The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 163
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First Session of the Secession Convention of Texas 163
nearer death there all the while than in any other country we
know of."" The atmosphere was filled with excitement and alarm.
Reports were circulated, often unfounded, of negro uprisings and
wholesale poisonings. Incendiary fires occurred in many parts of
the state. A three hundred thousand dollar fire of incendiary
origin occurred at Dallas, followed by many others in the sur-
rounding country. The arrest of suspects led to the detection of a
plot to perpetrate such acts on a still larger scale. According to
a correspondent whose own printing press had been destroyed by
the Dallas fire the plot was conceived by certain abolition preachers
who had been expelled from that part of the country the year be-
fore. It was charged that the plan was to demoralize by fire and
assassination the whole of northern Texas, and then, when the
country should have been reduced to a helpless condition, a general
revolt of the slaves, aided by white men from the North, was to
take place on election day in August. Dallas, it seems, was fired
for the purpose of destroying the arms and supplies stored there
for a certain artillery company. Disastrous fires occurred almost
simultaneously with the Dallas fire at Denton, Pilot Point, Belk-
nap, Gainesville, Black Jack Grove, Waxahachie, Kaufman, and
Navarro. Arms and quantities of poison were discovered in the
possession of negroes, and some negroes were hanged on Red Oak
Creek, near Waxahachie. Henderson had a two hundred and
eleven thousand dollar fire, considered incendiary, which caused
great excitement in the community and led to the hanging ol
several negroes. A plot was discovered at Lancaster in which the
purpose of the abolitionists seemed to be to burn the town and
poison the inhabitants.4
How much truth and how much mere groundless rumor caused
by the excited state of the public mind there may have been in these
reports and accusations will of course never be known. Governor
Houston and his friends accused the Democratic press of circulat-
ing such rumors for political purposes, and in reply the State
Gazette admitted that rumor had probably coined some statements
and exaggerated some facts, but that this was merely strong evi-
-North, Five Years in Texas, 72.
'Charles R. Prior in Rtate Gazette, July 28, 1860; Trve Tssue. July 26,
'state Gazette, August 4, 1860.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915, periodical, 1915; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101064/m1/169/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.