Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 15 of 58
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RECONSTRUCTION IN TEXAS. 15
dissatisfied and hostile to the whites, and many of them abandoned
their employers and their crops, refused to labor, spent their time
roaming about the country, to the great alarm of the whites, especially
the women and children, and seemed to think that freedom
consisted in a pony, sixshooter and an exemption from work. The
men and women were constantly running to the Bureau Agent with
complaints of violence used on them by white people, or that some
white man owed them and would not pay them, or would not divide
the crop fairly with them. The whites were continually harassed
with these complaints, their persons arrested and carried by the
soldiers before the Bureau; and their property forcibly seized by
order of the agent. The Bureau Agents were busy. The white people
soon found that this sort of thing was unbearable, and that
some remedy must be found, otherwise they would soon be ruined
and beggared. They soon found that the Bureau Agent was not
down South for his health alone, but that money was his object,
and that the judicious expenditure of this in the right direction
would exempt them from these annoyances, stop the complaints
of the negroes and send them back to the fields and their crops.
Like wise men, the white people came to the conclusion that selfpreservation
was the first law of nature, and they bought their
peace, the cultivation of their fields, and under all of these adverse
circumstances managed to live. Under this change of tactics the
Bureau Agents could see frequently that the white man had some
rights that a negro was bound to respect, and that a Freedman and
Loyal Leaguer might be in the wrong; besides, the agent felt it
his duty to advise the negro that it was necessary for him to work
some in order that he might eat. Amidst all of this trouble, the
white people used no violence; they believed that Providence had
in store a reward for those who trusted and waited.
The Bureau Agent domiciled in Leon county had a very broad
view in regard to his power and jurisdiction. He did lrot fear to
step where angels might hesitate to go. A killing occurred in the
lower portion of Freestone county. The writer was employed to
defend the party accused of the homicide. The Bureau Agent for
Leon took charge of the case, sat as the judge, heard the evidence.
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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/m1/15/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .