Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 15
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
adjourned, resolved to continue it, and sent word to Smith to provide them with another copy
of the bond. Smith refused, whereupon the three Democrats rejected the bond and declared
the sheriff's office vacant. Jones appealed to Governor Davis for relief; but Davis also
received a letter from another prominent Colorado County Republican, Robert P. Tendick,
which characterized Jones as a drunkard and Smith as incompetent, uninterested in per-
forming the duties of the sheriff, and unpopular among the blacks. Tendick also noted that
Jackson and Leyendecker generally favored Republican positions. On July 9, the governor
informed Jones that he had indeed illegally adjourned the court, but that the court could not
oust Smith from the sheriff's office without giving him another chance to produce an accept-
able bond. Because most of the wealthy men in the county were conservative Democrats,
and thus Smith's political opponents, it was only with great difficulty that he managed to find
new bondsmen. To do so, he agreed to sign a highly unusual contract which effectively sold
the sheriff's office to the Democrats, and which would eventually cost him his job. William
Lucius Adkins agreed to sign Smith's bond on condition that his son-in-law, Rowan Green,
be hired as deputy, and apparently with other stipulations. On October 10, in a contract with
Green, Smith declared that, though he would hold the office, he would not perform the duties
of sheriff, but instead would allow Green as deputy to act as he pleased and to keep all the
fines and fees which normally would devolve to the sheriff. For his part, Green was to pay
Smith $800 every December as long as Smith remained the duly elected and installed sher-
iff. On October 12, the county court accepted Smith's new bond and installed him as sheriff
Two days later, he named Green his deputy. 19
Later that year, when the district composed of Colorado and Lavaca Counties
elected persons to replace its recently deceased members of the Texas senate and legisla-
ture, the contest was bitter indeed. The conservatives, that is to say the Democrats, backed
Wells Thompson, a highly-respected Columbus attorney, for state senator, and Julius E.
Arnim, a Lavaca County storekeeper, for state representative. Only a year earlier, Thomp-
son had been defeated in a bid for lieutenant governor. Nonetheless, his campaign had won
wide support. The Republicans ran Robert P. Tendick of Columbus for senator and Henry
M. Shoemaker of Lavaca County for representative. Both men were Union army veterans
19 Camillus Jones to Edmund J. Davis, July 6, 1870, Robert P. Tendick to Edmund J. Davis,
July 6, 1870, William M. Smith to Edmund J. Davis, February 23, 1871, Edmund J. Davis Records (RG
301), Archives Division, Texas State Library, Austin; Edmund J. Davis to Camillus Jones, July 9, 1870,
Executive Record Books, Edmund J. Davis, vol. 1, p. 207, Archives Division, Texas State Library,
Austin; Colorado County Bond and Mortgage Records, Book G, pp. 286, 296; Colorado County
District Court Records, Civil Cause File No. 2634: William Beethe, et al. v. William M Smith. Jackson
and Leyendecker had earlier been identified with and endorsed by the Republicans, and they still, in
1870, were regarded by them as reasonable men. Both, however, had firmly joined the Democratic
Party by 1876 (see Colorado Citizen, August 3, 1876).
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000, periodical, January 2000; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151408/m1/15/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.