Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Paul M. Lucko

FREEMAN, JACOB E. (ca.1841–?). Jacob E. Freeman, who represented Waller, Fort Bend, and Wharton counties in the Fourteenth and Sixteenth legislatures, was born a slave in Alabama around 1841. He arrived in Texas at the age of eleven and apparently assisted his master in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Freeman was a mechanic in the Hempstead area by 1873, when he served on the Waller County grand jury. In July 1873 he participated in the Colored Men's Convention at Brenham, which sought to enhance the status of African Americans in Texas politics. He won election to the Texas House of Representatives for the Fourteenth Legislature, 1874, and served on the Penitentiary Committee. He was elected to the Sixteenth Legislature in 1879. He ran unsuccessfully for the legislature as a People's party candidate in 1886. Although he was a member of the Republican party, Freeman campaigned for a Greenback party candidate for governor in 1878 and for a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 1892. At the time of the Fourteenth Legislature Freeman was married.

J. Mason Brewer, Negro Legislators of Texas and Their Descendants (Dallas: Mathis, 1935; 2d ed., Austin: Jenkins, 1970). Merline Pitre, Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868–1900 (Austin: Eakin, 1985). Lawrence D. Rice, The Negro in Texas, 1874–1900 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1971). Frank M. Spindler, "Concerning Hempstead and Waller County," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 59 (April 1956).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Paul M. Lucko, "FREEMAN, JACOB E.," accessed July 17, 2019,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox