Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

Richard B. McCaslin

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pp. vii-viii

When most people think about Washington-on-the-Brazos, they see a small white frame building close to the Brazos River. That is Independence Hall, where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed in March 1836. What is missing from most imaginations, and indeed...

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1. Prelude

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pp. 1-13

Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site lies just below the junction of the Brazos and Navasota Rivers in modern-day Washington County. It occupies much of the former location of the town of Washington, which lies adjacent to the small crossroads community that still bears...

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2. Political Seat

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pp. 14-37

Washington may be best known as the birthplace of the Republic of Texas, but the town served twice more as the seat of Texas government before statehood. The delegates to the Convention of 1836 left hastily...

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3. Commercial Center

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pp. 38-58

Washington was originally established as a business venture, and arguably it nearly succeeded. After a hard stumble in the late 1830s, the town stabilized during the next decade, and it boomed during the early 1850s. The population of Texas...

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4. Era of Conflict

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pp. 59-83

Washington declined markedly from 1855 to 1865, as did many other communities in Texas and the nation as a whole. Economic stagnation and colossally bad business decisions created a tense atmosphere that enhanced angry political conflicts over the Union and slavery. The commitment of Washington...

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5. Shadow Town

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pp. 84-105

Washington during and immediately after the Reconstruction era became an arena for battles between white Democrats and black Republicans for control of county politics, prompting some residents to leave while others struggled unsuccessfully to revive the town’s commercial...

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6. State Historic Site

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pp. 106-126

When county historian May A. W. Pennington wrote about Washington in 1915 that “nothing remains but the shadowy memories of a haunted past, and a shaft of gray Texas granite,” there was not much evidence to contradict her. The town had declined until it was little more...

Appendix: Poetry

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pp. 127-130

Notes

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pp. 131-155

Index

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pp. 156-171