The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994 Page: 38
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The most recent scholarship on the 1869 election, moreover, has
reached no consensus on whether Davis's victory would have been over-
turned if military authorities had ordered a new election in Milam
(northeast of Austin) and Navarro (southeast of Dallas) counties. In the
former county, the polls were closed due to disturbances on the second
day of the balloting; in the latter, a breakup of the pre-election revision
of voter registration had occurred. After a Milam County white man shot
and wounded a U.S. army officer escorting about 100 freedmen to the
county seat of Cameron, a crowd of about 150 to 175 white men from
nearby Port Sullivan stormed the polls in order to prevent the blacks
from voting. In Navarro County acts of intimidation against the board of
registrars by the local sheriff were at the root of the difficulties. Threats
by a disfranchised Corsicana merchant by the name of McEntee to con-
trol "more nigger votes" than any "damned radical" and "whip into vot-
ing right" the blacks that he could not "coax into voting right"
accelerated the decision of the president of the registration board to
leave the county with the lists of registered voters and their sworn oaths
in his saddle bags.2
Because Davis fared poorly at the hands of white voters throughout
the state and mobilized the overwhelming majority of the black vote
through the efforts of the Union League, projected results for Milam
and Navarro counties can be easily calculated. In 1870 the black compo-
nent of the population of Milam and Navarro counties was one-third
and one-fourth, respectively. In 1869 registered blacks in Milam County
barely outnumbered their counterparts in Navarro County: there were
507 blacks and 829 whites registered in the former county, while 506
blacks and 664 whites were registered in the latter. If every registered
black and white voter had turned out and voted along undivided racial
Davis-Hamilton contest, see Carl H. Moneyhon, Republicanism in Reconstructzon Texas (Austin and
London: University of Texas Press, 198o), 104-128; John Pressley Carrier, "A Political History of
Texas During the Reconstruction, 1865-1874" (Ph.D. diss., Vanderbilt University, 1971),
327-404; and Ronald N. Gray, "Edmund J. Davis: Radical Republican and Reconstruction Gov-
ernor of Texas" (Ph.D. diss., Texas Tech University, 1976), 175-181. Texas voters participated
concurrently in 1869 in two actual elections: a referendum on the ratification of a proposed
state constitution and a selection, should the constitution be approved, of state and local offi-
cials. Breakdowns of the results by race were reported only for the constitution's ratification.
2John H. [Benham?],Jr., to Charles E. Morse, Dec. 9, 1869, Microfilm Reel #39, Correspon-
dence of the Office of Civil Affairs of the District of Texas (cited hereafter as COCADT), Records
of the U.S. Army Continental Commands, 182 1-192o, RG 393 (National Archives, Washington, D.C.;
cited hereafter as NA); C. H. Bostnick toJosephJ. Reynolds, Dec. 8, 1869, ibid.; L. P. Lippard to
John B. Johnson, Nov. 22, 1869, Microfilm Reel #27, ibid; John B. Johnson to Headquarters
Fifth Military District (cited hereafter as HFMD), Dec. 9, 1869, Register #3, p. 640, Microfilm
Reel #4, ibid; and report of M. P. Hunnicutt to John B. Johnson, Dec. 2, 1869 (quotations), Mi-
crofilm Reel #27, ibid. The chairman of the Navarro County board of registrars claimed that the
feelings of hatred against him were due to his father, John H. Lippard, who was a candidate on
the Davis ticket for the twentieth district senatorial seat. See L. B. Lippard to Joseph J. Reynolds,
Dec. 20, 1869, Microfilm Reel #38, ibid.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994, periodical, 1994; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117154/m1/66/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.