Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 62
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
By 1878, for all their electoral success, Colorado County's Republicans had
done little to advance the cause of assimilating the freed slaves into society. Former slaves
had held offices and opened businesses, but, more than a decade after their release from
bondage, few, if any, had accumulated substantial material wealth. Moreover, schools, churches,
and neighborhoods had largely succeeded in resisting racial integration. Other developments,
notably the influx of immigrants, the increase in gunplay and violence, plus the development
of public schools, the railroad, banks, and discount stores, had radically altered the character
of the county. The passage of the earlier era was more clearly marked by the deaths of the
two founders of Columbus, Joseph Worthington Elliott Wallace and William Bluford Dewees.
Wallace died at age 81 on August 24, 1877; Dewees eight months later, at age 79, on April
14, 1878. Only two months earlier, the destitute Dewees had been placed on the county's
pauper list. The Citizen, in brief obituaries, praised each man for his service in the Texas
army in 1836. There was no mention of the roles they played some forty years earlier in
establishing the city in which they both died.80
80 Colorado Citizen, August 30, 1877, April 18, 1878; Colorado County Police [Commission-
ers] Court Minutes, Book 1876-1879, p. 301. Nor did Dewees's obituary mention his book, Letters from
an Early Settler of Texas. At this point in the county's history, local history was thought insignificant.
Dewees' book, like Fannie Darden's previously-noted article about Dillard Cooper, and like Dewees's
and Wallace's obituaries, concentrated instead on what might be called state history, and particularly
on the revolution of 1836.
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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/m1/62/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.