The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946

Zhe Citizns WUitc Primary of
Wario County
J. A. R. MOSELEY
MARION County is one of the few counties in Texas in which
the negro population is larger than the white. United
States official census records of 1890 showed 7,001 negroes and
3,861 white persons; approximately the same relative ratio or
percentage existed in 1940 when the United States Census
listed the population as 6,716 negroes and 4,740 whites. At the
close of the War between the States, the uneducated, former
slaves were easy prey for the hordes of carpetbaggers who
swept down from the North, and the numerical preponderance
of the negroes enabled them to control the county elections.
Unscrupulous candidates were more readily willing to pay the
price for these votes than were the more decent citizens con-
testing for public office. The negroes were thoroughly organ-
ized throughout the county, and one or more of the most intelli-
gent in each community acted as the boss or leader of his
particular group in much the same pattern as has been prac-
ticed by certain political leaders of the present day. Blocks of
votes were delivered at so much per vote in cash, with a little
extra money and whisky for the "boss." The amount charged for
a candidate was based upon the salary for the particular office;
the candidates for the more lucrative jobs had to pay more than
aspirants to the minor ones. It is recounted, however, that in
more than one instance the political leader would accept money
from more than one candidate for the same office, as there was
no element of scruple or honesty involved in this nefarious
practice.
This unwholesome custom, because of the preponderance of
negroes and because there seemed to be no practicable way of
putting a stop to the practice, lingered on in Marion County
for thirty years following the Civil War. The situation had
become so intolerable and politics had reached such a low ebb
in 1897 that some of the citizens of Jefferson and different points
in the county met in secret session and organized what might
now be called a Vigilantes Committee for the purpose of putting
a stop to the buying of elections. No minutes or records were

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/. Accessed July 24, 2014.