THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LXVI APRIL, 1963 No. 4
Decidms t UltimUs fiarziza
R. HENDERSON SHUFFLER
PROBABLY THE MOST COLORFUL FIGURE IN POST-RECONSTRUC-
tion Texas, outside the ranks of the outlaws and the
Rangers, was a volatile Houston lawyer-businessman-politi-
cian named Decimus et Ultimus Barziza. This scion of Italian
nobility and of a fine old French family was the great-grandson
of John Paradise, noted eighteenth century English scholar, and
was a direct descendant of the Ludwells, whose landholdings
were the most extensive in colonial Virginia. He was, in addition,
a Civil War hero, author, and convivial spirit of wide repute.
Barziza first came to public attention in Texas as a hero of
Hood's brigade. Wounded and captured at Gettysburg, he es-
caped, made his way out of enemy territory to Canada, caught
boat rides to Nova Scotia and Bermuda, and rode a blockade-
runner back into North Carolina, to Confederate territory. This
adventure won him public acclaim throughout Texas.
In Houston, in February, 1865, he published his war memoirs,
which were widely read. Two years later he became involved in
a public quarrel with a local newspaper publisher, which almost
ended in a duel.
Throughout Reconstruction, he took an active and prom-
inent role in the conservative Democrat movement, opposing
the dominant radical Republican Party. When those who had
supported the Confederacy were reenfranchised in 1873, Barziza
was elected as one of Harris County's two representatives in
the fourteenth legislature. He was re-elected in 1875 and came
within two votes of the speakership.
At the end of the first session of the fifteenth legislature, in
1876, Barziza wound up a spectacular battle against what he con-
sidered an unconscionable boondoogle, by publicly resigning
from the house.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed December 8, 2013.