A Memorial and Biographical History of Navarro, Henderson, Anderson, Limestone, Freestone and Leon Counties, Texas Page: 46
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HISTORY OF NAVARRO, HENDERSON, ANDERS ON,
tion, the creed of the old Native party
was enlarged, and made to include proscription
of Roman Catholic citizens, while
the opposition to naturalized aliens was
intensified. The "Know-nothings" cast
over their proceedings a cloak of mystery.
They constituted, in fact, a secret political
society, applied tests of a religious character,
and endeavored to pit the different
races against each other. All these principles
were contrary to the constitution
of the United States. In Texas the "Knownothings"
for a short time acquired considerable
influence. Numerous lodges
were organized, and in 1855, L. D. Evans
was returned by the party to Congress from
the Eastern district. On the re-election
of Pease the same year, he was opposed
by their candidate, Dixon, who obtained
no loss than 17,968 votes, being between
4,000 and 5,000 more than had ever before
been cast for governor. However, on their
failure to elect their candidate, the career
of the "Know-nothings" in Texas was
brought to a close. The unconstitutionality
of their doctrines, and the violence to
civil and religions liberty entailed in their
intolerant principles, were denounced by
their more enlightened opponents; the
Democratic party called upon the people
in the name of liberty and the constitution
to discountenance the secret organization,
and their influence rapidly waned.
In 1857, Texas was called upon to mourn
the loss of two men who had ardently
espoused her cause for independence,Thomas
J. Rusk and James Hamilton, of
South Carolina. The former emigrated
to Texas in 1835, since which time he was
conspicuous in the affairs of that country
to which he rendered valuable service in
various positions of trust, particularly as
United States Senator, in which capacity
his rare qualities of mind and heart rendered
him a brilliant and powerful champion.
General James Hamilton was a native
of South Carolina, of which State he was
governor. In the struggle of Texas for
independence he boldy advocated her cause,
and contributed both his services and
means to her support. In recognition of
his services he was vested with the rights of
Texan citizenship by a special act of Congress.
In 1857 he sailed from New Orleans
for Galveston, in hopes of retrieving
his fortunes in the country for whose cause
he had exhausted his means, but lost his
life in a wreck at sea. The State Congress
went into mourning out of respect to his
On December 27, 1857, Hardin R.
Runnels-the successful Democratic candidate-was
inaugurated governor, having
defeated his competitor, Sam Houston, by
a poll of 32,552 votes, against 23,628 cast
in favor of the latter.
When Runnels entered office, symptoms
had already made their appearance that
the time of the great national disruption
was rapidly approaching which a few
years later tore asunder the United States
and deluged the country in blood. The
various causes leading up to this struggle
are too numerous to mention here, and
are matters of national history. From
the time of the Missouri Compromise in
1820, which measure was introduced into
the Senate by Henry Clay and adopted by
the Government, many bitter controversies
had arisen between the free and slave
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Lewis Publishing Company. A Memorial and Biographical History of Navarro, Henderson, Anderson, Limestone, Freestone and Leon Counties, Texas, book, 1893; Chicago, Illinois. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46827/m1/48/: accessed May 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Palestine Public Library.