Whatlington Manuscript

Going Back

As a consequence of the rapid growth of the little town of New Boston, and its better advantages as a trade center, the business men of the old town, what few yet remained, were, very naturally much perplexed because of its great loss of trade, nearly all of it now going to New Boston, and to make "confusion worse confounded" the Gate City, now commenced the agitation of an election to remove the Court House to the latter city. Perhaps in all the annals of Bowie County, no event had hitherto, so stirred the minds and passions of the opponents of this proposed removal. The election was ordered, the line closely drawn, the East vs. West - enders, "Squirrel tails", as they were termed. The East End won, best "counters" and "outfiggered" the Squirrel tails, so clamed the latter.

Joe Marx, a citizen and wealthy banker of Texarkana, was a consistent, and indefatigable booster for his home town. On one of his visits to the Court House, he was vainly attempting to induce Judge Hubbard, who was then County Judge, to move to Texarkanaa, and among his many other inducements, offered the Judge a present of two residential lots, "close in", he said, and worth about $2000.00, if Judge Hubbard would go to Texarkana.

The Judge was grateful for his kind offer of two lots, and told him so, and determined not to be outdone in liberality, offered Joe if he would move to Old Boston, "close in" ten acres of his best land. The Judge's best land would perhaps sprout peas, if well soaked in sweet milk, and was worth about 50 cents per acre.

The court was moved to Texarkana where it remained for more than five years, during which time, the county records and building were entirely consumed by fire, whether of incendiary origin was never fully established.

The time having now elapsed when another election could be held, an to more effectively guarantee the permanency of its location, and thus put an end, once for all, to these interminable elections and the strife and biter feelings, thereby engendered, so argued and the proponents of the measure, it was decided to locate the "Geographic Center" of the county and, with votes enough, to place the courthouse on the spot designated.

The Centre was obtained from the General Land Office, at Austin, and Stephen M. Knight, then Bowie County Surveyor, located he exact spot, the geographical center of Bowie County - and the election was ordered. If, peradventure, the election should decide in favor of the Centre, the court house would remain there till "doomsday", so claimed its advocates, and not without reason, for to remove it from this central point would require two-thirds majority of the votes cast. This was fully understood, and doubtless, a more determined people never before assembled at their respective voting places than on this particular election day.

To the almost solid vote of the "west end" was added a sufficient number cast in Precinct 1 for the "Centre", to compose a majority, and it was declared the winner.

Thirty years have come and gone since that eventful election day. Will the Temple of Justice remain status quo till "doomsday"?

"The Best laid schemes of mice and men, gang aft aglee."

The Commissioners court was then composed of:

W. W. Dillard, County Judge

C. H. Moores, Commissioner Precinct No. 1

T. C. Morris, Commissioner Precinct No. 2

T. A. Teel, Commissioner Precinct No. 3

B. T. Welsh, Commissioner Precinct No. 4

A Court House and Jail were to be erected at once, and the many thousands of dollars, approximately $1000,000.00, before the work was finally completed, was to be handled and paid out, and it was fortunate for the tax payers of the County, that the disbursement of these funds was entrusted to a body of men feeling so deeply their responsibility as those comprising this Commissioners' Court.

I was then the Deputy District Court Clerk, and often attended the sessions of this Court, and I well remember how keenly the burden of responsibility thus imposed, and realized by each and every member, and that long months of arduous labor was faithfully and honestly performed, was evidenced by the fact that no word of censure or whisper of graft or corruption was ever heard in connection with this court.

Judge Dillard and T. C. Morris are the only members of that Commissioners Court yet living.

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