that five children were born to Cato and Melinda, but only lists four—Alex, Bill, Celia, and Elizabeth. Perhaps there was another child that died.

Lemuel P. Perkins was one of the original settlers along the Cibolo. According to J. B. Polley’s “Oldtimers on the Cibolo,” he arrived sometime after 1851. His land was on the west side of the Cibolo in the Delgado grant, above the Houston’s property and below La Vernia, across the Cibolo from the Polley plantation. It is likely that Melinda took her enslaver’s name. Polley’s purchase of Melinda probably occurred in the early 1850s. In 1869 Perkins sold his land on the west side of the Cibolo Creek to the McAlisters and moved to Fayette County.

Cato and Melinda lived together as man and wife on the Polley’s homestead for at least 15 years prior to their official marriage in 1867. Before that time it was illegal for Black people to be married. She was married to Cato on 5 January 1867 by T. S. Wyatt, witnessed by John Anderson and N. E. Wyatt. She was from Mississippi and was 43 years old at that time.

It seems that Melinda and Cato may have separated sometime between 1867 and 1873. Cato Morgan was married again in 1873 to Rachel Stevenson Wash, whose husband Solomon had died. Melinda Perkins was married to Carey McPherson on 15 October 1873, the same day that Cato Morgan married Rachel Wash.

The 1880 Census Record for Precinct 3 shows Corry McPhersy (57) and Melinda McPhersy (60) living together.

Her quilt square is “Evening Star.”


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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