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Writer,Quilt maker,Folkartist, from Freestone County, Tx.


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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Edward "Ned" Titus: Unsung Hero

Edward "Ned" Titus was born in l826 as a slave in South Carolina. He died at Brown's Creek,Freestone County, Texas in l900. He was brought to Steward's Mill, Texas by the Simeon and Nancy Lake family, in 1852. Little is known about his parents,except that his father was born in Africa and his mother was born in Virginia.

 Ned's wife Clora Dunbar, was brought along with him from South Carolina. All that is known about her is that her parents were from Virginia and she, too, undoubtedly was born as a slave during the early l800 era. Her role in creating the Titus family lineage of descendants, nonetheless is very significant and not to be dismissed.

Freestone county in the l800's was an ideal location for new settlers with slaves. It was an agricultural region with an abundance of the cash crop cotton, as well as, wheat, corn, peas, beans and sweet potatoes.

As of l860, Freestone county had no free Blacks, and the slave population actually surpassed the white population. As with most Texas communities, slavery was officially ended January 1, 1863 with the Emancipation Proclamation, but slavery in Texas did not actually end until June 19,1865.

Fourteen years later on March 4,1879,Ned and three of his sons purchased 320 acres of land in Freestone county, Texas, from Willie Lane and her husband C.B. Lane. The land was located at Brown's Creek, some ten or eleven miles East of Fairfield in the northeastern Part of Freestone County, where the Txu Electric Plant now stands.

Though Ned was illiterate and inexperienced, he and fellow ex slaves ,Ben Lee and Jim Keeton, survived in an environment that was not always friendly. They were instrumental in forming a predominantly Black community called Titus Farm. They were able to provide (what was considered a good life for their families for the times).

Ned and his wife Clora had 13 children.Their names were:
  1. Mary
  2. Sudie
  3. Frances
  4. William Timothy
  5. James
  6. Harriet
  7. Walter
  8. Henry Edward 
  9. Emma
  10. Willie
  11. Levi
  12. Clora
  13. Guy
The oldest children had also been slaves.

Ned took the leadership in establishing Hopewell Methodist Episcopal Church (which is now a part of Jones Chapel Church of Fairfield),Titus Farm Grammar and Junior High School (which later became a part of Dogan High & Elementary school; then later still in l968-69 with the Integration policies instituted, a part of Fairfield Independent School District), and finally he helped to established  Hopewell Cemetery. His descendants have studied in some of the best educational Institutions of the nation and have found employment in all walks of life, even representing the U.S. government diplomatically.

The farm remained in the family until the l960's when the residents were forced by the Texas Utility to sell it. Texas Utility wanted the land for coal strip mining and threatened to evoke imminent domain laws to forcible seize the land if the residents did not agree to sell it. Operating on the land today, is Big Brown Mining Plant that produces electricity from coal.

Adjacent to Big Brown Mining Power Plant is Hopewell cemetery, the only remaining landmark from what was once a thriving Titus Farm Community. It was saved from destruction as the results of actions taken by a great granddaughter of Ned Titus, who in l968 fought the Texas Utility to preserve this ancestral burial place.

Edward Ned and Clora are at rest at Hopewell Cemetery near Fairfield, Texas.

This information was provided to me, by Mr. Wilbur T. (Bill) Titus--Official Titus Family Historian and Last official resident of Titus Farm Community.

For further detailed information about Edward "Ned" Titus and Titus Farm Community ,please contact:

                                        Wilbur T. Titus
                                         A.M.Hunter-Titus Charitable
                                          Cultural Center,Inc.
                                          903-389-3482 or  email: wilburttitus@windstream.net

                                                              That's All for now. Enjoy!!!

                                                                                 Sherry Ann


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