The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993

Reluctant Martyr: Anthony Bewley and the Texas
Slave Insurrection Panic of 186o'
DONALD E. REYNOLDS*
L ATE IN THE EVENING OF SEPTEMBER 13, 1860, FOUR MEN ACCOMPA-
nied a stagecoach into the town of Fort Worth, Texas. The gray-
haired, fifty-six-year-old man whom they removed in chains from the
coach was none other than the notorious Anthony Bewley, a minister
of the Northern Methodist Church, who had been accused of com-
plicity in a widespread abolitionist plot to devastate Texas by fire, poi-
son, and rapine.2
Bewley's downfall really began in the neighboring town of Dallas
nearly two months earlier. The entire business section of that commu-
nity had burned on July 8, and on the same afternoon fire had also
SDonald E Reynolds holds undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of
North Texas and a Ph.D. from Tulane University. He is head of the department of history at
East Texas State University Reynolds is the author of Edzto Make Wai Southern Newspaper in
the Se(emson Cis (1970) and numerous articles on Civil War history. He is currently working
on a monograph about the Texas slave insurrection panic of 186o and its impact upon the
secession movement in the South.
''l'his paper was supported in part by a grant from the Research Committee, East lexas
State University For well-balanced accounts of the Texas slave panic of 186o and its role
in the secession crisis see Ollhnger Crenshaw, The Slave States in the Pieszdential Election of 186o,
The Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, Vol. 63 (Baltimore-
The Johns Hopkins Press, 1945), Donald E Reynolds, Editoi Make Wai. Southern i Newspape
in the Secesswon Criol (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1970), 97-117, Donald E. Reyn-
olds, "Vigilante Law During the Texas Slave Panic of 186o," Locus An HiItoucal Jomiiial oJ
Regional Perspectives," II (Spring, 19io), 172-186; Walter L. Buenger, Seceion and the Umnon in
Texas (Austin University of Texas Press, 1984), 55-58 , 99-loo; and Joe T. Timmons,
"'lexas on the Road to Secession" (2 vols., Ph D. diss , University of Chicago, 1973), II,
465-492. A recent brief summary of the panic which hts the "Texas I'roubles" into the large
picture of violence and dissent in the state during the Civil War Era may be found in James
Marten, Texas Divided Loyalty and Desent in the Lone Star State, 1856-1874 (Lexington- Univer-
sity P' ess of Kentucky, 199o), 6-9. Other ti eatments of the pame may be found in William W
White, "The I'exas Slave Insurrection of 186o," Southwesten IIHitoiial Quartely, LII (Jan.,
1949), 259-285 (cited hereafter as SIIQ), and Wendell G Addington, "Slave InsuriCtons
in Texas," Jouinal of Negro Il to v, XXXV (Oct., m95o), 408-434. Both of the latter accounts
arc seriously flawed by their dependence upon and uncritical acceptance of the reports in
Southern-rights, Democratic newspapers whose editors were inm lhe forefront of the secession
movement ill 'I exas
'Charles Elliott, South-Westein Methodism- A Ilstory of the M E Chiiih in the South-West, /nom
Z844 to 1864 (Cincinnati Poe and Hitchcolk, 1868), 21 l',lhott was the editor of the St

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101215/. Accessed August 31, 2014.