The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 21
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The Freedmen's Bureau in Texas
Freedmen's Bureau stating that a reign of terror existed at Prairie
Lea, that the freedmen there were grievously wronged in the
settlement of their part of the crop, and requested the bureau's
intervention." W. C. Phillips wrote Governor James W. Throck-
morton that "during my short stay here [Prairie Lea] I have
seen freedmen run down by horsemen, run out of town and shot
at. On December 8 I saw a freedman whipped because he ad-
dressed a young man as Tom instead of 'Mas Tom.' " He said
that on another occasion Nelson Smith, a freedman, was shot
down because he refused to give his flask of whiskey to two
Such reports of defiant acts of the Freedmen's Bureau and of
the no less defiant deeds of the citizens of Texas-the truth of
some acknowledged, even though exaggerated and colored-may
be multiplied many times from the executive correspondence in
the adjutant general's office in the state capitol. The examples
cited, however, illustrate vividly the constant and bitter conflict
which went on between the bureau and the regularly constituted
authorities of the state.
THE FREEDMEN'S BUREAU AND THE PRESS
Whatever the bureau accomplished in Texas it achieved in the
face of a withering, vicious, and scurrilous barrage of editorial
comment from the Texas press. Though not happy at the pros-
pect, the press reluctantly accepted the bureau in the summer of
1865 because the freedmen had become unmanageable and a
good crop of cotton might be lost if the negroes could not be
sent to the fields. The bureau held out the hope that it could
remedy the situation. No doubt the bureau did do much to get
the negroes to leave the towns for the cotton patch but in
partially failing lost the support of everyone. After the beginning
of 1866 the citizens, the planters, and the press began sniping
at the organization. The press used sarcasm and humor as its
two principal weapons, these weapons being used mainly against
One of the opening barrages was fired by the Texas Republican
"4Citizens of Prairie Lea to Freedmen's Bureau, December io, 1866 (copy in
Executive Correspondence, Adjutant General's Office, Austin).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/39/: accessed April 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.