Decimus et Ultimus Barziza
As radical rule of Texas became oppressive during Recon-
struction, Barziza became increasingly active in conservative
Democratic circles. He joined J. W. Henderson, Ashbel Smith,
and F. R. Lubbock, along with eighteen others, in calling a
"conservative State Convention" to be held at the Harris County
Courthouse on January o20, 1868." In July of that year he was
named to a committee made up of one person from each judicial
district to report a plan of organization throughout the state for
the State Democratic convention, to be held in Bryan on July 8."
With the resurgence of Democratic strength in 1873, D. et U.
Barziza's political star rose. He was elected to the legislature and
played an important role in the Coke-Davis unpleasantness in
early January, 1874.
When scalawag Governor Edmund J. Davis refused to acknowl-
edge the election of a Democratic legislature and governor, bar-
ricading himself in the lower floor of the capitol, the defiant legis-
lature met on the second floor and organized. Davis had state
of the parties. Col. G. disclaims any intention to impute criminality or to impugn
the professional character of Mr. B., and withdraws the same; and the latter
withdraws all offensive matter contained in his communications in the Journal of
the 25th ultimate, as also all communications sent to Col. G., looking to a duel.
According to the Houston Daily Telegraph, June 23, 1867, Barziza had canvassed
planters and merchants of Central Texas, seeking claims for overcharges by the
Houston & Texas Central railroad on cotton shipments, offering to prosecute for
half of the amount recovered. The Telegraph, of which Colonel Gillespie was
editor, labelled this action as "Champerty, Maintenance and Barratry" and de-
nounced it as illegal. On June 27, 1867, the Daily Telegraph published a letter
from D. U. Barziza to Colonel C. C. Gillespie, dated June 26, asking if Gillespie
would accept a challenge from him "for personal and honorable redress." Barziza
said he wanted an assurance his challenge would be accepted, before formally
laying himself liable to prosecution for violation of the dueling oath. Gillespie,
in the same article, said that Barziza felt safe in issuing the challenge because he
"knows full well that the editor of the Telegraph is under bond of $3,000. to keep
the peace, brought about by the enmity to him of Federal Col. Degress [Jacob D.
Degress, former lieutenant colonel, 3rd Missouri Infantry, who was at that time
a civilian in Houston, working with the Freedman's Bureau]." The Daily Telegraph
of July 2, 1867, carried Barziza's reply, in which he informed Gillespie he had
"procured for you a relief from any peace bond, and have deposited same with the
Clerk of the District Court." Now, he demanded, "I desire to know of you ..
whether you are willing to listen to any proposals, if made to you, by which you
may place yourself in a position to be personally attacked by me, without en-
dangering the lives of persons on the streets, and so that the officers of the law
may not interfere." At this point mutual friends intervened, and on July 2, 1867,
the Daily Telegraph carried a statement by a committee of these friends con-
demning both parties for allowing the quarrel to get out of hand, followed by
statements from Barziza and Gillespie, withdrawing from the conflict, as described
in the Dallas Herald of July 13.
26Dallas Herald, January 11, 1868.
"Ibid., July 18, 1868.
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 March 12, 2014.