Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 49 of 58
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TEXAS AND TEXANS FIFTY YEARS AGO. 49
dent of the Confederate States, a prisoner in irons in a Federal
casemate, released, a member of the constitutional convention of
his State, again elected to Congress, elected United States Senator,
and now the chairman of the Texas Railroad Commiision ? I think
not. The opening up in advance such a destiny would have been
too much for any mortal man to bear, and yet, what a wonderful
career has been his! The writer lived neighbor to Judge Reagan
for thirty years, and has been voting for him off and on for near
fifty years. Since the writer first met him he has constantly filled
the public eye, and moved upon the stage of political action, in a
career of success unprecedented. He is a man the people of Texas
have delighted to honor. Full of integrity, always faithful to his
trusts and the people, he will at the close of his life round out his
long and eventful career without the shadow of a stain.
* * *
GOVERNOR RICHrAR COKE settled at Waco, McLennan county, in
the early fifties, and was a member of the bar of that county. He
was a native of Virginia. The writer first saw him at Old Springfield,
in 1853, which place he visited during the session of the district
court, in search of business. He was then comparatively a
young man. While he was not a handsome man, his face, the whole
air and bearing of the man, marked him as above and beyond the
ordinary. He was stalwart and somewhat rough and rugged in
appearance. He fully impressed the beholder that under a rough
exterior there was sterling worth, and an intellect that would some
day leave its impress upon the people. The promise of this early
day was abundantly fulfilled in the future career of Governor Coke,
for he became Supreme Judge, Governor and United States Senator.
His election in 1874 as Governor and his induction into that
office was the close of radical rule in the State, and marked the
restoration of the State government to the people. During this
important crisis Governor Coke manifested a firmness and discretion
that proved him a leader and a statesman.
* * *
So it seems that many who achieved distinction as judges, members
of Congress, Governors and United States Senators were in the
early fifties members of the bar of the old Thirteenth Judicial Dis-
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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/m1/49/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .