Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 16
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
who had been stationed in Texas after the war and had remained in the state after their units
were mustered out. The polls remained open for four days beginning on Monday, November
28. The two sides used the time to try to influence voters, both by gentle means and physical
intimidation. As the vote totals were released, day after day, it became clear that the election
would be very close. On the first day of the election, a black man named Burton who
supported Thompson was arrested and briefly sent to jail, evidently for fear that other blacks
would attack him. The same day, county officials stopped a white man named Green Mitchell
from continuing a speech in support of the Republicans when Rowan Green, the acting
sheriff, threatened to shoot him. George Washington Smith, the brother of Sheriff Smith,
made a public spectacle of his racial bigotry, and was probably the most tireless advocate of
the conservative positions. As the election proceeded, he buzzed around Columbus, angrily
confronting Republicans in public places, calling them all manner of unflattering names,
provoking them nearly to the point of violence. Nonetheless, when the votes were counted,
Tendick and Shoemaker emerged victorious. The Republican newspapers trumpeted the
victory; the Democratic papers took solace in the observation that at each succeeding elec-
tion the Republican margin of victory was declining. Two weeks after the election, tempers
still ran high. On December 12 in Columbus, a white man named John Davis shot a black
man named Edward Jackson in the back shortly after Jackson had affirmed that he had
voted Republican. Jackson, who was unarmed, died on the spot.20
20 Galveston Daily News, November 30, 1870, December 1, 1870, December 2, 1870, Decem-
ber 3, 1870; Houston Daily Union, December 1, 1870, December 2, 1870, December 3, 1870, December
7, 1870, December 9, 1870, December 10, 1870, December 12, 1870, December 13, 1870, December 14,
1870, December 17, 1870, December 19, 1870, December 22, 1870, December 24, 1870, December 27,
1870; Tri-Weekly Houston Union, December 9, 1870; Colorado County Election Returns, Secretary of
State Records (RG 307), Archives Division, Texas State Library, Austin; Roster and Record oflowa
Soldiers in the War of the Rebellion Together with Historical Sketches of Volunteer Organizations
1861-1866, six vols. (Des Moines: 1908-1911), vol. 5, pp. 485, 920; Colorado County District Court
Records, Criminal Cause File No. 869: State of Texas v. John Davis. Across the district, Tendick got
1762 votes to Thompson's 1628, and Shoemaker got 1774 to Arnim's 1620. In Colorado County,
Tendick got 1283 votes, Thompson 1071, Shoemaker 1276, and Arnim 1080. The Democratic candi-
dates actually carried Lavaca County, in Thompson's case 557 to 479, and in Arnim's 540 to 498. For
information about Thompson's 1869 campaign for lieutenant governor, see [Hempstead] Texas Coun-
tryman, August 13, 1869; Galveston Daily News, August 19, 1869; Hempstead Weekly Countryman,
September 17, 1869, November 26, 1869.
Tendick, who was born in Prussia on June 19, 1837, came to the United States in 1856. After
first settling in Illinois, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri. There, he joined the Union army, rising to the
rank of lieutenant and serving as quartermaster for the 30th Missouri Infantry. He was discharged with
that unit at Columbus in 1865 (see Colorado Citizen, November 15, 1888). Shoemaker, who had been
born in Indiana on February 18, 1839, was elected lieutenant in the 38th Iowa Infantry on August 11,
1862. He held the same rank in the 34th and 38th Consolidated Iowa Infantry after that unit was created
on January 1, 1865. He was wounded slightly in action at Fort Blakely, Alabama on April 9, 1865. He
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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/m1/16/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.