The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993 Page: 528
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
curity was a principal concern of nineteenth-century Southerners, and
they frequently used violence against those who threatened the estab-
lished social and political order. Texas's alliance with the new Confeder-
acy reaffirmed the hegemony of the slaveholders and the Democratic
party, but the onset of war soon resurrected perceptions of insecurity.
The victims of violence before the Civil War were most often alleged
abolitionists. When opposition to disunion became disloyalty to a new
regime, though, brutal methods were used against both dissenters and
deserters, between which there was little distinction made. Ironically,
the concern of one Collin County leader, James W. Throckmorton, for
communal security led him to condone these attacks, though he had
been one of the most prominent opponents of secession in Texas.2
Violence tainted the settlement of Collin County from the outset.
North Texas was settled in the 184os under a grant to William S. Peters.
Although Peters attracted enough settlers to provide for the legal orga-
nization of Collin County in 1846, he was unable to deliver many sup-
plies and services as he had promised. When his representative, Henry
O. Hedgecoxe, pressed settlers to cede half of their land to him, as they
had agreed to do, he was threatened by vigilantes. Hedgecoxe fled in Ju-
ly 1852, six months before the legislature reviewed the colonists' de-
mands, which were presented by two Whig legislators from Collin
County, Throckmorton and Samuel A. Bogart, and forced Peters to set-
tle all claims equitably.'
A stream of newcomers pushed the frontier west of Collin County, but
fear of Indians had scarcely faded before it was replaced by concerns
about slave insurrections. Blacks, all of whom were slaves, were just 11
percent of the county's population in 186o. Many whites, however,
found little comfort in numerical superiority; instead, they viewed their
2 The overriding concern of nineteenth-century Southerners for communal security during
the antebellum period has received substantial attention from scholars. However, none has tried
to use this concern to explain the contradiction between the declarations of a nation allegedly
founded for the defense of individual hberty and its subsequent brutal suppression of dissent.
This article is an attempt to address that paradox within one small corner of Texas. On the con-
cern of antebellum Southerners for communal security, see Dickson D. Bruce, Jr., Violence and
Culture zn the Antebellum South (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989), 12, 39, 65-66, 93-94,
98, 111, 130; and Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Southern Honor" Ethics and Behavzor in the Old South (New
York: Oxford University Press, 1982), xli, xv, 15, 19, 364-365, 369, 436. On the Southern
predilection for using violence to maintain order, see also John Hope Franklin, The Militant
South, x8oo-186x (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1956), 26-31, 36,
68-69, 70-71, 76-79; and Richard M. Brown, "Historical Patterns of Violence in America," in
Violence in America- Historical and Comparative Perspectives, eds. Hugh Davis Graham and Ted
Robert Gurr (New York: Bantam Books, 1969), 67-68, 156.
a Seymour V. Connor, The Peters Colony of Texas: A Hstory and Bzographzcal Sketches of the Early
Settlers (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1959), 2 1-22, 53-56, 67, 84-85, 87, 90, 136,
142-144, 150-151; Claude Elhott, Leathercoat: The Lfe Hzstory of a Texas Patriot (San Antonio:
Standard Prminting Company, 1938), 27, 29-32; H. P. N. Gammel (comp.), The Laws of Texas,
1822-1897 ... (lo vols.; Austin: Gammel Book Co., 1898), I, 554-557.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993, periodical, 1993; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101215/m1/598/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.