DNA sets history straight about Nacogdoches historical figure

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Cyndie Goins Hoelscher, is in Nacogdoches setting the record straight. She's the fifth generation niece of William Goyens Junior, a prosperous innkeeper and friend of Sam Houston.   " The original spelling for this family name was G-O-I-N-G-S in Moore County, North Carolina. He was never born a slave, " Hoelscher says while pointing out the mistakes on a monument at the Nacogdoches County Courthouse. Historians know about those mistakes. What isn't widely known is that the man whose portrait has a place on an Afro-Nacogdochean wall isn't black at all.    " We were really disappointed to find out we couldn't claim that proud heritage, " reflected Hoelscher, who is white and taught to be proud of her African American heritage.

Hoelscher's dad got DNA testing not once but three times. No African American matches, but a lot of Native American Cherokee and Portuguese. The research said,  " With the evidence from the family historical documents, our family tales, historic documents that go back to 1764 and the DNA we realize that they all concur and there's not really an argument against it. "

Hoelscher is presenting a lecture at the Redbone Heritage Foundation Conference. www.redboneheritagefoundation.com That's an organization fostering research of mixed heritages, sometimes referred to as Redbones. The group funded the DNA research for the Goyens family. The three day conference gets underway Thursday at the Nacogdoches Public Library. It will offer DNA testing to any Redbone member.

Hoelscher broke the news about her uncle to Nacogdoches historian Dr. France "Ab" Abernethy, an authority on local Texas history.   When told Goyens didn't have any African American or Negroid genetics he looked perplexed and asked, " None at all? Well that's too bad." Years ago Abernethy researched Goyens and saved her uncle's grave monument from vandals.   Abernethy said, " He was the one with prodding from Sam Houston who was able to keep the Indians in Eastern Texas calmed down during the Texas Revolution. William Goyens had a very close connection (with Cherokees) and maybe even a blood connection. "

Hoelscher writes that her uncle was the product of the American melting pot. Even today he's providing a lesson on race relations. She shared,  " William Goyen is still a champion of free persons of color or anyone who is discriminated or prejudiced against because of the color of their skin. " An inspiration for a person of any color.