W. W. Shepperd Sells the Town of Montgomery to James McCown for Slaves

   In 1839, W. W. Shepperd sold his interest in the town of Montgomery, Texas to James McCown. The sale was unusual because James McCown paid W. W. Shepperd for the town by transferring the ownership of seven slaves (five adults and two children) from McCown to Shepperd. The slaves were Carter, Syphax, Abner, Caroline, Betsy, Bill and one unnamed child. The sale also included the original Montgomery County courthouse. The document is titled Release of Mortgages William W. Shepperd to James McCown. To read the original legal document that concluded the sale of the town of Montgomery, click on the links below for pdfs.

Sale of the Town of Montgomery for Slaves Page 1

Sale of the Town of Montgomery for Slaves Page 2

Sale of the Town of Montgomery for Slaves Page 3

  This document is located in the deed records of Montgomery County Clerk's Office in Book F, pages 1-3.  There are two volumes designated as Book F. One is the earlier original and the other is a later handwritten transcription. I will transcribe these pages later. 


Release of Mortgages William W. Shepperd to James McCown

Transcription of First Page

Sale of the Town of Montgomery, Texas - Top of Page 1

DR. F                     1

Release of Mortgages William W. Shepperd to James McCown

Republic of Texas

County of Montgomery

   Know all persons by these presents that I William W. Shepperd of the county aforesaid did on the twenty first day of October A.D. 1839 sell and convey unto James McCown of the same county for the sum of Four Thousand Dollars to be paid to me on the first day of February Eighteen hundred and forty all that parcel of land lying and being in the county of Montgomery bought by me from William C. Clark and containing Two hundred acres more or less together with all the buildings improvements and appurtenances to the same belonging  saving and excepting a certain tract of Two and a half acres of land more or less which I had previously granted and conveyed with certain privileges and uses to my daughter Julia T. Stewart as per deed to her bearing date of M[unreadable] 1, 1839 and also saving and excepting the improvements and lot of ground of Joseph L. Bennett all of which will more particularly appear by Title deed to said James McCown from the said W. W. Shepperd and Mary Shepperd my wife executed on the above date of sale Oct. 22, 1839 and also all the right title possession claim and interest which I had and owned on the said day of sale the twenty first of October aforesaid in the Two hundred acre town tract of the Town of Montgomery together with the Court House on said Town tract and whereas by special agreement by me the said William W. Shepperd with the said James McCown made and entered into on the fourteenth day of January A.D. 1840 it was agreed between us that I should extend the time of payment of the said sum of Four thousand dollars from the [blank] to the first day of January 1841 conditioned that he the said James McCown should give to me as the consideration therefore the use service and possession of four negro slaves to Carter, Abner, Caroline and Moses unto and up to the time of payment and further secure to me the payment of the said sum of money by mortgages on the lands and tenements sold to him as aforesaid and the said negroes above named all of which agreement has been  duly complyed with by the said James McCown by the use possession of the said negroes and by the execution of the said mortgages to me aforesaid bearing the date of Jany 16 1840 each of them...

   Note: The Montgomery County courthouse which W. W. Shepperd owned was conveyed to James McCown along with Shepperd's interest in the town.

Transcription of Second Page


...and of record in the County of Montgomery in Book E 278, 9 and 80 and on page 281 and 282 and whereas the said James McCown having thus paid to me the said W. W. Shepperd for the lands and tenements &c in the County of Montgomery sold to him as aforesaid and delivered into my possession as the full consideration therefore in place and stead of the sum of Four Thousand dollars purchase money aforesaid some certain negro slaves to wit Carter Syphax and Abner negro men Caroline and Betsy negro women and Bill and [blank] children of said Caroline and Betsy for which and for whom he executed to me a good and sufficient title bearing even date with the present and which said negroes by title and bill of sale I have taken received and accepted in full for the sum of Four thousand dollars was due and payable as aforesaid I the said William W. Shepperd do hereby for myself heirs and successors release and forever aquit against the said James McCown his heirs &c of all the obligations and trusts rights claims and actions which I have in and upon the said two several mortgages hereinabove mentioned declaring them to be each and severally null and void by the payment and bill of sale of the said seven negro slaves and as will be seen by the endorsements by me made on each of the said mortgages bearing date this day  [blank]  myself  Hereunto binding myself heirs successors executors and administrators signed sealed and delivered these presents this twentieth day of November A. D. (1840) Eighteen hundred forty

W. W. Shepperd [seal]

Signed, Sealed and

delivered in presence

of Charles B. Stewart

    C.M. Conrow

   Before me Gwyn Morrison Clerk and recorder in and for the County of Montgomery came personally William W. Shepperd and acknowledged that he signed sealed and delivered the foregoing instrument [sic] of James McCown for the purpose therein mentioned and enumerated to which I certify with my private seal for want of a seal of office this nineteenth day of November A. D. 1840

[Seal]                                                        Gwyn Morrison Clerk and

Recorder Montgomery County

   Note: The original price of the town was $4,000.  For whatever reason, James McCown did not pay cash for the W. W. Shepperd's interest in the Town of Montgomery, Texas.  This document proves that the payment was made instead with the transfer of ownership of seven slaves from James McCown to W. W. Shepperd.


Transcription of Third Page



Filed the 19th day of November 1840

Recorded on the 21st day of November 1840

                [Seal]                                                        Gwyn Morrison

Clerk & Recorder

Montgomery County