Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 33
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
state's constitutional convention, the three Republican candidates, Jahu W. Johnson, Ernst
L. Theumann, and William P. Ballard, outpolled their Democratic challengers, George Millan
McCormick, Julius E. Arnim, and John Wilkins Whitfield, in Colorado County. However, on
the strength of their vote in Lavaca County, the Democrats were elected. From September
6 through November 24, 1875, they, and other delegates from around the state, most of
whom were Democrats, drew up a proposed new constitution for the State of Texas which
reorganized county government, eliminating the police court and substituting a commission-
ers court to be presided over by a county judge. On February 15, 1876, Texas voters over-
whelmingly approved the new constitution. At the same time, they elected officials to fill the
positions mandated by it. But, had it been left to the voters of Colorado County, the constitu-
tion would have failed; 1558 persons voted against it and only 1213 for it. Again, Colorado
County by and large elected Republicans to the county's offices, but, on the strength of the
vote in Lavaca County, and in the case of the state senate, Gonzales County, sent Demo-
crats to Austin. Wells Thompson, the Columbus attorney, won the three-county race for the
senate; Milton V. Kinnison of Lavaca County and Ibzan William Middlebrook of Colorado
County took their district's two seats in the state legislature. In the Colorado County judge's
race, though, Republican Jahu W. Johnson surprisingly beat William S. Delany, the respected
attorney whose campaign centered around the notion that the county judge ought to be a
lawyer. In the sheriff's race, Republican James A. Toliver beat Democrat Thomas J. Grace
by 200 votes. One of the four new commissioners, Alex F. Kinnison, was a black man. He
captured 63% of his precinct's vote. Two other black men, Ellsworth O. Almond, who
became inspector of hides and animals, and Caesar C. Eason, who became one of the eight
constables in the county, also won elections. The other seats on the commissioners court
went to Christian Heydorn, Mike Muckleroy, and Williamson Daniels, whose party affilia-
tions no longer are evident. Almost immediately, Kinnison and Eason published statements in
the Colorado Citizen, warily appealing for full public support. The county's police court
met for the last time on April 18, 1876.44
By then, it was becoming clear that party differences had begun to blur. For the
Columbus city elections of June 5, 1877, the Democrats and the Republicans nominated the
same man, Benjamin M. Baker, for mayor. Both parties also endorsed one candidate for
44 Colorado County Election Returns, Lavaca County Election Returns, Senatorial Election
Returns, 27th District, 1876, all in Secretary of State Records (RG 307), Archives Division, Texas State
Library, Austin; Colorado County Election Records, Book 1874-1884; Colorado Citizen, January 13,
1876, February 3, 1876, February 24, 1876, March 2, 1876, March 9, 1876, March 23, 1876, April 20, 1876;
Colorado County Police [Commissioners] Court Minutes, Book 1876-1879, pp. 21, 23. Three of the
1875 candidates for the state legislature, Arnim, Ballard, and Whitfield, were from Lavaca County. Two
more early candidates for sheriff in the 1876 county elections, W. H. Eason and Sumner H. Townsend,
withdrew from the race shortly before the election. Eason may have been a black man.
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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/m1/33/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.