What I enjoy most about the 2014 Spring Ancestor Challenge is the flow of information, resources, and support from the various research tribes within the AAGSAR Village! The Texas Tribe has been PHENOMENAL to work with. In fact, it was Texas Tribe member, Terrence Garnett (My TX/LA Roots), who provided me with a copy of the Texas Voters Registration Lists 1867-1869 for my 3x great-grandfather Osborn Rowte (Routt) that provided an excellent clue about when he arrived in the Washington County Texas area!
Why is this 1867 Texas Voters Registration List so pivotal to my research?
This Voters Registration List is the first record to enumerate newly free slaves and all those who survived the Civil War in Texas. Therefore, it is the earliest public record I have after the 1860 US Census and prior to the 1870 US Census, that list my great-grandfather by name! So it is so-o-o-o exciting to learn that Osborn Routt registered for the privilege to vote on 28 June 1867 in Washington County, Texas! Line 1340 of the registry below has the following information: 
Date of Registry: 28 June 1867 Name: Osborn Rowte
Place of Residence: [blank]
Time of Residence –
In State: 14 yrs
In County: 14 yrs
In Precinct: [blank]
Signature of Elector: Osborn Rowte [X]
General Remarks: Colored
According to the Person Details for Osborn Route, 1870 United States Federal Census, Osborne was 28 years old living in Washington County, Texas with his wife Sallie, and their children Jefferson, Buchanon, Mary Francis, and Louisa (my 2x great-grandmother)! Based on this information from the census, his estimated year of birth is around 1842. 
Though this Voters Registration List does not corroborate Virginia being his place of birth reported in the 1870 census, it does however report that he had lived in the Washington County, Texas area for 14 years by 1867 which would put his arrival in the state of Texas around 1853.
So based on this 1867 Voters Registration List and the 1870 US Federal Census, I know:
Osborn Routt was born in Virginia around 1842
Osborn Routt lived in Virginia at least until 1853
Osborn Routt was around 11 years old when he arrived in Washington County, Texas in 1853
Assuming that Osborn’s owner brought him to Texas, my conclusions at this point are:
The slave owner owned or purchased land in Washington County, Texas before or around 1853
The slave owner may have been born or lived in Virginia
What are my next steps?
Search the 1870 US Federal Census of Washington County, Texas for other freedmen whose birthplace is Virginia
Search the 1870 US Federal Census of Washington County, Texas for landowners born in Virginia and who owned land in the area since 1853 or earlier
Search the 1867 Voters Registration List of Washington County, Texas, for those landowners I’ve identified from Virginia to determine if they’ve lived in the area since 1853 or earlier
Search the 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules to find which landowners I’ve identified owned slaves
2. “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MXGF-FYD : accessed 24 Feb 2014), Osborn Route, Texas, United States; citing p. , family 184, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000553107.
After the Civil War, many couples who had married as slaves and who desired to stay together, legalized their unions by getting married. As a result, marriage became one of the very first civil rights that [newly free] African-Americans [were] able to exercise. 
I strongly believe this was the case for my 3x great-grandparents, Osborn and Sallie Routt! According to the 1870 Census (the very first census to document African-Americans who had been slaves before and during the Civil War), they were listed as a family with three children ranging in ages 7, 5, and 9 months. Their oldest child, Jefferson Routt who was 7 years old at the time, was born during slavery about 1863. So today for Wedding Wednesday, I celebrate the official marriage of Osborn and Sallie Routt, which took place, 9 July 1871!
The State of Texas, to wit: Washington County, S.-S.
To all who shall see these Presents, Greeting:
Know We, THAT ANY PERSON LEGALLY AUTHORIZED TO SOLEMNIZE THE RITES OF MATRIMONY IS HEREBY LICENSED TO
JOIN IN MARRIAGE AS HUSBAND AND WIFE, Osborne RoutteandSally Routte and for so doing, this shall be your authority.
In Testimony Whereof, I, J. J. Stockbridge, Clerk of the District
Court here unto subscribe my name, and affix the seal of said Court, this 8th day ofJuly1871 J.J. Stockbridge, C. D. C. W. C.
By _____________, Deputy
The State of Texas, to wit: Washington County, S. S.
This certifies that I joined in Marriage a Husband and Wife Osborn Route and Sally Route on the 9th day of July 1871.
Because marriage records vary from state to state and often contain several dates (a license date, a wedding date, a return date, and a filing date), I want to remind researchers to double check these records carefully and make sure to record the correct wedding date on their family group sheets and pedigree charts. At first, I had Osborn’s and Sallie’s marriage date as 8 July 1871 in my notes. But upon careful inspection of this certified marriage license, I now know that was the date they applied for the license. Their actual wedding date was 9 July 1871!
1. Hunter, T. (2010, February 11). Slave Marriages, Families Were Often Shattered By Auction Block [Interview by M. Martin, Transcript]. In New Discoveries in Black History. NPR.
2. Washington County Marriage Volume 3: 488, County Clerk’s Office, Brenham, Texas.
When Luckie Daniels (Our Georgia Roots & Our Alabama Roots) and Felicia Mathis (Echoes of My Nola Past) invited me to join them on the new African American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research (AAGSAR) Group they were launching via Facebook, I had no idea that I would be joining, in my opinion, one of the BEST collaborative genealogy group for “serious” family historians and researchers in 2014. Luckie said it best when she wrote, “Slave Ancestry IS CHALLENGING WORK,” in one of her messages to the group. From that message comes one of the most exciting projects I have ever worked on with a group via the Internet . . . the 2014 Spring Ancestor Challenge – No Brick Walls Permitted!
I have accepted this challenge which officially begins Tuesday, October 1, 2013 and ends April 1, 2014. In essence, this is MY ANCESTOR WORK, but I’m not alone on this journey! I have met some awesome group members who have made the setup and preparation for this challenge so-so sweet (sending a special shout-out to the Texas Tribe . . . woo-hoo!). So I have a support system that is willing to lend a helping hand, consult with me when I need it, and support me when it looks like I don’t know what the heck I’m doing!
So without further adieu, here’s my 2014 Spring Ancestor Challenge . . .
Masters & Slaves: The Texas Routts
To determine the approximate date/location of my 3rd great-grandfather Osborn Routt’s birth in Virginia, as well as the approximate date/location of his death in Washington County, Texas.
William Robert Routt from Northumberland County, Virginia
Joseph William Routt from Huntsville, Madison, Alabama & Chappel Hill, Washington, Texas
Texas – Chappel Hill, Washington County
Alabama – Huntsville, Madison County
Virginia – Northumberland County
It was the “5 Generations” photo I found above in an old family photo album featuring my 97-year-old 2nd great-grandmother, Lula (Routt) Green, that initially launched my research into my father’s side of my family tree. Based on a few names my dad could remember, I was able to glean from the 1870 & 1880 census records that Lula Routt, born 12 September 1867 in Chappel Hill, Washington County, Texas, was the daughter of Osborn and Sallie Routt. Lula was born just 2 short years after slavery ended in Texas. Prior to 1867, her parents were slaves on one of the major plantations in the Washington County, Texas area. To learn more about who the slaveholders were in that area, I wrote to Chappel Hill’s local Historical Society, who put me in contact with one of their respected historians, Nathaniel Winfield, in 1998. It is through email conversations with Mr. Winfield, that I discovered that Osborn & Sallie Routt were probably once slaves on his great-grandfather’s plantation – Mulberry Bower. According to Mr. Winfield, his great-grandfather (Joseph William Routt) came to Chappel Hill, Texas from Huntsville, Alabama in the mid 1840’s. Both the 1870 & 1880 census records report Osborn was born in Virginia about 1835. If Osborn was born in Virginia, how did he end up in Texas on the Mulberry Bower Plantation? Well according to a free Google e-book I was fortunate to download titled, A History of Texas and Texans, Volume 4 by Frank White Johnson, Joseph William Routt was the son of William Robert Routt, ” . . . a slaveholder and planter of Virginia . . . ” So in light of that family connection it is very possible that William Routt may have been the original owner of Osborn which resulted in him being passed down to the son as a part of the father’s estate.
References Needed for Further Review and Analysis:
Probate Will of William Robert Routt Probate Will of Joseph William Routt Estate Inventories for William Routt & Joseph Routt Insurance Policies for William Routt & Joseph Routt Plantation Records for William Routt & Joseph Routt (if available) Sharecropping Records for Osborn Routt 1850 & 1860 US Federal Census Slave Schedules for William Routt & Joseph Routt Tax Records for William Routt, Joseph Routt, and Osborn Routt U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880 U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 Washington County, Texas Death Records Local Histories & Pamphlets Chancery Records Index African-American Newspapers Church & Baptism Records*
For Family, Friends, and Visitors:
What have I missed? Are there any other references and resources I need to explore? If yes, let me know in the comment section below!
*Special thanks to Shellye (My Genealogical Journey) for reminding me to include Church & Baptism Records to my list as well!
This Memorial Day I honor my maternal and paternal ancestors (veterans and non-veterans) virtually with the launch of the – Claiming Kin Virtual Cemetery– at FindAGrave.com! 
I actually established this “on-going” virtual cemetery New Year’s Day of this year, but did not want to release it online until –
1) I had 20 or more ancestors listed
2) I had a chance to verify each ancestors’ connection to me and my family
The purpose of this new virtual cemetery is to link the interments of all my maternal and paternal ancestors together despite the geographical location of their graves. Those of you who have been following me for a while know FindAGrave.com is one of my favorite online resources to use with my family research. I started creating virtual cemeteries last year with the launch of my “on-going”Chapple Family Virtual Cemeteryand when I see the number of visits that post has received via my blog’s Google Analytics dashboard widget and Feedjit live traffic feed, I hope that this post about this new virtual cemetery will do just as well too!
According to theOffice of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, on May 5, 1865, Decoration Day was established for our nation to decorate the graves of veterans with flowers. The first observance of this federal holiday took place at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. But by the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 across the United States. By 1971, the US Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday and it was at that time that it would be observed on the last Monday in May.
With so many Americans honoring the deaths of love ones who were not veterans on Memorial Day, in December 2000 Congress passed and the president signed in to law — “The National Moment of Remembrance Act” — so that veterans are particularly not forgotten on this national day! 
The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.”
To my family and friends, have a wonderful Memorial Day and if time allows, visit a local cemetery today! If you cannot make it to an actual cemetery, then I invite you to take a virtual stroll through the Claiming Kin Virtual Cemetery by clicking the link or the graphic above; feel free to leave virtual flowers if you like!