Portraits of Texas Governors > War, Ruin, and Reconstruction - Part 1, 1861-1866 > War, Ruin, and Reconstruction - Part 2, 1866-1876 (this page)

Portraits of Texas Governors

War, Ruin, and Reconstruction - Part 2, 1866-1876

James W. Throckmorton

James W. Throckmorton

August 9, 1866 - August 8, 1867


Link - Sheridan to Throckmorton

Telegram from Phil Sheridan ordering Throckmorton to support the military authorities







Born: 1825 in Tennessee

Early Career: The son of a physician, James Throckmorton moved to Arkansas as a boy in 1836, then came to Collin County, Texas, in 1841 to help his family settle near present-day Melissa. He studied medicine in Kentucky with his uncle, then returned to Texas to serve as an army surgeon in the Mexican War. He received a medical discharge. Disliking the practice of medicine, he turned to law and politics. After five years each as a state representative and state senator, he was elected a delegate to the Secession Convention of 1861, where he was one of seven who voted against secession. Although a Unionist, he joined the Confederate Army when war came, and was eventually brigadier general in charge of troops guarding the Texas frontier, and confederate commissioner to the Indians. After serving as president of the Constitutional Convention of 1866, Throckmorton defeated E.M. Pease in the race for governor, taking office in August 1866.

Accomplishments: When presidential reconstruction gave way to congressional reconstruction in March 1867, Throckmorton and the U.S. military differed: he disagreed with their deployment of troops in the interior rather than on the frontier; and they accused him of failing to punish crimes against blacks and Unionists. In July General Philip Sheridan removed Throckmorton from the governorship as "an impediment to reconstruction." E.M. Pease was appointed in his place.

Later years: After fighting against radicalism in the early 1870s, Throckmorton was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1874-1888), where he argued among other things for government encouragement of and government regulation of railroads. He ran for governor twice more, in 1878 and 1890, before he died in McKinney on April 21, 1894.

Handbook of Texas article about Governor James W. Throckmorton

Link - Griffin to Throckmorton

Letter from Major General Charles Griffin, military commander of the Department of Texas


Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment

Nationwide cholera epidemic

Mar 11 1867 Congressional (military) Reconstruction begins

Gregor Mendel proposes genetic theory (laws of inheritance)

Mar 30 1867 US purchases Alaska

Summer 1867 Yellow fever epidemic sweeps Texas coast

First Horatio Alger novel

Publication of Negro spirituals, including "Michael Row the Boat Ashore"


Elisha M. Pease

Elisha M. Pease

August 8, 1867 - September 30, 1869



Link - Lindsay to Pease

Letter on the devastating yellow fever epidemic in La Grange


Pease had previously served two terms as governor, December 21, 1853 - December 21, 1857. As a Unionist, Pease spent 1858 through 1866 in semi-retirement from public life, refraining even from practicing law during the Civil War. After attending the Convention of Southern Loyalists at Philadelphia, Pease ran for governor in 1866 as the candidate of the Union Party, but lost to James Throckmorton.

When General Philip Sheridan removed Throckmorton, he appointed Pease as provisional governor. Sheridan's successor, General Winfield Scott Hancock did not provide the full military support Pease needed (since he ruled by order of Congress and the Army and against the will of the people) to impose a provisional government on Texas, with the result that civilian control waned. Pease urged the Constitutional Convention of 1868-1869 to accept radical reconstruction so that Texas could normalize relations with the Union as soon as possible.

Pease supported A.J. Hamilton in the gubernatorial race of 1869, but when General J.J. Reynolds interfered to secure the election of E.J. Davis, Pease resigned on September 30.

Later years: In 1870, Pease joined A.J. Hamilton and James Throckmorton in protesting the conduct of the Davis administration; in 1871 he helped lead a taxpayers' revolt; and in 1872 he helped gain amnesty for disenfranchised Democrats. Pease accepted a post as collector of the Port of Galveston in 1879. He died in Lampasas on August 26, 1883.

Handbook of Texas article about Governor Elisha M. Pease

Link - Campbell to Pease

Letter from Donald Campbell on the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in Jefferson


Karl Marx publishes Das Kapital

Grange farmer's movement begins

1868 Large-scale irrigation begins when canals are built near Del Rio

Opening of Suez Canal

Feb-May 1868 Impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson

First attempts to organize by African Americans and women

Trans-continental railroad completed

Indian Wars in American West

Mendeleyev draws up table of elements

Alcott's Little Women

Knights of Labor founded

Financial swindles plague Grant administration

Nov 30 1869 Texas voters approve new constitution


Edmund J. Davis

Edmund J. Davis

January 8, 1870 - January 15, 1874



Link - Letter from skull showman

Letter from traveling showman wanting the skulls of Satana and Big Tree


Born: October 2, 1827 in Florida

Early Career: Davis moved moved to Texas with his family in 1848, settling in Galveston. After reading law in Corpus Christi, he served as customs inspector in Laredo (1850-1853), then district attorney (1853-1856) and district judge (1856-1861) at Brownsville. An anti- secessionist, he was defeated in a race for the Secession Convention of 1861. In 1862, Davis left the state to avoid conscription in the Confederate Army and organized a Union cavalry regiment. He was honorably discharged as a brigadier general when the Civil War ended. As a radical Republican, Davis took part in the Constitutional Conventions of 1866 and 1868-1869.

The 1869 gubernatorial election was one of the most turbulent and controversial in Texas history. Favoritism by the military for candidate Davis over A.J. Hamilton caused Governor E.M. Pease to resign September 30. General J.J. Reynolds ordered the drawing up of a new voter registration list, eliminating many of those who had qualified in 1867. Troops stationed at the polls probably prevented many Democrats from voting: only about half of the registered white voters actually cast a ballot, and many polling places were either not opened, or ordered closed. Irregularities were reported but never investigated, and official returns reported that Davis won by slightly more than 800 votes.

Accomplishments: Appointed provisional governor on January 8, 1870 (about five weeks after the election and before the official outcome had been confirmed), Davis began a four-year term and was inaugurated on April 28, 1870. After the state legislature ratified the 14th and 15th Amendments, the civilian rule of the state officially replaced the military rule on March 30, 1870.

The Constitution of 1869 had given the governor power to appoint more than 9,000 offices, impinging on the independence of local government and the will of the people. A taxpayers' convention met in September 1871, chaired by E.M. Pease, to protest high taxes, needless expenditures, and the legislature's cancellation of that year's regular elections. A special election was held in October, with Democratic victories for seats to the U.S. Congress. Democrats won a majority in the state legislature the next year, despite the presence of the state police at polling places.

The legislature nearly impeached Governor Davis in 1873. The Texas Supreme Court in Ex Parte Rodriguez (the "semi-colon case" of December 1873) invalidated the election of 1873 in which Richard Coke had defeated Davis. Texans ignored this decision, and President U.S. Grant refused to intervene on Davis' behalf. Davis did not intend to leave office until April 1874, but he did so reluctantly in January, officially marking the end of Reconstruction in Texas.

Later years: Davis was defeated in the 1880 gubernatorial race, and again in the 1882 congressional race. He died in Austin on February 7, 1883.

Handbook of Texas article about Governor Edmund J. Davis

View Photo of Governor Edmund J. Davis

Link - Letter on freedmen land

Letter on the fight of some freedmen to keep land in Comanche County


Standard Oil incorporated

First African Americans in Texas Legislature

Ku Klux Klan terrorism throughout the South

Harte's The Luck of Roaring Camp

Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Mar 30 1870 Texas readmitted to the Union

Asphalt invented

A&P becomes first grocery store chain

May 1871 7 men massacred at Salt Creek by Kiowas and Comanches, sparking outrage on the Texas frontier

Great Chicago Fire

Impressionist art movement

Barnum produces his first "Greatest Show on Earth"

Oct 1872 Construction begins on Texas & Pacific Railway between Longview and Dallas

Montgomery Ward's opens for business

The "cowboy" becomes the popular image of Texas throughout the country

1873 "Buffalo Soldiers" first posted in Texas

1873 Houston and Texas Central Railway reaches the Red River and connects Texas to St. Louis and the East

Grasshopper plagues on the prairies

Panic of 1873 begins five-year economic depression

Barbed wire invented

Slaughter of the great buffalo herds

First commercial typewriter designed

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Page last modified: June 29, 2022