“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Navasota in Grimes County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Primus Kelly

Primus Kelly Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Anderson, July 1, 2018
1. Primus Kelly Marker

A faithful Negro slave. Came to nearby Courtney, Grimes County in 1851 with his master, John W. S. West from North Carolina. West was a prominent and wealthy pioneer planter and landowner.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, West sent Kelly "to take care" of his three sons-- Robert M., Richard and John Haywood-- who joined the famous Terry's Texas Rangers, where they served with distinction.

Kelly was not content "to wait on" his charges but joined them in battle, firing his own musket and cap and ball pistol. Twice Kelly brought to Texas the wounded Richard, twice took him to the front again.

After war, bought a small farm near "Marse Robert", raised a large family and prospered. Died in 1890's.

The courage and loyalty of Kelly was typical of most Texas Negro slaves. Hundreds "went to war" with their masters. Many operated the farms and ranches of soldiers away at war, producing food, livestock, cotton and clothing for the Confederacy. Others, did outside work to support their master's families. They protected homes from Indians, bandits and deserters and did community guard and patrol duty.

Primus Kelly Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Anderson, July 1, 2018
2. Primus Kelly Marker
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war's end, most slaves, like Primus Kelly, became useful and productive citizens of Texas.
Erected 1965 by State Historical Survey Committee. (Marker Number 8592.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansWar, US Civil.
Location. 30° 13.955′ N, 96° 3.279′ W. Marker is near Navasota, Texas, in Grimes County. Marker is on State Highway 6, 8.7 miles north of U.S. 290, on the right when traveling south. Marker is located in the Primus Kelly Picnic Area approximatly 12 miles south of Navasota and 9 miles north of Hempstead. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Navasota TX 77868, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Courtney Cemetery (approx. 2.8 miles away); Jared Ellison Groce (approx. 4.1 miles away); Mercy Seat Baptist Church (approx. 4.7 miles away); Old Salem Cemetery (approx. 4.8 miles away); Francis Jarvis Cooke (approx. 4.9 miles away); Union Grove Baptist Church (approx. 6.3 miles away); White Hall School (approx. 6.7 miles away); Reid's Prairie Baptist Church (approx. 6.8 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on November 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 2, 2018, by Brian Anderson of Humble, Texas. This page has been viewed 349 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 2, 2018, by Brian Anderson of Humble, Texas. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 27, 2023