The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967 Page: 415
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An Analysis of the Texas Know Nothings
Dickson of Grimes County, forty year-old farmer-lawyer, who
had previously been given the blessing of the state Democrats
in his bid for re-election as lieutenant governor." Also announced
as Know Nothing candidates were W. G. W. Jowers of Ander-
son for lieutenant governor, John Hancock of Travis and Lemuel
D. Evans of Harrison for Congress, and Stephen Crosby of Travis
for commissioner of the general land office.4
The state's Democrats hurriedly called a state conference in
Austin for the purpose of meeting this challenge to their politi-
cal control of Texas. At this gathering, referred to as the "bomb-
shell convention," the Democratic party reaffirmed its support
for Governor Elisha M. Pease in his bid for re-election,s de-
nounced Lieutenant Governor Dickson and "secret political
factions," and nominated Hardin R. Runnels for lieutenant
The Democratic counterattack was so effective in the Austin
meeting and subsequent work throughout the state that some
Know Nothing supporters and candidates began to waver and
others, assured of American support, played down their affiliation
with the Know Nothings in a bid to win over independent vot-
ers. Candidates Hancock, Evans, and Crosby denied in the public
press that they were running as Know Nothings.6 So insistent
was Crosby that the Party officially dropped him and announced
through the press support for William Fields as a candidate for
the land office.7 One or two. other political leaders such as pub-
'Dickson, a graduate of the medical school at Lexington, Kentucky, had been
a surgeon in the Texas army, a member of the Ist, 3rd, 4th legislatures, and
speaker of the Texas house in 1851. He later served in the 6th, 9th, and loth legis-
latures and in the state militia during the Civil War. Walter P. Webb and H. Bailey
Carroll (eds.), Handbook of Texas (2 vols.; Austin, 1952), I, 501.
'Texas State Gazette (Austin), July 18, 1855; Galveston Weekly News, July 24,
1855; E. W. Winkler (ed.), Platforms of Political Parties in Texas (Austin, 1916),
63; and Sister Paul of the Cross McGrath, Political Nativism in Texas, 1825-z860
(Washington, 1930), 79-83.
5Democrats had met in Huntsville in late April and, in a listless convention in
which only twelve counties were represented, had nominated Pease and Dickson
for re-election. Texas State Gazette, May 5, 1855.
6Texas State Gazette, June 3o, July 25, August 4, 1855; San Antonio Weekly
Herald, July 24, 1855-
7Fields, however, announced in early August that he was "a Democrat-nothing
else" and ran in the campaign as the nominee of that party. Texas State Gazette,
August 1, 1855.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967, periodical, 1967; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/m1/440/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.