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The Governor's Hounds

The Texas State Police, 1870–1873

By Barry A. Crouch and Donaly E. Brice

Publication Year: 2011

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: Jack and Doris Smothers Series in Texas History, Life, and Culture

Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

Researching and writing The Governor's Hounds required much more than the efforts of these authors; bringing this book to fruition required the assistance and support of a tremendous number of individuals. After many years of research and writing, our work is complete. Unfortunately, the untimely death of Barry A. Crouch prevented him from enjoying the final production...

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pp. 1-5

Often described as "snakes, wolves, and other undesirable things," they were opposed from their 1870 inception by Democratic newspapers and much of the populace.1 The State Police have been maligned, excoriated, vilified, and discredited by almost everyone. Yet, no extended serious investigation of the agency or its members has ever been...

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1. Murder: An Inalienable State Right

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pp. 7-24

Violence has ever been associated with Texas. When it was controlled by Spain and Mexico, officials commented about the area's outrageousness. The causes for individual Texans' propensity toward brutality, especially after the arrival of immigrants from the United States until the twenty-first century, have often attracted the attention of writers. Texas...

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2. An "Untiring Enemy to All Evil-Doers": The Formation of the State Police

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pp. 25-50

In January 1870, the commander of the Fifth Military District, Major General Joseph J. Reynolds, acting for President Ulysses S. Grant, appointed the 1869-elected officials as a provisional government and ordered the legislators to meet in February. They ratified the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and chose Morgan C. Hamilton...

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3. "An Affair Only Equalled by the Exploits of the Comanches": The Hill County Imbroglio

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pp. 51-73

In March 1871, after having declared martial law in Hill County and disgusted at the lack of citizen action, Governor E. J. Davis related to the residents that if he had one object closer to his heart than any other, it was to "leave Texas at the end of my term of office a quiet and peaceable and law respecting State." He proposed to "devote to this purpose...

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4. "The Dark Recesses of Their Hearts": The State Police and Martial Law in Walker County

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pp. 74-92

In late 1870, almost concurrently with the troubles in Madison and Hill counties, along with the controversy over Captain Jack Helm, the murder of an elderly black man in Walker County forced Governor E. J. Davis to declare martial law in that county. A similar set of circumstances faced Davis in Hill and Walker counties as citizens rebelled...

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5. A Shamelessly Disloyal Community: The State Police and Limestone/Freestone Counties

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pp. 93-116

During E. J. Davis's administration the blackland prairie region of Texas caused him considerable difficulties. Along with the earlier confrontation in Hill County, Limestone/Freestone counties presented the governor with additional trouble. In 1871, an impending tumultuous congressional election forced Davis to appoint several Special...

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6. The Job Is Relentless: State Policemen in Action

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pp. 117-144

Between the establishment of the State Police in July 1870, the declarations of martial law in Hill, Walker, and Limestone/Freestone counties in 1871, and the demise of the organization in 1873, policemen performed a myriad of individual activities. Democratic newspapers constantly assailed them for "killing prisoners while attempting to...

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7. Lampasas: The Death of the State Police

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pp. 145-169

In the 1872 Texas election the Democrats solidified control of the Thirteenth Legislature and anticipated the termination of the State Police. The Democratic victory stimulated the belief that the state authorities were to be deprived of enforcing the laws and preserving the peace. The "desperate element has broken loose," decried...

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pp. 170-180

Addressing the opening of the Democratically controlled Thirteenth Legislature two months before the Lampasas massacre, Governor E. J. Davis knew his militia system and the State Police were about to be eliminated. One of his two major goals during his tenure had been to "restrain that lawlessness which always unfavorably distinguished our...


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pp. 181


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pp. 183-247

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Essay on Sources

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pp. 249-251

Until Carl H. Moneyhon's Texas After the Civil War: The Struggle of Reconstruction appeared in 2004, twenty-first-century Texas had no objective general history of Reconstruction. Numerous theses, dissertations, monographs, and books produced over the past three decades attempted to explain various facets of the postwar experience, but...

Appendix: Roster of the State Police

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pp. 253-298


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pp. 299-312

E-ISBN-13: 9780292735385
E-ISBN-10: 0292735383
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292726796
Print-ISBN-10: 0292726791

Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Jack and Doris Smothers Series in Texas History, Life, and Culture

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Law enforcement -- Texas -- History -- 19th century.
  • Texas State Police -- History.
  • Police, State -- Texas -- History -- 19th century.
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