The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 27, July 1923 - April, 1924

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

MEMOIRS OF GEORGE BERNARD ERATH
LUCY A. ERATH
IV
10. Congressman and Legislator, 1843-1846
In the latter part of May, 1843, while I was away in Wash-
ington County, a party of citizens nominated me for congress in
opposition to Captain Hill who had become a candidate early.
Captain Hill's merits as a soldier might have entitled him to the
position over me, but he was personally unpopular, and most of
the votes he received were on party grounds. He was out and
out for Houston.
We here in Texas had nothing to do with the parties in the
United States. We were Sam Houston or anti-Sam Houston;
Eastern Texas was largely for and Western Texas against him.
The East had the population; the West had a representation of
counties and territory that balanced the Eastern votes in Congress.
A number of the Western counties represented had no residents
in them. Those, claiming to be residents of such counties and
living for safety elsewhere, could by virtue of a special proviso
in the constitution hold an election in the county of their
temporary residence for representatives of the depopulated coun-
ties. Thus it came to pass that four or five representatives and
one or two senators were elected by half a dozen votes in all on
both sides. A story was afloat about how such elections were held.
Five or six men who claimed to be residents of a depopulated
county would hold a meeting. If there were two candidates for
the same office, the nomination would be decided by a game of
cards and the successful candidate would be returned by a unani-
mous vote. There was no danger of the candidates differing in
politics; the Western section was ninety-nine per cent anti-
Houston.
Milam county had a number of extreme admirers of Houston
and a number of strong opponents; the rest were indifferent. At
that time I was strong with the West; we were called Western
or Eastern according to our bias for or against Houston. I was
elected by a small majority, and on personal popularity I believe.
My election illustrates the disposition of the people at that time,

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 27, July 1923 - April, 1924. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101086/. Accessed July 1, 2015.