The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 - April, 1909

Notes and Fragments.

317

NOTES AND FRAGMENTS.
ARREST OF R. L. ROBERTSON IN 1865.-The Editor of THE
QUARTERLY has received the following communication:
PARIS, TEXAs, July 23, 1909.
To ike Editor of THE QUARTERLY.
My attention has been called to. an article entitled "Presiden-
tial Reconstruction in Texas," which appeared in THE QUARTERLY
for April, 1908. The account, on page 297, of the indictment
and arrest of R. L. Robertson for theft does not give all the facts,
and is in some respects slightly incorrect. As Judge Gray, who
was holding the district court at the time and place of the occur-
rence (Jefferson, December, 1865), has long since passed from
earthly life, and I am the only living man who figured in that
stormy episode, I feel it my duty to report the exact facts of
the case.
I had been appointed attorney for the Eighth Judicial District
at the same time when Mr. Gray was appointed judge of the dis-
trict. We opened court at Paris; and, going from county to
county, had reached Jefferson and were holding court there. The
man Robertson, calling himself a treasury agent, was then at Jef-
ferson looking up contraband cotton, i. e., cotton raised during the
war and claimed by the United States government. He began to
seize cotton raised by the farmers in 1865, after the close of the
war. The facts were reported to me, and I had the witnesses
brought before the grand jury; and the three indictments men-
tioned in the article above referred to were duly presented.
I had a capias issued on the indictment for theft, and told the
sheriff to arrest Robertson. But Captain Jones, the commandant
of the post, wrote across the face of the capias, "I forbid this
arrest." The sheriff reported to me, and I at once called the atten-
tion of the court to the fact that some gentleman signing himself
"Commandant of the Post" had defaced one of the State's writs
of capias and had prevented the sheriff from arresting a man
charged with theft. The judge turned white with rage and or-
dered the sheriff to summon the whole posse comitatus of Marion
county, arrest Robertson, and bring him before the court. The

Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 - April, 1909. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101048/. Accessed September 16, 2014.