Monday, June 2, 2008


By Gary J. Gabehart

In a letter from Albert Rigmaiden, Calcasieu Parish Treasurer, written May 6, 1893, to McDonald Furman in the Carolinas. Rigmaiden writes the following:

Lake Charles, La., May 6, 1893

Mr. McDonald Furman


Dear Sir,

In reply to yours of April 22nd. I will state I am unable to tell you how the name Redbone originated for the people called Redbones, but I think the Negroes were the first to give them that name as they (the Negroes) has no use or love for them & they do not like the Negroes any better. I suppose you know the kind of people called Redbones, they are neither white nor black & as well as I can find out, the oldest ones came from S.C. many years ago. There are a great many of them in this Parish & in Rappides & Vernan Parish & some in other Parishes in this State & a good many in Texas too. Some of these people are as good citizens as any body & some are rascally & treacherous but you will find that among any People, but I think these are the most treacherous when they take a dislike to any one. I will give you the names of some of the principal & oldest families that I know of. They are -- Ashworth -- Goins -- Perkins -- Drake -- Hoozer -- Sweat -- Buxton -- Doil or Dial -- Johnson -- Esclavant -- these people keep pretty well together & Marry amongst themselves mostly, but occasionally a White man or Woman Marries among them, but if they do it is generally a low class of White people. It is a very unpleasant (situation?) to live about these people for this reason, they are not looked on as being -- Negroes -- Indian nor White people & as this is a White Peoples Country, they (the White People) don't put themselves on equality, socially, with any other people except White People. Although some of these People are perfect gentlemen & ladies & well educated. I think they get along exceedingly well and peaceably, considering all these of these drawbacks. I have given you as near the facts as I am trusting it will give you the desired information.

Yours Truly

Signed : A Rigmaiden

Do these two letters, Rigmaiden and Furman put a new slant on The Redbones of Louisiana, by Don Marler? You make the decision on that -- read the book.


Gary J. Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)

1 comment:

Colette said...

This is fascinating! I am actually a descendant of Rigmaidens in Calcasieu Parish and in doing family research have discovered our relation to Thomas Rigmaiden, Sr. and have a copy of his diary (original in the library in Lake Charles) when he was the 1st school teacher in the Parish. He writes about his daughter's brother-in-law being killed at the Alamo, which I love being a Texan. I have come to believe that, while I am white, Thomas also fathered a family or two with black women. I am proud that even back then he taught all his children to read and educated then very well...would love to know more about your subject and will read your blog this weekend. So wish to meet my entire family! Thanks for this amazingly useful information...I think we are all Redbones even old Albert himself!