Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, September, 1996 Page: 134
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
"letters," for most of the information they contain is corroborated by other sources. The
book is the first known literary effort by any citizen of Colorado County.34
Others made their livings by more conventional means. In 1850, there were six
schools in the county, each staffed by a single teacher, with an average enrollment of 28.
Five physicians had established practices in the county. Among them were two Germans,
Hermann Nagel and Eduard Friedrich Becker, who found their patients among their
countrymen. Many other Germans listed unusual occupations. The only druggist, the only
tailor, the only gunsmith, and the only cabinetmaker in the county were Germans, as were
the only two carpenters, the only two barrel makers, the only three shoemakers, and the
only three tobacconists. Ten of the twelve blacksmiths, and the only two saddlers, one of
them Friedrich Gustav Schultz, also were German. Two men, Etheldred W. Perry and
Charles Kesler, ran sawmills. Both relied on horses to power their mills. The county had
two mail carriers, one a thirteen-year-old German boy named Herman Mehrens and the
other, curiously, a nineteen-year-old girl named Emily S. Morrison. There were also four
attorneys: John H. Robson, George Washington Smith, William Jefferson Jones, and
Robert Jones Rivers. Rivers, the oldest and the wealthiest of the pack, also had the most
colorful background. Some years earlier, in what is now Hickman, Kentucky, Rivers'
brother, Thomas, had been killed by a man named Ferguson. Rivers arrived in town shortly
after the murder, went to the house where Ferguson was detained, broke in through a
window, chased the fleeing Ferguson through the streets, shot him to the ground, then
walked up to him and killed him with a second shot. Naturally fearing arrest and
prosecution, he fled the area, eventually turning up in Texas and studying law. By 1850,
he had risen to prominence in his profession, and was widely known and respected around
the state. That year he ran for a seat in the state legislature, but was defeated by the
incumbent, William E. Crump of Austin County.35
34 Colorado County Mortgage Book B, p. 194; Texas Monument, February 9, 1853. The contract also
states that a second book, to be entitled Life on a Frontier or Adventures of Will Dewees, was ready for
publication. That book was never published and, most unfortunately, apparently is now lost. Letters from an
Early Settler of Texas, which is cited many times in this history, is, despite its flaws, the single most valuable
source on the early history of the Colorado County area. The first edition was published by Morton & Griswold
of Louisville, Kentucky in 1852. A second edition was published by Hull & Brother of Louisville in 1854. The
third edition carries no date, but is inscribed "Second Edition" on its title page and is said to have been printed
by New Albany Tribune Print, it is thought, in 1858. The fourth and, to date, final edition of the book was
published by Texian Press of Waco in 1968. It might be supposed from the copyright page that the book was
published in 1853. If so, it must have been very early in the year, for the above-cited issue of the Texas Monument,
published only six weeks into the year, contains what might be characterized as a review of the book, and
certainly suggests that the writer had seen a copy of it.
35 Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Schedule 1, Schedule 4, Schedule 5, Colorado County,
Texas; Elizabeth Avery Meriwether, Recollections of Ninety-Two Years (Nashville: The Tennessee Historical
Commission, 1958), pp. 25-27; Texas Monument, November 6, 1850. Schedule 1 of the census lists only two
school teachers, James Griffith and William Martin, however Schedule 5 reports that six schools with six
teachers were active. As we have seen, there was a school in the German settlement in 1844. There was also
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, September, 1996, periodical, September 1996; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151398/m1/22/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.