Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 2, May, 1993 Page: 106
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
heavily involved with two Colorado County men, Alvin Jacob Wirtz and Joseph Jefferson
Mansfield. Wirtz, who was born and raised in Columbus and had his first law practices
in Columbus and Eagle Lake, has been widely credited as Johnson's political mentor. It
was Wirtz who presided over the creation of the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA),
and, in the interest of the LCRA and the series of dams it eventually built, it was Wirtz
who prodded Johnson into his first congressional seat.
By the time Johnson arrived in Congress, Mansfield was a Washington
veteran and chairman of the Rivers and Harbors Committee. Mansfield too, was involved
with the LCRA. Though, in 1938, Johnson spoke in many small Texas towns in an
attempt to get them to buy LCRA produced power, there is no evidence that he did so
in Columbus. Perhaps not coincidentally, Columbus was the only one of the 26 towns
that voted on the proposition to reject it. Johnson did, however, eventually come to
Columbus and probably to Eagle Lake.
Mansfield died on July 12, 1947. After a funeral service in Columbus, he
was buried in Eagle Lake. Johnson certainly attended the service, which was held in the
Mansfield home, and probably the burial.5
Johnson was elected vice-president in 1960. On February 24, 1961, about
a month after he took office, he made an unexpected and unpublicized visit to the county.
En route from Austin to Houston for another funeral, Johnson, his wife, and six other
people stopped at Mary and Martha's Cafe in Columbus for coffee. After being
recognized, Johnson and his party chatted with the rest of the cafe's patrons and its
staff. One of the cafe's co-owners, Martha Bodungen, presented Johnson with a cake
as he left.6
5 See The Colorado County Citizen, July 17, 1947
6 See The Colorado County Citizen, March 2, 1961
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 2, May, 1993, periodical, May 1993; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151388/m1/54/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.