Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 5, Number 2, Fall, 1993 Page: 7
This periodical is part of the collection entitled: Legacies: a History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the Dallas Historical Society.
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Asberry, were noted Unionist Republicans. Judge
Good would not impanel Freedmen, but he did not,
as did some of the state's other district judges, stop
the operation of his court.'5
Swindells, in the Herald, hailed Good's
"honest, earnest effort to get through the mass of
business crowding both the state and civil docket."
William H. Horton, however, reported to the
Freedmen's Bureau that the session was a "farce."
"The civil law," he wrote, "is dead except in instances
when it can be enforced against Union men
and Freedmen. It is a shame that such men as Judge
Good ... should be allowed to hold positions that
permit them to protect their own sort and crush
Union men and blacks." Samuel S. Jones contended
that the placing of loyalists such as himself on the
grand jury had meant nothing because Judge Good
had permitted the court's bailiffs and deputies to
warn men indicted for murdering Unionists during
the war, giving the criminals time to flee the county.
An August 1867 letter from the "Loyal Citizens of
Dallas County" to E. M. Pease, who had been made
governor upon the removal of J. W. Throckmorton
by the military, made similar charges in the case of
men accused of murdering a Freedman. As long as
Good isjudge, the letter said, "no Union man has any
show whatsoever."16 These complaints appear
somewhat exaggerated, especially in light of Good's
willingness to put Unionists on juries, but on the
other hand, it is unlikely that his critics had no basis
for their charge that certain criminals were not
prosecuted aggressively. In any case, when wholesale
military removals of state and local officials
began in the late summer of 1867, Good was among
those replaced. Special Orders No. 206, issued on
November 18, 1867, removed Good and named D.
O. Norton of Weatherford as judge of the 5th District.
The Herald announced this change without any
editorial comment.'7 No doubt Good's removal angered
Swindells and the majority of Dallas's white
population, but there was no public display of emotion.
D. O. Norton, the first military appointee to
serve as district judge in Dallas, in several ways
resembled R. W. Scott, A. J. Hamilton's appointee
in 1865. A fifty-two-year-old native of Tennessee,
Norton had come to Texas during the 1840s and
eventually settled in Parker County. He practiced
law and for a time edited the Weatherford News. A
nonslaveholding Unionist, he ran unsuccessfully for
a place in the 1866 constitutional convention and
held no public office until appointed judge of the 5th
district.18 Norton held court for three weeks in Dallas
during December 1867 and apparently encountered
no difficulties. When court adjourned, the Herald
commented: "Judge Norton, by his courteous and
gentlemanly bearing, won the respect of both the bar
and the people. We regret to see him in such feeble
health...." Three months later, on March 25, 1868,
Norton died. His brief tenure on the bench had been
remarkably quiet, especially when compared to the
experiences of some of the other military appointees.'9
N ORTON'S DEATH SET OFF a scramble among
Unionists in the 5th District seeking to influence
the choice of his replacement. Two of Dallas
County's leading Republicans, A Bledsoe and S. S.
Jones, wrote Governor Pease to recommend James
K. Polk Record, a Tennessean who had moved to
Texas in 1846 and eventually settled in Dallas.
Record presented a problem, Jones admitted, in that
he had been an officer of the Confederate Army and
could not swear the Test Oath; nevertheless, he was
the best man in the district. Record himself wrote to
Pease, pointing out that he had the support of the
loyalists in Dallas County. All these pleas were in
vain, however, as the appointment went to Anthony
Banning Norton, a man with unimpeachable Unionist
A. B. Norton was born in Ohio around 1810
and attended Kenyon College at the same time as
such notables as Rutherford B. Hayes and Edwin M.
Stanton. Admitted to the bar in Ohio, he became an
ardent Whig politician and newspaper editor. Disgusted
at the fate of the Whig candidate in the
election of 1844, Norton vowed never to shave until
Henry Clay was president, a pledge that he kept with
spectacular results for at least thirty years. He came
to Texas during the 1850s and settled in Austin
where he edited the Intelligencer, served three terms
in the state house of representatives, and supported
the political career of Sam Houston. A committed
Unionist, Norton left Texas after secession and
spent the war years in Ohio. After the war, he
returned to Texas and published a paper called the
Union Intelligencer at Jefferson until it was destroyed
by a mob, and he was forced to seek refuge
in Van Zandt County.21 A. B. Norton obviously had
physical and moral courage, and he needed all that
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Dallas County Heritage Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 5, Number 2, Fall, 1993, periodical, 1993; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35115/m1/9/: accessed June 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.