Skip to main content

Cleaver Family Papers

Identifier: A-0293

Scope and Contents

This collection contains many different types of materials. There are newspapers, newspaper clippings, photographs, diplomas, certificates, correspondence, wills and probate records, journals, newsletters, and several books. Some items of note include plaques honoring various family members and the Arthur and Maude Cleaver’s original Prairie View A and M diplomas from the 1911-1912.


  • Event: Donated 6/29/2013

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical / Historical

The Cleaver’s are a prominent Nacogdoches, Texas family with deep ancestral ties to the African American community. Family patriarch Horney C. Cleaver was born a slave on a Red River steamboat in 1848. Not much is known about his early life, but by 1870 he was living in Nacogdoches as a farmer with his new wife Nancy (m.1869). Cleaver attended Prairie View Normal School sometime in the late 1870s. He opened a black school on Banita Creek (near the present day Railroad Depot) and established the first black Presbyterian church in town. While Cleaver is listed as a simple farmer in the 1880 Census, he amassed a small fortune of property in and around Nacogdoches over the subsequent 50 years of his life. Cleaver’s 1929 will distributed amongst his heirs 50 acres of land, a farm, a hospital building, five houses, and seven city lots of land. Reverend Horney C. Cleaver passed away in 1932. It is a testament to his importance that there are Horney and Cleaver streets in Nacogdoches and that the city maintains The Cleaver Family Cemetery.

Horney C. Cleaver and his wife Nancy E. Burrow had 13 children. Their eighth child was Arthur G. Cleaver. This collection consists of materials belonging to his family and their descendants.

Below is an abbreviated pedigree chart for people mentioned in the collection.

1 Sarah Ella Cleaver with Charlie Hobbs

...2 Horney C. Cleaver (1848-1932) m. Nancy Eunice Burrow (d.1916)

......3 Arthur G. Cleaver (1883-1972) m. Maude Allie Wilson (1890-1976)

.........4 Arthur G. Cleaver Jr. (1914-1963)

.........4 Ella J. Cleaver (1915-1977)

.........4 Cornell G. Cleaver (b.1917)

.........4 Emuel E. Cleaver (1919-1978)

.........4 Lowell H. Cleaver (1921-1989)

.........4 Thomas J. Cleaver (1926-1995) m. Marcella Gautier (1) / Jo Ann Crenshaw (2)

............5 Toni E. Cleaver (b.1945) m. Frank W. Gibson

............5 Thomas J. Cleaver Jr. (b.1947)

............5 Octavia L. Cleaver (b.1951)

............5 Aaron A. Cleaver (b.1953)

.........4 Celestine L. Cleaver (1929-1981) m. Willie G. Anderson


“1870 United States Federal Census for Homey Cleaver.” 2018. HeritageQuest Online.

“1880 United States Federal Census for Harvey Cleaver.” 2018. HeritageQuest Online.

Cornell G. Cleaver Hatchett. 1985. ‘The Cleaver Family Heritage: A Configuration of Time.’ (see Box 3, Folder 39)


5.75 Cubic Feet


This collection is described across 163 folders in four Gaylord boxes and 13 items in two bundles. The builk of the collection is organized at the folder level.

Guide to the Cleaver Family Papers
Alison Grimes
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository