Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 1, January, 1999 Page: 12
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
been paid came to Harris for relief. They had made at least one earlier attempt to get the
Freedmen's Bureau to induce Crisp to pay them, asking for Raper's help in 1865. He left
town, however, before he could accomplish anything. Since then, the case had been further
complicated by the recent sale of the plantation and of its crops to separate parties. The men
who bought the growing crops, livestock, and farming implements, Thomas Hanford and
Charles Willard, were dissatisfied with their purchase, claiming that its value had been
misrepresented. Crisp's attorneys, David Hardee Crisp and Richard V. Cook, blamed the
reduction in value on the depredations of the cotton worm, but agreed to substantially re-
duce the amount. In September, Hanford and Willard agreed to pay, and sent to Galveston
for the money. But when they began hauling cotton to market before the money arrived,
Cook stopped them and, in accordance with the provisions of the contract, advertised that
the crops and other property would be sold at auction on October 5. On the grounds that
Crisp might still owe his laborers their wages for 1865, as the crowd gathered to begin
bidding, Harris stepped in with a detachment of soldiers and stopped the auction. He set
hearings with the laborers for October 7, and invited David H. Crisp and Cook to attend.
Infurated by what they regarded as Harris' undue and illegal interference, neither man showed
up. Harris determined that John H. Crisp owed his laborers some $4880, and though Hanford
and Willard agreed to turn over to Harris the money they still owed Crisp, it was not enough
to cover the debt. Eventually, it seems, Hanford and Willard sold the crop. At least part of
the money seems to have gone to the freedmen; but none to Crisp.'9
Alas, Harris' attempts to justly resolve the disputes over the Crisp plantation
were not his only clumsy efforts. He came into conflict with Charles Schmidt, and the
prevailing opinion of the community, when Schmidt bought a building in downtown Co-
lumbus for the use of the local chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The
building had been seized by the U. S. Army in 1865, and occupied by troops ever since.
Harris refused to allow Schmidt to evict them, though they had never paid any rent and did
not expect to pay any in the future. On March 1, however, Harris suddenly reversed his
stance, and agreed to turn the building over to Schmidt and the Odd Fellows.20
19 Letter of Enon M. Harris, October 8, 1867, Letters of David H. Crisp and Richard V. Cook,
October 8, 1867, October 16, 1867, October 20, 1867, and November 16, 1867, all in Barry A. Crouch Collec-
tion (Ms. 41), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus; Letter of John H. Crisp, March 19, 1868,
Small Manuscripts Collection (Ms. 5), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus. On January 10,
1868, Columbus' masonic lodge, the Caledonia Lodge #68, Free and Accepted Masons, advertised that it had
expelled Hanford for "gross unmasonic conduct" and warned other lodges not to let him join. One may only
guess that he was expelled as a result of his conduct in the Crisp affair (see [La Grange] State Rights Democrat,
January 10, 1868).
20 Notes from sub-assistant commissioner's field notes: Letter of Charles Schmidt, February 1, 1867,
Letter of Enon M. Harris, February 15, 1867, Letter of Robert P. Tendick, March 1, 1867, Letter of Enon M.
Harris, March 1, 1867, Barry A. Crouch Collection (Ms. 41), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Colum-
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 1, January, 1999, periodical, January 1999; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151405/m1/12/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.