Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 30
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
that he had assigned the city marshal to sweep the city, collecting back taxes. The next day,
a number of citizens conducted a formal meeting to question the city's tax collection meth-
ods. Seeking relief from what they regarded as onerous taxes, on February 5, 1875, a peti-
tion to dissolve the city government, signed by 251 persons, was presented to the state
legislature. The city apparently acted quickly to quell the revolt, for eight days later another
petition appeared at the capitol, this one stipulating that the city government should not be
dissolved because it had "done away with" the exorbitant taxes. By then, the city had reno-
vated the market-house and moved the mayor's office into it. On February 25, however, the
mayor assigned the city marshal a new task: beginning on March 1, he was to kill all the
unlicensed dogs in town. Forewarned, it must be presumed that many dog owners shortly
bought the necessary licenses from the city.39
Better, but not free, access to the city from the north was shortly to follow. The
ferry, which had been more or less in place since 1838, was serviceable enough for most of
the year, but was frequently too dangerous to use when the river was high. After at least a
month of discussion, on November 23, 18 74, a number of citizens and businesses pledged to
support the construction of a toll bridge by a proposed company to be called the Columbus
Bridge Company. On January 20, 1875, the state legislature chartered the company, and
mandated that they build a bridge within two years. After preliminary meetings on February
13 and February 20, the company was formally organized at a meeting at the courthouse on
February 25, 1875. Under president George Witting, the company moved fast. The contract
for the construction of the bridge was awarded on April 6, 1875. Materials began arriving
shortly thereafter. Construction began in May, and the bridge opened to traffic in late Au-
gust. The company had had to borrow only about 20% of the money it needed to build the
bridge and begin operations. 40
39 Gammel, ed., The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, vol. 7, pp. 906-911; Colorado Citizen, Au-
gust 13, 1874, August 20, 1874, September 24, 1874, October 1, 1874, January 7, 1875, February 11, 1875,
February 25, 1875; Petition for Repeal of the Charter of Columbus, February 5, 1875, Petition to Refuse
the Repeal of the Charter of Columbus, February 13, 1875, both in Memorials and Petitions, Archives
Division, Texas State Library, Austin. Though no account of the 1873 city elections has been found,
subsequent reports of city council activity reveal the names of at least some of the men who served on
it. Though there were only five seats on the council, because of resignations, at least seven men
served as aldermen between 1873 and 1875. Three of the seven: Sophus Johann Theodore Harde,
Henry Ilse, and Julius F. Sandmeyer, have been identified as German. The other four were John A.
Carter, John Keith, Henry S. Obenchain, and Lott W. Simpson. John C. Miller, the same man who had
been appointed by Governor Edumud J. Davis in 1870, apparently won reelection as mayor, for he
continued to serve (see Colorado Citizen, May 14, 1874, July 9, 1874).
40 Gammel, ed., The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, vol. 8, pp. 592-594; Colorado Citizen, No-
vember 5, 1874, November 26, 1874, December 3, 1874, February 18, 1875, February 25, 1875, March 11,
1875, March 18, 1875, April 8, 1875, April 15, 1875, April 29, 1875, May 6, 1875, May 27, 1875, July 1,
1875, July 15, 1875, July22, 1875, August 5, 1875, August 12, 1875, August 19, 1875, September 2, 1875,
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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/m1/30/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.