William Goyens (sometimes spelled Goings) was born in North Carolina, in 1794, to a free mulatto father and a white mother. He arrived in Nacogdoches in 1820 and lived there until his death in 1856. Although he was illiterate, he became a successful businessman and respected citizen of the community.
Goyens operated a blacksmith shop, made wagons, operated a freight line, and ran a small hotel in his home. Goyens married a white woman. They did not have any children together.
Despite his community standing, Goyens was a victim of the harsh realities of slavery. Several times whites claimed that Goyens was a runaway slave. He had to go to court to establish his freedom. Community leaders represented him in court.
The best-known incident involved a man named William English, who had Goyens arrested while he was visiting Louisiana in 1826. Goyens convinced English to allow him to return to Texas, where once again he proved his free status in court.
Goyens helped Texas during the Revolution by negotiating a treaty with the Cherokees. This kept the Indians calm in East Texas while the Texans fought for their independence.
Goyens grew rich during the days of the Republic and statehood. He built a large home and a mill. His death and burial in 1856 launched a legend and a mystery: What became of Goyens' gold? Is this a story of buried treasure?
Source: William Goyens #1
Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved