Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 1, January, 1999 Page: 37
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
Baptist Leyendecker, and three county commissioners, Breeding, Dunlavy, and Good, the
last two of whom had been delegates at a county Democratic Party gathering on June 27,
1868, were replaced. Stevenson had criticized both Gillmore and Leyendecker. Daniel D.
Claiborne became the new county judge, Charles Schmidt the new sheriff, and Henry
Boedeker, Andrew S. Wirtz, and William T. Wilkinson the new county commissioners.
Schmidt, however, evidently refused the position, and was accordingly replaced by a new
appointee, Jesse H. Johnson, on May 14, 1869.57
Johnson was destined to last as sheriff only a short time. From November 30
through December 3, 1869, voters went to the polls to cast their votes for or against a
proposed constitution, and for candidates to fill the offices that would be created by the new
constitution, provided that it was adopted. The new constitution called for the election of a
sheriff and a district clerk, but replaced the county judge and commissioners court with five
justices of the peace, one of whom was to be designated as the presiding justice. In addition,
voters in Colorado and Lavaca Counties got to pick a state senator and three state represen-
tatives. The races pitted many of the men who had recently been appointed to offices against
many of those who had been removed from them; and afforded black voters their first real
chance to express an opinion. The state senate seat went to Abner Kneeland Foster of
Lavaca County, who beat Colorado County's former county judge, John D. Gillmore. Four
of the six candidates for the lower house were from Colorado County. Two, William T.
Wilkinson and Benjamin F. Williams won seats. The defeated candidates were George
McCormick, the county clerk who had been removed by the military government, and Johann
Zwiegel, a Democratic delegate in 1868. In the sheriff's race, William M. Smith, who had
been appointed mayor of Columbus in 1868, but had resigned the post on July 31, 1869,
defeated former sheriff Johann Baptist Leyendecker. Robert P. Tendick won the district
clerk's seat, beating Alexander Lookup. Curiously, three of the five justices of the peace,
Camillus Jones, Henry Clay Everett, and Daniel Washington Jackson, were political new-
comers. The fourth, Fritz Leyendecker, had lost his bid for a seat at the constitutional con-
vention in February 1868, then was appointed assessor and collector on August 31, 1868,
57 Monthly Reports of Louis W. Stevenson, September 30, 1868, October 31, 1868, both in Barry A.
Crouch Collection (Ms. 41), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus; Special Order 59, October
16, 1868, File 860-15, Special Order 95, April 22, 1869, File 860-23, Special Order 102, April 30, 1869, File
860-23, Special Order 114, May 14, 1869, File 860-25, Special Order 115, May 15, 1869, File 860-25, all in
Adjutant General's Records (RG 401), Archives and Records Division, Texas State Library, Austin; Columbus
Times, July 4, 1868; Colorado Citizen, May 6, 1869. The Citizen took the April purge of county officials
philosophically, remarking that the departed county judge was "as fat and soggy as ever, and seems to be musing
upon the uncertainty of worldly glory," and reporting with amusement one young man's difficulty in getting a
marriage license, because "our county officers having been removed by the 'powers that be,' and none others as
yet spoken into existence, we are 'every man his own Captain' in this county."
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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/m1/37/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.