Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 32
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
presented it, two months later. The same day, Toliver's bond was accepted, and he began
presiding over the court. In the same election, Benjamin F. Williams, a black minister from
Columbus, stood as a candidate to regain the seat in the state legislature he had held two
years earlier, and he finished high enough in Colorado County to win one of the two seats
allocated to the district. However, the voters of Lavaca County did not support him, and
Democrat William Shelby Delany of Colorado County and Republican William P. Ballard of
Lavaca took the two seats.42
The Columbus city elections of 1875 went better for the Democrats. Though
Republican Henry Merseberger defeated Democrat Benjamin Marshall Baker for mayor,
the Democrats took control of the city council. Three of the five seats went to men nomi-
nated by the Democrats, another to a man endorsed by both parties. None went to blacks.
Soon afterward, the Republicans experienced a defection on the county police court. On
August 4, 1875, Eugene Himley resigned his seat, evidently to pursue his contemplated
career as a photographer. In the special election to fill the position, on September 11, 1875,
Benjamin Harris Neal, a physician living near Frelsburg, easily bested his challenger. Neal,
unlike Himley, was elected only by voters who lived within his precinct.43
The Republicans, though, demonstrated their continued control of Colorado County
in the elections of 1875 and 1876. In the early August 1875 election of candidates to the
42 Colorado County Election Records, Book 1874-1884; Colorado County Police [Commis-
sioners] Court Records, Book 1862-1876, pp. 309, 311, 313. In addition to Camillus Jones, Charles
Schmidt, and Robert Tendick, Republican officeholders Himley, Johnson, Steiner, and Ziegler would
all be indicted for some criminal offense or another during the 1870s. Some might regard this as
evidence of their incompetence, some as evidence that their political opponents used the court
system to harass them. All the indictments were eventually quashed or dismissed, which some might
regard as a consequence of the political favor of the prosecutor and the district judge (see Colorado
County District Court Records, Criminal Cause File No. 1090: State of Texas v. George S. Ziegler,
Criminal Cause File No. 1116: State of Texas v. LeopoldSteiner, Criminal Cause File No. 1117: State of
Texas v. Leopold Steiner, Criminal Cause File No. 1118: State of Texas v. Leopold Steiner, Criminal
Cause File No. 1119: State of Texas v. Leopold Steiner, Criminal Cause File No. 1120: State of Texas v.
Leopold Steiner, Criminal Cause File No. 1127: State of Texas v. Leopold Steiner, Criminal Cause File
No. 1165: State of Texas v. Jahu W. Johnson, Criminal Cause File No. 1168: State of Texas v. Jahu W
Johnson, Criminal Cause File No. 1169: State of Texas v. Jahu W Johnson, Criminal Cause File No.
1226: State of Texas v. Eugene Himley, Criminal Cause File No. 1464: State of Texas v. George S. Ziegler,
Minute Book F, pp. 99-100, 119, 190, 192, 278, Book G, p. 79).
43 Colorado Citizen, May 20, 1875, June 3, 1875; Register of Elected and Appointed State
and County Officials, 1870-1875, Secretary of State Records (RG 307), Archives Division, Texas State
Library; Colorado County Election Records, Book 1874-1884. The Democratic winners in the city
elections of 1875 were Charles Brunson, James H. Simpson, and Richard A. Thornton; the Republican
winner was Jahu W. Johnson. The winner who was endorsed by both parties was William Franckel.
The Republiican losers were Charles Schmidt, C. O. Nelson, and Edmund Eason, who was the only
black man in the race. The Democratic loser was Joseph W. Brown.
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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/m1/32/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.