Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 31 of 58
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TEXAS AND TEXANS FIFTY YEARS AGO. 31
writer long afterwards, by one who professed to know, that the
sheriff in advance had sent notice of his intended visit to the man
concerned and had suggested that he need not be at home unless he
wished. The sheriff was a good man, and the writer doubts the
truth of what his informant told him; but if it was true it simply
illustrates the strong and peculiar ties of friendship that existed
among old Texans, founded on common dangers and common hardships.
Nothing came of the prosecution of these citizens. No one
was punished for the destruction of the Adjutant General's office.
In fact, it was never ascertained whether the destruction of the
office was intentional or accidental.
In the early days of the Republic and State of Texas, Houston,
Rusk, Lamar, Hemphill, Wheeler, Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Henderson,
Williamson, Roberts, Jones, Rivers, Gray, Reagan, Willie, Baylor,
Jack, and a host of others were members of the bar, and actively
pursued the profession of the law. These men became the leaders
of the people of Texas. They illustrated in their lives and conduct
the spirit and teachings of the law, and gave to the Republic and
State a constitution and body of statutes unsurpassed by any on the
In the early days of the Republic and State, the judges and members
of the bar had access to but few books. They had but few precedents,
and but little regard for what they did have. They took
the facts and tested them by the principles of equity, and in this
way arrived at their conclusions. The decisions of the Texas courts
of those early days stand out in bold relief among the great mass
of decided cases for their simplicity, directness, and happy application
of the elementary principles of right to the facts of the case.
The decisions of Hemphill, Lipsoomb, and Wheeler stand like monuments,
illustrating that "the law is the perfection of right reason,"
when guided by the fundamental principles of justice. When shall
we see their like again?
In the early fifties, the members of the bar followed the judge
on his circuit from county to county. They traveled on horseback.
Each had his saddle-bags (in which was stored his linen and generally
a lunch), his blanket, lariat, tin cup, water gourd, and coffeepot.
All of these accoutrements were necessary. The country was
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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/m1/31/: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .