1871 - ?
Laborer (Stuermer Cotton Gin)
Henry's last name remains somewhat of a mystery: sources list him under the names of "Rivers," "Schields," and "Shelby." We know it is the same person because of his marital relation to Katie Rivers. In the 1990s, David Collins— the great grandson of Katie River's first husband John Wesley Taylor—interviewed Lillian Dyer, the daughter of long-time grocery store owner E. P. Stuermer from Ledbetter in Fayette County. Mrs. Dyers confirmed that Henry was an employee at the Stuermer Store Cotton Gin. Every year he transported bales to La Grange to be shipped out for international sale.
In the audio below, Collins recalls how Mrs. Dyers emphasized his German language skills. Perhaps this is less surprising, considering that Henry grew up surrounded by immigrants from Prussia. You can locate 9-year-old Henry in the only two black families listed in the 1880 census list from Fayette County (see picture below).