The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 455
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FRANK MacD. SPINDLER
I. POLITICAL EXPRESSION
FROM THE CIVIL WAR until the dawn of the new century,
Hempstead and Waller County were the scenes of much
political maneuvering. The story is told of the newcomer
who remarked that where he came from, people generally spoke
about who was running for president or for the Senate; that
never, until he came to Hempstead, had he found all the interest
concentrated on the sheriff's race.' Indicative as this is of the
political tensions within the community, it reflects the struggle
between the Radical Republicans, the Democrats, and occasion-
ally third parties for control of the county government.
At the time of the election held on the ordinance of secession,
Hempstead voters had favored its adoption by an overwhelming
majority. Most of these voters were among the disfranchised
Democrats after the war. The large negro population voted with
white members of the Radical Republican party, thereby helping
to keep them in office. The 188o census gives some idea of this
division of population: 5,830 Negroes out of a total of 9,024
persons in Waller County.2
Radical Republican control of the negro vote can be seen as
early as 1869, when E. M. Quick, editor of the Houston Union
(a Radical party newspaper), visited Hempstead and made a
speech to the colored people. His efforts were not appreciated
by some townsmen, whom he termed "rowdies." He was pre-
vented from attending a musical entertainment designed to raise
funds for the building of the Episcopal church. He was threat-
ened with hanging while at his hotel, and later these same rowdies
followed him into the train for Houston, where they insisted
xAnecdote told by Mrs. R. E. Tompkins, Hempstead, Texas.
=United States Census, z88o Census Population Schedules, Texas, National
Archives Microcopy No. T-9, Roll No. 1331. See also Frank W. Johnson (Eugene
C. Barker and E. W. Winkler, eds.), A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols.; Chicago
and New York, 1914), II, 718-719.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/481/ocr/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.