Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 12 of 58
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12 RECONSTRUCTION IN TEXAS.
and property, into the hands of the military and the ignorant
negro was anything but assuring. Gloomy as the prospect was, the
people of Texas determined to meet it like brave men, in the full
belief that prudent conduct and good management would, in the
end, effect their deliverance.
Louisiana and Texas constituted the Fifth Military District,
with General J. J. Reynolds in command, with unlimited power
over the people of Texas, legislative, executive and judicial. Soon
after the passage of the reconstruction acts, the Northern carpetbagger,
carpet-bag in hand, hastened to the land of promise, the
rebel States, to share in the spoils, restore law and order, and aid
in the establishment of "loyal republican State governments," as
was declared necessary in the preamble to the first reconstruction
act. General Reynolds soon came to the conclusion that all, or
nearly all, of the officials in Texas were hindrances to reconstruction,
and to get these hindrances out of the way, he removed the
most of them from Gov. Throckmorton down, and proceeded to fill
.their places with his own appointees. Many of these, his appointees,
were men discharged from the army, and who had lingered in
Texas, Micawber like, waiting for something to turn up to their
advantage; many of his appointees were men of no character,
utterly incompetent, and possessing but one qualification, a professed
love for the Union and the Radical party, which profession,
with many, was of very recent and immature growth.
As a sample of these men appointed to restore law and order and
loyal republican State governments in Texas, I mention one
instance of which I had personal knowledge. One Conroy, who was
said to be the product of the New York slums, and who said he
had been a sergeant in the Federal army, and had been discharged
at Austin, was appointed and sent down to Leon county as sheriff.
Conroy was acting as sheriff, under this appointment, at the
November election in 1869, and was a candidate for the office at
said election, and by the aid of the military in charge of the polls,
the negroes and a few whibe men, was declared elected. While
acting as sheriff, by his association with the negroes, exciting them
against the whites, his activity in the organization of Loyal Leagues
and his general bad conduct, he had become very obnoxious to the
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Wood, William D. Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago, book, 1902; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14387/m1/12/: accessed January 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .