Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 16 of 58
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16 RECONSTRUCTION IN TEXAS.
argument of counsel, and discharged the accused, which discharge
the writer supposes was final, as he never more heard of the case.
The reconstruction act of the 3rd of March, 1867, required the
general in command to cause a registration of voters before the first
day of September of the same year, prescribing the oath to be taken
by the voter and the qualifications he must possess in order to register;
also the appointment by the general of boards of registration,
composed of three loyal citizens, who were to be managers of the
election, count the votes and make return of same to headquarters.
The registration board in Leon county consisted of two white men
and one negro. It was with great reluctance that the Confederates
of that county went before a board, one of which was a former
slave, to qualify themselves to vote.. In fact, many refused to do
so, and remained disfranchised. Of the voting population of Leon
county, there were about two whites to one negro, but so many of
the whites refused to register, and so many were disqualified from
registering, that the negroes had absolute control of the county
from the time reconstruction commenced up to the election in
November, 1873. At the election in November, 1869, it is evident
from the vote on the constitution, which resulted for ratification
72,366, against 4928, that comparatively few of the Confederates
were registered, or if registered, did not vote. At this election in
1869, for ratification of the constitution) the election of governor,
members of Congress and all State and county officers, one of the
lieutenants in charge of the Federal soldiers at Brenham, when it
was burned, was sent down with a company of soldiers to supervise
the election in Leon county. The polls were open for four days,
and there was but one polling place in the county, and that was at
Centreville, the county seat. The election was held upstairs in
the court house, the board of registration nominally conducting the
election, but really the lieutenant in charge of the soldiers. At the
foot of the stairs he stationed three soldiers with loaded guns and
fixed bayonets; at the top of the stairs he stationed two more soldiers
armed as the others. He, the most of the time, was seated
at the table used by the election board, exercising entire control
over the whole matter. No one was permitted in the room during
the polling but a voter, and if he was a Confederate he was told'
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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/m1/16/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .