rhe Death of Sllator Coke
MERLE MEARS DUNCAN
T HE HEADLINE in all of the important newspapers of Texas
on May 14, 1897, was "Ex-Senator Coke is Dead." News
coverage of Richard Coke's last illness, funeral, and
burial was complete and detailed by the daily papers, and the
weeklies made mention of his passing. Editorials and biographical
sketches reminded Texans of Coke's service to the state and nation.
The Galveston Daily News, one of the most important of the
statewide papers, carried the following editorial:
The announcement of the passing of Richard Coke will awaken a
throb of sorrow throughout Texas, especially among the older genera-
tions, which are familiar with the principal incidents of his career,
as a private citizen he possessed and deserved the affection which his
neighbors have tenderly and abundantly accorded in the day of his
affliction and which was never withheld in the period of his stalwart
and triumphant vigor. As a public servant occupying positions of
authority and eminence, he acquitted himself in a manner which never
failed to evoke popular recognition. Like all men who have mingled
in conflicts of political opinion, he did not escape opposition and
criticism, but friend and foe in the hour of dissolution and death
could unite in the common reflection that in all his official under-
takings he held before him the welfare of his people and the glory
of his state. His public service was always marked by lofty purposes
and unflinching loyalty to his people, and he assisted in the accom-
plishments of measures and benefits of which will be enjoyed by pos-
terity for generations to come. In a national sense he was not a great
man, but measured by his spotless integrity, his strong common sense,
his fidelity to the trusts reposed in him by his people and the coura-
geous espousal of his convictions, he more than met the requirements
of greatness as measured by conventional standards of current politics.
An impartial summing up of his career will disclose specific and suc-
cessful labors of excellent service to the state and to its great outlying
neighborhood, for which he will be held in grateful remembrance.
Prominent among these were the unflagging diligence and masterful
tact with which he supported the Eads plan for establishment of deep
water at Galveston and at a critical moment so efficiently helped to
secure its adoption.1
1Galveston Daily News, May 14, 1897, p. 6.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/. Accessed July 13, 2014.