Texas' First Black Capitalist
— 1794-1856 —
Stone Marker:Born a slave in South Carolina, 1794
Escaped to Texas in 1821
Rendered valuable assistance to the Army of Texas, 1836
Interpreter for the Houston-Forbes Treaty with the Cherokees, 1836
Acquired wealth and was noted for his charity
Died at his home on Goyens' Hill
His skin was black
His heart, true blueAccompanying metal marker:
This monument marks the site of a large city lot owned by Willaim Goyens in the 1840s. Contrary to the information on this 1936 Texas Centennial Marker, Goyens was not a slave but was born a free man of color in North Carolina in 1794.
Willaim Goyens came to Nacogdoches in 1820, became a prosperous innkeeper and blacksmith, was the gunsmith for the Mexican Army, and built wagons and operated a freight service between Nacogdoches and Natchitoches. He also bought and sold land and became one of the county's major landholders.
Goyens was active in civic and political life in Nacogdoches and became the chief intermediary between the Indians and the settlers of East Texas. Goyens helped Sam Houston negotiate a peace treaty with the Cherokees during the Texas Revolution.
When free Negroes were banned from Texas after 1840, the leading citizens of Nacogdoches petitioned Congress and gained amnesty for Goyens, who lived the last part of his life on Goyens Hill, four miles west of Nacogdoches. William Goyens died in 1856, leaving an estate of 12,423 acres, considerable money and goods, five slaves, and a rich and respectable reputation.
This William Goyens Centennial Marker was moved from its original location in a woods pasture near Goyens hill to this more visible and protected site.