Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 1, January, 1999 Page: 36
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
of those who came to register were black. By the end of the registration period, 1163 blacks
had been enrolled; only one had been rejected. During the same period, the board enrolled
655 whites and rejected eighty. Among those who were rejected were Ira A. Harris, Daniel
D. Claiborne, William B. Dewees, John D. Gillmore, and Richard V. Cook, all of whom
were determined to have been civil officials before the war, and civil officials or Confeder-
ate soldiers during the war. The new voters got their first chance to express an opinion
between February 10 and February 13, 1868, when they were asked to approve a constitu-
tional convention and elect delegates to it, should it be approved. In Colorado County, the
white voters stayed away from the polls: only about 150 of them deigned to vote in the
election, whereas about 1000 blacks cast ballots. The convention was approved by an over-
whelming 1084 to 64 vote margin, and conservative delegate candidates Johann Friedrich
"Fritz" Leyendecker and Frederick Boettcher were roundly defeated by Republicans Will-
iams and H. H. Foster, both of whom were disowned by the Columbus Times.56
On July 19, 1867, the federal congress passed the Third Reconstruction Act,
which, among other things, authorized the military government to remove elected civil
officials and replace them with appointees it deemed more qualified. This process began in
Colorado County on October 16, 1868. The first to go were two justices of the peace, both
of whom were recommended for removal by Freedmen's Bureau agent Louis W. Stevenson.
The government further followed Stevenson's recommendation by giving one of the slots
to George S. Ziegler. The most sweeping changes came in April 1869. On April 22, county
clerk George McCormick and district clerk Alexander Lookup were replaced by Robert P.
Tendick and Edward M. Glenn. On April 30, the county judge, Gillmore, the sheriff, Johann
56 Letter of Benjamin F. Williams, November 7, 1867, Records of the Office of Civil Affairs for the
Department of Texas and the Fifth Military District, 1865-1870, U. S. Department of War, Records of the
United States Army Continental Commands (RG 393), National Archives, Washington, D. C.; Notes from sub-
assistant commissioner's field records: Letters of Enon M. Harris, July 15, 1867, July 22, 1867, July 29, 1867,
August 5, 1867, August 12, 1867, August 19, 1867, August 23, 1867, August 26, 1867, September 2, 1867,
Barry A. Crouch Collection (Ms. 41), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus; Election Returns,
1868, Colorado County, Texas, Records of the Secretary of State (RG 307), Archives and Records Division,
Texas State Library, Austin; Columbus Times, June 6, 1868. Happily, the February 1868 vote totals were broken
down by race. The totals for the black voters were: for the convention 999, against the convention 0, Foster 994,
Williams 921, Leyendecker 77, Boettcher 5. The totals for the white voters were: for the convention 85, against
the convention 64, Foster 7, Williams 3, Leyendecker 151, Boettcher 145. Foster, the candidate who got the
most votes, has not been definitely identified. Men named Henry Foster appeared on both the 1860 and 1870
censuses of Colorado County. The 1860 Henry Foster was a white, 22 year old farmer who had been born in
Texas. He enlisted in a Confederate infantry unit on June 1, 1862, but seems to have spent most of the war absent
with an illness. He finally was declared absent without leave on August 31, 1863, after which no further record
of him has been found. The 1870 Henry Foster was a black, 22 year old farm laborer. Neither man seems likely
to be the man elected as a delegate to the constitutional convention in 1868 (see Eighth Census of the United
States (1860), Colorado County, Texas, Schedule 1; Ninth Census of the United States (1870), Colorado County,
Texas, Schedule 1; a synopsis of the 1860 Henry Foster's military record can be found in Bill Stein, "Consider
the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County," part 6, Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, vol. 7, no. 2,
May 1997, p. 120).
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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/m1/36/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.