Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 54
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
Not even the horrible events near Eagle Lake stopped the rustling, though it
may have shifted the bulk of it to the northern part of the county. On October 8, at a meeting
in Frelsburg, a number of citizens organized themselves into a company "for the suppression
of lawlessness and crime," with Fritz Leyendecker as captain. Each member of the com-
pany was to report to Leyendceker "any violation of law that may come to his knowledge";
Leyendecker was to be ready to call his company together to help "the proper authorities"
make the necessary arrests. Two months later, a series of fires destroyed much of the
pasture north and northeast of Columbus. Though no arrests were made, authorities sus-
pected the fires were deliberately set to drive cattle to the river and creek bottoms, where
they were killed, then butchered and/or skinned by rustlers.69
An apparently small but vocal group of people in Columbus continued to decry
the consumption of alcohol, even in moderate amounts, and what they regarded as the
inevitable and deplorable consequences of intemperance, gambling and swearing. The tem-
perance movement must have gained a boost on October 28, 1871, when a local jeweler
named Adolphus Krauth dropped dead inside Ilse's Saloon from, it was later publicly de-
clared, "collapse of the lungs, superinduced by the excessive use of stimulants." Early the
next year, former members of the defunct local temperance society were encouraged to
convene at the courthouse. But the movement barely progressed until the autumn of 1874,
when a travelling temperance lecturer and minister named James Young organized a chap-
ter of the United Friends of Temperance, with meetings every Thursday night, in Columbus.
By the end of the year, the group had 112 members: 66 women and 56 men. In 1877, they,
and like-minded individuals from around the county, forced an election to decide whether or
not liquor ought to be prohibited within Colorado County. But the measure failed miserably.
The election, held on March 17, drew more than two thousand voters, with nearly 90% of
them voting against prohibition.70
spelling and punctuation errors, threatened cowboys with some vague retribution if they worked for
Stafford, or for another cattleman, Samuel William Allen. Nothing further is known of this "committee"
(see Colorado Citizen, July 19, 1877, August 9, 1877).
69 Colorado Citizen, November 16, 1876, January 4, 1877. One story stemming from this
period has it that a cattle rustler who was caught butchering a cow was murdered and sewn up inside
the cow's carcass. The story has been repeated so often that it probably bears at least a kernel of truth
(see Horton Foote, Farewell (New York: Scribner, 1999), p. 159, for a printed version of the story).
70 Colorado Citizen, November 2, 1871, April 4, 1872, June 4, 1874, October 1, 1874, Decem-
ber 31, 1874, June 8, 1876, March 15, 1877, March 22, 1877, April 5, 1877; Colorado County Police
[Commissioners] Court Minutes, Book 1876-1879, pp. 184, 203. The final vote was 1853 against prohi-
bition to 263 in favor of it. The measure got its strongest support in Oakland and Weimar. In Oakland,
37 of the 147 voters voted for prohibition; in Weimar, 80 of the 420 voters did so. The vote in Columbus
was 567 to 83 and in Eagle Lake 217 to 35. All 189 people who voted in Frelsburg and 142 ofthe 144 who
voted at New Mainz were against prohibition. Women, of course, could not vote.
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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/m1/54/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.