Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 1, January, 1999 Page: 33
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Consider the Lily. The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
Johnson, Ben Stafford, and John Stafford went on the drive. So did a young black cowboy
named George Glenn, who had been raised by Bob Johnson. When Johnson died in Kansas
that autumn, he was quickly buried. After his family heard of the death, they asked that his
body be disinterred and returned to Columbus. When everyone else balked at the prospect
of bringing the body back down the trail, Glenn volunteered. Setting out alone, sleeping
atop Johnson's coffin every night and chasing away the many wild creatures which fol-
lowed him (and Johnson's body), he made the trip in 42 days.52
As they had been before the war, the citizens of Colorado County were heavily
preoccupied with politics in the immediate postwar period. Generally speaking, the voters
were divided into two prevailing modes of thought: one embraced by the national Demo-
cratic Party and the vast majority of the county's white voters, the other embraced by the
national Republican Party and the vast majority of the county's new black voters. Each
faction included some 40 to 45 percent of the voters in the county. The other 10 to 20
percent were the German and Czech voters in the north and northeast parts of the county.
These voters, who before the war had constituted an often insignificant minority and had
been regarded by the majority as a fringe element, suddenly found themselves in position to
decide most county-wide elections. Much to the dismay of the county's Democratic voters,
the Germans and Czechs were willing to see how blacks, and even how former Yankee
soldiers, would perform as office-holders. However, they did not immediately get the op-
The first step in reconstructing the civil authority of the United States govern-
ment was to decide who constituted the electorate. President Andrew Johnson's proclama-
tion of May 29, 1865 offered amnesty for their recent treason to most of the persons who
had been or could have been voters before the war, provided that they take an oath of
loyality to the constitution and laws of the United States. In the summer of 1865, many such
52 Colorado County Bond and Mortgage Records, Book F, pp. 318, 324, 341; Book G, pp. 29, 42,
213; Colorado County Probate Records, File No. 634: Robert B. Johnson; John Edward Folts, "A Faithful
Negro Servant," in John Marvin Hunter, ed., The Trail Drivers of Texas (Nashville, Tennessee: Cokesbury
Press, 1925), pp. 645-646; J. Frank Dobie, "The Old Trail Drivers," The Country Gentleman, vol. 40, no. 7,
February 14, 1925; Typewritten affidavit attributed to George Glenn in Johnson Family File, Archives of the
Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus. Henry M. Johnson had married Harriet Barbara Stafford on March 19,
1868 (see Colorado County Marriage Records, Book E, p. 96). It has been assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that the
conveyance of some 800 cattle by Henry Johnson and Bob Stafford to Bob Johnson, Ben Stafford, and John
Stafford was the formality necessary to allow the last named three to sell the cattle when they got them to
Kansas, and that therefore all three went along on the drive. Glenn implies that Johnson's brothers went along.
It is not inconceivable that he meant the Staffords, who were Johnson's brother's brothers-in-law. Folts, writing
about fifty years later, states that Johnson died in July 1870, however, in January 1871, Henry Johnson, in a
document relating to his brother's probate proceedings, stated that he died "in the State of Kansas about the first
part of October 1870."
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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/m1/33/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.