History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families Page: 100
found a bitter time in endeavoring to execute
the law over his white neighbors. Mistakes
were made and vengeance resorted to, and
the fire of party passion was raised to a greater
height than ever before. In January, 1871,
there was a serious affair at Huitsville. A
negro, an important witness in a criminal
case, was killed, and persons implicated in
the murder were arrested. Friends aided
them to escape, and the captain of the police
who held then in charge was wounded in the
scrimmage. Martial law was proclaimed by
the governor and a military company sent
from an adjoining county to enforce the law.
Soon all was quiet. Another difficulty occurred
at Groesbeck, in September, one Applewhite
being killed in the streets by three
colored policemen. A serious disturbance
took place, the whites a)d negroes being arrayed
against each other. On October 10
Governor Davis, on account of the above fracas,
proclaimed martial law in Limestone and
Freestone counties. Tlhe order was revoked
November 11, but thle people were assessed
for a considerable sium to defray expenses.
Godley, House and AMitch]ell were also murdered
in a similar manner. In Hill county,
also, in the fall of 1870, martial law was enforced
for a short time. The particulars in
the last mentioned case were these:
One James Gathings and " Slol " Nicholson
killed a negro mnan and woman in Bosque
county, and fled, it was supposed, to Hill
county. Soon afterward, one morning before
sunrise, Lieutenant Pritchett and two other
officers and four negroes, under the special
authority of Governor Davis, went to the residence
of Colonel J. J. Gathings in Hill
county, and demanded opportunity tq search
his house for " little Jim" Gathing. The
colonel met them at the door and told them
he was not there. They insisted, and he
asked them for their authority, and they said
they had it. He demanded that it be shown
him. They then replied that they had left it
in Waco; and he then told them that they
could not search his house except by force of
arms. Two of the inen then drew out their
pistols and said that they intended to do that
very thing. Next, Priteliett told the negroes
to go in and search. Gathings then seized
a shotgun and declared that he would shoot
the first negro that came in: a white man
could go in, said he, but no "nigger;" and
he cursed them in the severest terms imaginal)le.
The search was made, but no boy
The officers and negroes then started toward
Covington, a village near by. Gathings had
them arrested before night, for searching his
house without legal authority. They gave
bonds for their appearance at court, but sent
word that they were going to mob Gathings,
and the citizens stood guard at lis house for
eight nights. The ,mob, however, did not
appear; nor did they appear at court, although
Gathings and his friends were on hand.
In the meantime Governor Davis issued
writs for the arrest of Gathings and his
friends, to be served by Sheriff Grace; but
when the matter came up again the authorities
said they wanted only an amicable adjustment,
and proposed to release Gathings
and his friends if he would pay the cost of
the proceedings thus far, which amounted to
nearly $3,000, and which was readily furnished.
Afterward when Richard Coke was
governor the State reimbursed Gathings.
During Davis' administration as governor,
the State treasurer, Davidson, embezzled
$50,000 or over and ran away, and was never
caught, although Davis seemed to make all
possible effort to capture him. The bonds.
men were sued.
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Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families, book, 1893; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/m1/105/ocr/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .