Tate, Frederick (1826–ca. 1870)

By: Jennifer Eckel

Type: Biography

Published: April 23, 2011

Updated: August 13, 2020

Frederick Tate, planter, Confederate officer, and political leader, was born in 1826 in southwestern Alabama. Tate married his first wife Mary Branch Fletcher on October 11, 1848, in Limestone County, Alabama. The couple moved to LaGrange, Texas, on October 30, 1851. There Fred Tate practiced law and ran a large plantation on the Colorado River in Fayette County. Mary Tate died on May 16, 1853, and Tate married Lucy Croom on January 19, 1855, in Greene County, Alabama. Fred and Lucy Tate eventually had three children.

Tate was active in local politics and ran for district attorney of the second judicial district in 1854. He published pamphlets and broadsides in pursuit of a seat in the Texas Senate in 1857. Tate did not win a seat in the legislature, likely due to his position on the debt of the Republic of Texas; he argued it should be repaid according to the unpopular payment schedule ratified by the state legislature in 1856 without modification so as not to "cause a dark spot upon [the honor of] that lone star." He was appointed to be the first county attorney for Fayette County in 1858. In 1861 Tate published a strong statement in favor of secession and compared the anti-secessionist "old fogies" to Revolutionary Loyalists and declared refusal to fight for the "just cause" of the South "a coward's baseness." In 1860 Tate was listed as owning thirty-one slaves.

Following the call of Brig. Gen. William Graham Webb on June 12, 1861, to raise a force to guard against the invasion of Texas, Fred Tate joined other men of Fayette County as a captain in a company known as the "Dixie Grays." By November 1861 these early companies were reorganized, and Tate was mustered into service as the major of the Ninth Texas Infantry, "Nichols" Regiment. The Ninth Texas was created as a six-month regiment for the defense of Galveston. It was not involved in any type of engagement during its six months of existence and was mustered out on April 17, 1862.

Although the exact date and place of Frederick Tate's death is unknown, by 1870 Lucy Tate was listed as a widow.

Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Lewis Jones, "Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938," Texas Narratives, Volume XVI, Part 2 (http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mesn&fileName=162/mesn162.db&recNum=241&itemLink=S?ammem/mesnbib:@field([email protected](Jones,+Lewis)), accessed April 13, 2011.

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

Jennifer Eckel, “Tate, Frederick,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 03, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/tate-frederick.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 23, 2011
August 13, 2020

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: