Texas Almanac, 1952-1953 Page: 50
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50 TEXAS ALMANAC.-1952-1953.
pointed Governor by President Andrew John-
ERA OF RECONSTRUCTION
Reconstruction brought the darkest hours
of Texas history except, possibly, the brief
space of the Revolutionary era between the
fall of the Alamo and the Battle of San Ja-
cinto. Outright military rule lasted only a
short time, but even after constitutional
government was set up under the new regime,
the Institution of the "ironclad oath" barred
from participation in elections practically the
entire body of citizenry who had controlled
state policies prior to and during the Civil
War. The state was flooded with fortune
seekers and adventurers from the North who
came to be known as Carpetbaggers because,
it was said, they came with all their posses-
sions in a single carpetbag. From their domi-
nance of political affairs during Reconstruc-
tion it came to be known as the era of
Carpetbag rule. A noteworthy event of that
disorderly time was the robbery of the State
Treasury, June 11, 1865, by a band of about
forty outlaws. They obtained approximately
$17,000 before being driven off by a hastily
organized company of Austin citizens. There
was about $100,000 in gold and silver in the
Treasury at the time.
Governor Hamilton served from June 17,
1865, to Aug. 9, 1866. A Reconstruction con-
vention, to which Unionist citizens selected
delegates, met in Austin Feb. 10, 1866, and
declared acts of the secession convention
void. A Constitution was adopted harmoniz-
ing with the Federal Constitution and an
election ordered in July, at which J. W.
Throckmorton was elected Governor.
Governor Throckmorton served from Aug.
9, 1866, to Aug. 8. 1867. After much conflict
in the United States Congress, however,
Texas, with the remainder of the South, was
placed under military rule. Gen. Philip H.
Sheridan was put in command of the dis-
trict, including Texas. Throckmorton and
Sheridan could not agree on policy and the
Governor was removed. Elisha M. Pease, who
had served as Governor from 1854 to 1857,
inclusive, was appointed Governor. Pease
served from Aug. 8, 1867, until Sept. 30, 1869,
a period of great confusiofi. A constitutional
convention was convened in Austin June 1,
1868, but after much bitter wrangling re-
cessed, meeting again in December and in
February, 1869, The convention, which had
consisted only of "radical" or extreme Union-
ist citizens, and had been constantly under
military domination, did not finish its work.
The document was finished by the Secretary
of State under military orders and adopted
by p pular ballot (of those then having the
privilege) on Nov. 30, 1869. Governor Pease,
a Unionist but stanch Texas patriot, had be-
come discouraged and resigned Sept. 30. For
several months there was an interregnum
without a head of the Texas civil govern-
ment. In the November election, at which the
Constitution was ratified, Edmund J. Davis
was elected Governor.
The campaign of 1869 was attended by
much bitterness in politics. The Union
Leagues had sprung up in Texas during the
two preceding years, dominated by "radical"
whites, but maintaining political power local-
ly and in the State Government, largely
through the Negro vote. The secret, oath-
bound Ku Klux Klan sprang up in Texas,
as in other states of the South, and exerted
an influence in opposition to the Union
Leagues until removal of requirement of the
"ironclad oath" permitted the former domi-
nant political element to regain control of
The administration of Davis (Jan. 8, 1870,
to Jan. 15, 1874) was unpopular. Davis was
elected before the provision for the ironclad
oath was removed, hence by an electorate
that did not include ex-soldiers of the Con-
federate armies. He was highhanded in his
policies and the state police force which he
organized met with universal disapproval.
Included in constructive legislation of his
term, which was four years under the Con-
stitution of 1869, was that improving the edu-
cational system of the state.
Having ratified the Thirteenth, Fourteenth
and Fifteenth Amendments to the United
States Constitution, Texas was readmitted to-
the Union by act of Congress, March 30, 1870.
The ironclad oath was removed and the radi-
cal, or carpetbag, element lost control of the
Legislature during the second biennium of
Davis' administration. There was a general
revival of confidence. Immigration poured
into Texas from the war-stricken states east
of the Mississippi. Railroad building reached
In the election of December, 1873, Richard
Coke, Democratic nominee, defeated Davis,
Republican, by a vote of 85,549 to 42,633.
Davis contested the election and was sus-
tained by the courts, but the newly elected
Democratic Legislature went ahead with or-
ganization, canvassed the vote and declared
Coke elected. For a brief space of time, part
of the Capitol was held by Coke and the Leg-
islature while part was held by Davis and
an armed guard. Bloodshed was feared, but
IAvis retired. The clash ended when Presi-
dent Grant refused to sustain Governor
Davis' appeal for assistance to maintain him-
self in office.
Constitution of 1876.
Most of the administration of Governor
Coke (Jan. 15, 1874, to Dec. 1, 1876) was
devoted to rehabilitation of the state financial
and political system.
The new State Constitution was ratified by
the te people Feb. 15, 1876; it is this constitu-
tion that is in force today, excepting numer-
ous amendments. Another noteworthy event
of Coke's administration was the opening of
the Agricultural and Mechanical College Oct.
4, 1876. Coke was elected to a second term
under the new constitution in 1876, and there-
after elected to the United States Senate. He
resigned office to take his seat in the Senate
Dec. 1, 1876.
B Last Conflict With the Indians.
The first year of Coke's administration
marked the practical passing of the wild
Indian from the Texas scene. After Texas
had become a state in 1845 the United States
had established a line of camps and forts
across the border from the Red to the Rio
Grande, including such establishments as
Fort McIntosh, Fort Clark, Fort McKavett,
Fort Phantom Hill, Fort Griffin and Fort
Belknap, which, in addition to Texas state
efforts, had given a measure of protection.
However, the problem of establishing In-
dian reservations for settling the remnants
of the Texas tribes was difficult because the
United States had no land in Texas, all public
domain having been retained by the state in
the annexation agreement. In 1852, however.
the State Legislature authorized the setting
aside of land for two reservations in the
Young Territory. One of these consisted of
37,000 acres and was near Fort Belknap on
the main fork of the Brazos (near present
Graham, Texas). A reservation somewhat
smaller was established on the Clear Fork of
the Brazos, about forty miles above. Coman-
ches were gathered on the latter, while the
larger reservation was allotted to the Tonka-
was, Delawares, Caddoes and other tribes.
Some success was had with this venture, but
trouble arose between the Indians and the
white settlers and the reservations were
abandoned, the Indians being transferred
across the Red River.
The frontier was pushed rapidly westward
during the decade 1850 to 1860. but the open-
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Texas Almanac, 1952-1953, book, 1951; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117137/m1/52/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.