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St. Louis. 


. -^iDEDlCATEDi^s- 


United Confederate Veterans 



Brig. -Gen. Comdg. S. Div. Arkansas U. C. V. 


CoPYRionT : 


In less than a decade after the surrender of Lee the Southern States, one after another, 
threw off the governments erected under the military bills of Congress. They re-established 
governments in accordance with ancient usages, inherited from the colonies, and the rules of 
home government reserved to them in the Constitution of the United States. The re-awakening 
was irresistable and phenomenal. By these sketches I have attempted to trace the aetiology of 
this material and moral palingenesis in Arkansas. 

I have spent my youth in Arkansas, and I watched with deepest interest the succcessive 
stages of its disenthralment. In the early days of its settlement chance assemblages of adven- 
turers from the older States, at the river towns on the Mississippi, committed lawless deeds on 
its border that gave it a reputation which did not apply to the interior. The caricaturist of the 
Eastern press selected it as the scene of droll characters and incidents — the creatures of his im- 
agination — and found a never-failing source of merriment in the tales of the "Arkansas-Traveler." 
Young off-shoots from a civilization which had grown too exacting, perhaps, coming to the State 
and yielding a credulous faith in the reality of these burlesques repeated them, and fancied that 
they thus enhanced their own accomplishments, not fully appreciated at home. It got to be 
called the " Home of the bowie-knife and refuge of the cut-throat." The "gentle" "Autocrat of 
the Breakfast Table " approves the bowie-knife — pronounces it the " Roman gladius, modified 
to meet the daily wants of civil society." 

Others, who never visited the State, or the South even, applied their caricatures to the 
Southern States generally. The gifted Bret Harte, accomplished by the amenities of" Roaring 
Camp," and learned in the magic of " Ah Sin," has lately attempted to borrow them for use in 
distant Scotland. His etchings of M'liss and Yuba Bill are far below the art of Cable's 
"Les Demoiselles' Plantation " or Miss Murfree's "Drifting Down Lost Creek." His lam- 
poon of "Elsie Kirby," whose "Maw" has invested twenty thousand dollars in a "syndicate" 
for obtaining by her daughter's marriage a share in the title and estate of a Scottish " laird," 
contains none of Nature's touches, and is a new role for a Southern girl. On her first meeting 
with the American Consul (a former claim-jumper from Scott's Camp, on North Fork), the 
author makes this feminine type of American thrift and modesty say : 

" It was m.ighty good of you to come and see me, for the fact is, I'm a Southern girl, and 

did not admire going to your consulate — not one bit. I never was 'reconstructed,' either. I 

don't hanker after your gov'ment. I reckon I ain't been under the flag since the wah. I'll 

just run up and see if Maw's coming down. She'd admire to see you. You would n't think 

I was half engaged to Malcolm, would you?" 



iv Preface. 

Mr. Rudyard Kipling says he heard some conversation like this between real, living belles 
in San Francisco. He talked also with a girl who was not Southern, on the heights of the 
Yellowstone upon their first chance meeting — a full cousin to " Daisy Miller " — whose mothers 
were sisters. He paints his English portrait of these American girls as faithfully as Harte 
"bites in" his Scottish fancy. But Harte is confused with recollections of Nob Hill and 
studies of Poker Flat. 

W. D. Howells, essaying to quit the commonplace, attempts the blood-curdling romance 
of the loves of a naval officer and lovely mulatto girl. The learned lover tells her that South- 
erners hate "her race" because they "had injured it." He never heard of the "horrors of the 
middle passage," when her ancestors were brought by ships not Southern, naked cannibals, 
saved from being eaten, as captives, to our coasts, where they were disciplined to a degree of 
" culture " which Howells and some Bostonians regard superior to their own. 

Let us leave it to foreigners and expatriated Americans to hold Americans up to ridicule 
abroad, while we recognize their worth at home — in the cabinet, on the bench and in the 
pulpit. The " necessities of war " invited foreigners to aid in putting down the South. There 
is now no demand for a similar alliance to write us down. Or, is there ? 

Several years before the war I traveled nearly all over the State on horseback, alone and with- 
out a weapon. Its peace, plenty and hospitality were idyllic. I found everywhere men of culture, 
among them lawyers, soldiers, poets, orators, whose renown was not confined to the State, nor 
that ot some to the United States ;* gentle, lovely women, whose lives of purity and refinement 
were as impressive as they were genuine, inherent. The cut-throats were imaginary until 1868. 

The papers, addresses, editorials, proclamations, military orders of " old citizens," repub- 
lished in these pages, bear witness to the enterprise, ability and culture of the thinkers and 
workers who took part in the deliverance of the State from the grasp of the spoilsmen. Brooks 
men and Baxter men were animated by the same purpose. They afford abundant proof that 
our great State, with its fertile river valleys and grandly picturesque mountains and prairies, 
is not the habitation of ignorance, rusticity and crime. 

To vindicate the honor of our oppressed people who, after years of patience, felt that longer 
endurance was reproachful, and rose up in their strength, as grand and irresistible as they were 
liberty-loving and patriotic, these pages were written. 

The opportunity of publishing them came about this way: Capt. Cutter, editor and pro- 
prietor of his handsomely executed Illustrated Journal, asked me to contribute to its pages. 
Mr. E. S. Brooks, editor D. Lathrop Publishing Company, at the suggestion of Mr. Geo. Russ. 
Brown of the Gazette, had applied to me to write the " Story of Arkansas." I preferred to 
write these sketches of the " Period of Reconstruction." 

Preface, v 

I began it from materials which had been gathered for me by a friend to whom I have given 
the name of "Darley Raynor." I finished it, after exhausting many sources of information. 
The authority for the facts contained in the work accompanies them, connected, I think, by a 
sufficiently perceptible thread. They are reprinted from authentic reports of the press and 
sworn testimony of the actors. 

I would not have these papers to be considered a book of politics. They are but the pub- 
lished records of dark experiences, which point an impressive moral for the whole American 
people. Mistaken solicitude for the blacks (certainly originating in a kind and noble impulse) 
prompted the measures that excited unnecessary antagonisms between them and the whites, with 
whom they were indissolubly joined by interest and contact; that violated democratic usage, in 
erecting vice-regal directories for "Cn^vc protection (?) instead of State governments "republican 
in form." 

Many acts suggested by the kindest motives are hurtful to the cause of humanity. Under 
the circumstances by which he may be surrounded, the race of man must improve each exigency 
for his advantage, whether it demands peace or war. The contest is unending. The preser- 
vation of the " fit," which is to be desired, is only another conception of destruction or absorp- 
tion of the "unfit," hardly less to be desired. 

The Malthusian metaphor serves a feast for a limited number of guests at Nature's table. 
The question is, who is to be favored with a seat? No principle purely of morals will govern 
the situation. The office of morality in the struggle, is to humanize it, and alleviate its bitter- 
ness to those who are rejected. 

The preceding paragraph is the general sense of an article of Leslie Stephen, in the London 
Contemporary, which arrives at the following conclusion : " We give inferior races a chance of 
taking whatever place they are 'fit' for, and try to supplant them with the least possible 
severity, if they are 'unfit* for any place." He had the Maoris, Bushmen, Africans, on their 
own soil, in view, while writing ; perhaps never heard of our " Fifteenth Amendment." 

If Mr. Lincoln's design, and the American policy of conciliation, mutual trust and confidence 
between officers and people had been observed, the State might have been made republican. 
The military governments contained the elements of their own destruction. This is the lesson 
taught in these faithful chronicles. J. M. H. 

*Capt. Bonneville, Irving's Scenes in the Far West ; Albert Pike, Hymns to the Gods, Blackwood's 
Edinburgh Magazine; A. H. Sevier, Minister to Mexico; Solon Borland, Minister to Nicaragua: A. H. 
Garland, United States Attorney General ; Edward Fitzgerald, Delegate to Ecumenical Council, Rome 
H. C. Lay, Member Pan-Anglican Conference, Lambeth. 


By way of palliating criticism of what may be considered a spirit of resentment running 
through these sketches of character and chronicles of actual occurrences, a true description of 
which must seem harsh, I will present, as an introduction, from the article of statistical illustra- 
tion recently furnished the Boston Arena by Joshua W. Caldwell, a few short passages. Nothing 
could be less polemical than the spirit in which this writer treats of the relations of those who, 
under seemingly conflicting but really identical impluses, united to establish the American 

Mr. Caldwell commences his article, to show that " The South is American," with the asser- 
tion that a great deal has been said and written by Southern men of the need for a history of the 
South. The admirers of the late Henry Grady were fond of predicting, before his death, that 
to his brilliant genius the South would become indebted for a history which would fully "vin- 
dicate" her. It is respectfully submitted that the South does not need vindication, and that in 
any event she must rely entirely upon the facts. We need not expect, and do not desire, any 
vindication except the truth. 

Now is the time to gather the material, to preserve it, for the hand of the historian, who 
shall extract from it the truth; but not until generations shall have passed, and feeling and 
prejudice shall have ceased to obscure and distort truth and judgment. We may rely upon it> 
the truth will finally be told, and the world will know it. 

As Virginia had been the richest and most influential of the Southern colonies, she became 
the controlling Southern State. There was no time prior to 1861 when she was not the fore- 
most and most influential Southern State. The younger Southern States are very largely of 
Virginia origin. It is correct, both geographically and politically speaking, to call the four 
Southern colonies the "Virginia group." Socially, politically and religiously, the Southern 
colonies were of the same type ; and it was mainly, almost exclusively, Virginia and Virginians 
that shaped their institutions and determined the character and quality of their civilization. This 
civilization was essentially Anglo-Saxon. 

But while the American colonists, more especially the Southern ones, were men of the 
Anglo-Saxon race, and had the Anglo-Saxon civilization, they were at the time of the Revolu- 
tion not Englishmen, but Americans. No writer has more satisfactorily presented this truth 
than Theodore Roosevelt. It is true that Georgia had not long been settled, but in most of the 
other colonies the white race had lived for more than two centuries. In Virginia they had dwelt 
for more than two hundred and fifty years. The Anglo-Saxon supremacy in the South has never 
been overcome. So far as other white races are concerned, it has never been threatened. The 
white population has always been American and homogeneous. 

The third decade of this century witnessed the setting in of that mighty tide of immigration 


Introduction. vii 

which has " known no retiring ebb." The South has had almost no immigration. In some 
parts of the West we know that foreigners possess the land, and do with it as they please. But 
statistics are more convincing than general statements. According to the census of 1890, there 
were for every 100,000 native born Americans 17,330 foreign born. In New York for every 
100,000 natives there are 35,000 foreign born ; in Illinois, 28,200; in Michigan, 35,000; in Wis- 
consin, 44,000; in Minnesota, 56,000; in Montana, 48,000; in North Dakota, 80,000 — for every 
100,000 natives. 

Massachusetts alone has a foreign population of 657,000 ; New Jersey, 329,000, or nearly 
as many as the whole South ; New York, i,6oo,oco, four times as many as the South ; Pennsyl- 
vania, 845,000; Ohio, 459,000; Illinois, 842,000; Michigan and Wisconsin, each over 500,000; 
Minnesota, nearly the same ; and California, 366,000. 

But these figures do not indicate the real importance and influence of the foreign-born 
population. It is the percentage of those of voting age, which in New York is 38.73; Illinois, 
36.39; Michigan, ifi.zz; Wisconsin, 52.93; Minnesota, 58.55; North Dakota, 64.89; Nevada, 
51.41 ; California, 50.22. 

These are foreign countries, and it is a positive relief to turn to the South and feel that there 
are still some Americans left. The percentage of foreign-born voters in some of the Southern 
States is as follows: Tennessee, 3 per cent.; Kentucky, 7; Alabama, 2'/^; Mississippi, 2; 
Louisiana, 10; Texas, 14; Arkansas, 3; Virginia, 3; West Virginia, 5; North Carolina, 0.61; 
South Carolina, 2; Georgia, 2; Florida, 11. 

The white people of the South are not only American — they are in the main the descendants 
of a race which from the days of Tacitus has been known in the world's historj' as the exemplar 
and champion of personal purity and political liberty. For them no life but one of freedom is 

The strongest, most concentrated force of Americanism is in the South. Americanism is 
the highest form of Anglo-Saxon civilization. There is no part of the globe, except the King- 
dom of England, which is so thoroughly Anglo-Saxon as the South. 

But it will be said, nevertheless, a war was necessary to keep her in the Union. To this 
matter I am compelled to refer very briefly. The excellence of the American Union is in the 
principles on which it is established — that is to say, in the Constitution. Surely, no man will 
say that it is more important to preserve the physical integrity of the Union than the prin- 
ciples of the Constitution. 

We claim for the South, in the war between the States, absolute good faith. Whether she 
was right or wrong, the impartial judgment of the future will fully determine. The South, I 
affirm, has been from the first, absolutely faithful to the principles of the Constitution, as she in 
good faith construed it. It is correctly said that the Constitution was adopted and promulgated 

viii Introduction. 

by a convention in which Southern influences predominated. The heading of one of Bancroft's 
chapters is " Virginia Statesmen Lead Towards a Better Union." 

Virginia did lead the movement for the establishment of the Constitution. The reader 
who wishes to know the extent of the influence of George Washington, of Virginia, in this 
movement is referred to the pages of John Fiske, of New England. Rutledge and Pinkney, of 
South Carolina, were the most important contributors to the form, as well as to the substance, 
of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights is mainly the work of Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia. 

During the first century of our national life Southern statesmen held the Presidency and 
shaped the policy of the Government. They acquired Florida and Louisiana, including the 
Mississippi River and the vast area of the Northwest, and extended the public domain to the 
Rio Grande and Pacific Ocean. 

The Constitution was first construed by John Marshall, of Virginia. \Mien the Southern 
Confederacy was formed, it adopted as its organic law the old Constitution, unchanged in any 
essential respect. There is no fact, nor logic, which can prove that the South ever deviated from 
her fealty to the Constitution, or ever shed a drop of blood except in defense of its principles, 
as it was ever construed by the South. 

The war construed the Constitution differently. The South has, in good faith, unreservedly 
accepted every legitimate result of the war. No man, who is honest and who is adequately in- 
formed, will say that her people are not absolutely loyal to the Union and the Constitution. I 
go further and affirm, that in the troubles which the future is sure to bring, the principles and 
the institutions of American liberty will find their most loyal and steadfast support in the twelve 
millions of Southern Anglo-Saxon Americans. 

The election of Mr. Lincoln was not the cause, but only the signal, for organization by 
the Southern States of an independent confederacy. He could not have "coerced" the nineteen 
Northern States, which had passed the "personal liberty bills," into observance of the Consti- 
tution. They appealed to "higher law." They had furnished, under Presidents not in sym- 
pathy with them, John Brown, Owen Lovejoy and the slayers in the Batcheldor riot in Boston. 
Their emissaries would have disturbed the repose of the South in every quarter — Federal sol- 
diers would have garrisoned Southern towns — an outcry would have arisen to make slavery and 
the name "Southerner" execrated, for all time, in every land. 

It was according to the plan of that "higher law" that Southerners anticipated the exigency, 
and met it in manly line of battle. Thus they unified the South, and demonstrated a courage 
that won universal sympathy. Thus they saved for their invaders, as well as for themselves, the 
principles of constitutional liberty — which ivas "the cause" — that is not lost. 



A. History of ttie Reconstruction Period 
of Arkansas. 

The war, you know's all done and ended, 

And aint changed no p'ints o' the compass; 
And whites and blacks — ther helth's jes splendid 
As 'fore the rumpus. 
— James Whitcomb Riley, paraphrased. 

Note by the Editor. — The manuscript of the 
following circumstantial narrative of the be- 
ginning and course of the long struggle that 
culminated in the violent collision of political 
factions, in the State of Arkansas, called " The 
Brooks and Baxter War," was found with the 
effects of Mr. Darley Raynor — a young man 
who had been reared in Little Rock and was 
sent East to be educated, where he showed 
some promise, but was compelled to abandon 
his studies by the breaking out of the civil 
war and return home. There he remained 
until his death, which was a tragic one, soon 
after the Brooks and Baxter conflict. He had 
accepted the duty of occupying and taking 
charge of a vacant dwelling in a picturesque 
retreat near Little Rock, and was found life- 
less in his room on the ground floor, at the 
feet of his chair, after he had been dead seve- 
eral days 

The crashed panes of glass, the hole of a 
rifle-ball in his skull, and the position of his 
remains, were conclusive evidences of his sud- 
den and violent death. Poor Darley ! He 
was not known to have an enemy in the world ; 
he was proverbial for his amiability and his 
reticence ; he was happiest when alone with 
his books and papers, for he was forever en- 
gaged in writing mysterious manuscripts, 

which he kept carefully locked from all be- 
holders ; he was never known to visit any 
friends but his family in the city. His mur- 
der was a most inexplicable deed, until invest- 
igation led to the conclusion that it was 
brought about by his kind acts and sympa- 
thies alone. There lived near him a man who 
had a modest, patient, and beautiful wife. 
The husband was impracticable, and failed to 
properly provide the necessaries of life ; while 
the unfortunate wife endeavored to eke out a 
famishing livelihood by all kinds of labor. 
Young Raynor sometimes visited the wretch- 
ed hut where she toiled, but was never known 
to enter it. Upon some of these visits he left 
presents of articles of food or apparel, which 
the wife did not think to conceal, but on the 
contrary spoke of them freely, and referred to 
the matter in such complimentary terms as to 
arouse the demon of jealousy in the heart of 
the husband. Knowledge of these circum- 
stances led to the husband's arrest ; but on 
investigation he was pronounced unmistaka- 
bly insane. 

The manuscripts found in young Raynor's 
trunk fell to me. Among them were these 
memoranda of the Brooks and Baxter War. 
They consisted of several packages fastened 
together and labeled, as are the transcripts of 
court papers, and were numbered " Paper 
First — B. & B. War ; " " Paper Second," etc. 
Each paper I found to be a stage of distinct 
occurrences of the history. It was evidently 
the literary work of a student, preserved for 

The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

his own inspection and remembrance. It 
gives many facts connected with an important 
era in the history of the State, and I feel it my 
duty to give them to the public for what they 
are worth. I think they have decided value. 


I felt very sorry for the people 
whom I had known in their afflu- 
ence in my State of Arkansas, but 
who had taken sides with the Con- 
federacy, and gone into the army or 
exile, and came home poor and 
dispirited after ' the surrender ' in 
1865. It was but the State of my 
adoption, it is true, as I was born 
in Newburyport, Massachusetts ; 
but I had been reared from infan- 
cy in little Rock, the capital city 
of Arkansas, and felt for it, alone, 
that mysterious tie which seems to 
bind all men to the haunts and 
associations of infancy and youth. 

The tumble-down vehicles and 
jaded teams, the old-fashioned ar- 
ticles of dress of the citizens, and 
bearded, scarred or emaciated fig- 
ures of the soldiers, as they came 
into the city, presented an odd mix- 
ture of the ludicrous and the piti- 
able. However, they were greet- 
ed with forbearance by the sol- 
diers and officers of the victorious 
army in occupation, and kindness 
and respect by the citizens who 
had remained behind. The civil 
officials, however, by indictments 
against the most prominent, which 
were dismissed with costs, and 
claims against their property un- 
der void tax sales, caused them 
some annoyance; but for this, it 

seems, they were prepared, and 
bore it with fortitude, and a spirit 
of resignation which was doubt- 
less sustained by the pleasure of 
being once more at * home,' and 
realizing that the war was at an 

I had not taken part in the war. 
I was too young when it began, 
and ere it ended, I was convinced 
of its hopelessness to the Confed- 
erates, with whom I sympathized 
with all my heart. I was persuad- 
ed of the injustice and blight of 
slavery, but I could not imagine 
any place in our government for 
the black people when they should 
be made free, since I believed 
them incapable of exercising the 
duties and rights of freemen. I 
derived my impression on the sub- 
ject probably from my mother, 
and her husband, my step-father, 
who were New Englanders, but 
who after a long residence in Lit- 
tle Rock in contact with them 
frequently spoke of the negroes 
as fit only for Africa, — would not 
have one about their house. A 
Yankee housewife could not 'en- 
dure ' a colored servant. But now 
the war had freed them, and they 
were numerically stronger than 
the whites in Pulaski County. 
Months went on without any 
marked evidences of the great 
change that had been wrought. 
The negro servants were tractable 
as ever, and without words or con- 
duct, except in particular instan- 
ces indicating undue exaltation. 

of the Reconstruction Period iti Arkansas. 

went their ways in much the same 
manner as when they were slaves. 
In fact they, as well as the whites, 
seemed dazed, in view of the al- 
tered situation, so unexpected to 
every one. There were soldiers 
about in great numbers, it is true, 
and quite an army still remained 
at Little Rock, the presence of 
which may have prevented friction 
in the transformation that had ta- 
ken place within a few short 

So profound seemed the peace- 
fulness of this feeling, and so 
bright was deemed the promise of 
the little city as a future railroad 
center, and mart of commerce, 
though then containing hardly 
three thousand inhabitants, that 
many of the officers and soldiers 
of the Union Army stationed there 
decided to become residents and 
take their chances with the future 
of the city and the State. Col. H. 
C. Caldwell, a lawyer of ability 
from Iowa, was appointed by Pres- 
ident Lincoln U. S. Judge of the 
Eastern District of Arkansas, vice 
Daniel Ringo, disqualified by 
sympathy and participation with 
the Southern revolt. Robert A. 
Howard, who had served on the 
staff of Genl. Steele and been U. 
S. Attorney of Nebraska ; Capt. L. 
B. Nash, and Maj. White lately pro- 
vost marshals of the post; Maj. 
Willshire, a nephew of Gen. John 
A. Logan ; Capt. J. G. Bottsford, 
George H. Meade, Col. W. S. 
Oliver and M. W. Benjamin, who 

were all prominent actors subse- 
quently in the events of the Brooks 
and Baxter War, took up their 
residence and entered into busi- 
ness there. I might mention O. 
S. Dillon, the fat man and humor- 
ist, and A. G. Cunningham, the 
fireman, also. 

The old citizens had sustained 
great financial losses, and almost 
every family had been bereaved 
by the casualties of war, yet they 
acted as ifrealizing that these were 
the legitimate or necessary conse- 
quences of the great wager that 
had been fought, and that acqui- 
escence in its loss was inevitable 
and honorable. The military rule 
under that chivalrous and brave 
officer. Gen. Steele, had greatly 
propitiated the feelings of the 
conquered people, and the cour- 
teous bearing of his officers, and 
the orderly conduct of the soldiers 
under him had encouraged a cor- 
diality in the association which 
was not seen at many places in the 
South. The examples of mag- 
nanimity set by the commanding 
officers in accepting the surrender 
of the Southern armies, served to 
allay mutual resentments, and en- 
couraged hopes of a permanent 

True, for several months after 
the surrender, some of the best 
dwellings continued to be occu- 
pied as residences or 'quarters* 
by the military, who had found 
them vacated by their owners upon 
the ' occupation ' of the city. The 

The Brooks atid Baxter War: a History 

residence of Gen. William E. Ash- 
ley, with servants, houses and sta- 
bles, was chosen from the first as 
'headquarters' of the general 
commanding, and continued to be 
so occupied for many months after 
peace was established. There was 
never a more generous or amiable 
gentleman than William E. Ash- 
ley. His father was an able law- 
yer and represented the State a 
long time as U. S. Senator. He 
left his sons a large estate which 
he never dreamed would be in a 
great measure destroyed by his 
own countrymen. They, the sons, 
and their families, which included 
Mrs. Ashley and Miss Fannie, the 
gentlest and loveliest of ladies, 
found a contented home, mean- 
while, elsewhere. The fine resi- 
dence of Capt. Morton, with its 
service, linen, and wares, was sim- 
ilarly ' occupied,' and the family 
found a home with relatives. It 
was singular that the heads of 
both these families were originally 

Citizens were glad to find repose 
after years of ravage and alarm ; 
combatants on both sides quite 
willing to bid 'farewell to the 
neighing steed and shrill trump ' 
of war. 

Entertainments were given to 
the officers of both armies by citi- 
zens who had suffered least misfor- 
tune from this conflict. The post 
band serenaded Gen. N. Bedford 
Forest, who happened in the city 
on business, and the Confederate 

military band of General Price's 
command, the members of which 
had made their way to the city, 
serenaded Generals Sherman and 
Reynolds — the latter command- 
ing the department — with ' March- 
ing through Georgia,' and ' My 

The conflict of the armies had 
indeed ended. But the interval 
of repose was short, for the war 
of the politicians had just be- 
gun. The plans of the latter 
were promptly laid immediately 
upon the entry of the State 
capital by the army under Gen. 
Steele, on the lOth of September, 
1863. Being afforded the protec- 
tion of the Union arms, they gath- 
ered into Little Rock, citizens of 
the State, mostly original Union 
men, with some deserters from the 
Southern cause, and set about the 
formation of a State Government 
which should be ' loyal ' to the 
Union, and replace that which had 
been constructed under the aus- 
pices of secession upon the con- 
stitution of 1 86 1. The plan was 
at first whispered, and received 
anything but encouragement from 
the military. In fact the projec- 
tors were contemplated with a 
coldness by the victorious and 
pampered sons of Mars, under 
whose aegis they had ventured to 
follow in, with a coldness that 
would have deterred men less 
zealous. But the tendency of 
events, foreshadowing the inevita- 
ble defeat of the Confederate 

of tlie Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 

cause, encouraged, and finally 
sanctioned their purposes. Mr. 
Lincoln, the President, was con- 
sulted, and favored them with a 

Appearances are deceitful. Un- 
der the faded or dirty military 

developed. Chosen mostly from 
military organizations of State 
' troops,' elected in the camps in 
many instances, in almost every 
case, I may say, many miles away 
from the counties they represent- 
ed, delegates were now assembled 



clothing in which a majority of 
these patriots were disguised, the 
mottled beards and sombre physi- 
ognomies which most of them 
wore, the beholder could not easi- 
ly discern the high qualities of 
statecraft which they subsequently 

in the vacant State house to or- 
ganize a convention for the adop- 
tion of a State Constitution. The 
situation was not favorable to 
protracted legislation. A consti- 
tution was quickly framed, which 
provided for an early meeting of 


The Brooks a7id Baxter War: a History 

a General Assembly — April nth, 

The changes produced had been 
very great, beyond the expecta- 
tions of men. Those that were to 
followwere equally unforeseen. It 
had not yet been intimated that 
suffrage would be conferred upon 
the freedmen. " Where was it 
ever known," said William Lloyd 
Garrison, in reply to some one 
who objected that this would be 
the result of emancipation, and 
while Mr. Lincoln hesitated to go 
that far even, — " where was it ever 
known that liberation from bond- 
age was accompanied by a recog- 
nition of political equality ? Chat- 
tels personal may be instantly 
translated from the auction block 
into freemen; but when were they 
ever taken at the same time to the 
ballot-box, and invested with all 
political rights and immunities ? 
According to the laws of develop- 
ment and progress it is not prac- 
ticable." So thought the prophet 
of abolition. But he had not 
looked next door. Wilberforce 
before him had intended merely to 
consecrate the "soil of England to 
freedom," the quasi-freedom only 
of a British 'subject.' In the En- 
glish slave colonies, the chattel 
translated from the block into a 
freeman, was very soon taken to 
the ballot-box. New Englanders 
were ever Anglo-maniacs. It was 
not reasonable that we would stop 
short of the example of the 
'Mother Country.' The New 

Englander was not likely to over- 
look the elements of supremacy. 
It was the element of pozver in the 
negro that first made him an ob- 
ject of interest. He was behind 
an agricultural system the most 
powerful to wage war with mer- 
cantile and manufacturing thrift. 
Three-fifths of him were repre- 
sented in the Congress and the 
electoral vote for President. Mr. 
President Johnson was plainly co- 
quetting for the support of this 
power. His rivals had not yet be- 
come alarmed. There were some 
indications of an appreciation of 
this hidden resource in the open- 
air meetings that were held of 
freedmen in Little Rock, at which 
Judge Liberty Bartlett presided, 
and Mr. Charles Farrelly was one 
of the speakers. Judge Bartlett 
had made soap at Camden, in the 
State, for the Confederate army, 
which accommodated itself as 
usual to the unprecedented scar- 
city. He was elected Judge of the 
Little Rock Circuit under the new 
Constitution. Mr. Farrelly had 
enlisted as a volunteer in the Con- 
federate State milita, but declined 
to enter the Confederate regular 

The new Constitution had re- 
frained from taking the translated 
chattel immediately to the ballot- 
box. It confined its superior 
privileges to ' free white men.' 
Section 21 of its bill of rights pro- 
vided : 

" That the free white men of this State shall 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkaiisas. 

have a right to keep and bear arms for their 
common defense." 

The second section of its fourth 
article, regulating the qualifica- 
tions of electors, declared : 

" Every free white male citizen of the United 
States who shall have attained the age of 21 
years, and who shall have been a citizen of the 
State six months next preceding the election, 
shall be deemed qualified to vote in the county 
or district where he actually resides ; or in 
case of volunteer soldiers, within their several 
military departments or districts, for each and 
every office made elective under the State or 
under the United States laws." 

It provided for the election of a 
Governor and Secretary of State, 
for a term of four years, and an 
Auditor and Treasurer, for a term 
of two years. An ordinance of 
the convention authorized a Pro- 
visional State Government, and a 
Provisional Governor, Lieutenant- 
Governor, and Secretary of State, 
to be elected by the convention, 
and continue in office until their 
successors were elected by the 

None of the ordinances or pro- 
ceedings of the convention seem 
to betray the touch of Mr. Wm. 
M. Fishback, whose official apart- 
ments as officer of the Treasury 
Department were in the old Beebe 
residence, opposite the State- 
house. Mr. Fishback had been a 
delegate to the convention of i86i; 
had voted for the ordinance of se- 
cession, against his convictions, 
and he took an early opportunity 
to renounce his short-lived adher- 

ence to the cause of the Confed- 
eracy. He was a lawyer and a 
man of ability and attainments. 
But it is said that the motto of 
audax et fides would not be appro- 
priate to his heraldic crest. He 
would have made an executive un- 
der the new constitution who 
might have held the position to the 
end of his term, by skillful modi- 
fications to meet the changing de- 
mands. " He underestimated the 
advantages of the position, and 
gave evidence of an ambition for 
the more dignified office of U. S. 
Senator. Congress not being ready 
for the admission of the State, re- 
fused to receive him as such. 

Isaac Murphy, of Madison Co., 
was elected Governor. This was 
considered an eminently proper 
selection. He was the delegate 
from the mountain district, on the 
Missouri border, who, Spartan- 
like, had stood firm in the conven- 
tion that passed the ordinance of 
secession in i86i, and refused to 
vote for that measure. A solitary 
figure among the hundred dele- 
gates, he raised his voice in protest 
against this gross political heresy. 
To the appeals of the President 
of the convention, his old neigh- 
bor and party chieftain — and of 
his former fellow union-men 
that he consent to make the 
vote unanimous, he remained ob- 
durate. He was not a learned 
or gifted man, but his course on 
that eventful day caused him to be 
remembered as a man of heroic 



The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

firmness and fidelity to his pledg- 
es and to the Union. What he 
said and what else he did were for- 
gotten, and that bold stand, alone, 
had made him illustrious. Rather 
slender of form, gray-haired and 
partly bald, with weak eyes that 
wept involuntarily, he made a brief 
explanation which was barely 
heard, but he stoutly voted No ! to 
the last, and that vote now made 
him Governor ; at first chosen Pro- 
visional Governor, and then, at 
such elections as were held, Gov- 
ernor. After he took possession 
of the executive office, I had occa- 
sion more than once to talk with 
Governor Murphy, after the col- 
lapse of the Confederacy, and the 
recognition of President Lincoln 
had made his position authorita- 
tive under the new powers and in- 
fluence conceded to the victorious 
general government. Approach- 
able, talkative, and kind, his ap- 
pearance yet caused a feeling of 
sadness to the beholder. His tear- 
ful eyes, attenuated features and 
plaintive tones made one think 
that he must have undergone some 
experiences of training or grief 
that had wasted him to the skele- 
ton, mentally and physically, of 
what otherwise he might have 
been. His conversation was also 
unusual and eccentric. He had 
no hesitation in asking any strang- 
er who called upon him, in a kind 
or deprecatory manner, it is true, 
if he "was one of those wicked 
rebels who had helped to bring 

ruin upon the country ? " He used 
to say it was a good thing that it 
had gone out of fashion to hang 
men for treason. I ventured to 
suggest to him that there should 
be trial and ""onviction before 

" Yes," he said, " I know the 
lawyers would want to make long 
speeches and confuse judges and 
juries with their rules and prece- 
dents, to show that red-handed 
traitors had not committed any 
crime for which they could be 

" But law is founded upon pre- 
cedent," I said, humbly. 

" It should not be so," he said. 
" If I had my way, I would burn 
up all the court reports, have no 
reading of authorities, but let ev- 
ery case come before the court 
upon its own peculiar circumstan- 

"But Govenor — " I began. 

" But me no buts," he interposed; 
" I know that you are a rebel 
sympathizer, and wish to excuse 
some relative who ought to be 
hung for raising his hand against 
the 'best government the world 
ever saw.' " 

And so the old delegate, who 
voted " no," went about and was 
regarded the embodiment of loy- 
alty and licensed contemner of his 
fellow men who had been beguiled 
into taking up arms in behalf of 
the ' lost cause.' 

One day, I was present when 
Hon. A. H. Garland called on him. 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arka?isas. 

Mr. Garland had served with him 
in the Convention of 1861, had 
been selected member of the Con- 
federate Provisional Congress and 
afterwards Senator for Arkansas 
at Richmond, and was now prac- 
ticing law through his partners, 
Messrs. White and Nash, ex- 
Federal officers, mentioned above, 
although, at the time, he was dis- 
barred by an act of Congress which 
was subsequently annulled by the 
U. S. Supreme Court on his pe- 
tition. He had come to ask the 
Governor to append his signature 
to a recommendation to President 
Johnson for the pardon of Judge 
David Walker, who had been 
President of the Convention of 
1 86 1, and afterwards espoused 
heartily the Southern cause, and 
presided over a military court to 
try offenders against the military 
laws of the Confederacy. 

"Sit down. Garland," said the 
old gentleman, glancing at the pa- 
per with an ominous expression of 
displeasure. But he brightened 
up as he met the light of Garland's 
large, dancing, black eyes, con- 
templated the immense head of 
unkempt hair, the rather sensual 
lips puckered with suppressed 
mirth, as Garland took a seat draw- 
ing his rough tweed overcoat 
about him. 

Mr. Garland laid the paper open 
before him on the table, and sta- 
ted its object. 

" Now, Garland," said the Gov- 
ernor, in a more amiable tone, for 

he had a great respect for his old 
colleague who had also opposed 
secession. " Why do you come 
to me to recommend Judge Wal- 
ker ? Judge Walker need not 
have gone into the rebel army and 
gone so actively into the support 
of the rebel cause. He was old 
enough to know better, and to stay 
at home. This is asking a great 
deal of me." 

"Very well, sir," replied Mr. 
Garland, rolling up the paper with 
an expression of severe reserve: 
" No one knows Judge Walker 
better than yourself ; no one could, 
better than yourself, understand 
his motives and make allowances 
for his course." And he turned 
as if to go. 

" Hold on, Garland, don't go !" 
exclaimed the Governor; for his 
visitor knew where to touch him, 
and had done so most effectually. 
" Hand me that paper again, and 
let me see what it says." 

He pretended for several min- 
utes to be engaged in reading it, 
though I knew he could not make 
out a word, if it was written in Mr. 
Garland's delicate hieroglyphics ; 
and then laying it on the table he 
asked : 

" Where must I sign ? You 
know, Mr. Garland, that the Gov- 
ernment must do something to 
prevent another rebellion ! Now 
pardoning the head leaders is a 
bad way to begin." 

Mr. Garland remained silent with 
a demure expression, until the 

The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Governor had signed the appHca- 
tion ; then throwing off his reserve 
he told an anecdote vaguely illus- 
trating the reward of kindness and 
liberality ; and ended with a quo- 
tation of some words of a comic 
rhyme, of which I have a dim re- 
membrance. It was something 
about a certain — 

Mr. Terrence McGe-hee, 
A very fine man was he-hee, 
Who sometimes got on a big spree-hee," etc. 

At this the Governor laughed 
dubiously. When Mr. Garland 
had gone down stairs, the Govern- 
or said to me, just before admit- 
ting another visitor, as I rose to 

" That is a very bright man — 
that man Garland. What a pity 
he is a lawyer ! " 

I did not think Governor Mur- 
phy really meant the half that he 
uttered in denunciation of the 
'rebels.' He had not in any way 
suffered by the results of the con- 
flict. On the contrary, he and his 
fellow officials had been elevated 
into positions of profit and power 
by it. Yet it would seem that he 
but declared the spirit which per- 
vaded all the laws and measures 
of the new State Government. 
The predominant idea seemed to 
be proscription and punishment 
of * the rebels.' Though they were 
objects now worthy, it would seem, 
of compassion only. They were 
miserably poor and in debt. There 
were few of them that were not 
sorrow stricken. They were dis- 

appointed and deeply humiliated 
by their terrible defeat and its con- 
sequences. While they were in 
the army as soldiers, or in exile 
as refugees from their homes, the 
Legislature, under the new State 
government, on May 31st, 1864 
(fully a year before ' the surren- 
der '), had passed the act, entitled 
" An act to suspend the collection 
of debts, and for other purposes," 
which contained, in section five of 
the act, the following : 

^^ Be it further enacted. That any person 
hereafter aiding or abetting the rebellion, or 
that has or shall hereafter violate his oath of 
allegiance, and all persons vcho are now in 
arms, and all rebels in prison by the federal 
authorities, and all persons who have aban- 
doned their homes, and have fled, and have 
taken protection under the so-called Southern 
Confederacy, shall forever be barred from the 
collection of their debts in this State, of every 
description whatsoever, and all courts having 
jurisdiction in this State are hereby required 
to dismiss said suits whenever such proof is 
made, at the plaintiff's cost." 

It will hardiy be imagined that 
it should ever have occurred un- 
der this unjust law, that returning 
' rebels ' themselves, would have 
assigned to ostensible * loyalists ' 
negotiable instruments of other 
' rebels,* and through their * loyal ' 
agents obtained judgments against 
their compatriots in rebellion who 
had not yet returned from distant 
fields of service. Yet I knew of 
several instances. The impatient 
creditor was not, however, in any 
instance a combatant. I don't 

of the Reconstructiofi Period in Arkansas. 


think a soldier would have done it. 

" The bravest are the tenderest : the loving 
are the daring." 

I was impressed with the idea 
when I saw this law published in 
Dr. Header's loyal newspaper, 
called " The National Demo- 
crat," that it was an improvement 

bridge. Any important change in 
an orderly design leads to others 
that could not be anticipated. If 
the persons in charge, had permit- 
ted returning rebels to vote with- 
out restriction, as provided in their 
constitution, the rebels, in the ex- 
ercise of free election, would have 


on the code of Judge Lynch, 
whose proceeding was to catch an 
offender before hanging him. It 
was directly in the teeth of the 
new ' bill of rights.' It is not to 
be forgotten that these state-ma- 
kers had some knotty questions 
to solve and difficult situations to 

chosen other men to represent 
them. The power of the ' new 
men ' would have been brief. 
Yet no ' free ' election, — no free 
government. It was a tangled 
skein. We are not to wonder that 
it was hard to unravel. The new 
officials were novices in the art of 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

law-making. They had never 
pondered upon the principles in- 
volved, for want of opportunity. 
Perhaps it never occured to them 
that study was required. So they 
folded up their 'Constitution,' and 
in violation of its provisions pro- 
ceeded to enact an election law 
as follows : 

"Sec. 6. Be it further enacted: That 
each voter shall before depositing his vote at 
any election in this State take an oath that he 
will support the Constitution of the United 
States and of this State, and that he has not 
voluntarily borne arms against the United 
States, or this State, nor aided directly or in- 
directly the so-called Confederate authorities, 
since the l8th day of April 1864; said oath to 
be administered by one of the election offi- 
cers, and this act to take effect from and after 
its passage." 

The act was approved May 31st, 
1864. Its intention was to disfran- 
chise the great body of the ' reb- 
els.' They were then in camp, 
standing to their colors, faithful in 
the hour and article of dissolution 
to their dying Confederacy. As 
men of honor and courage, they 
could not have been otherwise. 
Their position no one could fail 
to understand or admire, friend or 
foe. There must have been a 
strong motive in the framers of 
the law, to cause them to extend 
an invitation which was merely 
tantalizing. It resembles the de- 
vices of ancient humorists who de- 
lighted to trifle with the most seri- 
ous emotions of their victims. The 
hour was the carnival of the war. 

It was a time of mockery and mas- 
querade. Its exhibitions were gro- 
tesque beyond any similar festival 
since the grim phantasm of the 
French Revolution, 1793, when 
Robespierre perfected the work- 
ing of the guillotine for his own 

The only newspaper published 
at the capital was issued from the 
office of Mr. J. D. Butler. He 
had not participated in the rebell- 
ion or favored secession. His pa- 
per had been issued as a mere ad- 
vertising sheet, and circulated free 
of charge among the business 
men of the city. But it began to 
come out in the summer of 1865 
with editorial articles pointing out 
these inconsistencies and the un- 
constitutionality of the laws which 
had been enacted by the recent 
legislature. Its circulation was 
rapidly extended ; its advertise- 
ments increased, and it met with 
ready sale on the streets. It grew 
daily more severe in its criticisms 
and more tentative in its appeals 
for equal rights. It was called 
The Pantagraph, and was printed 
in the block nearly opposite the 

" Those devils that are running 
that paper, over there," Governor 
Murphy used to say, "are trying 
to revive the rebellion. They will 
never be satisfied until they are 
closed up, and their types are 
thrown into the river, or they cause 
somebody to be hung ! " 

He sent over and obtained the 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


first copy that was issued from the 
press regularly every day, and as 
his nerves were unsteady, would 
seem to seize it with trembling 
hands. It was a source of un- 
doubted annoyance to him. One 
day it contained a short paragraph 
charging him with unbecoming 
bias in refusing to recommend the 
pardon of Grandison D. Royston, 
by the President, when he had so 
lately signed the recommendation 
of Judge David Walker, the chief 
of ' rebels.' Gen. Royston was an 
old resident of Hempstead County, 
which had been the home of Mr. 
Garland, but was an ' original ' se- 

" Well, how do the devils of that 
newspaper obtain their informa- 
tion of what goes on in my 
office ? " he asked of me, one day. 
" Do the writers for it come spy- 
ing through the State house, or 
are they employed in the Post 
office? It seems to me that I can- 
not write a letter that they do not 
find out its contents." The Gov- 
ernor was rather jealous of the 
Federal officials. 

On the 7th day of September, 
1865, the paper came out with an 
article entitled "A Crime Against 
the People of the South." It 
started out by asserting that : 

The men who, by legislative enactments, 
have undertaken to withhold indiscriminately 
from the Southern people engaged in re- 
bellion, the sacred right of franchise, premedi- 
tate a great crime against those people. A 
large majority of the people of Arkansas re- 

mained loyal to the Government until over- 
come by the overwhelming power of secession 
which brought all civil and military authority 
to perfect submission. When we reflect that 
in a most trying moment they were abandoned 
by the United States Government, and no less 
a person than Mr. William H. Seward is heard 
saying on the floor of the Senate: "I have 
such faith in this republican system of ours 
that there is no political good which I desire 
that I am not content to seek through the 
peaceful terms of administration," which was 
reasonably construed as a pledge to sustain 
Mr. Buchanan's policy — "not to coerce a 
State." He also very plainly intimated that 
Sumter would be evacuated, and actually 
ordered the withdrawal of the Powhatan, the 
vessel ordered to relieve Sumter. Even Gen. 
Scott wrote : " Let our erring sisters depart 
in peace." Mr. Chase said : "Let the South 
go. It is not worth fighting for." Mr. Holt, 
while Postmaster-General in i860, had writ- 
ten : "These liberty bills which degrade the 
statute books of seme of the free States, are 
confessedly a shameless violation of the fed- 
eral constitution in a point vital to the coun- 
try's honor. If the free States will sweep the 
liberty bills from their codes, propose a con- 
vention of the States, and offer guarantees 
which will afford the same repose and safety 
to Southern homes and property enjoyed by 
those at the North, the impending tragedy 
may be averted, but not otherwise." Edwin 
M. Stanton told A. G. Brown, of Missis- 
sippi, that he (Brown) "was right; it was the 
only course to save the South. He must keep 
his constituents up to it." 

The newspaper then came to the 
obvious purpose of the article, 
when it concluded : 

The venerable person who now exercises 
the functions of Governor of the State of Ar- 
kansas, though he voted against the ordinance 
of secession in compliance with instructions. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

as he explained, was nevertheless the first 
mover ot a resolution in that convention when 
it reassembled at the call of President Walker 
for taking action in view of the invasion of 
the South by the armies called out by Presi- 
dent Lincoln. That resolution was for " re- 
quiring the committee on military affairs to 
prepare and report a plan for the organization 
and arming of the State, and tu report the 
same as soon as practicable, and to put the 
whole population on a war footing as speedily 
as possible." The journal of the convention 
containing this resolution is in our possession, 
and can be seen by any one who may so de- 
sire. He also voted for representatives to 
represent the State in the " Rebel Congress." 
When he voted against the ordinance of se- 
cession, he declared before the convention 
that he did not so vote because he was not a 
rebel ; that he was a rebel, and while he did 
not believe in the doctrine of secession, he 
would, as a rebel, be found battling for the 
independence of the South as long as he had 
a hand to raise in her defense. Is it strange 
that a people led by such guides should go 
astray ? Is it not strange that the leaders who 
misled and then abandoned them should now 
wish to punish them? The people did not go 
until they were led. They did not return until 
they were invited. Now they have returned, 
they are told they must be punished. It is a 
great crime against these people to be so used. 
The retribution of heaven will be visited ulti- 
mately upon its perpetrators. 

This was the article. I kept a 
scrap of it because of the events 
that followed its publication. The 
publisher and his employes went 
to their homes that night as if 
nothing had happened. They were 
pleased to see that the paper was 

being read approvingly by the peo- 
ple. The writer of the article, who 
was not generally known as its au- 
thor, I learned afterwards had sent 
it to the press from a sick room. 

When the publisher and his men 
came to the office early the next 
morning, they found it closed, and 
the press in the hands of United 
States soldiers. The paper had 
been suppressed ! A sergeant of 
infantry and sentinels stood guard 
over the office of The Pantagraph^ 
by order of Maj. Gen. Reynolds, 
in command of the Department of 
the Southwest. 

Now, what was there in the ar- 
ticle that invited the forcible sup- 
pression of the paper by the Uni- 
ted States authorities? The fact 
of the military seizure of the press 
caused the paper to be sought for 
and read by hundreds who had 
.overlooked the offending article. 
When they had read it over and 
over again, they still wondered 
what there was in it that called 
for the suppression of the paper. 
There was, however, one who very 
well knew ; — the writer of the ar- 
ticle. He had not yet recovered 
from the effects of a malarial fever. 
It was the sultry season in Little 
Rock. The heat and miasma were 
perceptible as they arose in undu- 
lations from the steaming earth. 
The publisher, greatly excited by 
the event of military interference 
with the 'liberty of the press,' — 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkafisas. 


frightened, and yet rather gratified 
to be an actor in a sensation — vis- 
ited the writer and gave him his 
impressions of the condition of af- 

There was consternation among 
the old pohticians who preferred 
wily, secret methods. There was 
alarm among the people who had 
just returned from exile. They 
beheld for the first time the pow- 
er of the * mailed hand.' 

Mr. Butler, the publisher, did 
not exhibit any personal fear of the 
consequences. He had not taken 
part in the hostilities, but had re- 
mained in the city. He seemed 
to feel a genuine alarm for the 
safety of the writer of the article, 
who assured him on learning that 
Gen. Reynolds was a graduate of 
West Point and had been a college 
professor, that as soon as he could 
go to see the General he would 
explain the article. He was satis- 
fied that if the General was a man 
of letters and of liberal informa- 
tion, the explanation would be 

" Don't think of it," said the 
publisher. " He will order you 
out of the department. He has 
said he would order the author of 
the article out of the department." 
For a week , the sentinels were 
mounted and relieved in front of 
the entrance to the printing house 
of the Pa7itagraph^ and its presses 
were silent. At the end of a week 
the writer of the article was able 
to dress and walk down from his 

rooms, in the Ringo dwelling, to 
the General's headquarters in the 
Ashley mansion. Very quiet and 
cool seemed the wide hall up 
stairs as he and the publisher 
waited a response to the card they 
had sent in. The General came, 
bareheaded, in undress uniform, 
into the hall where they were 
alone, and bade them take seats. 
He had the obnoxious article 
rolled over a thin book or card- 
board, and sat down holding it in 
his left hand, and with a pencil in 
his right, as if to point out the 
most objectionable features. He 
looked the college professor to per- 
fection. '' Now," he began, with an 
expression of much severity, " you 
have here printed an article, on the 
heels of a great rebellion, which 
reproaches the officers of the Gov- 
ernment with the perpetration of 
a great crime ! And I am told, 
Mr. Harrell, that you have been a 
soldier in that rebellion against 
the Government." 

"Give me only five minutes. 
General," replied the writer of the 
article, " and if I do not explain to 
you that the cause of offense is 
not against the officers of the 
Governmet, but against those who 
are imposing upon them, I will 
submit to any decision you may 

"Very well," replied the Gen- 
eral, coldlv, " I will hear you. 
Proceed." ' 

Then the writer took from the 
chair beside him a printed vol- 


The Brooks atid Baxter War: a History 

ume, entitled "Journal of the 
Convention of 1861," and stating 
what it was, opened at the pages 
which he had turned down, and 
read the following, dated the 6th 
of May, 1861 : 

" Mr. Murphy (who was the 
delegate for Madison County, and 
now the Governor of this State) 
offered the following resolution, 
which was adopted : 

Resolved, That in view of the danger that 
surrounds the Southern States, it becomes the 
State of Arkansas to put the whole population 
on a war footing as speedily as possible ; the 
committee on military affairs are therefore in- 
structed to prepare and report a plan for the 
efficient organization and arming of the State, 
and report the same as soon as practicable." 

"While that article does not 
contain one misstatement of fact, 
it makes no protest against the 
authority of the United States. It 
makes no unauthorized criticism 
of any one. It is a protest against 
the denial of the constitutional 
right of the citizens of this State 
to vote. 

" You cannot fail to see, Gen- 
eral, that Mr. Murphy, who ac- 
cepts great commendation for his 
persistent loyalty in voting against 
the ordinance of secession, was 
then very far from being the loyal 
patriot he is now regarded. The 
article offends him because it con- 
tains an allusion to the resolution 
offered by him in the convention 
of 1861, to put the population of 
this State on a war footing against 
the authority of the United States. 

By the publication of that article 
he saw that he was about to be 
unmasked. The first part of the 
article, he knows, was merely 
leading up to the mention of his 
part in the performances of 1861. 
The threatened exposure exasper- 
ates him. He interprets the arti- 
cle to you in person, or through 
his agencies, as intending to chal- 
lenge the authority of the United 
States, which he counseled the 
people to resist in former days. 
He has thus influenced you to in- 
terpose your power, as commander 
of the military, to stop the publi- 
cation of the record he cannot 
deny. He must have feared the 
results of his action, for in another 
resolution he proposed that the 
proceedings of the convention 
should be secret. None of us feel 
any personal animosity for him. 
We merely protest against the 
measures of his administration." 
"Give me the book," said the Gen- 
eral. " Your article was undoubted- 
ly misinterpreted by me," he said, 
after a quick but close inspection 
of the book. " Return to your 
paper, and say in it, if you please, 
that I approve it fully, and am 
under obligations for the informa- 
tions it contains. I will order the 
guard withdrawn from your press. 
If there are other records that 
will afford information proper to 
be known by the people, publish 
it. I will take care that you are 
not molested." 

He gave each of his visitors his 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas, 


hand as he arose from his seat, 
and bidding them good-day, re- 
tired to his room. They went 
down the stairs with hghter steps 
than they came up them, and 
going up the street, quietly took a 
look at the unconscious sentinel 
walking up and down in front of 
the printing house. 


" Woo'd and married and a' — 

Married and woo'd and a' ! 
And was she sae very weel oft 

That was woo'd and married and a' ? " 

— Alexander Ross. 

The paper was issued the next 
day, with a report of the visit to 
headquarters, and the interview 
with General Reynolds. Its lead- 
ing editorial was in a tone of 
temperate exultation at the result 
of an understanding with the mili- 
tary authorities, spiced with some 
good-humored gibes at the civili- 
ans. It announced that if it 
should hereafter refer to the Gov- 
ernor as the venerable ' rebel,' 
who exercised the executive func- 
tions, it hoped no offense would 
be taken, as he had assumed the 
name himself in preference to that 
of secessionist, reminding him that 
the fifty- four signers of the Decla- 
ration of Independence — Wash- 
ington and his Generals, and the 
army of 'j6 — were contented to 
be so called, and the only one 

among them, who preferred the 
name of 'loyalist,' was Benedict 

The editorial article proceeded 
to aver, that there were examples, 
and very high authority, to justify 
secession, and sanction the name 
of 'secessionist,' which was pre- 
ferred by some who maintained 
the right of the Southern States to 
withdraw from the Union. Only 
such examples would be cited as 
were afforded by the action of the 
New England States, and such 
authority as an old Federalist and 
Whig would endorse and venerate. 

Timothy Pickering, Senator 
of Massachusetts, had written in 
1804, that "A Northern Confed- 
eracy would unite congenial char- 
acters, and present a fairer pros- 
pect of public happiness. The 
separation must begin in Massa- 

Josiah Quincy, also a Senator 
of that State, declared in his 
speech on the admission of Loui- 
siana : " If the bill passes, it is 
my deliberate opinion, that it is 
virtually a dissolution of the 
Union ; that it will free the States 
from their moral obligation ; and 
as it will be the right of all — it 
will be the duty of some — to pre- 
pare for separation ; amicably, it 
they can ; violently, if they must." 

George Cabot, also a Senator of 
the same State, wrote from Wash- 
ington in 1803: "I will rather 
anticipate a new Confederacy, 
exempt from the corrupt and cor- 

The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

rupting influence of the Demo- 
crats of the South." 

Delegates to a Convention of 
New England States at Hartford, 
Connecticut, in 1814, adopted a 
memorial which contained, among 
many similar, such sentences as 
these : " Some new form of Con- 
federacy should be substituted 
among these States, — a seperation 
by equitable arrangement will be 
preferable to an alliance, by con- 
straint, among nominal friends." 

And, in 1844, the Legislature of 
Massachusetts adopted resolutions 
which concluded with the avowal, 
that "The project of the annexa- 
tion of Texas, unless arrested on 
the threshold, may tend to drive 
these States into a dissolution of 
the Union." 

Among the great names quoted 
as authority for the course of the 
South, was that of President Wil- 
liam Henry Harrison, who said in 
his inaugural address, approved 
by his Secretary of State, Daniel 
Webster, in 1841 : " The attempt 
of citizens of one State to control 
the domestic institutions of an- 
other, is a certain harbinger of dis- 
union and civil war. Our Con- 
federacy is perfectly illustrated by 
the terms and principles of a com- 
mon partnership." 

President Fillmore said, in a 
speech at Capon Springs, Va., in 
1854; "I have not hesitated to 
say and I .repeat, that, if the 
Northern States refuse, wilfully 
and deliberately, to carry into 

effect that part of the Constitu- 
tion which respects the restoration 
of fugitive slaves, and Congress 
provides no remedy, the South 
would no longer be bound to ob- 
serve the compact. A bargain 
cannot be broken on the one side 
and still bind the other side." 

And Henry Clay said in the 
Senate in 1839: "The Aboli- 
tionists, let me suppose, succeed 
in their present aim of uniting the 
inhabitants of the free States as 
one man against the inhabitants 
of the slave States, a virtual disso- 
lution of the Union will have 
taken place, while the forms of its 
existence only remain. And if 
the Abolitionists were to conquer, 
whom would they conquer ? A 
foreign foe ? No sir ! It must be 
a conquest without laurels, a con- 
quest of brothers over brothers, 
of common ancestors who had 
nobly pledged their lives, their 
fortunes and their sacred honor to 
establish the independence of these 

The editorial article added : 
The only sin of the South was, 
that she delayed too long. She 
hesitated, and was lost. We suc- 
cumb to the power of superior ar- 
mament and numbers ; but refuse 
to confess to the charges of trea- 
son, rebellion and perjury, when 
we did not commit them. Rather 
let those who violated and an- 
nulled the Constitution and in- 
vaded sister States, apply the epi- 
thets to themselves. 

of the Recotistruction Period in Arkatisas. 

This seemed to me to be an 
audacious article, and certain to 
invite the final closing of the 
printing office; but there was no 
further interference. Perhaps 
there was a medicinal placebo in 
its concluding paragraph : 

" That there is a class in the United States 
and in the State of Arkansas, to whom the 
idea of a restoration of peace is repugnant, 
cannot be disputed. But in this class, we 
are happy to say, cannot be numbered the 
officers and soldiers of the army of the United 
States. This we lay down as a rule, to which 
there are exceptions. So true it is, the world 
over, that the brave are generous, forgiving, 

" We ask the citizens of Little Rock if our 
assertions are not borne out by their expe- 
rience? Who is there among them can com- 
plain of intolerance, injustice, or injuiy, to be 
avoided in his situation by Maj. Gen. Frede- 
rick Steele ? We have never heard a com- 
plaint against his successor, but have personal 
knowledge of many instances of his cour- 
tesy and forbearance. And the private sol- 
diery, the citizens are in justice bound to 
concede that their considerate conduct under 
all circumstances ; their manly bearing in the 
absence of official restraint, when it has been 
in their power to insult and oppress, is worthy 
of the highest encomium." 

Against the civilians, remon- 
strance and caricature, were alter- 
nately employed. The people 
read with increasing interest; the 
military were diverted ; but the 
civilians raged. The records 
that the latter had made were 
cited to sustain every impeach- 
ment against them. For example, 
the act of the late Legislature 

passed and approved to pay the 
military staff of the Governor, 
who were placed very high in 
rank, in time of peace, provided 
that they might demand and " re- 
ceive the same pay and allowance 
as officers of the same grade in 
the United States Army, " and 
required also, " that the Adjutant- 
General of the State be paid from 
the time he entered upon his du- 
ties." This act was republished 
with sarcastic comments. 

The Adjutant-General was a 
gentleman from Buffalo, New 
York ; a relentless partisan and 
deemed himself a missionary of 
manners and refinement, as well as 
of political reform to the rebel 
barbarians. He had attached 
himself to the illustrious Delegate 
of the Secession Convention when 
Gen. Herron, after the battle of 
Prairie Grove, had entered and 
overrun the counties on the north- 
ern border. 

Adjutant-General Bishop was of 
a literary turn, and had published 
"A History of the Loyal Heroes 
of Northwest Arkansas," which 
contained a free sketch of the 
sacrifices and services of the faith- 
ful member from Madison County. 
The pages of this little book were 
further embellished with highly 
colored matter that had been 
ruthlessly imposed upon the en- 
thusiastic author. He it was 
doubtless, who procur-ed the pass- 
age of an act which bears a re- 
semblance to his mincing style of 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

writing and 'bloody conclusions,' 
and which prescribed an unusual 
decoration to be worn by his 
militiamen, as follows : 

" All State Militia, provided for in this act, 
shall wear as a mark of distinction and for 
the purpose of being recognized at a distance, 
a band of red cloth, three inches in width, to be 
worn on their hats, or in the most conspicuous 
manner. And every person found wearing 
said mark of distinction, who does not belong 
to said militia, or to the Federal Army, shall, 
by sentence of military authority, suffer death." 

The General wore the ' mark 
of distinction ' conspicuously in 
the lapel of his coat, in the form 
of a scarlet ribbon. He was tall 
and 'willowy,' had a down curv- 
ing length of nose, narrow fore- 
head and short chin almost hidden 
by an enormous mustache. He 
wore the hair of a diminutive 
head in long tresses, which waved 
gracefully to his undulating move- 
ments with which he picked his 
way, when walking the thorough- 
fares with elastic step. He had 
no cause during his term, so 
peaceful was the time, for calling 
out his men; but in person he re- 
mained near his illustrious chief 
in the hour of his greatness, and 
drew salary, or pay and allow- 
ances, with military promptitude. 
The paper quoted the clause of 
the act and urged the ' Red-raga- 
Murfians' to put on their 'marks 
of distinction,' and suggested 
that if they should be called on 
to do battle, the most ' conspicu- 

ous manner ' of wearing them 
would be to sew them on their 

One of the measures of the late 
Legislature was criticised with 
the gravity it deserved. From the 
time it was adopted it had failed 
to receive the approval of the 
Commanding General, and proved 
a dead letter ; while it remained on 
record to show the inclination 
which prompted it. It was a con- 
current resolution of the General- 
Assembly which received the 
Governor's approval and was as 
follows : 

Whereas, There are living within the 
Federal lines in the district of Little Rock, 
two thousand refugees, citizens of the State, 
who have been driven from their homes by 
the outrages and violence of rebel armies 
and bands of guerillas who infest different 
parts of the State, 

And whereas, The property-holders, who 
have encouraged and now sympathize with 
the rebels, are in whole responsible for the 
existence of the rebellion, and there are now 
residmg in Little Rock many of the families 
of such rebels and sympathizers, being easily 
and comfortably in the possession and enjoy- 
ment of their property, while the refugees are 
suffering all the horrors of disease and famine 
brought upon them by these rebel citizens and 
their aiders and abettors in the rebel army 
and guerillas, 

" Therefore be it Resolved by the General 
Assembly of the State of Arkansas: That 
the General, commanding the Department, be 
requested to appoint five men of unquestion- 
able loyalty to make an assessment of 

dollars upon the property of the disloyal and 
their sympathizers, having due regard to the 
wealth of said parties; and the said Commis- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


sion shall have the right to decide the ques- 
tion of loyalty upon proof presented to 
them ; and this tax shall he collected and dis- 
bursed under such regulations as said General 
or Commission may judge best." 

This was to be a Commission 
invested with rare powers. It was 
to be authorized by the sword, 
was to levy, assess and collect 
taxes, without limit, and judicially 
determine upon such ' proof as 
they might choose to hear, or re- 
ceive, who were the ' disloyal ' to 
be made victims; having no re- 
gard to anything but ' the wealth 
of the parties.' 

I was ' a sympathizer ' with the 
Confederates, because I could not 
help it. The ties of friendships 
and associations actuated me, I 
suppose ; but whatever the influ- 
ence, I could not resist it. I had 
some houses in the city that were 
paying rents, and I had impecuni- 
ous and envious neighbors who 
would have readily testified to 
anything before such a Commis- 
sion, in order to get my houses, 
or the rent of them free, or for 
pay given them by others with 
such designs ; and I had no hopes 
that the five Commissioners, who 
might be as impecunious, or more 
grasping, thus authorized, would 
find any difficulty in discerning 
my true inwardness. It was dis- 
tressing and alarming to behold 
the fear created by this measure 
at the time it was adopted. Many 
sympathizers ceased to sympa- 

Feeling secure from any attempt 
of the State authorities to carry 
out these or similar oppressions, 
because of the military protection 
of which, now, they felt assured, 
the people, or some of them, were 
encouraged to meet in county con- 
ventions and send delegates to a 
State convention of 'the people,' 
for the purpose of entering a pro- 
test against disfranchisement, 
' taxation without representation' 
and petitions of some power for 
relieffrom their varied evils. Some 
timid persons besought the paper 
not to take the risk of calling such 
a convention. But there was to 
be an election for county officers 
and members of the Legislature on 
the first Monday in August, 1866, 
and if the people should be free 
to vote in that election, they would 
elect their own representatives, 
who might be relied upon to pass 
laws for the general safety and 
prosperity. A call for a conven- 
tion was decided upon, and made 
by a small county meeting of 
which William Miller, afterwards 
Governor, was president, and J. 
M. Harrell, secretary. It was to 
be held at Little Rock, December 
I2th, 1865. The object, as an- 
nounced in the call, was for the 
purpose of organizing a People's 
Party, which should favor the 
maintenance of the constitution — 
State and Federal — and the re- 
storation of peace and a republi- 
can form of government for the 
State of Arkansas. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

The authors believed, that un- 
der the constitution, none but free 
white men could become qualified 
electors. As the constitution of 
the United States then existed 
with the Thirteenth Article of 
Amendments abolishing slavery 
added, none but free, white men 
could become naturalized citizens. 
Mongolians, Indians, Africans or 
their descendants were excluded. 

The convention met according 
to call in Robbin's old theater, on 
Main street. It was understood 
that Gen. T. W. Sherman would 
be present at the convention and 
citizens, induced by curiosity to 
see him, added greatly to the 
small number of delegates who 
had come up from the counties. 
Dr. Lorenzo Gibson, of Little 
Rock, was chosen president, and 
a number of secretaries appointed. 
A committee was designated to 
notify Generals Sherman and Rey- 
nolds that the convention was 
ready to receive them. The com- 
mittee attended them in an open 
carriage drawn by four horses 
from the Morton residence, where 
Gen. Reynolds was residing, to 
the hall of the convention, where 
they were assigned to seats on the 
stage. The large concourse of 
people who had gathered through 
curiosity, filled the hall and min- 
gled with the delegates, so that 
'the convention ' seemed to be a 
numerous and intelligent body. 

The president of the convention 
delivered an opening address that 

was dignified and appealingly elo- 
quent. Dr. Gibson was a prac- 
ticing physician, a life-long citi- 
zen, universally respected, had 
served the county more than once 
in the Legislature of the State and 
was an eloquent and accomplished 
orator. He was of portly person, 
with a countenance that beamed 
with intelligence and good humor. 
It was evident that his remarks 
produced upon the two generals 
a favorable impression. 

At the conclusion of his speech 
he introduced Gen. Sherman, who 
was in uniform, and who pro- 
ceeded to address the large audi- 
ence that filled every part of the 
the theater. His speech was re- 
ported by the Little Rock Gazette, 
whose then owner, Mr. Holtzman, 
was present, although he took no 
part in the convention, having 
taken sides with the Union. I 
take the report of Gen. Sherman's 
speech from the Gazette, as it was 
copied into the St. Louis Republi- 
can of the 14th December, which 
I saved in a clipping : 


Gen. Sherman attended the People's Con- 
vention held at Little Rock on the 1 2th inst. 
The Little Rock Gazette gives us the sub- 
stance of his remarks on that occasion : 

He commenced by saying, that the object 
of the convention had been fully set forth by 
the president, and as stated by him, it is not 
expected or desired, either for himself or any 
other military officer, to engage in political 
discussion. It was his duty to obey the laws 
of the country ; and that America was the 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


only country in which law governed, and the 
law was his God. 

He knew nothing of the authority by which 
the present convention was called, nor did he 
care to know. But the people in each neigh- 
borhood and county and Stale had the right 
to meet together and consult as to the best 
means of advancing their interests and the in- 
terest of their respective States. 

He thought that the duty of the hour was, 
not to engage in political discussions ; but for 
each and every man to go to work. We 
wanted elbow grease. He said that Arkansas 
was behind most of her sister states because 
she had not adopted heretofore any system of 
internal improvements to lead to the develope- 
ment of her vast resources. (*) * * 

The delegates of the convention, he said, 
ought to be sure they are representing the 
people and sentiments of the counties from 
which they come. He knew the Southern 
people, and he had yet to see any high-toned 
Southern man, who would willingly or inten- 
tionally misrepresent himself to obtain pre- 
ferment or place. 

Don't be in a hurry ; bide your time ; help 
build up your country and never mind about 
voting. He thought that in time all would 
work well. He believed all were now in favor 
of peace ; every one desired it; and there was 
peace. There should be peace, and it was 
the duty and the pleasure of Gen. Reynolds to 
receive and hear from each individual of the 
convention, or of the State, any and all griev- 
ances ; and they would do all in their power 
to aid and assist the people in their efforts. 

He believed that if proper representations 
were made in a respectful manner, and they 
were of such a character as required execu- 
tive interference, that President Johnson, or 

(*) What he said here in comparison be- 
tween Arkan'^as and Missouri, and his refer- 
(.nces to the States of South America omitted. 

even Congress, would give the matter their 
attention, and without delay rectify the evils 
of which they complained. 

At the conclusion of the speech, Gen. Rey- 
nolds made also a few remarks which were 
timely and well received. 

So kindly and bluntly spoke the 
hero of the "March to the Sea;" 
a hard-hitter in battle, but a mag- 
nanimous victor, whose conven- 
tion with Gen. Johnston for the 
latter's surrender was too liberal 
for the Secretary of War, and was 
disapproved by him, for which the 
sturdy soldier refused to shake 
hands with him on the platform in 
front of the White House, where 
Sherman was the hero of the day, 
in the last review of his grand 

It was evident from his speech, 
that some one had sought to dis- 
parage the convention, but in vain. 
If the people had grievances, he 
believed the President or even 
Congress would relieve them with- 
out delay. His attendance and 
utterances before the convention 
caused a profound impression. 
They were like air and sunshine to 
a prison-house. It encouraged even 
the rulers to be less proscriptive. 
It gave assurances of peace and 

When the president of the con- 
vention had appointed some com- 
mittees, the assembly took a re- 
cess and delegates conversed with 
the two officers for a few minutes 
prior to their departure from the 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

The Supreme Court of the State 
was then composed of T. D. W. 
Yonley, Supreme Justice, and 
Elisha Baxter and C. A. Harper 

peared. Judge Yonley was a Vir- 
ginian, and had removed to Little 
Rock in 1859. 

Judge Baxter came from North 


Associate Justices. The two for- 
mer were actual citizens ; the 
third had appeared in the State 
suddenly and as suddenly disap- 

Carolina and settled at Batesville, 
in 1852, where he was a merchant, 
at first, and then studied law. He 
represented Independence county 

of the Reco7istriiction Period in Arkafisas. 


twice in the State Legislature be- 
fore the war. He was a Whig in 
politics and sided with the Union. 
Captured in Missouri, in 1863, by 
Col, R. C. Newton's regiment of 
Confederate mounted men, on 
being paroled to report to Gen. 
Holmes at Little Rock, he kept 
his word, when, through the 
blundering of officials, he was con- 
signed to the county jail, then 
used as a prison by the military 
as well as the civil authorities, and 
by W. M. Randolph,* the Confed- 
erate States Attorney, was caused 
to be indicted for treason against 
the Confederacy. He made his 
escape and recruited the Fourth 
Arkansas regiment. Union volun- 
teers, and reporting to Gen. Liv- 
ingston, was assigned to the com- 
mand of the post at Batesville. 
On the organization of the new 
State, he was made one of the 
Judges of the Supreme Court, and 
subsequently elected, the same 
year. United States Senator, but 
was not admitted. 

Chief Justice Yonley was an 
original character of great natural 
ability. He had been denied, or 
else had slighted, opportunities 
for ' early education.' He had 
studied law before he entered into 
the practice at Little Rock. He 
was well grounded in his profes- 
sion, full of recources, self-made, 

* W. M. Randolph was then the law- 
partner of Mr. Garland, but left the Confed- 
eracy, went to Memphis and became a Re- 

self-reliant and aspiring ; frank and 
manly, and rapidly made friends. 
In the heat of the political discus- 
sions of i860, he avowed himself 
in favor of the Union, and boldly 
debated ' the issues ' with any 
challenger. Hence he caused no 
personal feelings against him when 
he took sides with the Unionists 
after the conflict of war usurped 
the contests of the forum. His 
personal appearance and eccen- 
tricities rendered him the sub- 
ject of good-humored comment 
at the bar, on the bench, and in 
the streets. He was fleshy, round- 
shouldered, careless of dress, and 
wore his hair and whiskers in 
tangled masses. He walked with 
a rapid, shambling gait, throwing 
out his hands, muttering to him- 
self, or munching peanuts. I have 
seen him, when leaning forward to 
read an opinion behind the panel- 
ing of the * bench,' slip off his 
shoes, and place his feet on the 
chair-round, in 'socks' not as 
stainless as his ermine. But Judge 
Yonley was always sure of him- 
self, bore no malice, practiced no 
deceit, and was just and generous 
in all his dealings. He had great 
political foresight also. 

About the time the Peoples' 
Convention was assembling, he 
called in Judge Harper and ren- 
dered a decision in the election 
case o( Riso/i, et al. election judges, 
against Farr. 

Captain Farr was a well-known 
ex-Confederate who, having re- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

fused to take the oath at some 
election, was denied the right 
to vote, and sued the judges of 
the election. It was a case made 
to test the validity of the election 
law. The case had been decided 
against the election judges in the 
court below, and they had ap- 
pealed. The papers published a 
synopsis of the Supreme Court 
decision, which created unbounded 
satisfaction. I give an extract 
from it : 

So much of the oath as relates to bearing 
arms against the United States, refers directly 
to oiTences against the government of the 
United States, and are not within the powers 
and jurisdiction of this State to punish, even 
by due process of law. There are crimes 
which can only be punished or forgiven by 
that government. And the Chief Magistrate 
of the United States, acting on that principle, 
by his proclamation of the 29th of May last, 
in conformity with the authority conferred by 
the constitution of the United States and the act 
of Congress made in pursuance thereof, has 
most graciously extended pardon and amnesty 
to a large majority of citizens of this State 
who had engaged in the late rebellion, within 
the provisions of which the plaintiff below has 
brought himself by averments contained in 
his declaration. Hence to deprive him of his 
right to vote, on account of his participancy 
in the war against the United States, would be 
to punish him for a crime of which he had 
been pardoned. 

The loth section of the bill of rights de- 
clares, that no man shall be taken or im- 
prisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liabili- 
ties or privileges, or outlawed or exiled, but 
by the judgment of his peers or the law of 
the land. And the 14th section of the bill of 

rights provides, that no man shall be put to 
answer any criminal charge, but by present- 
ment, indictment or impeachment, except as 
thereinafter provided, which exception refers 
to petty offences, made cognizable before jus- 
tices of the peace. 

Then it is clear that, although treason is 
the highest crime known to the laws, the 
mere commission of that offense will not in 
itself work a forfeiture of the rights or privi- 
leges of the offender ; but before he can be 
deprived of all or either of them, he must be 
convicted by due process of law. From this 
view of the case, the part of the 6th section, 
providing for the manner of holding elections, 
which requires the oath referred to, is abso- 
lutely null and void. 

The decision was well argued 
and served the purpose. But on 
reading it, I thought of Governor 
Murphy's dislike for ' wise saws 
and modern instances.' It might 
have been said briefly : " Here is 
your State constitution. Here is 
the constitution of the United 
States, which forbids any State to 
pass a bill of attainder or ex post 
facto law. The State election-law 
is repugnant to the former, and 
plainly defies the latter in two 
aspects. It is void, and thejudg- 
ment below will be affirmed." 

Violation of the Federal con- 
stitution, however, did not seem 
to be regarded seriously at the 
time. It was boasted by Republi- 
can leaders that "they had dis- 
carded the parchment guarantees 
of freedom in order to secure the 
substance," i. e. freedom to whites 
secondary to that of the negroes. 

of the Recotistructio7i Period in Arkansas. 


The decision was to silence dis- 
contents and weaken the influence 
of their spokesmen. This it ac- 
complished. There was nothing 
in the way now of a free election 
by the white men of the State. 
The election for county officers 
and members of the Legislature 
was held on the day appointed by 
law without restraint. The 'freed- 
men ' looked on good humoredly. 
Not so, a quantity of new faces, 
of any specimen of whom Caesar 
would have said as he said of Cas- 
sius : 

"Yond' Cassius has a lean and hungry look ; 
Would he were fatter !" 

All unconsciously the people 
as a rule voted for the men of 
their choice. From a majority of 
the counties they elected to the 
General Assembly those who had 
led or defended them in the late 
struggle, and formed what was 
afterwards known as the ' Rebel 
Legislature.' It was a misnomer, 
however, because they studiously 
avoided partisan measures. But 
their action, when required as to 
measures thrust upon them, they 
took as might seem best for the 
State. Their constituents had not 
favored secession, and as longer 
heads had foreseen, did not yet 
perceive the purpose of foisting 
negro suffrage upon them. 

For Representatives from Pu- 
laski county Col. R. C. Newton 
had been elected without opposi- 
tion. He was a native of Arkan- 

sas, gifted and popular, son of 
Hon. Thos. W. Newton, the only 
Whig ever elected to Congress 
from Arkansas, — a gentleman who 
was loved by all who knew him. 

Mr. Charles Farrelly was elected 
over Col. J. M. Harrell, by a ma- 
jority of twenty-seven votes, as 
returned. The former was an 
avowed advocate of the Union. 
The latter had been for years a 
declared disunionist, of the school 
of John C. Calhoun, who predicted 
all that was now taking place. 
Only a part of his prophecy had 
yet been fulfilled. By a ma- 
jority of the people of Pulaski 
county, composed, in part, of 
merchants and professional men 
from the North, the teachings of 
Calhoun were rejected. Reluc- 
tantly, and therefore with the 
greater patriotism, they had ac- 
quiesced in separation. They were 
now rejoiced to believe, that the 
Union was restored. They had 
eaten husks long enough, and be- 
gan to ask : " How many hired 
servants of my father's have bread 
enough and to spare ? I will arise 
and go to my father!" They 
were ready to overlook the mild 
encroachments of ' trade ' and 
view complacently enough great 
stretches of constitutional limita- 
tion, and even yield states rights, 
to atone for the 'error' of seces- 
sion ; when the march of events 
soon taught them the value of 
the barriers of state sovereignity. 

President Johnson very naturally 


TJie Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

desired to continue in the office of 
Chief Magistrate. The Southern 
States were equipped with three- 
fifths of the negro population in 
their representation in Congress 
and the Electoral College. His 
course was plainly directed to 
conciliating the South. Congress 
discovered his purpose, and oppo- 
sing his aspirations, determined to 
strip the Democracy of that ele- 
ment of strength, and control the 
five-fifths for the support of the 
Republican party, by giving the 
negroes themselves the right to 
vote. It was their last resort. 

The awful menace of negro 
domination and its attendant dan- 
gers, at once arrested the growing 
inclination to nationalism, as if by 
magic. Political visionaries, even 
when actuated by the purest 
philanthropy, seem at a loss to 
understand this all-powerful repul- 
sion of blood, that vast body of 
natural or inherited proclivities, 
which we are accustomed to sum 
up in the word " color,* which is 
really the meaning of caste. (See 
Webster's Dictionary.) It is not 
mere pigment, only skin deep — 
this repelling quality. It is some- 
thing beneath skin, which divides 
the races by lines that have never 
been passed, wholly independent 
of their volition. And why in the 
economy of nature, should it not 
be so? Men do neither gather 
grapes of thorns, nor figs of this- 

Heaven knows that I sympa- 

thize with the black man in all his 
aspirations for good. I would 
lend him a helpmg hand in the 
school of life. But he will have 
to learn the rudiments, as we did. 
I believe the negroes are the most 
docile, kindly of the races, under 
the tutelage of the white race. 
But I do not think it true philan- 
thropy, or wise statesmanship to 
endeavor to advance them at the 
peril of the civilization of the 
white race. 

But Congress, containing only 
a few Democrats, had determined 
to endow the negroes with the 
right of suffrage. The Fourteenth 
Article of Amendments to the 
Constitution of the United States 
was proposed as follows : 

Section i. All persons born or naturalized 
in the United States and subject to the juris- 
diction thereof, are citizens of the United 
States and of the State wherein they reside. 
No State shall make or enforce any law which 
shp.U abridge the privileges or immunities of 
citizens of the United States; nor shall any 
State deprive any person of life, liberty or 
property without due process of law ; nor 
deny to any person within its jurisdiction the 
equal protection of the laws. 

Section 2. Provides for the representation 
to be of the whole population, except where 
the right to vote is denied ; then to be reduced 
in that proportion, unless denied for partici- 
pation in rebellion, or other crime. 

Section 3. Disqualifies a class of rebels 
from holding office, unless such disability 
shall be removed by Congress. 

Section 4- Provides for its ratification by 
the States. 

of the Reco7istruction Period in Arkansas. 


The first step required was to 
compel the ratification of this 
amendment by three-fourths of 
the States, which could not be 
done without s'ome of the South- 
ern States. So the act of Con- 
gress was passed entitled " An act 
to provide for the more efficient 
government" of the 'rebel states' 
over the President's veto, March 
the 2nd, 1867. By this act the 
' rebel states ' were divided into 
military districts, Arkansas and 
Mississippi composing the Fourth. 
To each district a military com- 
mander was required to be as- 
signed by the President, with 
power to organize military com- 
missions to try offenders against 
military orders and regulations. 

It also provided, that when the 
people of any one State shall have 
formed a constitution framed by a 
convention of delegates elected 
by male citizens of whatever race, 
color or previous condition, and 
shall be ratified by a majority of 
such persons voting on the ques- 
tion of ratification, and Congress 
shall have approved the same, and 
the Legislature of such State, 
elected under said constitution, 
shall have adopted said Four- 
teenth Amendment, and the said 
amendment shall have become a 
part of the constitution of the 
United States, then, and not until 
then, said State shall be declared 
entitled to representation in Con- 

On the 23rd of March, 1867, a 

supplementary bill was passed, 
authorizing the appointment of 
registrars by the commanding 
general and prescribing the form 
of oath to be administered to the 
elector before admitting him to 
register. That oath was in sub- 
stance, that the elector was a citi- 
zen of lawful age, of a certain 
county and State and had not been 
disfranchised for participation in 
any rebellion or civil war against 
the United States, nor for felony : 
and that he had not taken an oath 
as a State officer or member of 
Congress, or as an officer of the 
United States, and afterwards en- 
gaged in insurrection or rebellion 
against the United States, or given 
aid or comfort to the enemies 
thereof; such oath to be adminis- 
tered by any registering officer. 

At the passage of this act, the 
' Rebel Legislature ' of Arkansas 
was in session. The act would 
disqualify a majority of its mem- 
bers, and some of the 'loyal' 
members of the other depart- 
ments of the State. The new 
Ship of State so recently launched 
with the sanction of Lincoln, 
seemed destined not to pass be- 
yond the roadsteed. The Legisla- 
ture adopted the report and reso- 
lutions of the House Committee 
on Federal Relations, presented by 
its chairman, Mr. W. H. Brooks, a 
distinguished Confederate Colo- 
nel, who came to Arkansas from 
Detroit, Michigan, in 1859, and 
was elected from Sebastian county. 


The Brooks a?id Baxter War: a History 

The resolutions show how cordi- 
ally the affiliation had become be- 
tween the different departments 
of the State government. 

Whereas, the present government of the 
State of Arkansas was duly and properly 
organized under the proclamation of President 
Lincoln of December the 8th, 1863, and has 
been peaceably acquiesced in by all the people, 
and has remained and is now in full force and 
operation over all parts of the State, in all its 
departments, whereby life, liberty and prop- 
erty are fully and amply protected in the per- 
sons of all its inhabitants ; 

And Whereas, the greater majority of the 
people of the State are satisfied therewith, and 
desire no change, and the constitution of the 
State provides for its own amendment and no 
law has been passed calling a convention for 
its alteration ; 

Be it resolved by the General Assembly of 
the State of Arkansas, That the existing gov- 
ernment of the State of Arkansas is hereby 
declared to be republican in form, in con- 
formity with the constitution and constitutional 
laws of the United States, and as such is 
the true and proper government of the State — 
and of right ought to be recognized as a mem- 
ber of the Federal Union, — and entitled to its 
due representation in the Senate and House 
of Representatives of the United States, with 
all the rights and privileges of other States. 

Be it further Resolved, That our United 
States Senators be instructed, and our Repre- 
sentatives in Congress (?) be requested to lay 
these resolutions before the President of the 
United States and Congress, and a copy be 
sent to each of the Governors of the several 
States of the Union, with the request that the 
same be presented to their several legislatures. 

It was a dignified but vain pro- 
test. It seemed fatuous to speak 

of Senators and Representatives 
in Congress, since none had been 
admitted and the conditions upon 
which they were to be admitted, 
were set forth in the act of Con- 
gress, and the contingencies were 
too remote. Mr. Garland and Rev. 
Andrew Hunter were elected by 
the Legislature the two Senators 
in Congress, and ' went on ;' but, 
I regret to say, soon ' returned,' 
not being admitted. 

The minority report which was 
presented by Mr. Racket, fully 
' accepted the situation.' It was 
also lengthy and contained some 
' assumptions' not warranted. I 
give the substance of the report of 
the minority committee as fol- 
lows : 

By an act of Congress, which became a law 
the second day of March, 1867, the present 
government of the State of Arkansas is de- 
clared provisional, and under th? provisions 
of the act, it is probable that this Legislature 
is without a quorzim, the undersigned respect- 
fully recommend the appointment of a com- 
mittee whose duty it shall be to ascertain 
what members of this Legislature are entitled 
to their seats; and, if upon that report it shall 
appear that there are members disqualified 
by the act, their seats be declared vacant, and 
an election under the provisions of said act 
be held ; and that so far as the qualifica- 
tion of voters and the eligibility of candi- 
dates is concerned, and until such election, 
all business in this department be suspended. 

The undersigned fully concede the power 
of Congress to pass said law, and are in 
favor of an early call for a convention for the 
purpose of organizing the State under the 
same. The people demand that this shall be 

of the Reconstructioti Period in Arkansas. 


done; and if those who are ineligible to exer- 
cise any political privileges whatever, con- 
tinue to exercise the functions of office, the 
people will be unsettled as to their natural 
(sic) rights, and may, and doubtless will, (ne- 
groes chiefly), by virtue of the inherent and 
inalienable right of every people (except for- 
mer rebels), seek their safety and happiness in 
a constitutional (sic) and organized govern- 
ment, and proceed peaceably to form and 
establish a government in conformity with 
said act of Congress. 

Those who voted in favor of the 
minority report in the House", 
were Messers. Dickey, Farrelly, 
Racket, Harper, Leming, McCol- 
lum, Wheeler and West. 

In view of the act of Congress 
and the powers then asserted by it, 
the supporters of the minority re- 
port apparently took the more 
business like stand. The unseating 
of the * rebel ' members was in- 
evitable, and that would practic- 
ally destroy the General Assem- 
bly. But, upon principle, the sup- 
porters of the majority report were 
in the better attitude before the 
white people. In standing by 
their people, they undoubtedly dis- 
played the truer philanthropy and 
patriotism. It took four years from 
that date, that is to the date of 
the determination of the " Brooks 
and Baxter War," to demonstrate 
that theirs was the truer policy and 
they the better politicians. 

For the present, the government 
was declared ' provisional only,' 
and Governor Murphy was again 
a ' Provisional Governor,' and had 

only to look across to the place of 
meeting of the Union convention, 
then also in session, to realize that 
his ' provisional ' tenure was draw- 
ing to a close. 

The Union State convention was 
in session for the purpose of or- 
ganizing the Republican party 
upon the basis of negro suffrage. 
Col. James M. Johnson, of Madison 
County, was president. Among its 
ablest and most zealous members 
were — from Arkansas county, Jno. 
McClure; from Hempstead, D. P. 
Beldin, J, R. Montgomery ; from 
Jefferson, Powell Clayton,- John 
A. Williams, and Sam W. Mal- 
lory ; from Montgomery, J. W. 
Demby ; from Prairie, T. M. Gib- 
son ; from Pulaski, Ben. F. Rice, 
T. D. W. Yonley, W. W. Will- 
shire, J. L. Hodges, L. J. Barnes 
W. S. Oliver, and James Hinds, 
John Peyton, etc. Rev. Joseph 
Brooks, living at Helena, is not in 
the list of delegates from Phillips, 
reported by the committee on 
credentials. After remaining in 
convention for several days, they 
adopted a platform and resolu- 
tions in favor of enfranchising the 
negroes and disfranchising the 
* rebels' Many of them came to 
this State with or behind the army ; 
a few were old citizens from the 
' Mountains.' 

The third and the fourth article 
of their platform will sufficiently 
show the animus and purpose of 
the convention. 

3. That we recognize the power and right 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

of the National Government to determine the 
method and apply the means of reconstruct- 
ing the rebel States, and of providing lawful 
governments for the same ; and we do wil- 
lingly abide by and heartily accept the meas- 
ures adopted or which may hereafter be neces- 
sarily prescribed by Congress for a full, per- 
fect and final reconstruction of said States, 
to the end that the State may be admitted 
to its wonted position in the Union and repre- 
sentation in Congress ; that the liberty and 
rights of every citizen may be secured and 
sacredly guarded and protected under an 
honest, competent and loyal State govern- 
ment ; that the credit of the State may be re- 
stored and economy in the public expen- 
ditures be secured % that the construction of 
railroads and other internal improvements so 
necessary to the prosperity of the State may 
be commenced and vigorously prosecuted ; 
and that the peace, security and prosperity 
may be restored to the State and all people. 
We declare that we are in favor of immediate 
action under and in conformity to the acts of 
Congress, and we hereby tender to the Major- 
General commanding this district, our hearty 
support and co-operation in their honest and 
faithful execution. 

4. That we denounce the guilty authors 
of the late rebellion who refuse to acquiesce 
in the necessary, legitimate and just results of 
their own folly and crime, and who are now 
counselling the people to continued opposition 
and resistance to the legitimate and lawful 
authority of the National Government, as ene- 
mies of the Union and all the dearest and best 
interests of the people, and they deserve the 
scorn of every honest citizen who desires to 
see law and order and peace and prosperity 
secured to the State. 

The fourth article contained a de- 
nunciation of "disloyal newspapers 
and political demagogues, whose 

purpose it was, as soon as represen- 
tation in Congress is secured, to 
repudiate their compact with the 
National Government, disfranchise 
the recently enfranchised citizens 
and prohibit education of their 

The platform contained several 
other sections, which I leave out, 
as they are in the same strain. A 
State central committee was ap- 
pointed with extraordinary powers. 

John Kirkwood, an old citizens 
of Batesville, then offered the fol- 
lowing resolution, which was 
adopted : 

Resolved, That Hon. Elisha Baxter, Gen. 
Albert W. Bishop and Col. James M. Johnson 
be requested to represent the interests of the 
loyal men of this State at Washington City 
whenever in the opinion of ihe State Central 
Committee, such interest may seem to require 
their presence, and that the State Central 
Committee be instructed to provide for mak- 
ing suitable compensation for the services of 
these gentlemen. 

The convention adjourned sine 
die. Here were Chief Justice 
Yonley, Col. James M. Johnson 
and Adjutant-General Bishop — 
not to mention Judge Baxter, who 
was not in office — holding com- 
missions aboard the sinking ship 
of the New State Government, 
giving her up as doomed. The 
affiliation of the departments had 
been complete, while it lasted, 
and gave promise of a harmoni- 
ous future. But the aspirations of 
interested, false friends interfered 
to disrupt a union that augured so 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


well, and bring ruin upon a virtu- 
ous and happy household. 

The full-pay Adjutant-General 
was not to be closed out by the new 
combination. He would wave his 
hyperian locks and display his 
'mark of distinction' upon the 
avenues of the ' National ' Capi- 
tal, — whence he returned a Re- 
gister in Bankruptcy. 

Its crew was leaving and the hulk 
of the Lincoln-Murphy White- 
Man's Government was drifting out 
to sea to become a prize to the 


" Say, why are you here ? Why did you come ? 

How long are you going to stay? 
Why don't you speak ? You cannot be dumb ! 

Say, when are you going away ? " 

— Helen Cranberry. 

Major-General Ord had, by the 
President, been appointed Com- 
manding General of the Fourth 
Military District, with headquar- 
ters of the district at Vicksburg, 
Mississippi. He visited Little 
Rock with a glittering staff, where 
he was waited on by the ' commit- 
tee of conference,' appointed by 
the Republican convention, to ad- 
vise him in regard to the appoint- 
ment of Registrars under the late 
acts of Congress, of which Jonas 
M. Tibbetts was chairman, and 
the 'Republican Central Commit- 
tee,* of which B. F. Rice was chair- 
man. These occurrences dispelled 
from all minds the idea that peace 

had been permanently established, 
although two years had passed 
since the surrender of the rebel 
armies, and three years since the 
organization of the State govern- 
ment under the Lincoln procla- 

And so the operations of the 
Lincoln-Murphy government had 
been practically delusive. It had 
been set aside by the acts of Con- 
gress for the reconstruction of the 
State upon a basis of enfranchise- 
ment of the negro, with liberty to 
the agents of reconstruction to dis- 
franchise the whites who had par- 
ticipated in, or sympathized with, 
the rebellion. The sword was 
unsheathed in order to compel 
citizens, whether loyal or disloyal, 
to organize a State government 
which should adopt a cohstitution 
giving suffrage to the negro, when 
a legislature, under such constitu- 
tion, should ratify the fourteenth 
article of amendments to the Con- 
stitution of the United States. 

The amendment had already 
(June 6th, 1866) been proposed to 
the States by Congress (in which 
ten States were not represented), 
and, under the forms of the con- 
stitution, was required to be rati- 
fied by three-fourths of the States 
of the Union. It was a rounda- 
bout proceeding, through uncon- 
stitutional methods, to adopt a 
constitutional amendment which 
should deprive the States of their 
control of the power to regulate 
the elective franchise in the States. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a Historv 

It had been repeatedly decided 
by the Supreme Court of the 
United States, that the power to 
regulate the elective franchise be- 
longed exclusively to the States. 
The Court further laid down the 
rule that " citizenship has no nec- 
essary connection with the fran- 
chise of voting, or eligibility to 
office, and does not of itself give 
the right to vote; nor does the 
want of it prevent a State from 
conferring the right of suffrage." 
I do not think that any leader in 
Congress affected to regard these 
proceedings as strictly 'constitu- 
tional.' They assumed that war 
still existed ; that peace had not 
been permanently established, and 
that the maxim Inter anna leges 
silent alone applied. Yet they 
strenuously denied the application 
of the maxim equally applicable: 
Anna in armatos sumere jura 
sinunt (to take up arms against the 
armed is a lawful right), which lies 
at the root of the doctrine of self- 
defense. The general government 
possessed expressly delegated 
powers, among which was not in- 
cluded the right to regulate suf- 
rage in the States, or to coerce a 

All powers not delegated were 
" reserved to the States, respect- 
ively, or to the people'' — whatever 
' people ' may mean in such con- 
nection. Its leaders could not 
justify their acts by any other ar- 
gument than that which is called 
the last argument of kings : 

"Where the word of a king is, there is power; 
And who may say unto him : ^\^lat doest 

Meanwhile impecunious stran- 
gers swarmed through the negro 
quarters of the city and cabins of 

On the 19th of July, 1867, Con- 
gress passed another and the third 
in the series of reconstruction 
acts, still more clearly defining its 
purposes. I will give in full the 
following section of the act : 

Section 5. A7id be it further enacted 
That the boards of registration provided for 
in the act entitled " An act supplementary to 
an act entitled 'An act to provide for the 
more efficient government of the rebel States,' 
passed March two, eighteen hundred and six- 
ty-seven, and to facilitate restoration," passed 
March twenty-three, eighteen hundred and 
sixty-seven, shall have power, and it shall be 
their duty, before allowing the registration of 
any person, to ascertain, upon such facts or in- 
formation as they can obtain, whether such 
person is entitled to be registered under said 
act, and the oath required by said act shall 
not be conclusive on such question, and no 
person shall be registered unless such board 
shall decide that he is entitled thereto ; and 
such board shall also have power to ex- 
amine, under oath (to be administered by any 
member of such board), any one touching the 
qualification of any person claiming registra- 
tion ; but in every case of refusal by the board 
to register an applicant, and in every case of 
striking his name from the list as hereinafter 
provided, the board shall make a note or 
memorandum, which shall be returned with 
the registration list to the commanding gen- 
eral of the district, setting forth the grounds 
of such refusal, or such striking from the list ; 

of the Reconstruction Period i>i Arkansas. 


Provided, That no person shall be disqualified 
as member of any board of registration by 
reason of race or color." 

Filled with dismay, leading citi- 
zens met to consult as to the 
course they should take, and ad- 
vise their friends to take, in the 
formation of a new State govern- 
ment under the reconstruction 
acts of Congress. After full de- 
liberation they issued the follow- 
ing address : 

" To the People of the State of Arkansas', or 

such as may be Entitled to Vote at the 

coming Election fixed by Gerteral Ord for 

the £th day {Jirst Tuesday') of November, 

A. D. 1867 : 

" Each of us whose names appear in this 

paper, has received, from time to time, letters 

from various persons in the State, asking our 

opinions and advice as to the course to be 

pursued in the election above referred to. 

Upon consultation we have agreed upon this 

method of answering those letters, and in so 

doing we but give our opinions, and do not 

assume to direct any one, or to dictate to any 


After a most careful and thorough consider- 
ation of the Reconstruction Act itself, with 
all the reasons for and against which we have 
heard or read, we regard reconstruction under 
that act as an impossibility. Some sort of 
restoration may be had under it, but a recon- 
struction such as will give our people equal 
rights with others, and such as will secure to 
our State and her citizens full constitutional 
rights, cannot be had under that measure. 
Any reconstruction short of this would be a 
cruel mockery, and would result, in the end, 
in the certain degradation, prostration and 
complete ruin of the State. As harsh and 
severe and as odious as military rule may be, 
we prefer it infinitely to what must, of neces- 

sity, follow from any kind of restoration or 
reconstruction! under that act. 

"Therefore, a convention to bring about 
such a reconstruction, as this bill contem- 
plates, is to be avoided as the worst of evils. 
And if the convention is not needed to effect 
national restoration, or national integrity, cer- 
tainly it is not necessary for any merely local 
purposes. This is more particularly true when 
in its proceedings hundreds and thousands of 
our citizens are not permitted to even have a 
voice, but are altogether excluded from it, and 
besides are disfranchised, and branded as 
traitors and felons. 

" We regard it, then, as a sacred duty on the 
part of those who claim this as their home, 
and who feel for the pride, honor, and pros- 
perity of the State, to go to the polls and vote 
against a convention, and at the same time 
to vote for cautious, prudent, wise, conserva- 
tive delegates, so that if a convention should 
be held, its proceedings will be controlled and 
directed with an assurance that the State will 
not be given up to destruction, 

"These arc the views we entertain on this 
most important question, and they are submit- 
ted with a full conviction and a perfect sense 
of the magnitude of the interests at stake. 

" Respectfully, etc. 
Daniel Ringo, W.E.Woodruff, Sen., 

F. A. Terry, Sol. F. Clark, 

Z. P. H. Farr, Chas. a. Carroll, 

Wm. Q. Pennington, J. F. Fagan, 
S. C. Faulkner, R. C. Newton, 

T. J. Churchill, Geo. C. Watkins, 
JNO. C. Peay, U. M. Rose, 

C. B. Moore, L. B. Cunningham, 

Wm. E. Ashley, Jos. Stillwell, 

Jno. M. Harrell, E. H. English, 
A. H. Garland, Wm. A. Crawford." 

The States might not pass any 
bill of attainder or ex-post facto 
law, but (it was argued) Congress 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

might. The Constitution of the 
United States had not incorpora- 
ted the 29th chapter of Magna 
Charta in its provisions ; but those 
of the States had, as cited by 
Judge Yonley; and the common 
law was the rule of decisions of 
the courts of all the States except 

The foregoing address did not 
attempt any argument of the legal- 
ity of the reconstruction acts of 
Congress. President Johnson had 
exhausted the subject in return- 
ing them to Congress with his ob- 
jections, — in the fulfilment, he 
claimed, of his oath of office. 
'Congress,' of sixteen States, pro- 
ceeded to pass them over his ob- 
jections by the requisite tzuo thirds 
vote (?), bound also to the fulfil- 
ment of a similiar oath of office, 
and asked no justification. It mere- 
ly trained its victorious guns 
against the prostrate South. 

The newspaper established in 
Little Rock as the organ of the 
Republican party lately organized, 
and styled The Repjiblicaii, edited 
by Capt. John G, Price, professed 
to be pleased with the address as 
above issued. That paper said : — 
" The Bourbons have issued an 
address which is eminently char- 
acteristic of their inability to learn 
anything, and will give comfort to 
the friends of restoration and good 
government. We will with the 
most disinterested purpose advise 
them to beware how they monkey 
with the buzz-saw." 

The Registrars throughout the 
State were duly appointed in ac- 
cordance with suggestions to the 
commanding general by the con- 
ference committee, which had 
been assigned that duty by the 
Republican Convention. The 
State of Arkansas was composed 
of three regions of country inhab- 
ited by those whose interests and 
occupations were, to a degree, as 
distinct as the physical subdivis- 
ions of the State. Similar divis- 
ions, geographical and social or 
commercial, are described as exist- 
ing in the ancient republic of Ath- 

These were distinguished as the 
Mountain, the Plain, and the Shore. 
* The Mountain ' was inhabited by 
small farmers, and a populous 
community of hardy but ingenu- 
ous people. * The Plain ' was 
formed of broad fertile lands, 
which were cultivated by opulent 
slave-holders. ' The Shore ' was 
the seat of cities where wealth was 
gradually concentrating, and learn- 
ing and arts were cultivated. A 
description of one of these regions 
and its people, would in no wise 
answer for a correct description of 
another. The Mountain has less 
sympathy with the people of the 
Plain and Shore in their political 
or social aspirations. The Regis- 
trars that were appointed with 
such unlimited discretion were 
carefully chosen with a view to 
their adaptability to these various 
localities. The negroes — to whose 

of the Reco7istruction Period in Arkansas. 


voting no restraints were inter- 
posed by the acts of Congress, 
numbering about 200,000, which 
was one-fourth of the entire pop- 
ulation of the State — inhabited, 
principally, the Plain and the 
shore. There was no trouble in 
registering them. The prospect 
of voting filled them with pleasure. 
They were for the first time aroused 
to a real appreciation of the sig- 
nificance of occurring events. Most 
of the slaves retained the names of 
the families in which they had 
lived. Some of these names were 
no less illustrious than those of 
Washington, Jackson, Livingston, 
Hamilton, etc. 

While the Registrars were at 
work, under the pay of the United 
States, as required by the first or- 
der of the commanding general to 
complete the registration by the 
26th of September, the freedmen 
chiefly thronged the offices of reg- 
istration; the subject of registra- 
tion forming the principal topic of 
conversation among them. You 
might hear on the streets or in the 
lanes of the plantations such dia- 
logues as the following : — 

" Mr. Washington, has you done 
registered yit ? " 

" O, yes, Mr. Jackson, I done 
registered a week ago — leastwise 
I went dar and give um my name, 
but may be I mought as well go 

** Why certen'y. Go agin, go 
two or t'ree times. I went dar 

four times. I was gwine to be 
sho dey got my name." 

" But I spose you can't vote but 
once? " 

"I ain't concern' about dat; I 
want to vote one time, sho." 

At an office of registration in 
one of the mountain counties where 
there was a great rush of appli- 
cants for registration, and ropes 
were extended for some distance 
on each side of the entrance to se- 
cure admittance in regular order, a 
young white man, just become of 
age, applied to register. He was 
ordered to be admitted escorted 
by two negroes, each armed with 
a revolver, who marched him up 
between the ropes. On giving his 
name and age, his application was 
rejected, on the ground that al- 
though he had not participated in 
the rebellion, his father had been 
a Southern political leader ; the 
suspected sympathies of the ap- 
plicant demanded his rejection. 
He was marched back by his col- 
ored escort. 

The Registrars were taken gen- 
erally from the Union League, a 
secret organization which formed 
a compact body existing through- 
out the State, from which the body 
of the whites was excluded and 
to which the negroes were admit- 
ted upon the payment of a small 
initiation fee, and in the lodges of 
which they were encouraged to 
speak, and relate with excited im- 
aginations the experiences of their 
oppressions, prior and subsequent 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

to their emancipation. Agents of 
the Freedmen's Bureau organized 
and directed the League. 

Mr. James Hinds was a lawyer, 
living in the dwelling of Dr. C. 
Peyton, a distinguished Confeder- 
ate surgeon, purchased at a tax 
sale made by Copperthwaite, 
United States Commissioner for 
the collection of direct taxes to 
the United States, which sale was 
subsequently, by Justice Miller, 
declared invalid. The United 
States courts exercised jurisdic- 
tion, as if Arkansas were a State 
duly represented in Congress. 

Mr. Hinds practiced in the jus- 
tices' courts; wore a long black 
coat, dark clothing generally, and 
white cravat, and was usually to 
be seen with a law book under his 
arm. With a triangular face, broad 
forehead and sharp protruding 
chin, smoothly shaved ; thin lips, 
curving downward ; an habitual 
smile, and mild blue eyes, he 
was seldom seen on the street, 
except when it was evident that 
he had tarried too long at the 
wine cup. I never ascertained 
whence he came to Little Rock, 
and never saw any one who was 
able fully to explain the mystery 
of his tragic fate. He was one 
of the candidates of his party for 
a seat in the proposed convention. 
No one, than he, had more influ- 
ence over the colored people. He 
had them at his home, and treated 
them as his social equals. He was 
courteous to the whites who were 

inclined to accept his overtures ; 
and, negrophilist as he was, he was 
liberal to his opponents, and espe- 
cially those who had been in act- 
ive rebellion. Meeting Col. New- 
ton on the street, he said : 

" Col. Bob, I like a rebel who 
fought. I am a rebel myself; 
always was. I rebelled against 
the Constitution ; I have been 
spitting on it ever since I under- 
stood it authorized the enslave- 
ment of my fellow man. I don't 
blame you, though, as you did 
not make the Constitution." 

" You are very kind, Hinds," 
said the Colonel; "I appreciate 
your leniency, but the Constitu- 
tion was a contract; the consider- 
ations which supported it were a 
compromise, and don't you think 
we were bound to observe it in 
honor of its framers ? " 

"No!" said Hinds, "it was 
adopted without reference to those 
who were chiefly concerned, and 
was a fraud as to them ; and 
fraud vitiates from the beginning." 

"Oh," said the Colonel, "but 
they had their legal representa- 
tives ; they were wards ; they were 
disabled from acting for them- 
selves. I don't think they are any 
more competent now." 

" Ah, Colonel, that is prejudice. 
Such prejudice exists in the minds 
of you rebels that the colored 
population cannot have justice 
done to them, and until we clothe 
them with the power of the ballot, 
I undertake to say, that justice 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


cannot be administered to them 
even in the courts." 

" So you propose," said the 
Colonel, " to go to the opposite 
extreme, and give that people all 
the power, and reserve none for 
us rebels? " 

" No, sir ; we will do no such 
thing. We will adopt a constitu- 
tion under which no man shall be 
disfranchised unless he disfran- 
chises himself. All may vote, who 
will not interfere with the other's 
right to vote." 

" Yes." replied the Colonel, " but 
there will be the bayonet behind 
the ballots of all, just as now." 

"No, no," laughed Hinds, put- 
ting his arm around the Colonel's 
shoulder and leading him away; 
" under the constitution that we 
shall make, the ballot will be a 
weapon firmer set, and better than 
the bayonet — a weapon that 

" Comes down as still 
As snowflakes fall upon the sod. 

But executes a free man's will. 
As lightning does the will of God." 

Hinds was the lawyer of the 
colored litigants, and attended all 
their meetings, political and relig- 
ious. He would say to the 
congregations crowding the col- 
ored churches upon occasions 
when, layman as he was, he would 
be invited to the pulpit : 

" My colored brothers and sis- 
ters, I am a ' missionary.' I am 
one of those fellows who used to 
be called an ' abolition emissary.' 


I am authorized to save souls by 
making the people free. I believe 
there is no hope of heaven for a 
slave, because he has committed 
the unpardonable sin in being a 
slave. This is the day of your ju- 
bilee; you vote for a convention, 
and vote for me, and I will give 
you a free ticket of admission to 
the heavenly city." Which would 
be responded to with shouts. 

And the Rev. Joseph Brooks 
often followed Mr. Hinds in these 
exercises. He resided at Helena, 
to which place he went with Gen. 
Curtis, as chaplain of a colored 
regiment; was a candidate for the 
convention, and frequently visited 
Little Rock. He was a man of 
great size, had a large head, which 
was nearly bald, large features and 
sallow face, cleanly shaven. He 
would say, when Mr. Hinds would 
come down out of the pulpit, as 
he took his place behind the sa- 
cred desk : 

" My Christian friends, you un- 
derstand Brother Hinds. In a re- 
ligious point of view he is not 
quite orthodox in what he says, 
but the spirit of his remarks is 
just, if rightly understood. He 
means that a voluntary slave may 
not enter the kingdom of heaven. 
But I will say, its streets are 
thronged with slaves, from the 
time of Javan down to Uncle Tom ; 
and I can see that old slave, from 
Abraham's bosom talking kindly 
to the rich Lagree, explaining that 
the gulf which now separates them 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

is impassable, and that no advice 
will be sent to his kinsmen, but 
that they must act upon their own 
responsibility in the affairs of this 
life, and make reparation to those 
whom they have oppressed, by 
granting them equal rights with 

If his allusions to Lagree were 
not understood, those to Abra- 
ham and the rich man, had been 
heard before. 

Mr. Brooks had a fluent deliv- 
ery, powerful voice, and energetic 
action. Such appeals invariably 
stirred the congregation to an up- 
roar. " Bless Gods," went up from 
the men, and " hallelujahs," and ' 
shouts, from the women, who end- 
ed by singing — 

" In the morning, in the morning by the 
bright light." 

Messrs. Hinds and Brooks were 
elected from their respective coun- 
ties to the constitutional conven- 
tion. The convention was de^- 
clared carried by order of the com- 
manding general, in General Or- 
ders No. 43, Headquarters Fourth 
Military District, series of 1867, 
by the following vote : For Con- 
vention, 27,576 ; Against Conven- 
tion, 13,558- 

The convention commenced its 
sitting on Tuesday, January 7th, 
1868, and after a little more than a 
month's deliberation declared the 
constitution adopted on February 
nth, 1868, ready for submission 
to the people for their ratification. 

and the election of officers under 
it on the 13th day of March, 1868. 

Its President was Thomas Bow- 
en, of Mt. Pleasant Iowa. Rev. 
Jos. Brooks was one of the Vice- 
Presidents, and John G. Price, 

The new constitution contained 
the following provision on the sub- 
ject of the franchise : 

Section i. In all elections by the people 
the electors shall vote by ballot. 

Section 2. Every male person born in the 
United States, and every male person who has 
been naturalized, or has legally declared his 
intentions to become a citizen of the United 
States, who is twenty-one years old or up- 
wards, and who shall have resided in this 
State six months next preceeding the election, 
and who, at the time, is an actual resident of 
the county in which he offers to vote, except 
as hereinafter provided, shall be deemed an 
elector. Provided, no soldier, or sailor, or 
marine, in the military or naval service of the 
United States, shall acquire a residence by 
reason of being stationed on duty in this State. 

Sec. 3. The following classes shall not be 
permitted to register or vote or hold offices, 
viz : 

First. Those who, during the rebellion, 
took the oath of allegiance, or gave bonds for 
loyalty and good behavior to the United 
States government, and afterwards gave aid, 
comfort, or countenance, to those engaged in 
armed hostility to the government of the 
United States, either by becoming a soldier in 
the rebel army, or by entering the lines of 
said army, or adhering in any way to the 
cause of rebellion, or by accompanying any 
armed force belonging to the rebel army, or 
by furnishing supplies of any kind to the 
same. • 

of the Reco7istruction Period in Arkansas. 


Second. Those who are disqualified as 
electors, or from holding office in the State or 
States from which they came. 

Third. Those persons who during the late 
rebellion violated the rules of civilized war- 

Fourth. Those who may be disqualified 
by the proposed amendment to the Constitu- 
tion of the United States, known as Article 
XIV., and those who have been disqualified 
from registering to vote for delegates to the 
convention to frame a constitution for the 
State of Arkansas, under the act of Congress 
entitled "An Act to provide for the more 
efficient government of the rebel States," 
passed by Congress March 2d, 1867, and the 
acts supplementary thereto. ***** 
Provided, That all persons included in the 
first, second, third, and fourth subdivisions of 
this section, who have openly advocated, or 
have voted for the reconstruction proposed by 
Congress, and accept the equality of all men 
before the law, shall be deemed qualified 
electors under this Constitution. 

Sec. 5. All persons before registering or 
voting must take and subscribe the following 
oath: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that 
I will support and maintain the Constitution 
and laws of the United States, and the Con- 
stitution and laws of the State of Arkansas; 
that I am not excluded from registering or 
voting by any of the clauses in the first, sec- 
ond, third, or fourth subdivisions of Article 
VIII. of the Constitution of the State of Ar- 
kansas ; that I will never countenance or aid 
in the secession of this State from the United 
States; that I accept the civil and political 
equality of all men, and agree not to attempt 
to deprive any person or persons, on account 
of race, color, or previous conditions, of any 
political or civil right, privileges, or immunity, 
enjoyed by any other class of men ; and, fur- 
thermore, that I will not in any way injure, 
countenance in others any attempt to injure. 

any person, or persons, on account of past or 
present support of the government of the 
United States, the laws of the United States, 
or the principle of the political and civil 
equality of all men, or for affiliating with any 
political party." 

On the 13th day of March, 1868, 
the people were to be called on 
again to vote upon the ratification 
or rejection of this constitution. 
The subject of the ratification of 
this constitution making radical 
changes, and, in view of the pro- 
posed constitutional amendment 
to perpetuate its measures, excited 
the deepest interest. 

The old citizens of the State, 
without regard to former party af- 
filiation, whether for or against the 
Union in the late conflict, were 
generally opposed to the radical 
measures of the proposed consti- 
tution. In response to a call issued 
by well-known leaders of different 
party complexions, residing at 
Little Rock, the convention of 
what was styled ' The Democratic 
Conservative Party of Arkansas,' 
met at Little Rock in January. 
It was largely attended, and rep- 
resented the wealth and intelli- 
gence of the State. After full dis- 
cussion, it was decided, despite 
the offer which it was well under- 
stood would be in the constitution 
itself, that all who voted in favor 
of it should be admitted to regis- 
tration, not to vote for the consti- 

The convention, previous to its 
adjournment, appointed a State 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Central Committee, composed as 
follows : Robt. A. Howard, Chair- 
man, Little Rock; Wm. Byers, 
Batesville ; J. S. Dunham, Van Bu- 
ren; A. B. Williams, Washington; 
L. B. Nash, C. B. Moore, Arnold 
Syberg, F. A. Terry, and R. C. 
Newton ; J. M. Harrell, Secretary, 
Little Rock. 

The committee established the 
Campaign Gazette as its organ, a 
paper issued from the presses of 
the Arkansas Gazette whose print- 
ing office was in the control of 
those who had no sympathy with 
the movement. I will give here 
some paragraphs from the columns 
of the Campaign Gazette, edited 
by the committee, as samples of 
the arguments and positions taken 
by the organization it represented. 
In its leading article of January 
loth, speaking of the Constitution- 
al Convention then in session, it 

" We attended the first opening of the Rad- 
ical Menagerie at the ' old capitol ' this morn- 
ing. When we considered that only a few of 
the animals have ever been on exhibition be- 
fore, and are characterized by insatiable ra- 
pacity, we were a little nervous on approach- 
ing the arena, and secured a place beyond 
danger in the gallery. We could not but re- 
gard the collection with the deepest interest, 
which, we must confess, partook more of terror 
than admiration. Dr. Nieuwentyt, in his 
treatise to demonstrate the reality of final cau- 
ses has asked : Can it be chance that has in- 
spired the gentle and useful animals with the 
disposition to live together in our fields, and 
prompts ferocious beasts to roam by them- 
selves in unfrequented places? Why should 

not flocks of tigers be led by the sound of the 
shepherd's fife? Why should not a colony of 
lions be seen frisking in our parks among the 
wild thyme and the dew, like the little ani- 
mals celebrated by La Fontaine ? " 

In another article there occured 
the following paragraph : — 

" Circumventing God." 
" That popular reason in the United States, 
under recent strains upon it, should have given 
signs of some derangement, is not astonishing. 
No people ever were less prepared for the ca- 
tastrophes of a war like that we have passed, 
following upon a generation of unequaled, un- 
appreciated, peace and happiness. A sub- 
ject of greater wonder is, that the ' sober sec- 
ond thought,' in which we have been bred to 
have an abiding faith, should foreshadow its 
return so soon ! Already with growing com- 
posure we contemplate the future, and remem- 
ber the past as a troubled dream — a dreadful 
delirium — from which we pray a perpetual de- 

" The organ of the Radicals at the Capital 
of Massachusetts — whence were loosed some 
of the fiercest gusts of the late passion-storm 
— cries out in the very pain of a similar return 
to reason, that defeat in the recent Northern 
elections has overtaken the party because, by 
attempting to make the negro the equal of the 
white ma.n, it iried io cii'cu/uvent God. And 
this is not the language of disappointment, or 
passionate exageration, but of truth,— in the 
point, force, and eloquence of truth — truth, 
' and nothing more.' 

" In undertaking to elevate the negro to a 
position of equality with the white race, — if it 
had undertaken no more, the radical party has 
plotted to circumvent God ! That God's pur- 
pose is the contrary of this, is nowhere more 
plainly declared in his revelations, and the rev- 
elations of nature, which all may read and un- 
understand. The attractions and sympathy 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


which white men, in the most generous of im- 
pulses, formerly felt for the negro, is admira- 
bly explained by Horace Greely in his declar- 
ation that 'the negro in his bonds was strong- 
er than his master, because of the principle of 
justice crucified in him ' by his enslavement. 
As a slave, he was clothed too in the garb of 
an orderly propriety, and reflected the urban- 
ity and refinement of his fortunate owner, and 
the effects of the patriarchal mode of life in 
which he was reared." 

The Fairfield (Iowa) Democrat, 
of about that date, contained arti- 
cles denouncing the Rev. Joseph 
Brooks in unmeasured terms. He 
had gone into the army as chap- 
lain from that place, but as those 
articles merely made out what we 
knew him to be — a political preach- 
er, an abolition fanatic, we were 
not much enlightened thereby. 
"These abolitionists," Mr. Lincoln 
once said, "are unhandy people 
to deal with, but their faces are 
set towards Zion." 

The leaders in the convention 
had been Joseph Brooks and his 
colleagues from Philipps County, 
Wm. C. Gray — a dark mulatto, 
who had emigrated from some 
Northern State; John McClure, 
agent of the Freedmen's Bureau, 
of Arkansas County; and John R. 
Montgomery, Freedmen's Bureau 
agent, from Hempstead County. 
There were some able Conserva- 
tives in the convention. Robt. S. 
Gantt and W. F. Hicks, of Prairie 
County; J. N. Cypert, of White 
County ; Bouldin Duvall, of Law- 
rence County; and George W. 

Norman, of Ashley County. But 
their united voice made as little 
impression upon the course of the 
convention as the vetoes of the 
President had upon Congress. 

Mr. McClure, who was a very 
well informed and brainy man, in 
the disguise of long locks and an 
immense beard, was supposed to 
assist in the conduct of the Re- 
publican organ at Little Rock. 
Its articles consisted in denuncia- 
tion of the rebellion and rebels, 
and withering sarcasms at the ex- 
pense of ' the Bourbons.' The 
Democratic Central Committee 
appointed speakers to make a can- 
vass of the State against the con- 
stitution. The ' Union League ' 
sent its ablest lecturers to the re- 
motest corners of the negro dis- 
tricts. As there was but a short 
time in which to make the canvass, 
it was conducted with great vigor 
on both sides. One evening, when 
the city was in darkness from some 
failure in the supply of gas, I sud- 
denly beheld the reflection of a 
great light upon the clouds in the 
eastern part of the city. This was 
in the direction of the plantations 
extending down the river. As the 
light increased I heard shouting. 
Without public notice that it had 
been projected, a torchlight pro- 
cession of the negroes, from the 
plantations from below, entered 
the city. I should judge there 
were about three thousand torch- 
es. They wended through the 
principal streets of the city, and 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

excited the deepest interest, not 
to say alarm, in the breasts of the 
inhabitants. A refined and ami- 
able lady, who stood near me on 
the steps from which we viewed 
it (the widow of the late Dr. Jor- 

" Madam," I replied, "you speak 
lightly of it ; but I regard it as 
more serious than you think." To 
me it was a very alarming spec- 
tacle — that long column of howl- 
ing negroes, with their flaming 

dan, who had been the largest 
planter in the State), exclaimed 
in a vein of sarcastic humor: 

" They had left us our lives ; I 
suppose they now propose to put 
us to the torture." 

torches. Riding slowly in front 
of them, in sharp silhouette, was 
James Hinds, the only white man 
to be seen with the procession. 
They ended their procession in 
front of the 'Anthony House,' 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


where it was understood that Pow- 
ell Clayton and other orators were 
to address them. 

Farther than as a delegate to the 
Union convention, Gen. Clayton 
had not taken any part hitherto in 
politics. He was understood to 
have been a pro-slavery Democrat 
in Kansas prior to the war; was 
an efficient officer in the Union 
Army, and rose to the rank of 
brigadier-general. He had mar- 
ried in Helena, Arkansas, and pur- 
chased the ' Willoughby Williams' 
plantation below Pine Blufif, where 
he and his brother resided. He 
was a man a little above the me- 
dium height, with light hair and 
mustache, with a graceful but 
haughty bearing. He was ambi- 
tious of place and power, to which 
he sacrificed all prejudices, and 
had accepted the Republican nom- 
ination for Governor. Standing 
on the balcony of the Anthony 
House, in the glare of the torches, 
he made a defiant speech, indi- 
cating that he threw his fortunes 
upon the success of the Republi- 
can party in Arkansas. Hinds, 
Brooks, and McClure stood near 
him, and the white people heard 
him from the windows of the ho- 
tel and the sidewalks. The indi- 
cations seemed ominous of evil to 
the Conservative party and white 
people of the Sate. I pondered 
upon the evil which might be per- 
petrated by that horde of black 
men that blocked the street, shout- 
ing so wildly, under such a leader. 

James Hinds stepped forward, 
and, with feeble voice, was begin- 
ning to speak, when the fire-bell 
suddenly rang out at the City Hall, 
one hundred yards west, and soon 
the engine and trucks, led by 
George Counts, came dashing 
madly through the excited mass. 
The negroes uttered a cry of rage, 
as if they understood it to be a 
false alarm made for disturbing 
their meeting; but the fire engine 
dashed madly on. Torches were 
beaten over the horses' heads, and 
a pistol shot was heard, and then 
another. The orators hastily re- 
tired from the balcony, except 

As if they had been provided 
for the occasion, hundreds of 
bunches of Chinese fire-crackers 
were touched off at that instant. 
They sounded like the reports of 
a thousand pistols and the tumult 
of a fearful riot ; but no one was 
hurt. Before the popping had 
ceased, there was not a negro to 
be seen, except a woman known 
as ' Flying Jinnie,' who was hys- 
terically cursing the rebels. 

Fifty yards south of the hotel, 
there was a canal or ditch known 
as the * Town Branch.' It con- 
tained all that was left of the pro- 
cession, hiding under its banks 
and groping along its shallow bed 
to some place of safety. 

Such was the termination of 
that opening grand procession of 
the campaign ; and there was 
never any attempt at another. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

On the 28th of February, Con- 
gress adopted an additional meas- 
ure, which provided that the rati- 
fication or rejection of the consti- 
tution should be decided by a 
majority of the votes actually cast, 
and that at the time of voting 
upon the ratification of the con- 
stitution, the registered voters 
might vote also for representation 
in the Congress of the United 
States, and for all elective offices 
provided for by the said consti- 

General Ord had been relieved 
from the command of the De- 
partment. Major-General Alvan C. 
Gillem was appointed his successor. 

Notification from the General of 
the Army at Washington, by tel- 
egram to Gen. Gillem, of the pas- 
sage of this act was received tivo 
days after the election had com- 
menced. It could not be made 
known to those who were not ap- 
prised of it beforehajid. It was 
a 'scheme' between the carpet- 
baggers and Congress to elect 
State officers and representatives 
in Congress without opposition. 
Upon fair notice, citizen Unionists 
would have been candidates and 
largely supplanted them, as, al- 
though the former had control of 
the machinery, they would not 
have dared to use it openly in 
such a contest. 

On April 23d, Gen. Gillem re- 
ported to the General of the Army 
that the election held in Arkansas, 
commencing March 13th, 1868, 

upon the ratification of the con- 
stitution, showed 27,913 votes For 
the Constitution; 26,597 Against 
Constitution. Majority For Con- 
stitution, 1,316, as returned. 

He made also an extended re- 
port in regard to the frauds claimed 
to have been perpetrated by both 
parties, but Congress paid no at- 
tention to aught but the reported 
result, and on June 8th, 1868, 
passed on an act reciting that the 
State of Arkansas had adopted a 
constitution, and the Legislature 
of the State (which had organized 
in the meantime) had duly ratified 
the amendment to the constitution 
of the United States known as Ar- 
ticle XIV., and that the State was 
entitled and admitted to represen- 
tation in Congress as one of the 
States of the Union upon the fun- 
damental condition contained in 
said amendment. President John- 
son returned said act with his ob- 
jections, from which I take the 
following paragraphs in his mes- 
sage : 

"If Arkansas is a State not in the Union, 
this bill does not admit it as a State into the 
Union. If, on the other hand, Arkansas is a 
State in the Union, no legislation is neces- 
sary to declare it entitled ' to representation in 
Congress as one of the States of th» Union.' 
The Constitution already declares that ' each 
State shall have at least one representative;' 
that the Senate 'shall be composed of two sen- 
ators from each State;' and that *no State 
without its consent, shall be deprived of it& 
equal suffrage in the Senate.' The bill de- 
clares that the State of Arkansas is entitled and 

of the Reconsfructiofi Period in Arkansas. 


admitted to representation in Congress as one 
of the States of the Union, upon the following 
fundamental condition : That the constitu- 
tion of Arkansas shall never be so amended 
or changed as to deprive any citizen or class 
of citizens of the United States of the right to 
vote who are entitled to vote by the constitu- 
tion herein recognized, except as a punish- 
ment for such crimes as are now felonies at 
common law, whereof they shall have been 
duly convicted under the laws equally appli- 
cable to all the inhabitants of said State : 
Provided, That any alteration of said consti- 
tution, prospective in its effect, may be made 
in regard to the time and place of residence of 

" I have been unable to find in the constitu- 
tion of the United States any warrant for the 
exercise of the authority thus claimed by Con- 
gress. In assuming the power to impose a 
'fundamental condition ' upon a State which 
has been duly ' admitted into the Union upon 
an equal footing with the original States in all 
respects whatever,' Congress asserts a right to 
enter a State as it may a Territory, and to reg- 
ulate the highest prerogative of a free people 
— the elective franchise. This question is re- 
served by the constitution to the States them- 
selves, and to concede to Congress the power 
to regulate this subject would be to reverse the 
fundamental principle of the republic, and to 
place it in the hands of the Federal Govern- 
ment, which is the creature of the States, and 
the sovereignity which justly belongs to the 
States or the people, the true source of all 
political power, by whom our federal system 
was created, and to whose will it is subordi- 

" It is well known that a very large portion 
of the electors in all the States, if not a large 
majority of all of them, do not believe in or 
accept the political equality of Indians, Mon- 
golians, or Negroes, with the race to which 
they belong. If the voters in many of the 

States of the North and West we»e required 
to take such an oath, as a test of their qualifi- 
cation, there is reason to believe that a major- 
ity of them would remain from the polls rather 
than comply with its degrading conditions. 
How far and to what extent this test oath pre- 
vented the registration of those who were 
qualified under the laws of Congress, it is not 
possible to know ; but that such was its effect, at 
least sufficient to overcome the small and doubt- 
ful majority in favor of this constitution, there 
can be no reasonable doubt. Should the peo- 
ple of Arkansas, therefore, desiring to regu- 
late the elective franchise so as to make it 
conform to the constitutions of a large pro- 
portion of the States of the North and West, 
modify the provisions referred to in the * fun- 
damental condition,' what is to be the conse- 
quence ? Is it intended that a denial of rep- 
resentation shall follow ? And, if so, may we 
not dread, at some future day, a recurrence of 
the troubles which have so long agitated the 
country ? Would it not be the part of wisdom 
to take for our guide the Federal Constitu- 
tion, rather than resort to measures which, 
looking only to the present, may in a few 
years renew, in an aggravated form, the strife 
and bitterness caused by legisation which has 
proved to be so ill-timed and unfortunate ? 
" Andrew Johnson." 
"Washington, D. C, June 20th, 1868." 

The State officers declared to 
have been elected were — Gover- 
nor, Powell Clayton ; Lieutenant- 
Governor, James M. Johnson ; 
Secretary of State, Robert J. T. 
White ; Auditor of State, James 
R. Berry ; Treasurer of State, 
Henry Page ; Attorney-General, 
John R. Montgomery; Superin- 
tendent of Public Instruction, 
Thomas Smith; Associate Justices 
of Supreme Court, Lafayette 


llie Brooks and Baxter War: a Historv 

Gregg, John McClure, Thomas M. 
Bowen, and William M. Harrison. 

Members of Congress elect — 
First District, Logan H, Roots; 
Second District, James Hinds; 
Third District, Thomas Boles. 

United States Senators elect — 
Benjamin F. Rice, and Alexander 

Rev. Joseph Brooks was left out ! 

By the constitution just declared 
ratified, Article VH., Sections 3 
and 5, the Governor was author- 
ized to appoint the Chief Justice, 
and Judges of the 'inferior' 
Courts. He appointed W. W. Will- 
shire Chief Justice ; sixteen Circuit 
Judges, and a Chancellor. Few of 
the latter had ever practiced law, 
and all were subservient to his 
policy. What that policy proved 
to be will be shown in a subse- 
quent paper. It verified the 
prescience of the authors of 
the Democratic-Conservative ad- 
dress which had proclaimed : "As 
harsh, and as severe, and as odious 
as military rule may be, we prefer 
it infinitely to what must of neces- 
sity follow from any kind of resto- 
ration or reconstruction under the 
acts of Congress." 


" But now that statesmanship is — ^just a way 
To dodge the primal curse — to make it pay; 
Sure, office means a kind of patent drill 
To force an entrance to the People's till." 

— James Russell Lowell. 

The pretended election by 

which the constitution was held 
to be ratified was a mockery. Not 
only had notice of the amendatory 
act, authorizing the election of all 
officers under it, come too late to 
be made known in time through- 
out a State without railroads or 
telegraph lines, but the three com- 
missioners appointed in the sched- 
ule to supervise the election were 
vested with power to control it 
absolutely. They had the selection 
and control of all election officers ; 
they might hold the election as 
many days as they should see fit; 
count the votes and reject any 
they might deem illegal; set aside 
the election, or 'correct' the result 
in any county or precinct, and de- 
cide the right to any office con- 

If it could have been submitted 
to an impartial tribunal, I doubt 
whether the instrument itself, thus 
adopted, could have been adjudged 
'republican in form.' Instead of 
diffusing power among the people 
of cities and counties to regulate 
their internal or local affairs, it 
concentrated all power at the capi- 
tal, and really left none to be ex- 
ercised elsewhere. The newly 
enfranchised negroes had as little 
influence in the government as the 
mules upon the plantation. 

Powell Clayton, who was in- 
stalled Governor by means of 
these measures of undisguised 
fraud and force, was a resident of 
Pine Bluff, 35 years of age, en- 
gaged with his brother, John M. 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


Clayton, in planting near that 
place. He was born in 1833, on a 
farm in Delaware County, Penn- 
sylvania. His father was of 
Quaker descent, and his mother 
English. At the age of 20 he was 
sent to the military academy of 
Captain Alden Partridge, at Bris- 
tol, in that State. From thence 
he went to Wilmington, Delaware, 
to study civil engineering. His 
father was a Whig in politics, 
but young Clayton, under the in- 
fluences that surrounded him at 
the capital of the little banner 
State of Democracy, became a 
decided Democrat. In 1855 he 
removed to Leavenworth, Kansas 
Territory, at the beginning of the 
disturbances in that Territory, 
which grew into national import- 
ance in the years 1856 and 1857. I 
have no authority, beyond mere 
rumor, for stating that he took 
any part in those historic scenes. 
But, enterprising and ambitious, 
he must have cooperated with 
Capt. Martin's Kickapoo Rangers, 
or Atchison's Platte County Rifle- 
men, in some of those campaigns, 
either in the one against Lawrence 
— then the headquarters of John 
Brown and Jim Lane — or in the 
skirmish at Hickory Point, where 
the conflict between the border 
combatants was prevented by the 
timely arrival of the United States 
troops ordered to the scene by 
Col. Sumner. 

As a Democrat he would have 
favored the Lecompton Constitu- 

tion, countenanced by the admin-, 
istration of President Buchanan, 
as against the Topeka Constitu- 
tion — the movement in behalf of 
which President Pierce had pro- 
nounced 'revolutionary,' 

Senator Stephen A. Douglas 
had advocated the repeal of the 
Missouri Compromise, which 
opened Kansas to the introduc- 
tion of African slavery, and invited 
these foments. But he was led, 
from some cause, to oppose the 
Lecompton Constitution, and with 
the aid of four other Democrats 
in Congress, voted to defeat the 
passage of the bill for the ad- 
mission of Kansas as a State 
under that constitution. His po- 
sition may have contributed to aid 
him in defeating Mr. Lincoln for 
the Senate in 1858-9, but the 
effect was to transfer the Kansas 
embroilment to the country at 
large, and to disrupt the Demo- 
cratic party. 

These results precipitated the 
war between the States which fol- 
lowed. Clayton was endorsed by 
the Democrats of Leavenworth, 
who elected him City Engineer 
and Surveyor of that city. 

Upon the storming of Sumter, 
he resigned his civic position and 
was elected a Lieutenant of in- 
fantry in the volunteer service of 
the Union, but was transferred to 
the 5th Kansas Cavalry, of which 
he became Colonel. With this 
command he entered Helena, Ar- 
kansas, in 1862, under Gen. Curtis, 


TJie Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

and Little Rock under Gen. Steele 
in 1863. He was ordered thence 
to Pine Bluff, where he repulsed 
an attack by Confederate mounted 
men in greatly superior force 
under Gen. Marmaduke. This 
was heralded as a brilliant exploit, 
and secured Clayton's promotion 
to the rank of Brigadier-General. 
He does not appear to have dis- 
tinguished himself in any other 
historic engagement. The sur- 
prise of Dockery's men was an 
every-day affair of no moment. 
Gen. Clayton was possessed of 
personal courage, beyond a doubt, 
and was not a man to avoid a per- 
sonal encounter. He had begun 
his career amidst scenes of frater- 
nal strife and bloodshed, and 
seems to have been at home in 

The powers conferred upon the 
executive by the new constitution, 
and by the acts of the Legislature 
which met April 2, 1868, placed 
the control of all the machinery 
of government in the Executive, 
He was authorized to appoint the 
Chief Justice and all the judges 
of the inferior courts; Commis- 
sioner of Immigration and State 
Lands ; Commissioner of Public 
Works and Internal Improve- 
ments ; Boards of Registration 
to choose registrars and judges of 
election; Board of Trustees of the 
Institute for the Blind, and Deaf 
Mute Institute ; Board of Trustees 
of the Industrial University; to 

be President of Railroad Com- 
mission; to be Commissioner of 
Common School Fund ; President 
of the Board of Public Printing; 
to designate 'official newspa- 
pers ; ' to issue State bonds to rail- 
road companies ; to appoint Prose- 
cuting Attorneys; Assessors; all 
militia officers ; negotiate for loan 
for purchase of arms ; to remove 
County Superintendents of Com- 
mon Schools; to cast up and 'ar- 
range ' the vote for each person 
voted for as Presidential Elector ; 
to fill all vacancies in the offices 
of Secretary of State, Auditor, 
Treasurer, Attorney-General, Su- 
perintendent of Public Instruc- 
tion, County Clerks, Sheriffs, and 
County Supervisors. 

To make his power over all the 
departments complete, he was the 
political head and Commander of 
the Union League. In this capaci- 
ty he could dictate to the pliant 
and helpless blacks, in each repre- 
sentative district, the persons to 
be elected by them as Senators 
and Representatives in the Gen- 
eral Assembly, at all elections 
conducted by registrars and judges 
who were his creatures. The 
counties were gerrymandered to 
form representative districts in 
which the blacks would surely be 
in the majority. 

He designated the justices of 
the peace and constables who were 
to be members of the boards of 
registration and presidents of such 
boards, and might remove any one 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkatisas. 


so appointed ' for sufficient cause.' 
The powers of these boards were 
extraordinary. Each registrar and 
board of review, while discharging 
its duties, was invested with and 
required to exercise the powers of 
a circuit cotcrt, and might issue 
process to sheriffs or constables, 
who were to receive fees for their 
services as for ' similar services in 
State cases.' No circuit court 
could exercise the power to issue 
any mandamus, or other process, 
to any registrar or board of re- 
view. This was to prevent inter- 
ference by the courts in the con- 
duct of * elections,' which were 
merely executive appointments, 
through this expensive and de- 
moralizing system. 

Whether it was because Gov. 
Clayton was lead into temptation 
by the possession of these arbi- 
trary powers, or was by nature of 
an arbitrary disposition, he soon 
demonstrated that there was no 
authority thus conferred upon 
him that he would hesitate to ex- 
ercise. The sword was intended 
to cut one way, but it was not 
long before his political associates 
found that it was two-edged, and 
are on record in protests and pro- 
ceedings accusing him of exceed- 
ing and abusing his powers. 

The Governor was to be paid a 
salary of ;^5,ooo, and to have the 
rental of a Governor's mansion at 
;^i,200 per year, payable quarterly 
out of any money in the treasury 
not otherwise appropriated. The 

Secretary, Auditor, Treasurer, 
;^3,ooo each ; the Chief Justice, 
^4,500; Associate Justices, $a^,ooo 
each ; the Circuit Judges, Chancel- 
lor, Attorney-General and Super- 
intendent of Public Instruction, 
;$3,500 each. 

The Metropolitan Hotel, then 
owned by Jonas Tibbetts, was 
headquarters of the Republican 
leaders. Judge Bowen boarded 
there with his beautiful wife, for- 
merly Miss Thruston, of Van 
Buren, where Bowen first landed 
in Arkansas as an officer under 
Gen, Blunt. McClure, Rice and 
Bowen met there nightly, in Nat. 
Hill's room. 

* Colonel ' Hill was an ex-Con- 
federate, who professed to advo- 
cate the reconstruction measures, 
and paid court to the new officials. 
They formed a lively coterie. 
Bowen talked cards. He had a 
' system ' which he claimed would 
break any faro-bank dealt * on the 
square.' He had 'rules,' too, for 
playing draw-poker. But Judge 
McClure, proclaiming no theory, 
was the most successful adept at 
this great American game. Clay- 
ton was fond of the game, but did 
not play there. When a Senator 
afterwards, he played an equal 
hand with Blaine, Dorsey and 
Pinchbeck, who were fine players. 

There is a great deal of human 
nature in poker. The game is a 
mimic battle of life, in which 
knowledge of human nature, pru- 
dence, calculation and nerve are 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

brought into play; and active 
minds delight in it. 

Col. Hill had also systems and 
theories. He related startling in- 
stances of their successful appli- 
cation. But as his bank account 
did not seem to increase, his audi- 
tors refrained from prying into his 
secrets. McClure said that Hill 
was so 'visionary' in his talk, if 
another man were to report him 
dead, and Hill should come around 
in person to deny the report, Mc- 
Clure would be bound to believe 
the other fellow. McClure was 
the * Touchstone ' of these exiles 
in the forest of Arkansas. In spite 
of systems Rice and McClure, who 
did not profees to have any, dem- 
onstrated a practical superiority in 
the game, and rapidly exhausted 
the finances of their adversaries. 
The purses of all these doughty 
chevaliers of reconstruction were 
getting slender. Hence the ner- 
vous anxiety which is betrayed 
by the act of their legislature of 
July 9, 1868: 

Section 2. That every officer of the State, 
city, county or township who is, or has been, 
employed in the collection of the public reve- 
nue shall be required by the judges of the 
County Court to make final settlement of all 
the moneys which have come into his hands, 
by virtue of his office, within thirty days 
after notice served on him to appear and 
make settlement, etc. 

Sec. 3. Makes it the duty of the Grand 
Jury to indict any such officer for embezzle- 
ment in whose hands any balance due shall 
remain unpaid thirty days. 

The assessors had all been ap- 
pointed, and were on their rounds 
under the act of July 22, 1868 : 

Section 22. It shall be the duty of the 
Governor forthwith to appoint and commission 
some suitable person in each county in this 
State to the office of assessor, whose term of 
office shall continue until the general election 
in 1870, unless sooner removed by the Gov- 
ernor, etc. 

The act of March 25, 1871, 
Sec. 38, made it the duty of the 
Governor to appoint assessors for 
the full term of four years, unless 
sooner removed by the Governor. 
And lest by any influence any as- 
sessor should be induced to" place 
his valuation of taxable property 
too low, it was provided, in the 
former act : 

Section 31. Each County Clerk shall, 
from time to time, correct any errors in the 
the name of the owner, in the valuation, 
description or quantity of any tract or lot con- 
tained in the assessment books of his county, 
but in no case shall he make any reduction 
from the valuation of any tract or lot of real 

By Sec. Zj of the same act, he 
was declared entitled to three per 
ceritum on the amount of taxes 
levied on his assessment list, to 
be paid out of the county treas- 
ury. This was a commission 
which stimulated to high assess- 
ments. The Board of Equaliza- 
tion, composed of the same 
assessor and clerk, was forbidden 
to reduce them except in particu- 
lar cases ; the aggregate value to 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


be returned without reduction, 
with the additions made by the 

By the act of March 28, of the 
same year, the county assessor was 
clothed with power, and it was 
made his duty, to attend the voting 
places in each election precinct, 
district and ward, and after five 
days' notice to add to the regis- 
tration list of voters the names of 
such persons as he might find to 
be qualified voters, and to issue 
certificates to such electors, and 
to deliver copies of such registra- 
tion to the judges of election. He 
was authorized also to appoint 
judges and clerks of election, and 
while discharging his duties to 
have the power of a circuit court/ 
The Governor, upon satisfactory 
evidence furnished that the regis- 
tration in any county had been 
fraudulent or illegal, might set 
the same aside and order a new 

The assessor was thus the object 
of the special care of the Legisla- 
ture. He was the mere agent of 
the Governor, removable at the 
Governor's pleasure. Through 
this important agent it will be seen 
how taxes were increased to meet 
the demands of exactions, piled 
upon each other, until the reve- 
nues, at any increase, were insuffi- 
cient to pay a tithe of the interest 
upon the debts created. 

Under the Murphy government, 
from April 18, 1864, to October i, 
1867, the money expended for the 

support of the State Government 
amounted to ^64,800 per annum, 
or $194,400. The first two years 
and a half are accurately stated 
at $64,800 from the records. The 
last year's expenditures from Oc- 
tober I, 1866, to October i, 1867, 
are involved with expenses of re- 
construction, and cannot be stated 
as positively, but as expenses of 
the State proper, were about the 
same. No moneys were paid on 
account of Democratic Senators 
elected, or messengers or attor- 
neys employed on behalf of the 
State, as has been falsely rumored. 
It was upon the organization of 
the State government under the 
constitution of 1868, that the 
flood-gates of official extrava- 
gance were opened. Mr. James 
R. Berry, ' elected ' auditor on the 
ticket with Clayton, and who was 
auditor under Governor Murphy 
(his father-in-law), and 'elected' 
on the ticket with Baxter, stated 
on oath in his examination before 
the Congressional Committee, of 
which Hon. Luke E. Poland was 
chairman, as follows : Question — 
Was there any money in tne treas- 
ury when Gov. Baxter took pos- 
session of the office in 1873? 
Anszver — For general purposes, 
' narry red.' Q. — At the time of 
the installation of Gov. Baxter, 
was not the State debt very much 
larger — both the funding and float- 
ing debt — -than it was in 1868, 
when Gov. Clayton took posses- 
sion ? A. — Very largely increased. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

The witness then 
following table ; 

presented the 

S5 . 







« e 




c4 cS 




_ '- 




'O >-■ 

U c4 







'^ ,n 








•^ "O 

5 3 


t>. \o 

VO 8 

vO 00 


m c> 

VO 00 

c4 . 

0\ o 

t^ Ov 

vO N 

l^ '^ 

o> - 

V? S 

c^ vo 

VO ro 


i-T <5 

i-T rC 

- rF 

Tf ■* 

1^ 00 

O -1 

fO ro 

rf Tj- 

Tl- O^ 






8 8 

8 8 

8 8 


vO vo 

ro Ov 

m N 


« N 


-i- OS 


X^ rj- 

I^ 00 

Ov M 


S^ 8 


o\ O 


vO ro 

« VO 

00 uo 


00 d\ 

cT fo 

" Tf 

vO VO 

0\ Ov 

o o 






00 ON 

o « 

N fO 


vO vO 

t^ r^ 

t^ t-» 


00 00 

00 00 

00 00 


n " 

H 1— 

" ►» 

*This amount does not include $200,coo in 
bonds, for pay of militia and general arrears. 

The note appended to the table 
is that of the witness. The total 
expenditure is ^6,284 281.62, with- 
out including the $200,000 for 
militia. In addition to the above 
expenditure, plans for issuing 
bonds were devised. Measures 
creating a public bonded debt 
were early begun. The " Act to 
aid in the construction of rail- 
roads," with its ' catchy ' title, was 
the initial enterprise, and was ap- 

proved by Gov. Clayton July 21, 
1868. As passed, it was in viola- 
tion of Art. VI., Sec. 10, of the 
new Constitution, which reads as 
follows : " The credit of the State 
or counties shall never be loaned 
for any purpose without the con- 
sent of the people thereof ex- 
pressed through the ballot box." 
The following are the salient 
sections of the act : 

Section i. The faith and credit of the 
State of Arkansas is hereby irrevocably 
pledged to the issue of the bonds of the State 
in the sum of one thousand dollars each, pay- 
able in thirty years from date, at seven per 
cent, per annum, in the sum of $15,000 per 
mile for each railroad which has not received 
a land grant from the United States, and 
$10,000 for each railroad which has received 
a land grant of the United States, on account 
of which said bonds shall be due and issuable. 

Sec. 9. Be it further enacted that nothing' 
herein shall be construed to prevent said board 
of railroad commissioners from granting the 
State-aid herein contemplated to the whole or 
zny part of any railroad in this State which 
may now be unfinished, or in process of con- 

The last section provides for 
submitting the act, at the next elec- 
tion, to vote of the people by bal- 
lots, simply "For" or "Against" 
railroads. If there should be a 
majority of the votes "For Rail- 
roads," the act should 'immediate- 
ly become operative.' 

Under this act, which was voted 
upon by those allowed to register 
and vote on Tuesday succeeding 
the first Monday in November, 
1868, and declared ratified, there 

of the Reconstniction Period in Arkansas. 


were issued to the following rail- 
roads and projected railroads the 
sums annexed, bearing 7 per cent, 
interest : 

Little Rock & Ft. Smith $1,000,000 

Memphis & Little Rock i ,200,000 

Miss., Ouachita & Red River 600,000 

Little Rock, P. B. & N. O 1,200,000 

Arkansas Central 1,350,000 

The manner of issuing these 
bonds will be illustrated by an in- 
junction suit which was instituted 
in the course of issuing the bonds 
to the Memphis & Little Rock 
Railroad Company. The Secre- 
tary of State, R. J. T, White, was 
engaged in his office in counter- 
signing the bonds, then ordered 
to be issued to that road — about 
;^8oo,ooo. The bonds were beau- 
tifully engraved and illuminated. 
The company claimed to have eigh- 
ty miles constructed — forty-five 
miles from Little Rock to De Vall's 
Bluff, on White River, and thirty- 
five miles from Madison, on the 
St. Francis River, to the Missis- 
sippi River, opposite Memphis. 
The latter section had been hastily 
constructed through the bottoms, 
so as to afford transportation in 
1861, but had been since then un- 
used. The Secretary was con- 
templating the pile of paper and 
musing upon the vast sum that he 
was helping to create, when Mont- 
gomery, known by the soubriquet 
of " Pigeon Toe," then Attorney- 
General, came stumbling into the 

" Making money. White, right 
along ! " he remarked, by way of 

" Yes," returned the Secretary, 
" and very little will it benefit me, 
only $ I per bond for my name and 
the seal of the State." 

" That's pretty good ; about 
;^8oo," replied Montgomery en- 

" Montgomery," said the Secre- 
tary, "these bonds will bring 
seventy-five per cent. easy. What 
a god-send for that Memphis 
crowd ! They are nearly starved 
out. Why, their mouths are water- 
ing ; they could not bear to be 

" Why should they ? " asked the 
Attorney-General. " Hasn't the is- 
sue been ordered?" 

"Yes," answered White ; "but 
the * law's delay,' you know." 

"The law's delay?" gasped 
Montgomery, not comprehending 
what the Secretary meant. 

White stared at Montgomery, 
and merely muttered : 

" I was just thinking the act 
might be unconstitutional, or rather 
hastily passed, without the proper 
submission to the popular vote ! " 

" I begin to see a pint myself," 
said Montgomery, who affected 
the country dialect, "and by G — d, 
I think a bill tinll reach it, and the 
Chief Justice, or any of his asso- 
ciate justices, has jurisdiction to 
grant an original injunction ! The 
issue of these bonds will do the 
State irreparable injury, White, 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

and it is my duty, as her law offi- 
cer, to prevent it ! " 

Montgomery worked all night, 
and took some counsel, and the 
next morning at the earliest mo- 
ment, with only an hour's notice 
to the superintendent of the road, 
presented his petition in the name 
of the State, to restrain the issu- 
ance of the bonds. 

But while he was arguing his 
motion, the superintendent saw 
the Secretary, overcame his 
qualms as to the issuance of a 
great part of the bonds, and with- 
out waiting to contest the injunc- 
tion, hastened out on his road with 
the bonds as far as De Vails Bluff, 
on the way to Memphis. 

The restraining order was is- 
sued, and with it, the first time in 
the history of the State, the old 
writ of ne exeat regno for the 
superintendent, who, having to 
wait for a boat, was duly served, 
and came back with the officer. 

After several days argument of 
counsel, however, the injunction 
was dissolved, and the railroad 
company got a part of the bonds 
at any rate. 

The Little Rock, Pine Bluff & 
New Orleans Railroad Company, 
mentioned above as getting bonds, 
received of the railroad aid-bonds 
^750,000; 'levee bonds,' ;$320,000; 
Chicot County bonds, ^1,000. To- 
tal, ;^ 1, 07 1, 000. 

The levee bonds were issued 
under the act of March 16, 1869, 
and an act supplemental thereto 

of April 12, 1869, amended by the 
act of March 23, 1871. It pro- 
vided that upon application to the 
County Court of the county in 
which the lands lay to be bene- 
fited by the draining or ditching, 
or protection from overflow, of a 
majority of the owners of the 
land granted by the court, the 
Commissioner of Public Works, 
if he deemed expedient after cer- 
tain surveys and estimates, was 
authorized to contract for levees 
or ditches, after due advertise- 
ment. Upon his certificate that 
any contract had been completed, 
the Auditor of the State was re- 
quired to issue his warrants, to be 
denominated " Arkansas State 
Levee Bonds," in sums of not less 
than ;^50, nor more than ;$ 1,000 
each, to such contractor. They 
were payable in thirty years, with 
interest at seven per cent., at- 
tached as coupons to said bonds. 
On becoming due and payable, 
said interest to be levied tipon and 
collected from the owners of the 
land benefited by the building of 
any levees, or the making of any 
ditches, the issue of said bonds 
being limited to ;^3, 000,000. There 
was no pretense that these bonds 
were issued by the consent of the 
voters through the ballot box. 

Other bonds were caused to be 
issued by the party in power, as 
follows : 

To pay ' loyalists * for supplies fur- 
nished militia $ 400,000 

of the Reconstniction Period in Arkansas. 


State Funding Bonds issued by the 

Governor 300,000 

Pulaski County Bonds 1,000,000 

Chicot County Bonds 400,000 

Clark County Bonds 300,000 

Sebastian County Bonds 100,000 

Conway County Bonds 

Hot Springs County Bonds 33,ooo 

Other counties had outstanding 
scrip issued in large amounts, 
which were bought up by specu- 
lators. The appropriation bill of 
April 12, 1869, contains, among 
many other extravagant appro- 
priations, the following : 

To Merchants' National Bank, money 
loaned to buy arms (for Clayton's 
militia) $12,000 

To Herman, Booker & Co., for arms 

sold State 6,000 

Organizing Clayton's State Guard and 

Militia 10,000 

To pay for Public Printing "a sufficient 


Judge McClure was president 
of the publishing company which 
was paid several hundred thousand 
dollars for public printing during 
Republican rule, with consent of 
Clayton, President Board of Pub- 
lic Printing. 

One of the most shameless acts 
for depleting the treasury and 
creating a vast debt for posterity, 
without any earthly reason in 
morals or propriety, was the fund- 
ing of the Holford claim for ^i,- 
370,000. The funding of this 
supposed debt was authorized by 
the act of April 6, 1869, entitled, 
"An act for the funding of the 

public debt of the State," and ap- 
proved by Gov. Clayton, which 
was as follows : 

Section 9. The Governor is hereby au- 
thorized and required to fund the debt of the 
State, consisting of bonds issued by the State 
to the Real Estate Bank, and State Bank, by 
issuing new bonds of the State in lieu of the 
bonds issued to said Real Estate and State 

They were payable in thirty 
years, and of ;^i,ooo each, bearing 
interest at six per cent, per an- 
num from date. The amount of 
the new bonds was to be the 
amount of the old bonds, with ac- 
crued interest thereon. 

There was no actual indebted- 
ness of the State as a basis for 
these funding bonds. The Real 
Estate Bank was a private bank 
to which the State had issued 
July I, 1838, its bonds, upon land 
mortgages to the State, for ;^500,- 
000, stipulating on the face of 
them that the bonds should not be 
sold for less than their face value. 
The bank's agent pledged them to 
the American Banking and Trust 
Company, in violation of this stipu- 
lation, for ;^ 1 20,000, for his own 
private purposes. The American 
Banking and Trust Company soon 
failed, owing James Holford & 
Bros., of London, ;^250,ooo. The 
Holfords obtained possession of 
these bonds, and sought to make 
their debt of the American Bank- 
ing and Trust Company by suing 
the State of Arkansas for ;g250,ooo, 
and instituted two suits at laiv — 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

one in New York and one in Ar- 
kansas. The judgment of the 
New York court went beyond its 
jurisdiction ; that brought in Ar- 
kansas was carried to the Supreme 
Court of Arkansas, which decided 
that, while the plaintiffs might be 
entitled, in equity, to ;^ 121,000 and 
legal interest, they had no ground 
of action against the State at lazv. 
But Gov. Clayton approved the 
act which funded these worthless 
bonds, with thirty years accrued 
interest, to the amount of 1^1,370,- 
000. There were some prominent 
Democrats who, as lobbyists, lent 
their counsels and influence to 
this measure. 

Not only were the foregoing in- 
terest-bearing evidences of debt, 
which the property of the citizens 
was taken to pay, authorized to be 
issued, but the act of March 20, 
187 1, empowered the Governor to 
issue still others ; " to supply de- 
ficits in the expenses of the State, 
and to sustain the State credit as 
follows : 

Section i. The Governor of the State is 
hereby authorized to issue three hundred in- 
terest-bearing bonds of the denomination of 
$1,000 each, with coupons attached, said 
bonds to bear interest at the rate of seven per 
cent, per annum, payable semi-annually in the 
City of New York, principal to be paid in ten 
years after date of issue ; provided, said 
bonds shall only be issued and disposed of to 
raise money to pay deficits in the State Treas- 
ury arising as interest on the State debt now 
funded. And, provided further, that the 
bonds provided for in this act shall not be dis- 

posed of at less than eighty per cent, of their 
face value. 

Gov. Clayton issued these bonds 
for the full amount. 

With all the money collected as 
taxes upon an assessment of prop- 
erty which the assessor and clerk 
and boards of equalization were 
rewarded to place at such a figue 
as made the owners pay taxes 
amounting to the double rental 
value of their own houses, there 
were deficits in the State Treasury 
which had to be supplied by bor- 
rowing money on new bonds at 
seven per cent. 

A French financier of modern 
times is represented as saying 
that the art of obtaining money 
from the people for paying public 
expenditures, is to proceed so that 
in plucking the goose you shall 
not make her cry. But the carpet- 
bag statesmen, looking to their 
momentary gain, regardless of her 
cries, proceeded to kill her for her 
golden eggs. Suffering and dis- 
content were universal. The offi- 
cials only were prosperous. They 
were unable to resist the usual in- 
clination to make a display of 
their sudden acquisitions, amidst 
the general poverty and gloom. 
Hodges and Weeks, in charge of 
the State Penitentiary, under a 
contract that entitled them to 
draw large sums from the State 
Treasury, built themselves pala- 
tial mansions. They removed the 
slate roof from the Penitentiary 
buildings in causing some altera- 

of the Rtconstrtution Period in Arkansas 


tions which they saw fit to make, 
and transferred it to the roofs of 
their own residences. Senator Mc« 
Donald and the sheriff and collec- 
tor of Pulaski County, Col. Wil- 
liam S. Oliver, built fine houses 
in the same locality — a high ridge 
overlooking the Arkansas River. 
The river men called it " Robbers' 
Roost." Gov. Clayton purchased 
and occupied subsequently the 
house and grounds of Col. Oliver. 

The industries of the country 
upon which this partial prosperity 
was based began to suffer a gen- 
eral decline. The cotton crops 
fell short. The freedmen, who 
alone could be employed to work 
them, because white laborers 
would not work with their families 
in proximity to them, had become 
disorderly and unmanageable. The 
mules furnished them by the land- 
owners were ridden down and the 
provender exhausted, in attending 
political celebrations and meetings 
of the Union League, at w^hich 
they were inspired to distrust their 
white landlords and look to a di- 
vision of their property among 
themselves. They were plainly 
told that the policy of oppressive 
taxation they witnessed meant 
confiscation. The freedmen be- 
came insolent, and, in many in- 
stances, threatening to a degree 
that caused their white neighbors 
anxiety for their personal safety. 

Jack Agery, coal-black orator 
and humorist, said: "Amandat 
has not got nothin', always runs 

to a fire. I ain't never seen one 
ov sich weep at de confusion dey 
seen dere at dat fire." 

Cattle and hogs were killed in 
such numbers, and with such im- 
punity that planters abandoned 
the attempt to raise them. As- 
saults by negroes upon white 
women became alarmingly fre- 
quent. Encouraged by the organ- 
ization of 'leagues' in every 
neighborhood, and shielded by 
their partisan officials, it was futile 
to attempt to deter them by legal 
proceedings. The whites in the 
neighborhood saw the necessity 
of organizing for self protection. 
This began in localities at first, «s 
a sort of patrol, independent of 
any general plan. Knowing the 
innate superstition of the blacks — 
their belief in evil spirits and spec- 
tres that came out of their graves 
at night — and wishing to frighten 
them into desisting from their 
night-raiding, the patrol carried 
white dominoes and paper caps, 
in which they appeared in the 
thickets at night, at such times as 
were deemed opportune, and crea- 
ted great consternation, not only 
among the negroes, but their white 
leaders, who saw their influence 
declining under this new method 
of 'intimidation.' No one was 
more deeply agitated by these 
demonstrations than the Governor. 
Thoughtless writers invented 
stories of mysterious processions 
of ghostly riders, and published 
them embellished with cuts of 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

skulls and cross-bones, and grue- 
some warnings, signed "K.K.K.," 
and gave accounts of fabulous 
organizations of the "Ku-Klux 

Governor Clayton took to him- 
self credit for 'executive ability,' 
rather than legislative. He who 
governs firmly without violating 
the laws, without friction or un- 
necessary violence, may claim to 
be endowed with executive ability. 
The best machinist is he whose 
engine is run the most smoothly. 
The best government is that which 
is felt, not seen. It was this quality 
in our government which De Toc- 
queville most admired — the ab- 
sence, everywhere, of soldiers and 
badges of authority. It is irony 
to call that man an able * execu- 
tive* who overcomes opposition 
through lawless measures of anni- 
hilation. " He made a solitude 
and called it peace," is said of an 
ancient tyrant. M. Guillotin in- 
vented an automatic * executive.' 
It never occurred to Clayton that 
he was just such an ' executive ' 
as this fatal machine set up by 
Robespierre, Danton and St. 
Just; or that eventually, as did 
they, his party would look through 
the 'little window,' and his own 
executive head 'sneeze in the sack.' 

There were those of his own 
party who had, in some way, taken 
deep umbrage at the Governor 
and his State-house satellites. 
James Hinds, member elect to 
Congress, made no concealment 

of his disaffection. One day, as 
he walked along Markham street, 
he said to me, pointing to the 
State house : " I am going to the 
country in a few days, and I de- 
vote that establishment to the in- 
fernal gods." Hinds indulged in 
quasi-heroics, and was nothing if 
not 'classical.' "Yes," said he, 
" those fellows have builded upon 
my foundations ; they have reaped 
what I have sown. They plant a 
little whirlwind for me now, and 
they shall reap a cyclone. I am a 
cyclone producer, Raynor, and 
they know it!" Hinds and the 
Rev. Jos. Brooks, as a matter of 
fact, did go to the country in a 
few days. Somewhere on White 
River they were fired upon from 
ambush. Hinds was killed in- 
stantly. Brooks was severely 
wounded and repeatedly fired 
upon, saving himself by the speed 
of his horse. This atrocious mur- 
der was proclaimed at once from 
the State house, to be the deed of 
the Ku-Klux Klan. Disown it as 
much as the Democracy might by 
resolutions and editorial disa- 
vowals and denunciations, it was 
religiously ascribed throughout 
the land and in the halls of the 
Congress, where the murdered 
man was entitled to a seat, as the 
diabolical work of the " Ku-Klux 
Democracy." Hinds' body lay in 
state in Washington, while the 
North, without regard to party, 
shuddered at the cruel political 
assassination. No one was eve- 

of tJie Reconstructio7i Period in Arkansas. 


arrested or punished for the das- 
tardly deed. I have never heard 
that any one was suspected, be- 
yond some unheeded assertions 
that Hinds was killed by men of 
his own party. Gen. Thomas C. 
Hindman, the ex-Confederate gen- 
eral, an ex-member of Congress, 
distinguished in the political his- 
tory of the State, was shot at 
night through the window of his 
residence, at Helena, about the 
same time. His assassination is 
shrouded in equal mystery as to 
the identity of the perpetrator 
and the motive. Gen. Hindman 
was an ardent Democrat, a man 
of splendid attainments and ability. 
He was a most efficient political 
leader, and, at the time of his 
death, was actively organizing the 
negroes along the Mississippi 
River for cooperation with the 
Democratic party. 

The Democratic leaders greatly 
deplored these disastrous events ; 
the assassination of Hinds being 
particularly injurious to the cause 
of Democracy throughout the 
United States. The body of the 
Congressman-elect was taken to 
Washington, where it lay in state 
in the hall of Representatives. 
Expressions of indignation filled 
the newspapers at the deep damna- 
tion of his taking off — and just 
upon the eve of a Presidential 
election. Grant and Colfax had 
been nominated by the Republi- 
can National Convention, and 
Seymour and Blair by Demcrats, 

for the offices of President and 
Vice-President. The respective 
tickets for Arkansas were as fol- 
lows : 

Republican Ticket — For Presi- 
dent, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, of 
Illinois; for Vice-President, 
Schuyler Colfax, of Indiana. For 
Electors at Large : Wm. H. Grey, 
of Phillips County; O. A. Hadley, 
of Pulaski County. For District 
Electors : ist District, J. Pat Far- 
relly; 2d District, O. P. Snyder; 
3d District, M. L. Stevenson. 

Democratic Ticket — For Presi- 
dent, Horatio Seymour, of New 
York ; for Vice-President, Francis 
P. Blair, Jr., of Missouri. For Elec- 
tors at Large: Robert S. Gantt, 
of Pulaski County ; John R. Fel- 
lows, of Ouachita County. For 
District Electors : 1st District, W. 
W. Drummond ; 2d District, Met. 
L. Jones; 3d District, W. D. 

Before putting out the Demo- 
cratic ticket for President and 
Vice-President, the Democratic 
State Central Committee, after 
due deliberation, resolved to coun- 
sel the members of its party to 
take the oath prescribed by the 
Constitution lately declared in 
force, and register and vote at this 
election. It would otherwise have 
been absurd to nominate candi- 
dates for Democratic electors, 
with the entire party disfranchised 
on account of its previous vote 
against the Constitution. The 
committee issued its address, call- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

ing upon Democrats to register 
for the coming election. The 
oath was exceedingly distasteful, 
and was, to some extent, miscon- 
strued. Without a party vote, 
however, the Democracy could 
never wield a party influence. 
However serious the dissensions 
in Republican ranks upon a divis- 
ion into factions of that party, 
there would be no vote outside of 
the Republican party to go to for 
assistance. There were no in- 
ducements for disaffected Repub- 
licans to make overtures for Dem- 
ocratic votes, where there would 
be no Democratic votes. Citizens 
must register or retire from par- 
ticipation in their State govern- 
ment. But the proposition of the 
committee met with formidable 
opposition. Some of the ablest 
and most respected members of 
the party rejected it. Gen. Albert 
Pike, at that time editor of the 
time-honored Memphis Appeal, 
denounced the recommendation 
in the strongest terms. Comment- 
ing upon a speech of the secre- 
tary of the committee, which was 
in earnest support of the commit- 
tee's address in the 5th September 
issue of the Appeal, he wrote : 

'' Some gentlemen, and among the rest CoL 
J. M. Harrell, of Little Rock, are laying up 
for themselves wrath against the day of wrath. 

** It was Mr. Jefferson, we believe, who wish- 
ed that a sea of fire separated America from 
Europe, that American republicanism might 
not be corrupted by European examples, nor 

the precedents of despotism become authority 
on this side of the Atlantic. If radicalism is 
to rule the North ; if all the isms of a cor- 
rupted and putrid puritanism are to legislate 
for the South in Congress, and the South is to 
be the bastard brother of the North, setting 
below the salt and eating the bread of degra- 
dation, do you not wish for Southern inde- 
pendence ? Do you not wish th?.t, to keep out 
of the' South the idolatrous, abominations — 
political and social — of the Northern States, 
there were a line between us and them which 
the devilish emissaries of mischief and 
malevolence could not cross ? Or, are you so 
much in shame and dishonor as to wish, out 
of your intense love for a Union you lately 
detested, and a flag that only a little while 
ago you said was a symbol of oppression, as 
to be willing that the South should be forever 
tied, limb to limb and bosom to bosom, to the 
North, as the living and the dead were tied 
together by Mezentius ? 

" O speak with bated breath and crook the 
pregnant hinges of the knee before your con- 
querors, who never conquered you in verity 
until now ! Swear oaths that you do not 
mean to keep, and advise a whole people to 
commit rank and damnable perjury ! It will 
be profitable. There is no God, or if there is, 
He has forgotten how to punish crime. Down 
on your knees, and with the edge of the 
scimitar on your neck, swear an oath which 
to keep or break is equally shameful and dis- 
honoring to one who remembers that his an- 
cestors were freemen ! 


" The man who advises the people to such 
course will, indeed, 'build his coffin * and find 
death a relief from the ignominy that will 
overwhelm all such counselors. 

" ' I will be a swift witness against the false 
swearers, saith the Lord of Hosts.' 

" 'They have spoken words swearing falsely 
in making a covenant : thus judgment spring- 
eth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field.' 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


" If the people of Arkansas permit them- 
selves to be led into the great sin and shame 
to which they are tempted, they will cheat 
themselves and afterwards find that no per- 
manent profit or advantage can be reaped by 
a people from an act for which its own con- 
science will in vain labor to find a sufficient 
cause. That which is right, and just, and 
true, is only profitable, in the end, to men or 

Gen. Pike had been an officer 
in command of Arkansas cavalry 
in the Mexican war, a Confederate 
general, a lawyer of splendid 
ability, a poet of acknowledged 
genius, since his " Hymns to the 
Gods " were published in Black- 
wood's Edinburgh Magazine, con- 
temporaneously with Tennyson's 
" Locksley Hall," than which they 
are scarcely less inspired and fin- 
ished, and his paper, the famous 
Memphis Appeal, circulated wide- 
ly among the steadfast Democracy 
of Arkansas. His article created 
a sensation. It was in unreserved 
repudiation of the policy which, 
after anxious days of considera- 
tion, the Democratic Central Com- 
mittee had resolved to adopt. 
They should not be expected to 
countermand their policy. Their 
secretary undertook to answer 
Gen. Pike's declaration of inde- 
pendence. After some references 
to the General's ' recalcitrations,' 
political and military, in bygone 
days, the answer to his article 
upon the point in controversy, was 
as follows : 

But what has the committee done — what 

have I done, to provoke the heated tirade of 
the editor of the Appeal which professes to 
be a Democratic journal? The committee 
appointed by a State convention of the De- 
mocracy of Arkansas found it necessary, after 
the adjournment of the New York conven- 
tion, to consider the course of policy they felt 
called upon to indicate to the party in Ar- 
kansas. It being impossible for them to con- 
sult Gen. Pike, in Tennessee, for want of time 
and opportunity, they determined, after a 
patient discussion of the questions involved, 
to recommend to all who could do so, to 
qualify, register and vote under existing laws. 
These laws prescribe, as a condition of suf- 
frage, an oath to accept the political equality 
of all men, and to promise not to deprive 
' any person ' on account of race, of any priv- 
ilege enjoyed by any other class of men. The 
New York platform declares that the authority 
for the enforcement of these laws had no 
warrant in the Constitution, and are void. All 
men recognize them as an unlawful artifice, if 
only a temporary one, for preserving to the 
radical party at Washington the control of the 
Government, and to its emissaries in the 
States, North and South, the power of en- 
riching themselves, by a wholesale system of 
taxation and spoliation, which, in the Southern 
States, amounts to the ruin of every material 
interest. In the meantime the elections are 
at hand upon which the perpetuation or failure 
of this unholy usurpation is to turn. By 
taking the oath in Arkansas the scheme might 
be defeated, and by no other means, and her 
five electoral votes contributed to secure the 
desired result. This is the high inducement, 
and no sacrifice is demanded, except a8 to 
feelings of taste, or upon mere questions of 
deportment. ' The equality of all men ' is sus- 
tained just as well, and better, if no practical 
means are taken to resist the power by which 
the usurpers are to be sustained, whether we 
accept it or not. Nor are we any the more 
likely to make any forcible or otherwise un- 


The Brooks afid Baxter War: a History 

lawful attempt to deprive 'any person' of a 
privilege enjoyed by other persons, whether 
we promise or not. The State Constitution 
which we swear to support at the time of 
taking the oath, to say nothing of the allegi- 
ance to the Constitution of the United States, 
which the oath implies, provides in the very first 
section that the people possess the right which 
in all free constitutions is declared to be in- 
alienable, "to alter, or reform it, whenever 
the public good may require it." 

There is no man who is not disfranchised 
by the military bills (and they, having per- 
formed their office in the formation of the 
present Constitution of State, are fundus 
officio in Arkansas, and dead), who cannot 
conscientiously take the oath required, under 
the circumstances. No option is left him^ if 
he would participate in the direction of the 
Government over him and exercise his right 
as a citizen in aiding to alter bad laws, when 
found to be such, and reforming abuses when 
they ought no longer to be borne. 

Is not this wiser than to sit sulking in the 
pride of prejudice and be plundered, when no 
other hope of relief presents itself; when the 
Democracy of the Northern States call on us 
to perform the duty we took upon ourselves 
when we entered into the New York Conven- 
tion the 4th of last July? The ungracious 
pastor in Tennessee quotes scripture and reads 
lessons of morality from the fathers of the 
Inquisition to the Democracy of Arkansas, 
Whilst, like a puffed and reckless libertine, 
Himself the primrose path of dalliance leads. 
And recks not his own rede." 

Tfee people in Arkansas are in a far greater 
extremity than he, when obtaining from Presi- 
dent Johnson his special pardon, he took the 
oath of allegiance a year or two ago, forget- 
ting which he now asks us if we do not wish 
for Southern independence ! I will make him 
no other answer than is contained in the fa- 
miliar replies of Rome's old Cato, and Lucius, 
refusing their swords to Sempronius, who 

proclaimed: "My voice is still for war !^^ 
Gen. Pike may seek to wear as gracefully as 
he may the classic drapery of the great moral- 
ists, Descartes, Pascal, La Bruyere. He ad- 
dresses us in the language of Condillac, who 
said, "All metaphysicians have bewildered 
themselves in enchanted worlds. I alone have 
discovered truth. My science is of the high- 
es, utility. I am going to explain to you the 
nature of conscience, of attention, of recollec- 
tion." But we, the people of Arkansas, ask 
to be spared the teaching which has not been 
practiced by him who offers it. Rather let us 
wish the poet-sage who once lived amongst 
and was honored by us, the enjoyment of that 
pleasure extolled by Lucretius: "It is a pleas- 
ant thing from the shore to behold the dan- 
gers of another upon the mighty ocean, when 
the winds are lashing the main; since nothing 
is more delightful than to occupy the elevated 
temples of the wise, well fortified by tranquil 
learning, whence you may be able to look 
down upon others, and see them straying in 
search of the path of life." 

It would surely afford much purer enjoy- 
ment than entering uncertain contests unin- 
vited by those who may be sought to be 
benefited, to be provoked by their want of ap- 
preciation, and injure them, with the stings of 
writings and speeches which remind us of 
those of the bees in Virgil. ^'' Animasqtie in 
vulnere ponunt" 

The people, regardless of these 
criticisms, registered with great 
unanimity, and were ready to vote 
at the Presidential election on 
Tuesday, the 3d day of November, 
1868, when the following letter 
was found in the hands of mem- 
bers of the Legislature : 

[Copy of Letter Written to All the Members of the 

November i, 1868. 
Dear Sir : — I am led to believe that it will 
be absolutely necessary to proclaim martial 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


law in several counties in the State. These 
counties are now in a state of insurrection, 
and the civil authorities in them are utterly 
powerless to preserve order and protect the 
lives of the citizens. Many officers and citi- 
zens in these counties have been assassinated 
or driven away, and a reign of terror is now 
existing in them. I have consulted with the 
State officers and the representative men in 
the city, and they unanimously agree with me 
that this is the only course that can be pursued, 
that will put an end to these existing evils, 
and I now communicate with you for the pur- 
pose of obtaining your views upon the subject, 
and your cooperation and assistance in re- 
storing the civil authority and bringing to 
punishment the violators of the public peace. 

I urge upon you the necessity of coming 
here soon after the election, as it is believed 
that a concerted effort will be made to so 
diminish the number of the members of the 
Legislature as to prevent there being a quo- 
rum. If your views coincide with mine as to 
the expediency and necessity of this course, I 
trust you will use all your influence to assist 
in the organization of the State Guards. The 
success of this movement depends very great- 
ly upon the promptness and dispatch with 
which it is carried out. A decided and prompt 
effort will, in my opinion, settle the difficulty 
within thirty days. 

Awaiting your reply, I am very respectfully 
yours, etc., Powell Clayton, 

Governor of Arkansas. 

State, at the same time that they were contri- 
buting to their private fortunes. 

There was then one line of railroad, only, in 
the State, running from Little Rock to DeVall's 
Bluff, on White River. This was soon extend- 
ed to Memphis, by assistance of the Railroad 
Aid Bonds. The line of railway, projected by 
Stephen A. Douglas, from Cairo on the Miss- 
issippi, to Fulton on Red River, with a branch 
from Little Rock up the Valley of the Arkan- 
sas to Fort Smith, endowed with a grant of 
government land, of alternate sections twenty 
miles on each side of the main line and the 
branch, was begun ; and the value of this mag- 
nificent grant was utilized through these finan- 
cial operations. They facilitated the transpor- 
tation of produce ; have built up some small 
towns, and added to the population of Little 
Rock at the rate of about one thousand inhab- 
itants yearly. An asylum for the blind was 
erected at considerable cost. 

Much of the money raised upon the securi- 
ties may have gone into the hands of priva' j 
promoters. It was the era oi credit mobilier, 
which destroyed Colfax and imperiled Gar- 
field. The Governor issued the bonds ; some 
of them went into the hands of Josiah Cald- 
well and Warren Fisher, who charged Speaker 
Blaine with getting some of them. But the 
work done was valuable, and under Democrat- ' 
ic administrations has added $15,000,000 to 
the assessable property of the State. H. 

Note. — The author did not intend to leave it 
to be inferred that the money thus to be obtain- 
ed upon pledges of the property and industries 
of the people was to be expended without bene- 
fit to the State by the new officials, and only for 
their personal ends. The Governor and his 
coterie are to be credited with the purpose of 
favoring improvements for the promotion of 
the commercial and industrial interests of the 


" I'm a jay-hawk that's crested, I am ; 
I'm a blizzard that's tested, I am; 
I'm the boss of the melish, 
I can croak whom I wish; 
I'm a Gov'nor, I'm a daisy, I am." 


Whether or not it is my prov- 
vince to declare the motives which 
impelled the performances of the 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

actors in this real life drama, as the 
historian of the direful events that 
followed the installation of Powell 
Clayton as Governor of Arkansas, 
I shall indulge in no invectives, 
but leave facts to speak for them- 
selves, and the intelligent reader 
to make his own deductions. 

Should the narrator of human 
events essay to 'judge' the inten- 
tions of their agents, the beam in 
his own eye might be of huge pro- 
portions, and he unable to accom- 
plish the feat of * casting it out,' 
that he might see clearly ' the mote 
that is in his own eye,' 

The comments of eye-witnesses 
and utterances of the other drajna- 
tis personcB are proper to be in- 
troduced as evidence to be weigh- 
q,d by the circumstances of their 

What passions or purposes act- 
uated the n&^Xy -appointed Gov- 
ernor in the course he adopted 
toward the people of the State, is 
the subject of legitimate inquiry 
to the reading public. General 
Sherman was as brave, and a great- 
er soldier, yet he gave liberal terms 
to a vanquished enemy, and utter- 
ed words of sympathy and encour- 
agement to a people petitioning 
for relief from political oppressions 
— technical, rather than actual. 

Governor Murphy had spoken 
with much spleen against ' rebels ' 
and their sympathizers — of whom 
at one time he professed to be one; 
but all his acts, as Governor, were 
characterized by clemency and fair 

dealing, which quickly won and 
entitled him to the confidence of 
the people. 

Gen. Clayton had been prudent 
in his cotton investments while in 
command on the Arkansas River. 
With the proceeds he purchased a 
plantation from a shrewd old dem- 
ocratic capitalistof Nashville, Ten- 
nessee, and must have been annoy- 
ed to find, after his purchase, that 
it was upon a 'caving bank' of the 
river, and that the best prepared 
land was rapidly washing into the 
muddy stream. Upon the teturn 
of the Confederates, after peace 
was declared, he was profuse in 
his expressions of devotion to the 
Democratic party, and hastened to 
announce his willingness to repre- 
sent the party of his district in 
Congress. He was keenly stung 
by the ill-concealed scorn with 
which his overtures were rejected 
by the Democratic leaders. The 
whimsical accounts which he saw 
in the newspapers of a mythical 
organization, whose members were 
said to rise up out of the stumps 
and fence corners, with tall white 
hats, and who could drink whole 
pailfulls of water at a single gulp, 
and were described as a terror to 
the negroes, called the ' Ku-Klux- 
es,' suggested to the Governor the 
justification of exercising arbitrary 
power through military displays, 
in which he felt himself at home, 
and whereby he might gratify his 
resentment of all the slights and 
injuries he had received at the 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


hands of his quondam party asso- 
ciates. If he could put his State 
government on a'mihtary footing, 
like the doctor who cured * fits ' 
only, he was sure of his ability to 

There was really no organiza- 
tion of the "Ku-Klux-Klan" in the 
State of Arkansas, There were 
sporadic attempts at the for- 
mation of some such organiza- 
tion, but they came to naught. 
That the extensive organization 
throughout the State of negroes 
and strangers, known as the 
Union League, suggested secret 
associations of whites was natural 
to the inhabitants of localities 
where they were in the minority ; 
but no practical steps were taken 
when it was observed that the 
Union League, as an association, 
committed no overt acts of injury 
to the white inhabitants, or their 

The autocratic powers confided 
to him by the State Constitution, 
easily tempted the new Executive, 
filled with visions of wealth and 
political distinction, to indulge in 
excesses. Such power has caused 
irresponsible rulers uniformly to 
play such fantastic tricks, that it 
is recognized as a form of insanity, 
and is known as the Caesarian 
malady, and has done more to 
devastate States and cause misery 
to the peoples than plagues, pesti- 
lence or famine. 

Governor Clayton was not long 
in manifesting symptoms of the 

Caesarian malady, if I may accept 
the evidence of a writer who knew 
him well and had just visited him 
at Little Rock, and whose estimate 
of him was published in a letter 
to the Louisville Courier-journal, 
January 25, 1869, over the nom de 
phivie of "A Fair Minded Carpet- 
Bagger," The letter is in itself 
proof that it could not have been 
written by an ex-Confederate, be- 
cause it shows a familiarity with 
the Governor's army experience 
and associations not known to 
Confederates, or to any but those 
who had served with him. It is 
the product of a man of high at- 
tainments which he could only 
have acquired by means of some 
such advantages as the writer 
claims to have enjoyed, and who 
shows an ability that would have 
enabled him to discern and ana- 
lyze the feelings and purposes of 
his former superior in his new po- 
sition. I take the following ex- 
tracts from that letter : 

" I served with Governor Clayton during 
the war. I was born in Massachusetts. I was 
educated at Harvard, and have always been a 
Republican. I voted for Fremont — twice for 
Lincoln, and recently for Gen. Grant — for 
President. My purpose is to give a fair no- 
tion of the condition of affairs in Arkansas. 
That condition is terrible. Nothing like it 
exists this side of the Cretan Islands. Com- 
mon, every-day events remind me of the reign 
of Warren Hastings, in India, or of Musta- 
pha Asaph, in Greece ! 

" During the rebellion, Clayton commanded 
a brigade of the best cavalry in the Union 
service, and commanded with vigor. After 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

the peace, he tried conservatism; found it 
unsuited to his purpose ; pUinged into radical- 
ism, and now openly declares his purpose to 
depopulate the State and repeople it with 
loyal negroes. Tranquillity would be fatal to 
his plan. The distance between him and 
Washington ; the friendliness of the Govern- 
ment ; the ease with which his acts may be 
concealed, and the acts of the people misrep- 
resented, make him bold and careless. He 
knows his game. He has studied the ground. 
And he will not fail. Indeed, I see no help 
for Arkansas. Nothing this side of disorgan- 
ization and reorganization of society will suf- 
fice, and this can only be the work of years. 

* * * " Old party differences have noth- 
ing to do with the matter. The term 'rebel' 
is used only as a pretext. One of Governor 
Clayton's agents is a rebel bushwhacker whom 
I captured and tried by drum-head court- 
martial in 1864. He escaped »^^ halter to be- 
come the surer prey of my superior officer, 
whose confidential friend he is now, and has 
been for months. The very meanest cut- 
throat in all the militia was a prviate in Ter- 
ry's body-guard and afterwards a scout for 
Wharton and Harrison ! 

" One of John Brown's cronies, who went 
from New Hampshire, in 1857, with a Sharpe's 
rifle ; served faithfully through the war as a 
Union soldier, and who had settled down, 
with a wife and a farm, was recently mur- 
dered by a negro militiaman. This negro 
militiaman had been a hostler for Kirby 
Smith, and had killed, as he says, 'many and 
many a Yankee.' 

"These facts, and I give them for what 
they are worth. I do not say the people are 
unoffending. They resist as desperate men 
only can resist. But if they did not, it would 
be all the same. Clayton's policy is extermi- 
nation. Nothing can divert him. He is not 
a milk-sop, but a man of genius, and the field 
is fruitful. All that he has to do is to pass 

his scythe over the land, and reap a full har- 
vest of blood, which is the cement of his 

As I have said, Clayton was no 
coward. His exhibition of appre- 
hension at the existence of the 
Ku-Klux must have been simulat- 
ed. He had his spy in the only 
lodge ever organized in Little 
Rock, and he knew that it held 
but one meeting ; that it never 
took the slightest action of any 
kind, and disbanded. He knew 
all that went on in the society of 
the ' Knights of the White Came- 
lia,' organized afterwards, and that 
this latter organization, although 
it met oftener and enrolled, indis- 
criminately, all who applied, was 
as lifeless and impracticable as the 

As insincere as was his secret 
circular to the members of his 
Legislature, telling them that there 
was a conspiracy to assassinate a 
sufficient number of them to de- 
feat a quorum, must have been his 
letter to Gen. Smith, the U. S. 
Military Commander of the Dis- 
trict, of which the following is a 
copy : 

"Little Rock, Ark., Nov. 6, 1868. 
Brevet Maj. Gen. C. H. Smith, 

Commanding District of Arkansas : 

Dear Sir, — In compliance with your re- 
quest, I herewith send you a copy of your let- 
ter of October 3d, and in reply to your com- 
munication wish to say, that I did not regard 
my letter as a private one, as it treated entirely 
of public business. I think that upon a re- 
examination of it you will see that it clearly 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkafisas. 


indicates that martial law is the only remedy 
for the condition of affairs in the helpless 
communities referred to. I regret very much 
that we differ in opinion, as the knowledge of 
that fact, if it be knozvn, will of itself have a 
verj' detrimental effect. The opposition can- 
not be overcome except by an unconditional 
surrender of principle, which I am unwilling 
to make. 

"By direction of the Governor. 

J. H. Barton, 

Private Secretary. 

He had resolved to be sole com- 
mander. But he must propitiate 
the Federal power. Menaces of 
martial law were made before the 
Presidential and Congressional 
elections of November 3d. They 
were intimidating to the Conserv- 
atives, in the extreme, and to such 
negroes as would have acted with 
with the Conservatives, and pre- 
vented a full vote of * the opposi- 

Never were a people less pre- 
pared or less inclined than the 
people of Arkansas to enter into 
a conflict with these dual forces. 
They well knew that the carpet- 
bag government would be sus- 
tained by the government at Wash- 
ington, and that any excesses of 
the former would be excused by 
the latter, or if reproved, would 
be reproved as a parent corrects 
a favorite child. The people of 
the South had no longer their 
State establishments, within which 
to withstand encroachments of 
power from any quarter. 

The Governor had not been 
three months in office when his 

Sheriffs in the outlying counties 
were seizing every pretext for 

* calling out the militia.' Although 
it was in the midst of an election 
canvass, any insignificant disturb- 
ance, less serious than city police- 
men are called on to suppress 
daily, was exaggerated into an 

* outrage,' or * an uprising,' attrib- 
uted to the 'spirit of rebellion' 
still cherished by the ex-Confede- 
rates. The Governor acted as if 
he invited public tumults, and 
eagerly made capital of them, and 
omitted no means to magnify their 
importance. Native Governors 
would have pursued the opposite 
course, and earnestly striven to 
preserve peace and prevent false 
rumors calculated to retard the 
growth of the State. 

A petty prosecution in Conway 
county was nurtured into propor- 
tions far beyond the exciting cau- 
ses, and made the name of Clay- 
ton in that county synonymous 
with deceit and cruelty — to remain 
forever odious. It grew out of the 
killing, by one negro, of another 
negro's dog. 

* Lone ' was the name of the 
negro accused. He had been the 
slave of Anderson Gordon, an ex- 
Confederate Colonel, in Cabell's 
brigade. Lone was accused by a 
negro from the plantations of 
shooting his dog, was arrested and 
carried before 'Squire Humphreys, 
a reconstruction office-holder, as 
for a criminal offence. I cannot 
imagine how the act could have 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

been made the subject of a crimi- 
nal warrant. He was arrested, how- 
ever, and went to his old master 
for assistance. Col. Gordon was 
engaged in merchandizing at Lew- 
isburg, and had no experience as 
a lawyer, but he responded prompt- 
ly, and consulted John L. Matth- 
ews, the prosecuting attorney, an 
appointee of the Governor, living 
in the town, who said he was sick, 
and did not appear at the trial. 

Upon the evidence of the pros- 
ecuting witnesses — no evidence 
being introduced by the defence — 
Lone was discharged. But in a 
few days he was again arrested 
upon a warrant drawn by the pros- 
ecuting attorney (for shooting a 
dog), and a large number of ne- 
groes, as witnesses, from the plant- 
ations made their appearance, all 
armed. At the suggestion of Dr. 
E. W. Adams, that so many armed 
men about a court ought not to 
be permitted, the negroes were 
persuaded to deposit their guns 
in a drug store (which was kept 
by a Republican), and the trial 
proceeded, resulting again in 
Lone's acquittal. Some of both 
races drank whisky on the occa- 
sion, and when the negroes 'called 
for their guns to go home, a num- 
ber of them were refused permis- 
sion to take their guns away — that 
day, and told to come back for 
them on some other day. Those 
who were refused went home angry, 
and caused dissatisfaction among 
their fellows on the plantations. 

Early in the following week, it 
was rumored in Lewisburg that 
the negroes on the plantations 
had held meetings and resolved to 
* mob ' Lewisburg on a certain 
night. The towns people prepared 
for defence, and placed pickets on 
the road leading into the town. 
The commander of one of the 
picket posts, after waiting some 
time, departed from his instruc- 
tions, and led his men in the night 
some distance east of the town, 
to reconnoitre. About five miles 
from the town his party was fired 
upon from the fence corners. Thos. 
Burchfield, an ex - Confederate 
who had lost an arm at Oak Hills 
(or Wilson's Creek), was mortally 
wounded, and several horses were 
killed by the ambuscade. Burch- 
field lived about a week, and died 
of his wounds. 

News of this disturbance and 
consequent excitement was report- 
ed at Little Rock. The Governor 
and Mr. A. H. Garland, accom- 
panied by citizens of both politi- 
cal parties, went on a steamer to 
Lewisburg. A force of militia was 
ordered from Little Rock to Lew- 
isburg by land. The Governor and 
his party, by steamboat, arrived 
at the town, and witnessing the 
disposition of the citizens, after 
speeches by the Governor and Mr. 
Garland, with mutual explanations 
and assurances, the Governor de- 
clared the trouble over, and sent 
orders to arrest the march of the 
armed force on the way from Lit- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


tie Rock. But to no one did he 
make known the fact that he had 
ordered mihtia from Springfield, 
the county seat, in the hills, thirty- 
miles northeast of Lewisburg, also 
to march upon Lewisburg. Dur- 
ing the day, citizens rode into 
Lewisburg announcing the ap- 
proach of this force, under the 
lead of the Sheriff and Matthews, 
the prosecuting attorney. 

The Governor, before embark- 
ing on his return by the steamer, 
gave sealed orders directed to 
Matthews and the Sheriff, to dis- 
band their men and go back to 
Springfield. The orders were de- 
livered to them by citizen messen- 
gers. The Sheriff promptly dis- 
banded his force. Matthews and 
the men under him refused at first, 
but concluded before reaching the 
town to obey the orders. They 
had entered into transactions, up- 
on leaving Springfield, for the sale 
of the coffee and dry goods they 
were to bring back from the loot- 
ing of Lewisburg. This became 
known to citizens of Lewisburg, 
and Matthews was severely de- 
nounced by them. 

He had come to the State, dur- 
ing the war, from Kansas, and was 
a favorite with the Governor. 
' Old man ' Hooper, who was a 
neighbor of Burchfield, the man 
wounded in the ambuscade, said 
that Matthews had instigated the 
negroes to arm themselves, and 
was with them in the ambuscade. 
Hooper was arrested by order of 


Matthews. Hooper, never having 
engaged in the war, was tied upon 
his horse and taken down into the 
* bottoms,' near Plummersville, on 
pretense that he was being carried 
to jail at Springfield. After being 
' tantalized ' all day by his merci- 
less captors, he was finally shot 
to death and his body left welter- 
ing in the country road. There 
was no military commission or 
civil arrests ordered for the pun- 
ishment of this causeless crime. 

FultonCountyis in a hilly but fer- 
tile region, on the Missouri border, 
and had, according to the census 
returns of i860, only eighty ne- 
groes of all ages; in 1870, only 
thirty-five. It was in the judicial 
circuit of which Elisha Baxter was 
judge in 1868, appointed by Gov. 
Clayton. Upon the organization 
of a Democratic club by ex-Con- 
federates, which the Sheriff, E. W. 
Spears, pretended to believe was 
a lodge of the ' Ku-klux,' he called 
out the militia and sent squads of 
them scouting through the farms 
of citizens. By his direction, one 
Simpson Mason, a border marau- 
der during the war, went on a scout 
to the neighborhood of Col. Tracy, 
an ex-Confederate, and on Sep- 
tember 19, 1868, proceeded with a 
band of mounted men in the direc- 
tion of Bennett's Bayou precinct. 
Within three miles of that place 
(Harlen's store), his company was 
fired upon from the bushes, and 
Simpson Mason was killed. His 
escort fled, leaving his body in the 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

road. The fleeing militiamen went 
to the house of Houston Thomp- 
son, and ordered him to get the 
body, money and arms of Mason, 
and keep them until their return, 
saying, " It was the d — d Tracy 
crew, and the killing had only just 

About the third day following, 
the Sheriff assembled thirty men 
near Talbott's Mill, whence they 
went to the house of Capt, N. H. 
Tracy. Not finding him at home, 
they arrested Joe. H. Tracy, and 
took him with them to the home of 
Mr. Uriah B. Bush, ten miles dis- 
tant, and arrested Bush while plow- 
ing in his field. Capt. T. C. Flutey 
and T. W. Baker rode up and pro- 
tested against the * scouting of the 
county by the militia.' Capt. Flu- 
ty told the Sheriff that he would 
vouch for his being able to arrest, 
unassisted, any man in the county ; 
that if it was Col. Tracy he was 
after, and he had a warrant for 
him, and would guarantee to pro- 
tect and insure him a fair trial, he, 
Flutey, would vouch for the peace- 
able arrest of Tracy. The Sheriff 
gave his verbal guaranty, and the 
force went to Col. Tracy's house, 
but found only his wife there, who 
told them her husband would be 
at home, or at Capt. Tracy's dur- 
ing that day. 

While they were standing upon 
the porch of Col. Tracy's house, 
Capt. Wm. Monks, a noted Union 
'bushwacker,' of Missouri, rode 
up, with sixty Missourians. After 

a talk, it was agreed between him 
and the Sheriff that he and his men 
should be ' sworn in ' as Fulton 
County militia. 

Captain Flutey left them to go 
home, and on his way stopped at 
Noah L. Baker's for dinner; and 
about the same time Col. Tracy 
also rode up to Baker's. He said 
to the militiamen, that he under- 
stood they had a warrant for him, 
and he had followed them to give 
himself up and demand a trial. 
But Flutey informed him of Monks 
and Allsop being at Harlen's, and 
told him that if they laid hands on 
him they would kill him without 
any trial. Tracy said they should 
not take him, but told one of the 
militiamen, named Smiley, to find 
the Sheriff, and tell him that he, 
Tracy, desired to meet him in pri- 
vate, and would wait for him there. 
After Smiley left, Col. Tracy rode 
upon a ridge commanding a view 
of the Baker place. 

When Smiley came back, in- 
stead of the Sheriff, he was accom- 
panied by Monks and forty mount- 
ed men, who made a dash at the 
house, expecting to surround Col, 
Tracy. But he seeing them from 
his look-out, made his way out of 
danger. Monks sent a scout from 
there who arrested Capt. Bryant, 
and brought him in. 

The account of these events is 
an abbreviation of the statement 
of J. H. Tracy and N. E. Baker, 
which was published in the North 
Arkansas Times, October lo, 1868, 

of the Reconstniction Period in Arkansas. 


edited by Charles Maxwell. The 
conclusion of the statement I copy- 
literally, in the language of the 
writers : 

"Monks and his men then commenced 
scouting the country, destroying forage, riding 
over yards, feeding and camping around 
houses. They took upper and sole-leather, 
tobacco, horse-shoes and nails, without paying 
for them, from Harlen's store ; made a guard- 
house of Harlen's dwelling, and compelled his 
wife to cook for them and the prisoners. On 
Saturday Monks called on all the men who 
were in favor of killing the prisoners to fall 
into line. About seventy responded ; but ten 
or fifteen refused to fall in. At this the Sheriff 
protested, and said, " They are my men, and 
I do not want them hurt." Monks replied 
that "he would do as he d — d please," and 
ordered Capt. Bryant and U. B. Bush to 
bring forward the men who committed the 
murder by Monday at 2 o'clock in the after- 
noon, or the prisoners should be killed. A 
scout brought in Archer and Hunter, who had 
been arrested at their homes, but left there — 
Hunter, on account of sickness, and Archer, 
because of his blindness. The Sheriff then 
went away, leaving the prisoners in the hands 
of the mob, and never went back to see what 
had become of them, saying he was afraid 
they would kill hint also. 

"Saturday, at 2 o'clock p, m., they broke 
up camp at Harlen's and moved up to Col. 
Tracy's place. They took possession of the 
house and drove his family into the kitchen, 
ordering his wife and mother-in-law, Mrs. 
Pickrue, to go to cooking, or they " would 
burn the last d — d thing on the place." They 
chained U. B. Bush with a log-chain upon one 
of the beds, and pitched into Tracy's papers 
and books, and made a general smash of 
them ; tore up his buggy and threw it into a 
mill-pond ; took all the mill-irons, augers and 
tools they could find, and threw them away ; 

fed away and destroyed about 4,000 bundles 
of oats; about 200 bushels of corn, and cut 
and destroyed cofn yet in the field ; took and 
destroyed some thirty bee-hives ; killed all the 
chickens, and smashed up things generally, 
to the damage of Tracy, of between seven 
hundred and a thousand dollars. 

" They took out Capt. Bryant ; hung him up 
by the neck, and told him if he did not say 
that certain parties killed Mason, they would 
kill him, but if he would implicate certain par- 
ties, he should be released. At last, to save 
his life, he told them any and everything they 
asked him — so he told Bush, when they again 
turned him into the guard-house. Said he to 
Bush : ' I have been nearly killed by these 
men, and to save my life I have told an awful 
tale. I had to tell them that you did assist 
in killing Mason, and the only chance for 
you, is to do as I have done, — lie out of it the 
best you can, and get out of this place.' 

"Biyant was sent out with an escort, and 
they reported that he 'made his escape.' 
They arrested one B. T. Deshazo, a very 
harmless citizen, and tied a rope around his 
neck, surrounded him with pistols cocked, and 
told him if he did not acknowledge that Col. 
Tracy, Capt. Tracy, T. \V. Baker, U. B. Bush, 
and Capt Bryant did the murder, they would 
kill him ; but if he would tell, they would 
turn him loose. He protested to the last that 
he knew nothing about it. They abused him 
very badly. They then caught up Deshazo's 
little brother and would write out just the evi- 
dence they wanted, and ask him if it was not 
so? The little fellow would say what they 
wanted him to say, and they would come in 
and tell a prisoner that a certain one had 
sworn to statements implicating him, and he 
had as well acknowledge, etc. Some times, 
some of the guards would get an opportunity, 
and tell the prisoners that nobody had so 
sworn, and not to acknowledge anything. 

" Things went on this way, and they had 
prolonged Bush's life, until about dark, Mon- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

day night, when Pink Turner, the Deputy 
Sheriff, arrived with a writ of habeas corptcs 
for the prisoners (issued by Hon. Ehsha Bax- 
ter, Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit), 
which Monks and his men, at first, voted 
unanimously to disobey, saying they intended 
to kill ten men for Mason, and had three who 
were already fat enough. Some time after 
they refused to obey the writ, a squad of them 
found some newspapers in the house and 
made caps of them, and started up the road, 
in the direction of Salem, saying they were 
' Ku-klux.' Directly after they left, Monks 
told the Deputy Sheriff that he would obey 
the writ, and the prisoners were at his com- 
mand. The Deputy Sheriff tlren took U. B. 
Bush and J. H. Tracy, and started for Salem, 
saying that Tracy should not be hurt, but say- 
ing nothing about Bush. When they had 
proceeded about two miles, they were met in 
the road by the men with paper caps, who 
made no halt, but rode directly up to them 
and made efforts to seize the bridles of the 
prisoners' horses. The Deputy Sheriff caught 
J. H. Tracy's horse, and whispered to Tracy to 
run with him. They ran, leaving Bush in the 
hands of the men. After they had fled a short 
distance, Tracy heard Bush pleading for his 
life, and directly they heard firing. Bush's 
body, pierced with three balls, was found, at 
daylight next morning, near the spot where he 
was taken away from the Deputy Sheriff. 
William Rirchardson, when the prisoners were 
thus taken away from the Sheriff, galloped 
back to Col. Tracy's where the main gang was, 
and told them what had taken place, when all 
of them mounted and started up the road. In 
the excitement, T. W. Baker, Deshazo and 
the rest of the prisoners escaped. The gang 
returned to Tracy's and hunted around in the 
orchard and lots for Baker, thinking he was 
too sick to sit up, and had been carried out 
by the other prisoners. 

" On learning that an armed body of men 

was advancing upon them. Monks and his 
band left in haste for Missouri, taking to the 
woods, after they had proceeded a short dis- 
tance. The Deputy Sheriff arrived in Salem 
before day with J. H. Tracy as a prisoner, 
who immediately stood his trial and was ac- 
quitted, together with all the rest, who have 
stood their trials, to-wit : N. W. Baker, E. C. 
Hunter and James M. Archer. The others 
implicated are ready for trial when called on. 
The Prosecuting Attorney said to a gentle- 
man in Salem, after the prisoners had been 
acquitted, that he was satisfied it was nothing 
but a ' Union-League trick,' to get vengeance 
upon certain parties." 

It was alone through the inter- 
ference of civil process that the 
lives of these citizens (all except 
Bush) were saved. Monks, who 
connived at the murder of Bush, 
heeded the writ of habeas corpus 
as to the others. This great writ, 
through which any captive may 
have the causes of his imprison- 
ment inqured into judicially, and 
which is an obstacle in the way of 
unlawful methods of vengeance 
and oppression, most objectiona- 
ble to tyrants, drove the Missouri 
invaders out of the State of Arkan- 
sas, where the Executive author- 
ity did nothing to restrain them, 
but where judicial process was yet 
powerful for the repression of 
crime and the preservation of 
peace. While judges should be 
required to issue this writ, it was 
seen by the Governor that there 
were limits to his supreme author- 
ity. The law was above him. He 
might appoint judges, and remove 
them ; but the law made it impera- 

of the Reconstniction Period in Arkansas. 


tive upon the judges to issue the 
writ whenever applied for by the 
humblest, most helpless prisoner. 
And so such an irresponsible in- 
strument of tyranny as Monks, the 
leader of lawless invaders from a 
neighboring State, was driven out 
by an appeal to the judicial depart- 
ment of the State government. 
The Governor realized that his 
power would not be absolute with- 
out the existence of martial law. 

It does not detract from the pow- 
er of the writ, or the fidelity of the 
judge, that he saw proper to write 
a note to the Deputy Sheriff, who 
served it, to the leader of the out- 
laws : 

Colonel William Monks : 

We ask you most earnestly, as officially rep- 
resenting the Judiciary of Arkansas, to turn 
over the prisoners to the Sheriff. We beg of 
you as citizens to allow the majesty of the law 
to be vindicated in this matter, and not to im- 
peril the lives and homes and property of all 
good citizens of this State. 

Respectfully and truly yours, 

Elisha Baxter. 

While Judge Baxter was thus 
endeavoring to prevent destruction 
and bloodshed, and was interpos- 
ing the writ of habeas corpus to 
maintain the supremacy of the civil 
authority, in a time of peace, 
against the lawless intruders from 
another State, the Governor who 
had appointed him to office, and 
whose duty it was to resist inva- 
sion, was writing letters to the chief 
promoter of the disturbances. I 
append one of the Governor's let- 

ters to his Sheriff, Spears, who had 
welcomed Monks and his men, 
and so promptly sworn them into 
service as members of the militia 
of his county : 

Little Rock, October i6, 1868. 
Wm. E. Spears, Esq., Salem, Fulton Co. : 

Dear Sir, — Your communication in rela- 
tion to the troubles in Fulton county is receiv- 
ed. Your course is approved. I regret that 
the offenders are still at large ; but think it is 
best not-to attempt their arrest until after the 
election. Keep your eye on them, and bide 
your time. 

By direction of the Governor. 

J. H. Barton, Private Sec'y. 

And now again there was trouble 
in Conway County, The truce 
proclaimed by the Governor was 
a hollow one. Capt. John Gill, who 
had served under John L. Mat- 
thews, in the 3d regiment Arkansas 
Federals, was placed by Matthews 
in command of three companies of 
militia — two companies of whites 
and one of negroes — which raided 
the country around Lewisburg, 
and through Matthews' judicial 
district. Gill pretended to estab- 
lish a hotel in an old vacant store- 
house. His hotel was suspiciously 
burned, .the fire communicating to 
Col. Gordon's store-house, and de- 
stroying the latter, with a quantity 
of valuable goods and supplies. 
Only energetic work saved Col. 
Gordon's residence. Wells & How- 
ard's store was burned about the 
same time, with most of" its con- 
tents. It was while Gill was in 
command, that Casey's store-house 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

was also burned, and the owner, a 
quiet citizen, burned with it, and 
all his goods except a crate of 
crockery. His money, of which 
he was reported to have consider- 
able sums, was destroyed or stolen. 
J. E. Bentley and P. O. Breeden 
were supposed, and were probably 
intended, to be burned with Casey. 
Gill ordered an inquest, and the 
jury, by their verdict, found that 
Bentley's and Breeden's remains 
were mingled with Casey's. Costs 
amounting to ;$ 180.00 were charg- 
ed against the county for tliree in- 
quests, and the same remain a 
record in the office of the County 
Clerk. But Bentley and Breeden 
had secretly escaped and kept out 
of the way. It was a squad of 
Gill's command that arrested old 
Thomas Hooper, five miles above 
town, and shot him on ' the bot- 
toms,' near Plummersville. When 
they arrested him they killed his 
son-in-law, Jackson, pulling corn 
in the field, and wounded a man 
named Perry, who was at work 
with him. About a year after- 
wards Matthews, in going to or 
from court in Perry County, was 
assassinated and left dead in the 

Judge Baxter's personal com- 
munication, delivered to Monks by 
the officer who served the writ of 
habeas corpus, was the object of 
sarcastic comment. But at that 
time of official dissembling, to my 
mind, it gave assurance of the 
Judge's good faith in issuing the 

writ. It was evidence that the 
writ was not issued as a mere 
formality, but that the Judge 
meant it to be obeyed. 

The legislature was in session 
the following April — the same col- 
lection of nondescripts which had 
adjourned from July, 1868. It re- 
garded the performance of the 
Missouri 'loyalist 'in a different 
light, if the House reflected its 
sentiments on the occasion of the 
visit of that hero to the State cap- 
ital. The House adopted unani- 
mously the following resolution : 

Whereas, Colonel William Monks is among 
us, and as he has distinguished himself for 
prowess on the tented field in favor of equal 
rights to all ; therefore be it 

Resolved, That he be invited to address the 
citizens of Little Rock at seven o'clock this 
evening, in the Hall of the House of Repre- 

The invitation was doubtless 
pleasing to this flower of chivalry. 
It was not altogether full of joy to 
those thus doomed to hear the 
' address.' Sad-faced Fitzwater, 
the mover of the resolution, may 
have offered it in the vein of Mark 
Twain's burlesques then coming 
into vogue. But the house voted 
it with the self-sacrificing patriot- 
ism of Artemus Ward. In their 
fervid loyalty these rising states- 
men may have sincerely believed 
that carrying bee-hives by assault, 
scaring women, 'charging' a soli- 
tary citizen and murdering a pris- 
oner by a troop of seventy horse, 
was 'prowess on the tented field.' 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


With a smaller force Fremont in- 
vaded California, and Walker con- 
quered Nicaragua. To elude im- 
aginary pursuit, the murderers of 
Bush 'took to the woods,' upon 
the first rumor that there was an 
armed force to meet them. They 
recklessly penetrated the black- 
jack solitudes until safe beyond 
the Missouri border. The rumor 
that inspired this strategic maneu- 
ver was the invention of overwork- 
ed wives, who saw their scanty 
stores disappearing with enter- 
tainment of the hungry warriors. 
The phrase, ' in favor of equal 
rights to all,' which rounds the 
rhetoric of the invitation, was a 
threadbare motto of a mock phi- 
lanthropy. It deceived no one. 
All men knew that it meant op- 
pression of the many, for conserv- 
ing the power and interests of a 
few. The altruism it professed was 
' too utterly ' self-denying for the 
characteristic thrift of its origina- 

" To save a fellow-man from death 
Never would they cry " Dear friend, O take 
This life-preserver for thy sake." 

The Governor appointed three 
' generals,' two of them from the 
Legislature, and one from the U. 
S. Marshal's office — all ' carpet- 
baggers ' — to command the three 
districts designated in his orders. 
According to the description of 
the American tramp, they had 
tried nearly all the walks of life. 
By the constitution, just adopted, 

"Officers of the Executive de- 
partment were ineligible to any 
position in the gift of the qualified 
electors." These militia-officers, 
thus transferred to the Executive 
department, returned to their 
seats in the Legislative depart- 
ment, without pretending to be 
re-chosen by the qualified electors, 
and took part in the enactment of 
measures which granted them im- 
munity from punishment under the 
laws they had violated as militia- 

D. P. Upham was assigned to 
the Northeast; S. W. Mallory, of 
the Senate, was given command of 
the South, and R. F. Catterson, 
of the House, was assigned to the 
Southwest. Gibson, of Darda- 
nelle ; Coolidge, of Union, and 
Demby, of Montgomery, mem- 
bers of the House, accepted or- 
ders to raise men and renew their 
raids against their ex-rebel neigh- 

The militia levies consisted of 
whites and negroes, until the lat- 
ter grew insubordinate and had to 
be disbanded. The former were 
a people about whom much has 
been written. From the mountain 
districts of the older Southern 
States, they had removed to simi- 
lar regions in Arkansas, in which 
the planter and his slaves would 
have starved. There they built 
their log dwellings, and, except a 
little coffee and sugar, were inde- 
pendent of commerce. They 
did not hate slavery as much as 


The Brooks ayid Baxter War: a History 

they hated the slave, who in return 
aspersed them as " poor white 
trash." With instinctive jealousy 
of negro competition, they de- 
clared the late war "a rich man's 
quarrel and a poor man's fight," 
and fled or fought the Confederate 
conscripting offiers. Attracted by 
the military bounties, they became 
at length nominal recruits to the 
Union army, and with pay in pros- 
pect, and new opportunities for 
plunder, eagerly responded to the 
Governor's call. 

The great body of the negroes 
remained faithful to their peaceful 
education in slavery. Only the 
idle and vicious, as a rule, joined 
the militia, in which they devel- 
oped the atavism of race, and ex- 
emplified the pitilessness of the 
dark races the world over. Their 
employment to harry their former 
masters and mistresses was regard- 
ed a brilliant move of the humani- 
tarians. The authors and signers 
of the renowned accusation of the 
Colonies against their sovereign 
had set forth in that instrument : 
*' He has excited domestic insur- 
rection among us, and endeavored 
to bring on the inhabitants of our 
frontiers the merciless Indian sav- 
ages." (The 'domestics' were 
African slaves). 

It was the climax of their list of 
grievances, and placed the two 
races in the same category. 

The Africans in America had 
no more agency in this warfare 
than the lions from Africa which 

were made instruments of torture 
to early Christians in the Roman 
arena, as depicted by Talmeda 
and Gerome. Oge, who led the 
massacres of Hayti, Mackaya, who 
renewed them, encouraged by the 
Amis des Noirs, of Paris, and Nat. 
Turner, who headed the insurrec- 
tion in North Carolina, were the 
' lions ' that were to be feared at 
the South. They were well re- 
membered by the Amis des Noirs 
of America. Their failure to 
* perform,' in resistance to every 
means of encouragement, was a 
surprise to the pious transcenden- 
talists, Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, 
Sanborn, Wendell Phillips, et al. 
From John Brown to Mallory, they 
proved a disappointment. 

The South was in a condition of 
utter helplessneess. Its people 
had responded to the invitation to 
return to their homes and resume 
their labors of peace. The ex- 
Confederates were all prisoners 
under parole. They were entitled 
to protection from their conquer- 
ors. But the battle being ended, 
and arms laid aside, this new en- 
emy appeared against them thus 
bound and defenceless. We have 
all read with horror of the inhu- 
man creatures who sometimes ap- 
pear upon the scene of awful fa- 
talities, to rob the dead and mur- 
der the wounded, governed by no 
other motive than greed of gold. 

Several hundred of the militia 
were collected at Batesville, by 
Upham. This faithful chieftain 

of the Recoiistructio7i Period in Arkansas. 

wrote to the Governor asking what 
were his powers under martial 
law? The Congressional Viceroy 
answered, employing the defini- 
tion of the Duke of Wellington. 
But the Iron Duke applied it alone 
to territory invaded by his armies, 
and not to any part of the British 
realm. Governor Clayton wrote 
in reply: 

" Little Rock, Nov, 8th, 1868. 
"Brig. Gen. D. P. Upham, Batesville: 

" Sir, — In reply to your communication of 
Nov. 13th, I will say, that the provision of the 
militia law to which you refer applies only to 
the discipline of the militia force, and not to 
political offenders. A military commission is 
not governed by any written law. It is sim- 
ply the will of the Commander-[in-chief]. 
You are authorized to organize military com- 
mission for the trial of citizens, but will not 
enforce the death penalty without sending the 
proceedings to these headquarters for appro- 
val. By order of the Governor. 

"J. H. Barton, Private Secretary." 

Barton was the Governor's broth- 
er-in-law, I have been told. The 
Governor also wrote Upham, Oct. 
19th, that he had not written him 
in person because of an accident 
by which he had lost his right 
hand. About that time, his hand 
had to be cut off. While enjoying 
peaceful recreation, amidst the 
general excitement, with dog and 
gun, of which he seems to have 
been as fond as Mr. Winkle in the 
Pickwick Papers, he received a 
wound in the hand by the acci- 
dental discharge of his fowling- 
piece, rendering amputation nec- 

essary. Like Mr. Winkle, he learn- 
ed that " Every bullet has its bil- 
let." He has thenceforth worn an 
empty sleeve." 

He also wrote Judge Baxter in- 
quiring if there were in his circuit 
any lawlessness that could not be 
suppressed by civil law? He did 
not mean Monks or his band 
from whom his Sheriff, Spears, had 
stolen away in such mortal terror. 
I had no means of ascertaining the 
Judge's response. 

Gen. Upham, being enlightened, 
proceeded to 'execute' martial 
law, but without referring the cap- 
ital cases to the Commander-in- 
chief. It has not been disclosed 
what disposition he made of the 
money he extorted from the help- 
less victims who were subjected to 
his merciless exactions — exactions 
conducted with an ingenuity of 
rapacity unparalleled since the 
campaign of Alva in the Nether- 
lands. He led a detachment and 
established 'a post' at Augusta, 
in Woodruff County, in the fertile 
valley of White River. In that 
productive region the old citizens 
had been now three years busy 
in recuperating the losses they had 
sustained during the previous 
years of military invasion and 
occupation of the armies of Con- 

News of the violence and fe- 
rocity of his men had preceded 
Upham. Their merciless treat- 
ment of ex-Confederate soldiers 
had been told by fugitives. — 

The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Many of the ex-Confederates of 
Woodruff County resolved not 
to fall into their hands, and 
withdrew to adjacent swamps 
where they organized them- 
selves under Colonel Pickett, a 
gallant ex-Confederate. They 
proclaimed their determination, 
rather than be tortured in viola- 
tion of their paroles, to sell their 
lives dearly. They made no war- 
like movement, farther than to 
provide themselves with arms and 
munitions. They were never at- 
tacked by the militia, who exer- 
cised a wholesome discretion in 
this particular, confining their op- 
erations to running down and 
shooting, or robbing the citizen 
they found alone. 

At the ancient hostelry, well- 
known as the 'Anthony House' — 
destined to be mentioned again in 
these annals, and the scene of 
many a stirring event in Little 
Rock — soon after Upham's ' occu- 
pation' of Augusta, I met several 
old citizens from Woodruff coun- 
ty, who had fled to the State cap- 
ital for protection. They had ap- 
pealed to the Governor. But as 
well might the hind have asked 
pity of the lion. They narrated 
to me several instances of the pro- 
ceedings of Upham, under * mar- 
tial law,' which came under their 
observation. I took down from 
their lips the following memoran- 
da of their experiences with Up- 
ham's militia: 

Albert W. White said, — 

"I am sixty years of age. I live ten miles 
north of Augusta. On the 8th of December, 
1868, I was arrested by Capt. McClure and 
squad of mounted men of Upham's militia, at 
my store. They took from my store one 
thousand dollars' worth of dry goods; four 
horses, and one mule. They took me to Au- 
gusta and imprisoned me in the Irving block; 
kept me a prisoner there from Dec. 8th, 1868, 
until Feb 6lh, 1869. There was never a 
charge made against me. I had pneumonia 
while in prison, and was not allowed a physi- 
sician. My son, Richard A. White, was 
made a prisoner just before I was released, 
and placed in the Irving block. I obtained 
my release and that of my son by paying 
money to Upham's Provost Marshal, John H. 
Rosa. He sent me word by Mr. Horton, who 
had been a prisoner and released by Rosa, that 
I could have my son released for three hun- 
dred dollars, and unless I paid him that sum, 
he would send him to the penitentiary at Little 
Rock. Col. Lewis Barnes told me he had 
seen Rosa, and Rosa had told him the same 
thing, and advised me to pay the money. I 
gave Col. Barnes that amount, who handed it, 
in the presence of Rosa, to my son, and saw 
my son hand it to Rosa, who released my 
son at once. I was released Wednesday, 
Februai7 the 6th ; my son the Sunday fol- 

Robert W. Murray stated, — 

" I live in sight of Albert W. White, ten 
miles from Augusta. Before the release of 
Mr. White, I was arrested at home by a scout 
of cavalry, under Lieut. Wilson, of Upham's 
militia, and put in the same place of confine- 
ment. Understanding that prisoners were 
paying out, and being sent for by Rosa, I was 
taken before him by Ford, Rosa's * orderly.' 
I offered him fifty dollars for my release. He 
demanded one hundred and fifty dollars for 
releasing me, and giving me ' protection pa- 
pers,' and returning my two mules which 

of the Reconstructio7i Period hi Arkansas. 


had been taken by Wilson's scout. I paid 
him that sum and was released, but got only 
one of my mules." 

Charles F. McKinney stated, — 

" I live eight miles north of Augusta, on the 
lacksonport road. I was arrested on riding 
into Augusta, Dec. 28th, 1868, by Capt. Mc- 
Clure, and imprisoned, without any charge, or 
other formality, against me. Rosa came to 
me about ten o'clock that night ; said I would 
be tried for carrying powder to Pickett and 
his men, and if convicted, I would be shot. 
He said he would release me for three hun- 
dred and fifty dollars, and give me ' vouchers ' 
for the property taken from me, and ' protec- 
tion papers.' I told him I could not raise 
that amount of money. He took me before 
Upham, who questioned me about the powder, 
and sent me back to Rosa, who had me put in 
the town calaboose, and came to see me again, 
and said he would accept two hundred dol- 
lars, and send a man around town with me 
to get the money from my friends. Ford, his 
orderly, guarded while I was trying to raise 
the money about town. This was on Friday, 
or Saturday, January 15th, 1869. Seeing that 
I was not able to get the money, Rosa released 
me on ' parole,' to go home and gin and sell 
my cotton, which I did, and paid him the 
money in the presence of his wife. I got 
'protection papers,' but the vouchers proved 
worthless to me." 

These witnesses also gave the 
details, as they heard them, of the 
killing, by Upham's militia, of the 
following persons in the neighbor- 
hood of Augusta, viz : Richard 
Coley, over sixty years old, met a 
gang of militia in the road, when 
he turned his horse or mule and 
tried to get away from them. He 
was shot dead and left in the road. 

John Tharp was the first man 

they took out to shoot, by order 
of Upham's military commission, 
upon the charge that he was Cap- 
tain of Ku-Klux. There was never 
a man's life begged for as was his. 
He was shot and buried without 
a coffin. 

A young man named Rogers, at 
Cotton Plant, engaged to be mar- 
ried, was shot to death by orders 
of Upham, after he had paid Rosa 
three hundred dollars. 

James Bland was taken at mid- 
night from the side of his wife and 
child, and killed without trial, even 
by a-commission. 

Charles Ruddock, the school 
teacher, was taken from his room 
at night and killed without any 

Dr. Marquis D, McKenzie, a fa- 
vorite physician and leading citi- 
zen of the county, was taken out 
of his house in the evening by Up- 
ham's men and shot, and his re- 
mains thrown into White River. 

Bartlett Y. Jones, a well-known 
citizen, was taken out the night 
Dr. McKenzie was, and killed. 

There was no charge against 
these men except their expressions 
of indignation at the invasion of 
the county and acts of the militia. 

An Englishman, named Parker, 
temporarily sojourning at Augus- 
ta, was killed for denouncing the 
militia. The British Minister was 
informed of the killing of Parker. 
But his government, which had 
punished Theodore, and subse- 
quently avenged Isandlwana, hes- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

itated to inquire into the deeds of 
Clayton's militia in Arkansas. 

A Frenchman, who lived at Joe 
Hill's place (with an unpronounce- 
able name), was charged with be- 
ing a spy of Pickett, and killed in 
the woods near the town. The 
French Caesar was then bickering 
with Russia, and was soon after- 
wards himself an exile. His son 
has recently fallen under the asse- 
gais of Zulu negroes, and thus the 
poor young prince may have ex- 
piated the death of Toussaint, 
eaten by rats in the dungeons of 
Joux, to which he was consigned, 
during the reign of Napoleon the 

One of the refugees from Aug- 
usta gave me an original safeguard, 
issued by Upham — ' protection pa- 
per,' he called it — of which the fol- 
lowing is a true copy : 

"Headqrs. North East Arkansas, "I 
Augusta, Dec. 29. 1S68. / 

"A safeguard is hereby granted James B. 
Currie and family and all /ro/^r/j' of whatever 
kind belonging to him. All officers and sol- 
diers under this command are therefore com- 
manded to respect this safeguard. 

D. P. Upham, Brig. Gen. Commanding. 
E. H. Mix, [in red ink] Capt. A. Adjt. Gen. 

John H. Rosa, Provost Mar. Gen." 

Rosa, though small of stature, 
and of ' Dago ' complexion, was 
worthy of his chief, the black- 
bearded Upham. 

The foregoing are but instances, 
reported, as aforesaid, by accident. 
Citizens of the invaded districts 

were afraid to complain, and com- 
plaint would bring no relief. In 
the fertile counties skirting White 
River, hundreds of country ' stores' 
were gutted; barns were emptied; 
fields were stripped, and dwellings 
robbed. These depredations were 
not committed upon citizens and 
ex-Confederates alone. Neither 
age nor sex was spared. The 
Memphis Appeal, of the 26th Jan- 
uary, gave an account of the as- 
sault and robbery, by militia, of 
Mr. Isaac Andrews, of Evansville* 
Indiana : 

" Travelling with his wife in a buggy, over- 
land, he was overtaken at the Tyrongee by a 
party of the militia. One of them engaged 
him in conversation while another struck him 
down, and, before releasing him, robbed him 
of one hundred and sixty dollars. He had 
proceeded on his way as far as the Bradley 
farm, when two negroes of another party of 
militia met him and his wife and demanded 
his money. He replied that he had just been 
robbed. The negroes then presented cocked 
pistols at the head of Mrs. Andrews, and, curs- 
ing her, threatened to shoot her if she did not 
give up the money she had. Mr. Andrews 
gave them another fifty dollars, all he had with 
him. Their captors, whose grins now lighted 
their sombre features, permitted their victims 
to depart, bleeding and pale, while they divid- 
ed the treasure." 

The same paper published a tel- 
egram from Little Rock, dated 
January 27, 1869, giving account 
of the breaking up of a wedding 
party near Pine Knob, in Johnson 
County, by negro militia. The 
bride was a niece of a former As- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 

sociate Justice of the Supreme 
Court : 

" Just after the company had assembled, and 
before the marriage, a company of negro mili- 
tia, commanded by a white man, surrounded 
the place, and putting out the lights, those 
who had entered the house laid violent hands 
on the ladies. Some of the guests had weap- 
ons with them, which they fired upon the 
other militiamen who were about to enter, and 
upon the intruders who ran out to their assist- 
ance, the militia returning the fire by shooting 
into the house. After an exciting fight, in 
which four negroes were badly wounded and 
some horses killed, the negroes were driven 
off. A sister of the bride was dangerously 
wounded. The radicals say that the object 
was not rapine, but to make an arrest." 

At Charleston, in Frankhn Coun- 
ty, a respectable young lady was 
found at home alone by a scout of 
negro militia, and subjected to 
criminal assault by several of their 
number, and left in a state of un- 
consciousness, amidst the frag- 
ments of broken furniture, trunks 
and scattered clothing. 

While Upham was pursuing his 
mission of death and devastation 
in the East, the Governor had 
equally dutiful agents passing his 
' bloody scythe ' over the South- 
west. They were all strangers in 
the regions they raided, except 
Demby, the son of a watch-maker, 
of Pine Bluff, who went there in 
the fifties, from the East. Catter- 
son was tall and fair, a saddler by 
vocation. Mallory was red-haired 
and corpulent, a carpenter. Wig- 
gins was hard-featured, premature- 

ly gray, a jeweller. Anderson and 
Lockhart, I have been told, were 
expelled by Gen. Blunt from the 
Union Army, and found their way 
to Sebastian and Scott Counties. 

To Lockhart, the Governor is- 
sued orders, Nov. 5, 1868, to raise 
militia in Scott and Montgomery 
Counties and unite with the mili- 
tia of Polk and Pike Counties at 
Murfeesboro, in Pike County. The 
order reads : * What forage and 
supplies you need obtain without 
pressing, if possible, giving receipts 
to owners of the same, to be col- 
lected at this place (Little Rock). 
But if you cannot obtain it volun- 
tarily, yo7i must press and receipt 
as before. Success depends upon 

On their march to Murfreesboro 
the militia passed through Centre 
Point. Demby and his men had 
raided the place from Montgom- 
ery County during the war. They 
entered this place on a * charge,' 
finding citizens on the streets, 
some of them in arms, mistrustful 
of the object of this sudden ap- 
proach of armed men in time of 
peace. The militia, anticipating 
resistance, began an indiscrimi- 
nate firing, killing some citizens of 
the town, and wounding others. 
They took any and all property 
they saw proper from the posses- 
sion of those who were obnoxious 
to them or their sympathizers. In 
a similar manner they continued 
their advance southward, through 
the productive valleys of the Lit- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

tie Missouri and Ouachita, spread- 
ing terror among the people. 
' Gen.' Catterson assumed com- 
mand of them upon their march. 
Dry-goods, clothing, horses, mules 
and anything they wished, were 
appropriated wherever found along 
the line of march. They killed 
citizens, and, to make others give 
up money, tortured them under 
revolting circumstances, and took 
a great many prisoners whom they 
sent to be kept in the penitentiary 
at Little Rock — chiefly such as 
were likely to be able to pay for 
their release. His Excellency, the 
Commander-in-chief, issued to 
Gen. Catterson, among others, the 
following autograph order : 

"Executive Office, Dec. ist, 1868. 
Gen. Robert F. Catterson, Commanding 
Southwest District : 

Dear Sir. — I have not heard from you offi- 
cially since the arrival of the prisoners, Nov. 
22d. Judge Searle [one of his appointees] is 
sick, and cannot hold a special term of court, 
as I intended [to constitute it a quasi military 
court]. 1 will send a commission to Coolidge 
[a member of the House] as Justice of the 
Peace, who, I believe, claims citizenship in 
that county (?). 

" The prisoners can either be examined be- 
fore him, or you can try them by Alilitary 
Commission. If you resort to the latter plan, 
you had better select the worst, and dismiss 
those who are least culpable. All desperate 
characters that may fall into into your hands, 
you had better deal with summarily. As I 
remarked, _j'02<r approval to the proceedings 
of a Military Court will hejinal. 

" From information received, there is a man 
called Parson Hunt, in Sevier County, who 
has been a ring-leader in all the mischief 

done in that county. He should be arrested 
and summarily dealt with. 

" Your course has given great satisfaction 
here. We are besieged v/ith. peace-delegations, 
I listen to their stories, and refer them to you 
and Mallory, believing that you, being on the 
ground, can act more wisely than I can. 
Please keep me posted of your movements. 
" Very respectfully, 

(Signed) "Powell Clayton." 

I copied these letters from the 
original letter-book of the Gover- 
nor, with the custodian's permis- 
sion, and the following orders, 
which were issued by the Com- 

" Little Rock, Dec. 3d, 1868. 
" Brig. Gen. Sam. W. Mallory, Command- 
ing District Southwest : 

" Sir, — I send you a list of men who, it is 
believed, belong to the Ku-Klux. And some 
of them, if is believed, have engaged in the 
outrages that have occurred. 

" Have marked the worst cases. If you 
can be able to arrest these men, from some of 
them, doubtless, you will be able to elicit 
facts, and may, possibly, get something in ref- 
erence to Gen. Fagan and John H. Burton. 

[The list appended was as fol- 
lows, the worst cases marked with 
an asterisk] : 

" Dr. W. H. Barry,* Henry Randle,* (Mon- 
ticello) ; Dr. M. C. Reno, (Hopkins County, 
Texas) ; James Jeter ; James Hankins , 
Teacher Richardson, Chas. Hopkins (doubt), 
W. R. Tunnage, Wm. Tunnage, sr., John Dun- 
^ap. Pink Holland, — Whitman, Geo. Veasey, 
Chas. Burks, Frank Bennett, Dr. Owens, Eli 
Rogers, D. C. Parker (Marion), Jim Brooks,* 
Street Hudspeth,* Milton Dabney (Saline), 
Chas. Boyd,* (Cabin Creek), — Boothman, 
(witness, Grubb) ; — Hunnicut (Bradley Co.) 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 

John Folliard, Robt. S. Bennett, Nat. Ham- 
mett,* Fred. Wells (Marion), John Sweeny,* 
Street Beatty, Sam. Gibson (Bradley), Martin 

On the 25th of December, if 
the Governor sent to the same 
officer the following order, (omit- 
ting a few lines devoted to explicit 
directions) it reads : 

" Executive Office, Dec. 25th, 1868. 
"Gen. S. W. Mallory, Commanding District 
Southwest : 

" Sir, — I am instructed by the Governor to 
say, that as soon as Gen. Catterson reaches 
you, you will proceed at once to arrest the 
parties whose names have been sent to you, 
as well as any other outlaws. He thinks you 
can surely execute many of them. It is abso- 
lutely necessary that some examples be made. 

* * * It may be desirable to have the 
troops kerey by the first of January, if the 
thing can be safely done. There will be a 
large Democratic Convention here at that 
time, and the militia may be needed as dele- 
gates. He thinks you have acted wisely in 
disbanding the colored troops, under the cir- 
cumstances Very respectfully yours, 

•* J. H. Barton, Private Secretary." 

(Some of the negro militia had 
mutinied and threatened Mallory's 

Numerous arrests were made 
under this order, though many fled 
to avoid arrest. What disposition 
was made of some of the prisoners 
has not yet been made known. 
Most of them who had friends, or 
were themselves able to pay ran- 
soms, were liberated. Young 
Stokes Morgan was disposed of in 
a more tragic manner. He was 
accused of complicity in the mur- 

der of a white named Dollar, who 
had been lynched at Monticello 
for deserting his family and living 
with a negro woman. Morgan 
could have proved that he was at 
Lacy, thirteen miles south of Mon- 
ticello the night of the killing. 
But he took no pains to make any 
defense. He was tried by a mili- 
tary commission which recom- 
mended his discharge. Catterson 
reversed the finding, and ordered 
him to be hung. He was sent to 
the penitentiary at Little Rock, 
and taken back to Monticello and 

When Catterson and Lockhart 
reached Hamburg, the county-seat 
of Ashley County, a prosperous 
merchant of that place, Col. A. W. 
Files, had just returned from New 
Orleans with a large stock of dry- 
goods and supplies. The entire 
stock was immediately seized by 
the militia, and Files taken pris- 
oner. There was no charge against 
him. There were ladies in the 
' store ' when he was arrested. 
Seeing one of them take a hand- 
kerchief from her pocket, he slip- 
ped into it, unseen, a roll of bills 
containing seven hundred and fifty 
dollars. He was taken in charge 
by four men, mounted, who march- 
ed him on foot before them along 
a road leading out of the town in- 
to the woods. It was the 19th of 
December, and the weather was 
freezing cold. One of the guards, 
a man named Anderson, rode the 
prisoner's mule and saddle, which 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

were worth two hundred and fifty- 
dollars. Col. Files was afterwards 
a guest at the Anthony House, in 
Little Rock, and gave me an ac- 
count of his arrest. He said : 

"He felt positively certain that he was im- 
mediately to be killed by his custodians. He 
noticed the two younger men of the party were 
ordered to take another direction. This left 
only two, who were sufficient to dispatch him, 
and enjoy between them a shorter division of 
his money. He had retained but little money 
(about sixty dollars) in his pocket. As he 
stepped briskly before the mules of his guard, 
in the mud and ice of the lonely road, he was 
prepared at any moment to receive their shots 
in his back. But he had command of all his 
faculties. At length he heard Anderson say, 
" See here, sir ! " He wheeled instantly, and 
resolved to do his utmost Xo flatter his would- 
be-executioners into sparing his life. Ander- 
son had his pistol partly drawn. Files first 
addressed him with perfect coolness. He told 
him, with much earnestness, that he saw from 
his bearing he was an intelligent and coura- 
geous man (?) He said he was sure a brave 
man could not have it in his heart to kill one 
who had never seen him before, and never 
done him any harm. Anderson finally let his 
pistol drop back into the scabbard. The other 
man had to be mollified. He was more surly. 
When addressed in the same strain, he said 
he had been in rough places himself. "But 
you were spared," said his prisoner, " or you 
would not be here." They agreed that if he 
would leave the State, not return to it, so that 
they could report that they had killed himi 
and let no one know it, and give them up his 
money, they would let him take to the woods. 
He handed them his pocket-book. They be- 
lieved he had more, and one drew his pistol; 
but he quickly showed that his pockets were 
empty, and that he had no "belt " around 
him. They ordered him " to go." He ex- 

pected, when he turned, to be shot. They 
did not follow him. He took to the woods 
and ran over logs and through brakes 
until exhausted. Arriving at a neighbor's, he 
got some money from him. He sent a mess- 
age to his wife that he was not killed, and not 
to breathe it. But she did, and was raided 
and robbed of the money he sent her, and sev- 
en hundred and fifty dollars more. 

Detachments of Catterson's com- 
mand raided the counties on the 
southwestern border. In Sevier 
County, Mr. Brooks, a respectable 
citizen, was bound in his own 
house, and he, with his children, 
was forced to witness the outrage 
of his wife by negroes. One of 
his sons, Allie Brooks, then a boy, 
now a promising young business 
man, of Nashville, Ark., is a living 
witness to this infamous atrocity. 

On the Little Missouri, where it 
runs at the base of pine-crowned 
battlements two thousand feet 
high (the ridge called the Fodder 
Stack), through peaceful, romantic 
valleys that had never been dis- 
turbed by the war, cruel deeds 
were performed that remind us of 
the dark ages. One poor rustic 
was repeatedly hung up by the 
neck with a hair-rope, until life 
was nearly extinct, to make him 
tell what he did not know. An- 
other, in a valley called ' Greasy 
Cove," on the Little Missouri Riv- 
er, a romantic glen in the moun- 
tains (a favorite retreat of General 
Albert Pike),!who protested against 
the violent entrance of his premi- 
ses, was hung before his own door. 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkajisas. 


while the raiders fiddled and 
danced within. An anusual snow 
fell during the night. Their host, 
next morning, was there swinging 
by his halter, with a cone of snow 
upon his lifeless head. The * store ' 
of ' Old-man ' Wimberly was rob- 
bed, and he brutally maltreated. 

While the champions of ' free- 
dom* were engaged in these 
achievements, the State legislature 
assembled at Little Rock, in ' ad- 
journed session,' Nov. 17th, 1868. 
Our old friend, the military par- 
son, representative from Phillips, 
reappeared in his seat, and gave 
evidence of his patriotic ardor in a 
congratulatory address to his col- 
leagues upon the success of the 
militia in their glorious campaigns 
in behalf of ' equal rights to all.* 
He thanked God that the rebel 
Philistines had again been visited 
with ' the lightning of His terrible, 
swift sword.' In no age does it 
seem that man's thought can trans- 
cend his knowledge, and imagine 
a Deity that shall be less cruel 
than himself! He introduced a 
series of resolutions that, under a 
suspension of the rules, were unan- 
imously adopted, without amend- 
ment, as follows : 

Resolved, By the members of the House of 
Representatives of the State of Arkansas, the 
Senate concurring. That the establishment 
and maintenance of peace, the security of prop- 
erty and life are the first and most important 
objects of government. 

2d. That when civil authority and process 
fail of the attainment of these ends, and the 

magistracy becomes powerless, the military 
authority and power should be invoked. 

3d. Being fully persuaded o{ the precon- 
certed existence of widespread lawlessness and 
systematic assassination of the friends of the 
government, State and National, in certain 
counties, being at large, defying the officers of 
the law, we do therefore most earnestly ap- 
prove and indorse the recent proclamation of 
Governor Powell Clayton declaring martial 
law in said counties. 

4th. Believing we are right, and calling on 
Almighty God and all good men to witness 
the rectitude of our motives, for ourselves in- 
dividually and on behalf of our several con- 
stituencies, for the maintenance of the State 
Government and the active enforcement of the 
laws, " we pledge our lives, our fortunes (!), 
and our sacred honor." 

This elaborate screed was cop- 
ied from the instrument I have 
quoted, which declared it ' barbar- 
ous ' to incite domestic insurrec- 
tion, but was an improvement of 
the original by introducing the 
Almighty in this distinguished as- 

These proceedings proved of 
little avail to divert attention from 
the atrocities that had been com- 
mitted. Murmurs deep and loud 
began to come from the specta- 
tors, among whom were powerful 
Republican leaders, be it said to 
their honor. 

Senator Pratt, of the 42d Cong- 
ress, denounced 'the corrupt leg- 
islation and venal governments of 
the Southern States.' He felt im- 
pelled to say, in view of what was 
witnessed there, * Had the Ku- 
Klux outrages been directed ag- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

ainst these faithless public serv- 
ants they would have been rid of 
them and nobody would have com- 
plained.' Senator Hale, of the 
same Congress, said, * Bad men in 
the Southern States have bought 
power by wholesale bribery, and 
enriched themselves by open- 
handed robbery. Corruption and 
anarchy occupy and oppress those 
unfortunate states.' And Presi- 
dent Grant, in a message to Cong- 
ress, deemed it necessary for the 
honor of the Nation that the Gov- 
ernment should take notice of the 
unexampled condition of the 
Southern States. He declared his 
' commisseration for the condition 
of these unfortunate Southern 
States.' He had been the mag- 
nanimous victor who accepted the 
surrender of the Southern armies 
upon the terms of liberality that 
were worthy of his successes. It 
doubtless moved him to see them 
so grossly violated. And Grant 
proved to be the good Samaritan 
that showed his compassion, after 
the priests and Levites had looked 
on, and passed by, leaving the suf- 
ferers to their fate. 

On the 24th January the Gov- 
ernor sent his message to the two 
houses in joint session, gravely 
congratulating them that 'they 
had escaped the dangers a)id 
perils that threatened them, and 
in despite of the efforts that 
were put forth and intended for 
their destruction, they had been 
enabled to assemble together 

again in a legislative capacity.' 
He proceded to give the num- 
ber of ' assassinations ' committed 
since their adjournment, assuming 
them all to be ' political ! ' But 
in so studied a State paper he 
could mention eight names only of 
the killed, including James Hinds, 
the Congressman elect, shot in 
May or June ; a fewer number of 
killings than had occurred foryears 
in the same time, in a population 
of nearly a million, and within an 
area of fifty-four thousand square 

He made the following state- 
ment in regard to the destruction 
of the arms in transitu, purchased 
by him for the use of militia, on 
the ' Hesper,' from Memphis : 

" I appointed James L. Hodges, agent of 
the State, with directions to proceed North 
and make a purchase of arms. He purchased 
4000 stands, which he shipped to Little Rock, 
[shipped to be carried to Little Rock], but 
which were stopped at Memphis by a combina- 
tion on the part of the transportation coni- 
panies. On the 12th of October (1868), I 
chartered 'the Steamer Hesper, commanded 
by Capt. S. Houston, to proceed to Memphis 
and transport the arms to this place. He left 
Memphis, Oct. 15th. When about twenty 
miles below that city, an armed band of men, 
disguised, upon the Steam-tug, Nettie Jones, 
boarded the Hesper, and destroyed or carried 
away the arms belonging to the State. 

"This piratical party was fitted out at 
Memphis, and as the offense was committed 
upon the waters of the United States, over 
which the State has no jurisdiction, you are 
respectfully recommended to memorialize 
Congress for the amount expended for the 

of the Reco7istriiction Period iti Arkansas. 


property of the State which ivas destroyed." 

Four thousand stands of arms 
were more than were furnished 
General Taylor for the invasion of 

This incident was described in 
the dispatches of October 17th, 
from Memphis, as follows — (Mem- 
phis, from the high bluffs of Ten- 
nessee, overlooks the low-lying 
forests and cotton plantations of 
Arkansas ): 

" Thursday afternoon, about 5 p. m., the tug, 
Nettie Jones, landed below Fort Pickering, on 
the east bank of the Mississippi River, below 
Memphis. She had scarcely made fast, when 
about one hundred men, who seemed to spring 
out of the earth, all masked and armed, 
quietly boarded the tug ; took possession of 
the pilot-house and engine-room ; ordered one 
of their number to cast off, and putting Cap- 
tain Ford under guard, were soon steaming 
down the Mississippi. On approaching Cat 
Island, twenty-five miles down the river, they 
ran alongside the little Steamer Hesper, at the 
bank, wooding. The Hesper had left Mem- 
phis that afternoon. Capt. Houston and 
brother, on seeing the crowded tug bearing 
down upon their craft, made rapid strides for 
the woods. The maskers sprang upon the 
Hesper; placed the crew under guard, and 
began their work. Ammunition boxes, in the 
hold, were brought up, and gun boxes were 
broken open ; the guns broken, and all thrown 
into the river. The boxes were seen by the 
people on the Mayflower floating down the 
current. It was nine o'clock p. m. when the 
raiders crowded back upon the tug, and Capt. 
Ford ordered her to return up the river. At 
President's Island Chute the tug was run 
agroimd ; the raiders were taken to the woods, 
on the Arkansas side, in a skiff, six at a time, 
and Capt. Ford and crew were left to the con- 

trol of their vessel about 3 o'clock Friday 
morning. He says the performance was as 
quiet as a funeral. Where the raiders went, 
after landing, neither he nor any one has been 
able to discover." 

This dispatch was somewhat 
fanciful. There was only one Ar- 
kansian in the party — a gallant 
Captain, of the Adams line of 
Steamboats, who went from De- 
Vall's Bluff to Clarendon in a skiff, 
and thence overland to Helena, 
and got to Memphis in time to 
enlist the company that pursued 
the Hesper. Sympathizing Mem- 
phians performed this effectual 
coup de main. 

January 19th, 1869, resolutions 
in the House declaring "the re- 
storation of civil authority to be a 
logical deduction of the necessity 
of martial law," were opposed by 
thirteen members, and the Gover- 
nor's proclamation of martial law 
was condemnedinstronglanguage. 
Speaker Price denounced martial 
law in a violent speech, but, being 
public printer, and threatened with 
revocation of his contract, ex- 
plained, subsequently, that he was 
inveighing against martial law in 
Conway County, while the Gen- 
eral Assembly was in session. 

January 22d, Mr. J. B. C. Tur- 
man, of the 8th District {Repiibli- 
can), submitted resolutions, which 
concluded as follows : 

Resolved, By the General Assembly of the 
State of Arkansas, the Representatives of the 
People, That Governor Clayton be and he is 
hereby instructed to revoke martial law 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

throughout the State, that quiet may be re- 
stored, and the right of a free people be 

The resolution lay over, under 
the rules, until the 27th of Janu- 
uary, when it was called up by 
Mr. Joseph Brooks, and referred 
to the Committee on Militia. — 
There it enjoyed a final repose. 
The Reverend Mr. Brooks at this 
time championed all extreme 
measures. He determined that he 
would not let the Governor excel 
him in party zeal. He claimed to 
have more right to control the 
party than Clayton, believing that 
he had organized it in the State — 
the colored wing of it. 

On the 13th of March, the Sen- 
ate passed the resolutions already 
adopted by the House, ratifying 
the Fifteenth Article of Amend- 
ments to the Constitution of the 
United States, the prime object 
for which these bodies had been 
called into existence by the Mili- 
tary Bills of a Rump-Congress. 
It stands appended to the Consti- 
tution, as a regularly adopted arti- 
cle of that instrument: 

"The right of citizens of the United States 
to vote shall not be denied or abridged on 
account of race, color, or previous condition 
of servitude." 

" To hold office," was stricken 
out of the Amendment by the 
Conference Committee of the two 
Houses of Congress. 

The Fourteenth Article, which 
had been added through the same 

expedient, did not go far enough, 
in providing that " all persons born 
or naturalized in the United States 
are citizens^ Women are citizens ; 
but citizenship does not carry with 
it the right to vote. The aborigi- 
nes are supposed not to be subject 
to the jurisdiction of the United 
States, and are not * citizens.' 
They were the proprietors of the 
continent by * divine right ' of 
original colonization. Our pious 
white ancestors made them cap- 
tives, and sold them as slaves be- 
tween the colonies. That method 
of evangelizing them proving im- 
practicable (unprofitable), they 
were exiled or exterminated. The 
remnants of that race cannot vote 
under either article. 

With this crowning labor the 
legislature, created by the military 
bills of Congress, bade adieu to 
the authority and functions usurp- 
ed by them, and ended under 
those bills. 

The legislature had passed, Ap- 
ril 6th, 1869, the act ' legalizing' 
all proceedings and acts had by 
military commissions, or done in 
aid thereof, and prohibiting courts 
of the State from taking jurisdic- 
tion, original or appellate, of such 
acts ; or to hold any person for 
any act done under martial law 
between November 3d, 1868, and 
April 1st, 1869. 

The trouble with governments 
established by military force is 
that this same force is two-edged. 
The victors quarrel among them- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


selves. Arms are again resorted 
to to settle the controversy. This 
is repeated ad infinitum ; the re- 
peated quarrels can only be set- 
tled by force of arms. Such was 
the condition of the middle ages. 
As the result of these forceful 
measures disaffection arose in the 
ranks of the invaders. Then the 
wisdom of the Democratic com- 
mittee in urging the citizens to 
qualify and vote became apparent. 
In order to triumph through the 
strength of the citizen vote, a pow- 
erful element in the Republican 
organization began to form a fac- 
tion to be known as the Liberal 
Republican party. Gen. John Ed- 
wards and Hon. Liberty Bartlett 
were among the chief sponsors of 
the new party, * Honest John,' as 
Edwards was called, had been cer- 
tified a member elect of the House 
of Representatives in Congress by 
the Governor, under circumstances 
that invited serious charges ag- 
ainst the Executive. Yet Edwards 
had a dagger for the Governor, 
and headed a call for a convention 
of the ' Liberals ' at the capital. 

A few days before it met, 
through Judge Thomas Bowen, 
representing the Clayton adminis- 
tration, and the editor of the Ga- 
zette, acting for the Conservatives, 
it was agreed that there should be 
a night-meeting of leaders of these 
respective parties in the Supreme 
Court Library, which was up-stairs 
in the east wing of the capitol. 
The Governor realized that the 

* Liberals ' must be headed off by 
concessions more captivating than 
they might offer. The Conserva- 
tives were distrustful of the ' new 
swarm,' and readily agreed to the 
proposed conference, which was 
fixed for eight o'clock, p. m. 
Leaders were duly notified — ex- 
Judges Watkins and English, Mr. 
Garland and others — and ready 
for the meeting. But just before 
the appointed hour, Judge Bowen 
sought the editor and told him, 

* somebody had leaked,* and sug- 
gested that those who had been 
notified had better appear at a 
concert by Brignoli, to be given 
that night, in order that their pres- 
ence there might contradict the re- 
port,as no conference could be held 
then. So the Conservatives were 
notified, except two, who could 
not be found. They were engaged 
in a quiet little game of poker. 
A majority of the others were con- 
spicuous at the concert. 

Unaware of the postponement, 
the two made their way through 
dark passages to the place of meet- 
ing, and very naturally indulged in 
remarks and exclamations, at not 
finding the rooms open and light- 
ed. Sharp eyes were watching 
them through the darkness that 
enveloped the ancient building, 
and the eager ears of Hodges, Cat- 
terson, and others, were listening 
from behind columns and but- 
tresses. That the Governor knew 
of this appointment, or its objects, 
no one could assert, positively, ex- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

cept Judge Bowen. The Govern- 
or, Judge Bowen, and their fami- 
lies were at the concert, in the city 
hall, ignorant of any mishap that 
had resulted from the postpone- 
ment of the preconcerted meet- 

The next morning, the Gover- 
nor was met at the entrance of the 
executive office by ' Gen.' Catter- 
son, who openly took him to task 
for 'arranging a meeting with 
Democratic leaders for turning 
over the State to the Democracy.' 
The Governor promptly respond- 
ed, that he was * a liar.' The Gen- 
eral, with laurels, fresh from his 
campaign against the paroled pris- 
oners, dry goods stores, and corn- 
fields of South Arkansas, retorted 
that the Governor was ' a d — d 
liar.' This was drawing a nice, if 
profane, distinction of epithets. 
The one-handed Executive re- 
joined with a stinging slap upon 
the General's right cheek. The 
Governor had to reach upward to 
strike his lank lieutenant, who of- 
fered no resistance. The drum- 
head 'General' had seen old men 
and boys, whom he had ordered to 
execution, die^ uncomplainingly 
and unresisting. He looked a vol- 
ume of martial law, but only re- 
marked that ' he would not strike 
a one-armed man,' and went his 
way, with the print of Clayton's 
fingers on his face. 

No more conferences were called 
in the Supreme Court library. The 
Governor took the more fearless 

method of proposing a public 
speech, in which his offers of con- 
ciliation should be made openly. 
Upon being serenaded, one even- 
ing, he appeared upon the steps 
of the capitol, and made his ' Oc- 
tober speech,' designed to outbid 
the ' Liberals ' for the Democratic 

His speech was 'liberal' beyond 
expectation. He declared the pe- 
riod had arrived when the Execu- 
tive should be shorn of his extra- 
ordinary powers; he promised to 
reduce the number of offices, and 
announced himself in favor of the 
removal of political disabilities 
growing out of participation in re- 
bellion ! These were tempting of- 
fers. They were received with 
some misgivings as to their sincer- 
ity by the assembled citizens, but 
they were highly effective. They 
caused the Democracy to give a 
very cold shoulder to the Liber- 
als. The liberal movement seemed 

This was the attitude of the fac- 
tions during the months of No- 
vember and December, the Gov- 
ernor taking a conciliatory course, 
until the meeting of the next leg- 
islature, the second after the adop- 
tion of the constitution of 1 868. 
It met on the 2d of January, 1869. 
Tankersly, imported and appointed 
from Clark County, being chosen 
Speaker of the House ; Lieuten- 
ant-Governor James M. Johnson 
being ex-officio President of the 
the Senate. 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


The message of the Governor, 
read in joint session, on the 4th of 
January, was fully in accordance 
with his 'October Speech.' A 
person to represent the State in 
the Congress of the United States 
(as Senator) was to be chosen by 
that General Assembly. The Gov- 
ernor was plainly desirous of be- 
ing that * person.' No one ven- 
tured to oppose him. 

On the loth of January the two 
houses proceeded to nominate 
him, and, on I ith, the * Honorable 
Powell Clayton received in joint 
session of the two houses, a ma- 
jority of all the votes, and was de- 
clared Senator elect for the term 
commencing March 4th, 187 1, and 
to expire March the 4th, 1877." 

It cannot be forgotten that the 
Rev. Joseph Brooks, author of the 
'Almighty* resolutions of the 
former General Assembly, approv- 
ing the Governor's militia policy, 
andhisson-in-law,Moses Reed, had 
been representatives from the pop- 
ulous negro district which, em- 
bracing Phillips County on the 
Mississippi, and Monroe County on 
White River, composed the nth 
Dist. But subsequent to the ad- 
journment of the military appoin- 
tees constituting that Legislature, 
both of those politico-military * di- 
vines * had removed to Little 
Rock. Mr, Brooks, as soon as the 
duration of his residence at Little 
Rock would permit, announced 
himself a candidate for the Senate 
from the Tenth District. There 

was a majority of negroes in this 
district, and there was the faction 
headed by Catterson, Hodges, 
Hartman, and others, who would 
support him. But the missionary 
of Fairfield, Iowa, was destined to 
never /^i?/^ an elective office again. 
He certainly believed he was af- 
terwards elected to one other — that 
of Governor — and he offered very 
strong evidence to demonstrate it. 

The first step in the preparation 
of his canvass was the establish- 
ment of the Arkansas State Jour- 
nal, an extreme Republican organ, 
but devoting considerable space 
to colored religious revivals, and 
affairs of the A. M. E. Church. 
Its purpose to control the colored 
vote of the district needed no ad- 
vertisement. An old man named 
Brayman was its practical or im- 
practical manager, but Catterson, 
Hodges, and others were its advi- 
sory board. It charged the Gov- 
ernor with being a * a deserter to 
the Democracy.* The percussion 
of the Governor's slap in the face 
of Catterson struck the spark, and 
the Jonrnal trained the guns which 
startled the country with the con- 
flict of force and fraud known as 
the ' Brooks and Baxter War." 

The election for one Senator 
from each district and Represent- 
atives, was to be held throughout 
the State on Tuesday, the 8th 
of November, 1870. At that 
election, by obtaining 'early* pos- 
session of the polls ( 5 o'clock 
a. m.), and securing t/ieir jut'ges: 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Foster, Bates, and Krull, in the 
First Ward; Brayman, Hol- 
land, and Devine, in the Third 
Ward, in Little Rock (negro 
strongholds) ; assisted in the coun- 
try precincts, by George N. 
Perkins, colored, and Carter Mc- 
Clelland, colored, it seemed that 
Brooks for Senator, and Hodges 
and Hartman for Representatives, 
would defeat the Clayton candi- 
dates, Willshire Riley for the 
Senate; Goad, Pilkington, and 
Chamberlain for the House — some 
of each faction supporting How- 
ard, Whittemore, and House, 
Democrats. There was but one 
Senator to be elected — Hon. Ozra 
A. Hadley, holding over. These 
several organizations became 
known as the 'Brindle Tails' and 
* Minstrels,' respectively — names 
accepted by each, and used to dis- 
tinguish them in subsequent pro- 
ceedings in the Legislature. 

Senator Duffie said in the Sen- 
ate of the State : 

" It is well known that there are three par- 
ties in this State : The State Adminstration^ 
party called ' Minstrels ; ' part of the Repub- 
lican party opposed to the Minstrels, popularly 
called the * Brindle Tails,' and the Democratic 

Upon the assembling of the leg- 
islature. Brooks claimed the elec- 
tion over Riley, and January 26th 
presented his credentials in the 
Senate and was promptly sworn in 
by the Lieutenant-Governor, John- 
son, presiding over that body. 
But, by resolution of Senator Mal- 

lory, January 31st, the Secretary 
was forbidden to enroll Brooks' 
name. On the 2d of February, 
however, he was conditionally ad- 
mitted to the seat by resolution, 
reserving to Riley the right to con- 
test it. The Senate chamber 
thenceforward resounded with the 
eloquence of the Reverend orator 
in maintaining his right to a seat. 
On the 8th of February, the Com- 
mittee on Elections made their 
report in favor of Riley, who was 
seated, and Brooks unseated by 
the adoption of the report. 

Associate Justice John McClure 
had been, by the Governor, ap- 
pointed Chief Justice, vice Will- 
shire resigned, and elected to Con- 
gress to fill vacancy caused by the 
death of Hines. 

On the 30th of January, the 
Minstrel (Clayton) wing of the 
Republicans presented, in the 
House, resolutions of impeach- 
ment against James M. Johnson, 
Lieutenant-Governor, and ex-offi- 
cio presiding officer of the Senate, 
upon the grave charge that he had 
' sworn in and recognized Joseph 
Brooks as a Senator elect from the 
Tenth Senatorial District.' The 
accused was a native of Madison 
County, ex-Governor Murphy's 
county, formerly known as Dr. 
Johnson, a citizen Unionist, who 
had joined the Union army early 
in the war, and had become the 
colonel of a brigade of Arkansas 
Federals, and a trusted officer to 
the close of the war. The im- 

of the Reconstriictio7i Period m Arka?isas. 


peachment was not seriously 
pressed by the House. It was 
soon postponed indefinitely. The 
faction headed by Mr. Brooks 
took sides with the Lieutenant 
Governor, Johnson. It contained 
a sufificient number of Republi- 
cans in the House to pronounce the 
efforts of the Governor to deprive 
the Lieutenant-Governor of his 
rightful succession to the office of 
Governor, by proceedings for ob- 
taining from the Judges of the 
Supreme Court a writ to restrain 
him from entering the office of 
Governor, as * revolutionary ' in 
its purposes, and a serious of- 
fence, which demanded the im- 
peachment of the Governor, who 
had not yet resigned, to accept 
the office of Senator. 

Accordingly, on the i6th of 
February, Mr. W. B. Padgett, of 
the House, from Independence 
County (Republican) presented a 
a motion *to impeach Gov. Powell 
Clayton of high crimes and mis- 
demeanors, and to suspend him 
from the office of Governor.' The 
motion was agreed to — 43 ayes to 
33 nays — and managers were ap- 
pointed to prepare articles of im- 
peachment, 'and make good the 
same at the bar of the Senate.' 
The motion charged him with con- 
spiring to deprive the Lieutenant- 
Governor of the office to which he 
was elected by the people ; that 
he unlawfully removed certain 
officers of Clark County ; that he 
encouraged frauds in the election 

of Senators and Representatives 
from the Thirteenth District, com- 
posed of Hot Springs, Polk, Mont- 
gomery, and Scott counties; that 
he accepted pecuniary considera- 
tion for issuing railroad-aid bonds 
of the State issued to the Mem- 
phis & Little Rock, the Little 
Rock & Fort Smith, and the Mis- 
sissippi, Ouachita & Red River 
Railroad Companies, in violation 
of law; that he committed other 
high crimes ! ' 

On the 17th of February the 
House refused to receive a mes- 
snge from him as Governor. On 
the same day it agreed to a motion 
for ' the impeachment of John 
McClure, a Justice of the Supreme 
Court of Arkansas of high crimes 
and misdemeanors, and to suspend 
him from office and, to appoint 
managers to prepare articles of 
impeachment against him, and 
make good the same, at the bar of 
the Senate.' 

The motion specified that Judge 
McClure had ' conspired with 
Powell Clayton and others to de- 
prive J. M. Johnson of his office 
of Lieutenant Governor; that he 
had bargamed for pay and bribes 
to influence his actions and decis- 
ions as such Justice of the Su- 
preme Court, and issued a via7i- 
daimis to restrain the Lieutenant- 
Governor from acting as Governor 
when the office should be vacated 
by the present incumbent (Clay- 
ton) ; thereby attempting through 
one department to interfere with 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

a. coordinate department in the 
discharge of its lawful functions.' 

The vote in the House on the 
motion was 43 yeas, 33 nays — the 
Democrats coalescing with the 
ultras, or Brooks men. 

A board of managers was ap- 
pointed, who went to work ear- 
nestly, prepared articles of im- 
peachment, and asked for author- 
ity from the Senate to cause the 
attendance of witnesses. They 
were foiled in their efforts to pro- 
cure witnesses, and asked to be 
discharged, which was done March 
2d, and a new board appointed. 

March the 4th the new board 
reported that within the two days 
they had been unable to procure 
testimony to sustain the articles 
of impeachment against the Gov- 
ernor, and moved 'that further 
proceedings be suspended and the 
action of the House heretofore 
taken be dispensed with,' which 
report was adopted. 

Upon the adoption of the re- 
port the members of the former 
board of managers voted ' no,' 
and offered their written explana- 
tion for their said vote, in which 
they say : 

"We offered to furnish the new board with 
testimony to the perpetration of frauds by the 
Gorernor in Hot Springs County, and advised 
said board of testimony [to prove charges] in 
Memphis and New York, which that board 
declined to take time to procure ; that Senators 
absented themselves from the Senate for sev- 
eral days, and thereby defeated the former 
board from securing the attendance of wit- 

nesses, and adopted rules for that body de- 
signed to prevent an impartial investigation 
of the charges against his Excellency ; and 
that all delays of the former board were 
owing to the action of his Excellency and his 
friends in the Senate. 

"In our opinion said cause has been too 
hastily dismissed. We do not believe that 
the rights of the people have been vindicated, 
or the innocence of Powell Clayton established. 
We then believed he was guilty of the charges 
preferred against him, still believe it, and that 
ample testimony can be obtained to prove 

Which was signed : 

"D. J. Smith (Republican), Frank M. 
Thompson (Republican), W. B. Padgett (Re- 
publican), E. A. Fulton (colored Republican), 
Alex. Mason (Republican), B. B. Battle (Dem- 

Immediately upon the adoption 
of the report to dispense with 
the impeachment proceedings ag- 
ainst him, the Governor, or Sena- 
tor elect, addressed a communica- 
tion to the House stating that from 
the fact that ' a coalition had been 
formed of a few Republicans and 
the entire conservative element, 
he was unwilling, by any act of 
his, to place in the executive chair 
the leader of that coalition '(Lieu- 
tenant-Governor Johnson), and his 
duty compelled him to decline 
the position of United States Sen- 
ator to which he had been elected. 

The political game in which 
these two factions were contend- 
ing with each other, both having 
a right to bear arms and exert 
' force,' was becoming interesting. 
Governor Clayton was appealed to 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


not to leave his supporters naked 
to the " Brindles," by permitting 
Johnson to succeed him. He 
must not resign his office of Gov- 
ernor until Johnson could be dis- 
posed of. Now, Johnson was 
principally actuated by a desire to 
benefit Johnson himself. He ac- 
cordingly accepted from the Gov- 
ernor the appointment of Secre- 
tary of State vice R. J. T. White, 
resigned, and upon the resignation 
by Johnson of the office of Lieu- 
tenant-Governor, Senator Ozra A. 
Hadley, of Little Rock (carpet- 
bagger), was elected President of 
the Senate. This was considered 
a master stroke by the " Minstrels," 
and secretly approved by the 
"Brindles," as the Secretary of 
State, through his duty to canvass 
and make report of the result of the 
general State elections, was a most 
important officer in that era of 
fraudulent voting and false returns. 
The office paid better than that of 
Lieutenant-Governor. Nottillthen 
would Clayton vacate his seat. 

March 14th, ten days there- 
after, a new election for Sena- 
tor was agreed upon 'to fill 
the vacancy occasioned by his 
declination.' He was renomina- 
ted, and on the 15th March, in 
joint session of the two houses 
declared duly elected Senator to 
represent the State in the Con- 
gress of the United States, and 
'to fill the vacancy occasioned by 
the declination of the Honorable 
Powell Clayton.' 

On the 17th IMarch he sent in 
his resignation of the office of 
Governor, in the form of a mess- 
age to the two houses, informing 
them that he had turned ovex to 
the President pro tempore of the 
Senate all the books and official 
records of the office of Governor 
of the State of Arkansas. The 
President of the Senate was to be 
the acting Governor during Clay- 
ton's unexpired term of Governor. 

Senator Clayton, by the elec- 
tion of Hadley President pro tem- 
pore of the Senate, and acting 
Governor, proposed to continue 
his control over the State from his 
seat in the United States Senate. 

A greater number of Democrats 
than ever before had found their 
way to seats in the present Legis- 
lature. They were on the alert, 
of course, to encourage divisions 
among their Republican adversa- 
ries. They coquetted skilfvilly 
with each side, while they loved 
neither. The power of their votes 
was manifested. They understood 
the principle of the maxim, " Di- 
vide et zmpera." They thoroughly 
understood that they held the bal- 
ance of power. 

The leaders, among them were 
Messrs. Robt. A. Howard, of Pu- 
laski County (Chairman Demo- 
cratic State Central Committee); 
J. W. House, of White; J. M. 
Pettigrew, of Franklin ; J. A. Meek, 
of Poinsett ; W. H. Cate, of Craig- 
head ; E. P. Watson, of Boone; 
J. M. Pittman, of Washington; 

The Brooks atid Baxter War: a History 

John F. Owen, of Benton ; B. B. 
Battle, of Hempstead; John J. 
Sumpter, of Hot Springs — Demo- 
crats — aUied with Wm. B. Padgett, 
of Independence ; Frank M. 
Thompson, of Columbia; Alex. 
E. Mason, of Calhoun ; Moses 
Harvey, of Greene ; E, A. Fulton 
(colored), of Drew — Republicans. 

J. J. Sumpter had been counted 
out by the frauds charged against 
the Governor; but he and J. F. 
Lane were seated February 6th, 
and the three sitting Republican 
members unseated by the adoption 
of the minority report of the Com- 
mittee of Elections of the House, 
by an emphatic majority. 

The Governor, at his first elec- 
tion as United States Senator, had 
received the vote of many Con- 
servatives. Their support was 
upon the principle of Grecian 
ostracism of those who were dan- 
gerous to the State, or obnoxious 
to the people. The motive that 
impelled them to give that 
support was not exactly the 
same that the Athenian avowed 
for plumping his shell in favor of 
banishing Aristides — "because he 
was tired of hearing him called 
'The Just.'" Such motive was 
eloquently disclaimed. It was 
declared by the able and fearless 
young member of the House, Mr. 
House, from White County, in ex- 
planation of his vote for Clayton 
when, upon a second balloting for 
United States Senator, he with- 
drew his support from Clayton. I 

preserved a copy of it, and will 
presently insert it in full. 

At this juncture the Governor 
sent to each house of the General 
Assembly the following message: 

" I am instructed by the Governor to inform 
your honorable body that he has this day, 
loth March, approved and signed the pro- 
posed amendment to the [State] Constitution, 
which, if adopted, and ratified in the manner 
prescribed in Article Thirteen, shall hereafter 
be substituted for and known as Article Eight 
of the Constitution of the State of Arkansas. 
" Keyes Danforth, Act'g Private Secy." 

This was actual compliance with 
the declaration of the Governor's 
* October speech * in front of the 
Capitol. Danforth had been Clay- 
ton's Adjutant General, an office 
which had been abolished by a 
bill introduced by John M. Clay- 
ton. But he had married the 
handsome daughter of the acting 
Governor, and was continued in 
office as private secretary of the 
acting Governor. 

The proposed amendment was 
actually agreed to by the next 
succeeding legislature, and sub- 
mitted by act of Jan. 23, 1873, and, 
being ratified by the people March 
3, 1873, was substituted for and 
became Article Eight of Constitu- 
tion of 1 868. This Article removed 
all restrictions upon the exercise of 
the elective franchise, except for 
felonies of which the accused had 
been duly convicted, paupers, in- 
sane persons, etc. 
This measure was by far the most 

of the Reconstriictioti Period in Arkansas. 

important that could have been 
demanded by the people. All 
needed reforms could be enacted 
by their true representatives after 
that. Changes in the election laws, 
choice of their own county officers 
(before made appointive by acts 
of the legislature), and ultimately 
those made the subject of execu- 
tive appointment could be accom- 
plished under this amendment to 
the constitution. 

The explanation of the Con- 
servative vote for Governor Clay- 
ton for Senator, was forcibly and 
accurately expressed by Hon. J. 
W. House, Conservative member 
from White County : 

" I desire to say, that heretofore I have let 
the record explain my votes, and I am willing 
to-day to let that record stand as a living 
monument in all time to come, and as my plat- 
form with which I am willing to stand or fall. 
I did not explain my vote cast for Governor 
Clayton for the United States Senatorship, be- 
cause my constituents, to whom I am alone 
responsible in my representative capacity, will 
understand my reason for casting that vote. 

"It was not because I approved of Gov- 
ernor Clayton's administration. God forbid 
that I should ever approve of such an one ! It 
was not because I loved Powell Clayton, but 
because I love my country more ; not that I 
expected to gain any favor at the hands of his 
Excellency, but that I might be instrumental — 
that I might lend a helping hand for the relief 
of the oppressed, outraged and down-trodden 
people of the State of Arkansas. It was not 
that I expected he could do us any good in the 
United States Senate, but that I thought he 
could do us about as much harm in that body 
as the newsboys in the streets of New York 
City, or as the auctioneer in the stock-yards or 

market-places of Paris, or as a door-keeper in 
the House of Commons of the Parliament of 
Great Britain. 

"At that time I believed that Governor 
Clayton was guilty of malfeasance in oftice; 
of mal-administration ; of high crimes and 
misdemeanors, and I am more thoroughly con- 
vinced of it now. I cannot say positively that 
he authorized, but there can be no doubt that 
he approved of the conduct of the militia in 
some sections of the country, where they 
robbed and plundered the best citizens, in- 
timidated others and drove them from their 
workshops and other places of business, 
while other honest, quiet, inoffensive citizens, 
for no cause whatever, they took from their 
bed-sides and families, at the dark hour of 
midnight, and murdered in the most horrible 
manner, without jury or court. And to-day 
these very men, whose souls are blackened 
with crime, whose hands are stained with 
human gore, are held up, as I believe, by his 
Excellency, as the model men of the country, 
ready to do the same inhuman work at the 
mandate of their master. [Of the financial 
frauds he did not speak, because the testi- 
mony was wanting.] 

" It has been said by Republicans, and 
even by Republican journals throughout this 
State, that Governor Clayton came down 
from his high official position, that he aban- 
doned the gubernatorial chair, for a time, to 
manipulate and control the elections for his 
own selfish purposes, in order that he might 
be elected to the United States Senate ; that 
hundreds of our most patriotic citizens, 
whose views were known to be opposed to 
Governor Clayton's, were refused registration 
for no legal cause whatever, is a fact too well 
known to even allude to. Then, in view of 
the fact that the Governor appointed these 
officers, and they have not even been rebuked 
by him, there is evidence to my mind that the 
charges are not false." 

The Brooks and Baxter War : a History 

The trial of Chief Justice Mc- 
Clure before the Senate, composed 
of his coadjutors in the movement 
against the Lieutenant-Governor, 
was a travesty upon impeachment 
proceedings. Nothing else was ex- 
pected. The Governor had satis- 
fied the difficulty out of which it 
grew, by making the Lieutenant- 
Governor, Secretary of State. The 
impeachment was on the bills, 
however, and public curiosity, en- 
couraged by the vanity of the ac- 
tors, demanded that it be played 
out. It began on the 20th of 
March. Little John Whytock, ap- 
pointed by the Governor, presided 
as Special Chief Justice. The 
Great Impeached, having opened 
the spectacle with an exhaustive 
* statement ' (argument) in his own 
behalf (having previously filed his 
'demurrer^ to the articles of im- 
peachment), and pleaded it *in bar' 
of the impeachment. He ex- 
plained, for the information of 
those who were not lawyers, "that 
the filing of the ^(?;//?^rr^^admitted 
all the /<3:^/.s stated in the articles 
to be true. The charge of the ar- 
ticles against me is, that I tinlaxv- 
fully issued a temporary restrain- 
ing order against James M. John- 
son. The question, as presented 
by the articles and demurrer, there- 
fore, is, can an officer be im- 
peached for an unlawful act which 
is unaccompanied with either an 
unlawful intent or a corrupt in- 
tent?" He cited People v. Coon, 
from 15 Wal., which held that the 

magistrate must be charged with 
a corrupt motive, an intent to pre- 
vent the course of law and justice. 
Messrs. Willshire, Yonley, and 
Gantt, his counsel, multiplied 
precedents in support of this posi- 
tion. "The articles," they said, 
" were bad in substance, charging 
no offense," etc. 

Mr. C. B. Neill, one of the House 
managers, in support of the arti- 
cles, argued, that, under the Con- 
stitution, Art. vii., §2, any miscon- 
duct or mal-administration of a 
civil officer render him liable to 
impeachment and removal, what- 
ever the intent. He cited the 
trial of Addison, Judge, Penn. St. 
Reports, and Peck's case, to show 
that abuse by an officer of the 
powers of his office, rendered him 
liable, regardless of the intent. 

Upon the question presented by 
the special Chief Justice, 'whether 
the demurrer to the articles of im- 
peachment exhibited against John 
McClure, Chief Justice of Arkan- 
sas, shall be sustained?* the Sen- 
ate voted yeas, nineteen; nays, 
none. Thereupon his friend Why- 
tock, presiding, announced, * He 
will be acquitted.' He admitted 
the truth of the charges, but 
claimed that they did not describe 
an impeachable offense. The 
* High Court of Impeachment * 
then proceeded to vote the injured, 
but innocent, victim of Brindle- 
Tail persecution two thousand dol- 
lars of the people's money to pay 
the costs, and ordered five thou- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkafisas. 


sand copies of the report of the 
trial, containing, besides the pro- 
ceedings proper, the full speeches 
of the eloquent counsel, to be 
printed by the contract printers, 
of whom the Chief Justice was 
one ! 

The Chief Justice had been an 
imposing figure during these his- 
torical and sensational events. He 
read an elaborate * statement ' in 
his own defense, which is, of 
course, a part of the published 
proceedings. His flowing beard 
hung over his breast, while he 
boldly defied his prosecutors. The 
many informal impeachments 
brought against him might be 
cheerfully dismissed with the result 
of this last arraignment. They were 
as plenteous and gross as those 
rained by Prince Hal upon Sir 
John Falstaff. Yet many wil- 
lingly have entreated for him as 
Falstaff pleaded for himself : * No, 
my good lord, banish Peto, banish 
Poins; but for honest Jack Falstaff, 
quaint Jack Falstaff, adroit Jack 
Falstaff, — banish him and banish 
all the world ! ' 

And now that Gov. Clayton had 
secured his seat in the U. S. 
Senate ; that the Chief Justice 
had come out of his impeachment 
trial ' acquitted ; ' now that the 
militiamen from Commander-in- 
chief to foot-burner, had been 
amnestied, and the Rev. Joseph 
Brooks had been relegated to the 
Ku-Kluxes, the victims were for- 
gotten, while the victors were 

honored, decorated, rewarded. 
Success, makes the hero; failure, 
the villain. Saintly capitalists, in 
gilded sanctuaries, thanked their 
God that, though paroles had been 
violated, prisoners murdered, wo- 
men and children terrorized, fields 
and folds ravaged — yet that ends 
so profitable had been accom- 
plished! The incompetent colored 
wards were not merely emancipa- 
ted, but enfranchised to be made 
instruments for riveting the chains 
upon white labor. States, whose 
independence had been granted by 
the King, Lords, and Commons, in 
Parliament assembled, had been 
coerced to ratify an amendment 
that gave political ascendency to 
African slaves over their former 
owners ; that denied the right of 
suffrage to the remnants of the 
Aborigines and more intelligent 
Mongolians. Just so the Church 
bestowed the consecrated hat, and 
title of ' Defender of the Faith,' 
upon the cruel Duke of Alva, who 
could count his executions by the 
thousands, and confiscations by the 

Mr. Lincoln, if he had lived, 
would have ennobled his tri- 
umph, and perpetuated his party 
by loftier methods. He would 
have reconciled the sections by a 
candid appeal to justice — a loving 
' charity for all ; malice towards 
none.' He would have protected, 
instead of oppressed, and soothed 
rather than insulted. He would 
have strictly construed the funda- 


The Brooks a7id Baxter War: a History 

mental law, while recognizing the 
'importance of human develop- 
ment in its richest diversity.' 
When he fell a victim to the 
senseless assassin who (with the 
game motive) would have burned 
the temple of Diana, he had not fin- 
ished his life-work. He, alone, 
could have pacified, restored and 

Note. — That Mr. Lincoln's utmost wish 
was the restoration of the Union, as it was, 
(upon conditions that were the inevitable re- 
sults of the conflict), is conclusively shown in 
the noted peace-conference at Hampton 
Roads, after Sherman's entry of Savannah. 
It was attended by Mr. Lincoln and Mr. 
Seward, his Secretary of State, on behalf of 
the United States, and by Mr. A. H. Stephens, 
Vice-President ; John A. Campbell, Assistant 
Secretary of War, and R. M. T. Hunter, 
Senator, of the Confederate States. The last 
named were authorized by letter of Jefferson 
Davis of January 28, 1865, brought about by 
Francis P. Blair. The meeting was on board 
the River Queen February 3, 1865. 

Mr. Lincoln, sustained by Mr. Seward, first 
stated his demands, which were substantially 
according to the following subdivisions : 

1. As to restoration of the Union, it could 
only follow the disbanding of the armies of 
the insurgents and permitting the national 
authorities to resume their functions. He ex- 
pressed it as his opinion that thereupon the 
Southern States ought to bt and would be 
admitted to representation in the Congress of 
the United States, but could not enter into 
any stipulations on that subject ; that when 
resistance ceased the States would be imme- 
diately restored to their practical relations 
within the Union. 

2. Upon the subject of confiscation, he 
said the confiscation acts left the control en- 

tirely to him, and he could state explicitly, 

that he would exercise the power with the 

utmost liberality. 

3. The emancipation proclamation, he 

said, was a judicial question. His opinion 
was, that as the proclamation was a war 
measure, as soon as the war ceased it would 
be inoperative for the future. " It would be 
held to apply only to such slaves as had come 
under its operation, while it was in active ex- 
ercise " — " that he would leave it to the courts 
to decide, and would never change its terms 
in the slightest particular; that he never 
would have interfered with slavery in the 
States unless he had been driven to it by a 
public necessity. He had always himself 
been in favor of emancipation, but not im- 
mediate emancipation, even by the States. 
Many evils attending this appeared to him." 
He went on to say, that " he would be willing 
to be taxed to remunerate the Southern peo- 
ple for their slaves. He believed the people 
of the North were as responsible for slavery 
as the people of the South, and if the war ■ 
should cease with the voluntary abolition of 
slavery by the States, he should be in favor 
himself of paying a fair indemnity to the 
owners. He could mention persons whose 
names (Horace Greely was one) would cause 
astonishment, who were willing to do this, if 
the war should now cease with the abolition 
of slavery, and were in favor of an appropria- 
tion of four hundred millions for that pur- 
pose." But on this subject he spoke his own 
mind merely ; could give no asszirance. 

Mr. Secretary Seward then mentioned the 
proposed Thirteenth Amendment abolishing 
slavery, introduced in Congress a few days 
before (having been voted down by the House 
at the preceding session), and said, as it may 
be supposed that wily statesman was capable 
of saying, diplomatically : " If the South will 
submit and agree to immediate restoration, 
the restored States might yet defeat it," as 
without some of them, the requisite three- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


fourths could not be obtained ; intimating that 
the amendment had been passed by Congress 
"under the predominance of revolutionary 
passion." — {^Stevens' War between the States ; 
Catnpbetrs Recollections.^ 

Gen. Grant's fidelity and magnanimity were 
proven on this historical occasion. He paid 
no heed to the proposals of the Confederate 
Commissioners, that he and Ge7i. Lee, during 
an armistice, should agree upon a peace set- 
tlement. The Commissioners had been turned 
back by Mr. Lincoln. Maj. Eckert, the Presi- 
dent's messenger, had reported to him that 
they did "not talk right." But Grant, hear- 
ing of the President's refusal to receive them, 
telegraphed the Secretary of War February i, 
1865, a dispatch, which was immediately seen 
by Mr. Lincoln, and decided him to meet the 
Commissioners in person. The dispatch was 
as follows : 

"I am convinced, upon conversation with 
Messrs. Hunter and Stephens, of their sincere 
desire to restore peace and union. I recog- 
nize the difficulty of receiving these informal 
Commissioners, but am sorry that Mr. Lin- 
coln cannot have an interview with the two 
named, if not ail three, now within our lines. 
U. S. Grant, Lieut.-Gen." — {House Proceed- 
ings, Second Session, ^Sth Congress.) 

This was about two months before the Sur- 
render, when Grant had the Confederacy in 
his grasp, and he would thus forego the tri- 
umph at Appomattox. 

" There were four persons present at the 
Conference held at City Point on the 28th of 
March, 1 865. They were Lincoln, Grant, 
Sherman and Admiral Porter. It was before 
these men that Lincoln freely discussed the 
question of ending the war, and in Sherman's 
Memoirs he says: 'Mr. Lincoln was full 
and frank in his conversation, assuring me 
that in his mind he was all ready for the civil 
reorganization of affairs at the South as soon 
as the war was over.* Had Lincoln stopped 
with the general assurance of his purpose to 

restore the South to civil government, it might 
be plausible to assume that Sherman misin- 
terpreted his expressions, but Sherman adds 
the following positive statement: ' He (Lin- 
coln) distinctly authorized me to assure Gov. 
Vance and the people of North Carolina that 
as soon as the rebel armies laid down their 
arms and resumed their civil pursuits they 
would at once be guaranteed all their rights 
as citizens of a common country ; and that 
to avoid anarchy the State Governments then 
in existence, with their civil functionaries, 
would be recognized by him as the Govern- 
ments de facto till Congress could provide 
others.' There was no possibility for Sher- 
man to mistake this expression of Lincoln. 
He was distinctly instructed to assure the 
Government of North Carolina, the State in 
which Sherman's army was then operating, 
that upon the surrender of the insurgent 
forces all would be guaranteed their rights as 
citizens, and the civil governments then in 
existence would be recognized by Lincoln. 
There was no chance for misunderstanding on 
this point. 

"He refrained from emancipation for 
eighteen months after the war had begun, sim- 
ply because he believed during that time that 
he might best save the Union by saving 
slavery, and had the development of events 
proved that belief to be correct he would 
have permitted slavery to live with the Union. 
When he became fully convinced that the 
safety of the Government demanded the de- 
struction of slavery, he decided, after the 
most patient and exhaustive consideration of 
the subject, to proclaim his emancipation poli- 
cy. It was not founded solely, or even chiefly 
on the sentiment of hostility to slavery. If it 
had been, the proclamation would have de- 
clared slaveiy abolished in every Slate in the 
Union; but he excluded the slave states of 
Delaware, Maryland, Tennessee and Missouri, 
and certain parishes in Louisiana, and certain 
counties in Virginia, from the operation of the 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

proclamation, declaring in the instrument that 
has now become immortal, 'which excepted 
parts are for the present left precisely as if this 
proclamation were not issued.' 

"But while he was compelled to accept 
the issue of revolutionary emancipation, he 
never abandoned the idea of compensated 
emancipation until the final overthrow of 
Lee's army in 1865. He proposed it to his 
cabinet in February of that year, only to be 
unanimously rejected, and I personally know 
that he would have suggested it to Stephens, 
Campbell and Hunter at the Hampton Roads 
conference in February, 1865, had not Vice- 
President Stephens, as the immediate repre- 
sentative of Jefferson Davis, frankly stated at 
the outset that he was instructed not to enter- 
tain or discuss any proposition that did not 
recognize the perpetuity of the Confederacy. 

"In a personal interview with Jefferson 
Davis, when I was a visitor in his house at 
Beuvoir, Miss., fifteen years after the close of 
the war, I asked him whether he had ever re- 
ceived any intimation about Lincoln's desire 
to close the war by the payment of $400,- 
000,000 for emancipated slaves. He said that 
he had not heard of it. I asked him whether 
he would have given such instructions to 
Stephens if he had possessed knowledge of 
the fact. He answered that he could not have 
given Stephens any other instructions than he 
did under the circumstances, because, as 
President of the Confederacy, he could not 
entertain any question involving its dissolu- 
tion, that being a subject entirely for the States 
themselves." — A. K. McCltire in Globe- 

At no time did Mr. Lincoln indulge any 
false sentiment or make any false pretense 
with regard to the estimate he held of the 
people of African descent. He knew them 
from his boyhood. He was oj^posed to their 
forced servitude upon principle. But recog- 
nized it as lawful, only stipulating through his 

fidelity to law, that it should be confined to 
the States in which it existed, until the people 
of those States should voluntarily abolish it. 
If there were those among them of mixed 
blood, who displayed mental gifts beyond the 
average powers (and he did not deny them 
mental endowments), he understood the ab- 
normal developments arising from a blending 
of the species which did not apply generally, 
and announced, ' There is a physical difference 
between the two races which, in my judg- 
ment, will forever forbid their living together 
on a footing of perfect equality.' He repelled 
the charge that his party favored miscegena- 
tion. He declared, on repeated occasions, 
particularly in a speech at his home, the capi- 
tal of Illinois : ' There is a natural disgust in 
the minds of nearly all white people at the 
idea of an indiscriminate amalgamation of 
the white and black races.' He was familiar 
with their history and that of their ancestors. 
He realized that they remain as they were 
before the thunder of Sinai was echoed by 
Abba Yared; before the pyramids; before 
Thebes and its Prince Memnon, who led them 
in hosts to the support of the cause of Troy. 
This was in the dawn of enlightenment, 
which shone thus early upon a part of Africa, 
many tedious ages before it burst across the 
Atlantic, upon theAlleghanies and the Andes, 
and revealed the graces of drapery and re- 
ligion to Pocahontas, and the mysteries of bi- 
metalism to Montezuma and the Incas. 

Mr. Lincoln had always dwelt upon the 
first clause of the Declaration of American 
Independence : " We hold these truths to be 
self-evident — that all men are created (not 
born) equal, endowed by their Creator with 
certain inalienable rights, and among these 
are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." 

Rousseau's Dii Contrat Social expressed 
the principle quite differently, and his philoso- 
phy went farther than Henry George, in as- 
serting that the land, as the air, belongs 

of the Reconstrtictton Period hi Arkansas. 


equally to all. He taught in his Contrat So- 
cial and his Discours, that: 

(i) "All men are born free; politically 
equal, &iid.good ; consequently, it is their nat- 
ural right to be free, equal, and good. 

(2) "All men being equal by natural right 
none can have any right to encroach on an- 
other's equal right. Hence no man can ap- 
propriate any part of the common means of 
subsistence — that is to say, the land, or any- 
thing that the land proauces — without the 
the unanimous consent of all." 

Now the truth is, that human beings are 
*born ' helpless infants, and are under tutelage 
until 'created,' or grown to be, men. Then 
they acquire their 'inalienable rights.' 

Sir Henry Maine, in his work on Ancient 
Law, says that the " Strictly judicial axiom of 
the lawyers of the Antonine era, Omnes hom- 
ines natiiri aquales sunt, after passing 
through the hands of Rousseau, and being 
adopted by the founders of the Constitution 
of the United States, returned to France en- 
dowed with vastly greater energy and dignity, 
and that, of all the principles of 1776, it has 
been the one which most thoroughly leavened 
modern opinion." 

But the African slave was supposed not to 
have grown to manhood. He was not intend- 
ed to be included in the Declaration, if the Su- 
preme Court of the Linited States (not Chief 
Justice Taney — bui ine Court) understood that 
instrument, and the Constitution framed under 
it. That Court said in the Dred Scott case, 
as showing how the negro was regarded in 

" It is difficult at this day, to realize the 
state of public opinion, in relation to that 
unfortunate race, which prevailed in the en- 
lightened portions of the world at the time of 
the Declaration of Independence, and when 
the constitution was framed and adopted. 

"They had, for a century or more, been re- 
garded as beings of an inferior order, unfit to 

associate with the white race, either in social 
or political relations." 

They were in their nonage. They will not 
become men, in a republic, until they can take 
positions in regard to their own interests in- 
telligently and independently. H. 


" O from his masterful sweep, the warning 

cry of the eagle ! — 
(Give way there, all ! It is useless ; give up 

your spoils!) 
O sarcasms, propositions ! (O if the whole 

world should prove indeed a sham, 

a sell!)" 

— Walt Whitman. 

The recommendation of the 
party leaders, that all Democrats 
qualify under the franchise clause 
of the State Constitution, produced 
an immediate split in the Republi- 
can organization. It was about to 
widen into complete disruption. 
Opponents to that recommenda- 
tion, among them Gen. Albert 
Pike, had been technically correct 
in denying the validity of the 
military bills of Congress and 
State Constitutions enforced under 
these bills. Imposed upon the 
Southern States by the "Supreme 
Power," the sword, they yet con- 
tained this franchise clause to re- 
deem them from absolute despot- 
ism, under which all who were 
heretofore citizens, with a few ex- 
ceptions, might become voters 

A people by heredity and train- 
ing educated to self-government 
were not slow to perceive that the 
offer contained the only escape 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

from the perpetuation of Republi- 
can one-man power. Armed with 
the ballot they might, with hope, 
enter a contest against force and 
fraud and encourage tendencies 
in government that elevate and 
condemn those which demoralize. 
It was a question of free institu- 
tions and equal citizenship or sur- 
render to an oligarchy erected and 
sustained by peculation and dis- 
honor. Any great moral cause will 
overcome one that corrupts. It is 
a universal law that leads us to 
prefer the best. 

Liberty Bartlett and John Ed- 
wards issued the call for a " Liber- 
al Republican " Convention as an 
appeal to that powerful conserva- 
tive element which is to be found 
in all communities and was rapidly 
growing under the committee's 
recommendation. We have seen 
that Powell Clayton and Thomas 
M. Bowen had realized the danger 
of this movement and taken timely 
steps to out-bid it. Rice, Brooks, 
Whipple, Catterson and others 
were not to be so readily awak- 
ened. They dreamed of a " loyal " 
carpet-bag oligarchy founded 
upon negro suffrage. They en- 
tertained false sentiments and 
erroneous estimates in regard to 
the negro. They did not then 
suspect that their visions were 
as unsubstantial as if they had 
entered a zoological garden to 
hold it against the proprietors, by 
liberating the animals. Only " Ku- 

Kluxes " could save them from 
such a peril. 

Confident of their strength, they 
denounced the " State House ring" 
as meditating a betrayal of the 
party to the Democracy by pro- 
posing liberal measures. They 
were not the last to propose. Not 
only did Catterson charge Clayton 
to his face that he was attempting 
" to sell out to the Democracy " — 
the same maneuver he and his 
confreres attempted a few years 
later; but Whipple caused Clayton 
to be indicted by a United States 
grand jury for alleged violations 
of the election laws. Rice, Brooks, 
Whipple and Catterson went be- 
fore the committee of the House 
of Representatives, at Washington, 
and induced it to report against 
Edwards who had received Clay- 
ton's certifiate of election ; where- 
upon the House declared Boles 
entitled to the seat. Affiliating 
with James M. Johnson and other 
irreconcilables (encouraged by the 
Democrats), we have seen how 
they impeached and stigmatized 
Clayton and McClure. They 
caused an investigation of the cir- 
cumstances of Clayton's election 
to the Senate. 

Not until they fell under the 
ban of the President and the re- 
proof of the Senate, did they re- 
alize that they were not "the 
party " in the State — the original 
patentees, entitled to its royalties. 
Then, frantic with desire for self- 
preservation, they discovered the 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


growing strength of the conserva- 
tives. They reluctantly gave up 
the Union Leagues ; but not until 
the Union Leagues had abandoned 
them. Of all which the people 
were well informed. 

Senator B, F. Rice had been 
elected by the first reconstruction 
Legislature for the " long term." 
His successor would not be elected 
until 1874. He took sides with 
Brooks, Hodges and Whipple. 
Senator Clayton, his newly elected 
colleague, made him the object of 
most withering denunciations in 
speeches reported by Pomeroy, 
and whicharereproduced in thispa- 
per. He conducted the Senatorial 
investigation against Clayton, upon 
charges of improperly securing his 
election to the Senate. He was a 
lawyer of ability and was admitted 
on the "ground floor" — as a 
charter member — in the State 
Republican organization of 1869. 
Lawyers are said to be necessary 
evils In the reconstruction of a 
State, one lawyer at least became 
an indispensable accessory. He 
was a native of New York State, 
but came to Arkansas from Texas. 
He had practiced law in Kentucky 
before going to Texas. He was 
a large man, past the middle age, 
with a large head on stooping 
shoulders, rather rachitic in pose 
and motion. His gray eyes flashed 
an inquiring glance from under 
shaggy brows. His voice v<jz.s fine 
as a girl's, with the quaver of 
adolescence or old age, and he 

repeated his phrases, with some- 
thing of a stammer. 

His colleague. Senator Clayton, 
described this stammer, and gave 
a history of the cause of his leav- 
ing Kentucky, in the bitter de- 
nunciations he heaped upon him 
in the course of the ensuing cam- 
paign, or " Presidentiad," as Walt 
"Whitman, the poet, names our 
quadrennial presidential elections. 
The " Presidentiad " of 1872 seem- 
ed a poor, blundering, disappoint- 
ing " Presidentiad " to the people 
of Arkansas at the time. Di 
wieliora, however, for when its re- 
sults were all realized, it was 
known to have accomplished their 
grandest deliverance. It unfolded 
like a drama. 

Senator Rice, as did Mr. Brooks, 
entertained the idea that ih.Q f reed- 
men would be everlastingly grate- 
ful to any and all persons who 
presented themselves as Republi- 
cans, and therefore benefactors 
of their race. He believed it 
would be inexcusable stupidity to 
train without them. " The race " 
was the fad of the day. The 
Brindles were especially loud in 
their protestations of love for the 
freedmen, and were continually 
pronouncing the shibboleths of 
" Brotherhood of men," " Equality 
before the law," and the like. It 
was painful to witness, in the face 
of this tender solicitude, the 
heartless and ungrateful benefici- 
aries fall away from their benefac- 
tors in mass as soon as it became 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

known to them that the official 
heads of Brooks, Catterson and 
Whipple had fallen into the Presi- 
dent's little basket. Grant in- 
dulged no fads. 

A few of the old-time colored 
followers of Mr. Brooks seemed 
to adhere to him — Jack Agery, 
Tabbs Gross, Carter McClellan, 
George Perkins and Jerome Lewis. 
But " Judge " Gibbs, colored, more 
politic and far-seeing, said " those 
negroes were kept for decoys ; a 
blind duck could see they were 
painted wood." The body of the 
colored people realized that their 
liberation had been the god-send 
of circumstances, the deits ex ma- 
china of war, and that their once 
worshipped gods were only idols 
of clay, or as they expressed it, 
" their name was mud." As Da- 
gonet, at the fountain of wine, 
so they drank and found : 

" The cup was gold, the draught was mud." 

Under the new system of pre- 
tended protection, they, with all 
the tillers of the ground, were 
doomed to mud indefinitely. They 
became its "mud-sills." In the 
land of cotton, "simmon-seed and 
sandy bottom," they were the base 
of the superstructure, which, by 
its meretricious splendor, was 
dazzling the nations. England, 
from her moated castle, like a 
robber-baron of old, forces trade, 
and levies toll upon Asiatic and 
African "barbarians," yet spares 
her subjects at home unequal ex- 

Prone upon the freedmen are 
their former owners, almost as 
helpless, groaning under the 
weight of the merchant. Pressing 
upon the merchant are the rail- 
roads and their magnates ; and 
upon them rest the steel and iron 
and other manufacturers, a gi- 
gantic combination. Forming the 
cloud-capped towers of the super- 
structure are the millionaire bank- 
ers and brokers, bondholders, pen- 
sioners and royalty-aping Execu- 
tives and their ministers, all domi- 
nated by the money-lenders of 
London and Paris and Frankfort. 
These are the new ozvners of the 
freedmen, for sale again under the 
hammer of the stock exchanges. 

Rev. John Peyton refused to 
follow Mr. Brooks, He declared 
his allegiance to the " ring." 

" I views 'em all as rings," he 
said. " Mr. Brooks may not be in 
it ; but Senator Rice, Mr. Roots, 
Hodges and Weeks is a nudder 
ring, ov coase. De State House 
ring is 'stained by de gubment. 
De gubment's got de power. 
We'll jess do what hit sez. I doan 
want teh be a prodigal son, an' 
eat roas'n eahs behin* de fiel', 
when I ken stay in de house an' 
git meat an' mellassis." 

Mr. Brooks explained that he 
was aware of the disposition of 
the colored people to attach them- 
selves to those in power. He so 
declared in the first speech he 
made after he was voted out of the 
State Senate, and removed from 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 

his Collector's office. He deliv- 
ered it at the City Hall, in Little 
Rock, March 2, 1872. The Dem- 
ocratic "organ" called it "The 
First Gun of the Campaign." Mr. 
Brooks commenced by saying : 

" Parties are not iron bedsteads [alluding to 
that of the fabled Procrustes, though in the 
ancient legend, it was the individual, and 
not the bed, that was made adjustable] to be 
shortened or lengthened to suit the circum- 
stances or wishes of individuals. The rela- 
tion of parties to the people are analogous to 
the relations of man and Christian Sabbath ! 
Jesus said to the Phairsees, ' Man is not 
made for the sabbath ; the sabbath is made 
for man,' Man was made first. So with 
parties. The people are not made for party 
but the party for the people. All parties are 

" Men have been raised to power in Arkan- 
saw who had 710 Republican principles in 
i860, although in Kansas, [alluding to Clay- 
ton] at that time and place of creative forces. 
Men now claim to belong to it who did not 
believe in negro suffrage in 1866 ! We raised 
some such to power, God forgive us ! and put 
them on the Supreme Court bench, and in the 
Executive chair ! Some of these men think 
they own the party — keep it in their breeches 
pocket. When this state of affairs exists, it 
becomes the duty of the people to overthrow 

" The party is made for the people, not the 
people for the party. The Republican party 
was not made for the base uses to which it is 
being put in this State. The men who organ- 
ized it, built it up for the vindication of holy 
principles, and sealed it with their blood [on 
White river, where he was wounded and 
Hinds killed] that the people might be bene- 

" Let no man suppose this to be a tirade 
agamst party organization, or against the Re- 

publican party. When I hear men denounced 
for stealing levee bonds, for getting rich 
through official peculation, I do not think 7ny 
party attacked. — [Both were always equally 
impeccable]. A few of us went to Wash- 
ington in December last, to prosecute the 
claims of the Third Congressional District 
representation. The House finally judged 
the evidence, taken before Judge Whytock, to 
be sufficient to eject Edwards and seat Boles. 
The evidence in favor of Boles was over- 
whelming. We showed that we had beat the 
Clayton clique, notwithstanding their ballot- 
box stuffing, by 2100 votes. And yet Boles 
did not get the certificate from the Governor! 
We spent time and money, not ill-gotten 
money, not money from levee bonds, or from 
railroad aid bonds. Our ' ring ' never had a 
State aid bond. We spent time and money, 
and it panned out all right. Boles was given 
the seat that Clayton had swindled him out 
of. Not even poor, contemptible Snyder 
dared say 'no ', when the vote was taken. It 
was unanimous for Boles without regard to 
party. I believe that the suspension of Cat- 
terson and Whipple will be revoked, and the 
new appointees in their stead will not be con- 

[The speaker made no reference at that 
time to his own suspension from the office of 
Revenue Collector by Grant]. 

" Whipple and Wheeler were summoned to 
Washington to testify relative to ' Southern 
outrages.' Their testimony made it incum- 
bent on the Senate to investigate the matter 
of Clayton's election to that body. Should 
the Senate not see fit to remove him, I will 
try, as an humble citizen, to bear the fearful 
disgrace to the State, to the end of his term. 

" But to turn to the future. In a few months 
we shall be engaged in electing a President 
and new State, county and municipal oflficers. 
I believe we shall march forward in the appli- 
cation of the great principles of equality ct 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

all men before the law. Look at the ' Re- 
publican' Clayton's organ, and its parentheti- 
cal exclamation points, when referring to 
'honest men for office.* Just as women, 
sceptical of female chastity, are by common 
consent, set down as of shaky virtue, so we 
suspect the honesty of men who thus scoff at 
the idea of political virtue. They are them- 
selves thieves ! * * * 

"We are in favor gf a fair registration and 
an honest count. Such men as the * accident- 
al' Governor, [Hadley] would not hesitate to 
throw out Republican voles as well as Dem- 
ocratic, to forward his purposes. Aye ! it has 
been done in this State. It has been said by 
a man who I believe is in this audience, that 
Hadley will count himself and followers in, 
next fall. Colored men have been thus led to 
support Hadley, and join the ranks of Clay- 
ton, not that they believe in him, but that 
they feared the certainty of being counted 
out, left out in the cold. I do not wish to be 
considered profane, but I say to Hadley and 
Clayton : Count nie out and be damned 1 * * * 

"No, fellow-citizens, the man who receives 
the nomination of this clique for Governor or 
any office will be beat ! If J was nomi- 
nated for an office, I should like to be elected. 
I will have nothing to do with the thieves. 
This is a fight for life and liberty ! If I can- 
not be elected on a platform of honesty, I 
won't be elected at all. If I am, it will be on 
a platform hostile to the present thieving in 
high places ! " 

The orator was at his best. His 
powerful voice, always audible for 
squares in its highest cadences, 
shook the building and thrilled 
like a lion's roar. His sallow, 
massive features, with their grim 
expressions, suited the earnest- 
ness of his utterances. The audi- 
ence, composed mostly of Dem- 

ocrats, crowded the house to the 
walls, and from the rising seats, 
cheered him with ecstacies of de- 
light. There were many " Liberal 
Republicans" in the crowd, who 
wore expressions of mingled pleas- 
ure and dismay. The ponderous, 
but jovial Toot Dillon shouted 
"give 'em fits, Parson!" Tom 
Henneberry and Geo. McDiarmid 
pressed clear to the platform, and 
shouted themselves hoarse. 

The war of the factions was on. 
The Liberals had burned their 
bridges ; they were in the fight to 
a finish. The humblest Democrat 
knew that it meant the overthrow 
of Republicanism. Howard and 
Nash, of the Democratic Central 
Committee, ex-members of the 
staff of Gen. Frederick Steele ; the 
former prepared for the bar in the 
law office of Edwin M. Stanton, 
Lincoln's Secretary of War; look- 
ed on from the back benches, with 
smiles of anticipated triumph. 

The newspapers carried on the 
controversy with even greater 
bitterness. On the 13th March, 
1872, "The Journal," organ of the 
Brindles, published a communica- 
tion signed " Arkansas," contain- 
ing specific accusations. 

" In the Clayton investigation, in the United 
States Senate, it was shown that when the 
Lieut. Governor, [Johnson] was made Secre- 
tary of State, and got out of the way, and 
Clayton secured his own election to the Sen- 
ate, and the State government was turned over 
to O. A. Hadley, the latter carried out all the 
plans, and made good all the eontracts, entered 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


into by Clayton to secure his seat in the Senate. 
McClure drafted and had charge of the orig- 
inal levee bill; Stoddard of the National 
Bank and his friends manipulated the bill 
through, by direct bribery and open bargain 
and sale. There was paid $25,000 to an at- 
torney ; $20,000 for a signature to the bill ; 
$3,000 cash and $25,000 in State bonds to a 
Senator for advocating it An Associate Justice 
of the Supreme Court got $35,000 for obtain- 
ing State aid to a particular railroad, and he 
did not ' divide.' An engineer got $5,000 for a 
single night's work, black-mailing contractors 
on another road. And that, in almost every 
case, these men are now administerijtg the 
laws, and filling offices under the Clayton- 
Hadley administration ! " 

The " Minstrel " organ retorted, 
"that Brooks got ;^25,ooo out of 
the Holford bond steal for advo- 
cating that measure, after he had 
for a time pretended to oppose it. 
And being so bribed, he thence- 
forth became the champion of the 
Holford bond measure on the 
floor of the House, until its adop- 
tion. That Rice gobbled all the 
levee bonds." 

William G. Whipple had been 
appointed by President Grant 
United States Attorney for the 
Eastern District of Arkansas, vice 
Orville Jennings, deceased. He 
claimed descent from William 
Whipple, " one of the signers " of 
the Declaration of Independence. 
The descendant was imbued with 
but little of the catholicity of that 
instrument. He was a modern 
Saul of Tarsus, had a rabid hatred 
of "rebels," and was a fanatical 
idolater of any "image of God" 

that was " carved in ebony." The 
intelligence that Clayton was 
"about to sell out the Republican 
party, negroes and all to Dem- 
ocracy," moved the bowels of his 
compassion, for the poor, colored 
people. As law officer of the 
United States Courts, he prepared 
the indictment against Clayton, 
charging Clayton with some crim- 
inal interference in certain election 
frauds and issuing a false certifi- 
cate of election to Edwards, as 
Representative in Congress, over 
Boles, to which reference was 
made by Brooks in his City Hall 
speech. Through the efforts of 
Brooks, Rice and Whipple, Ed- 
wards was unseated and Boles was 
declared elected by the Republi- 
can House of Representatives. 
Brooks, "Whipple and Rice also 
brought accusations against Clay- 
ton, impeaching the fairness of his 
election to the United States Sen- 
ate, with such earnest confidence 
that Clayton was driven to de- 
mand an investigation by a com- 
mittee of that body. Catterson, 
the United States Marshal, acted 
with them also against Clayton. 
Judge Dillon, on demurrer de- 
clared the indictments against 
Clayton insufficient. The Presi- 
dent thereupon suspended Brooks, 
Whipple and Catterson from office, 
and nominated others in their 
places. They had entered the war 
against Clayton, had lost, and suf- 
fered official extermination a la 
Japanese, as a consequence. Grant 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

had no love for those philanthrop- 
ists, pretended negro-worshippers. 
Their hypocrisy had brought on 
a cruel war, of the horrors of which 
he had himself sickened, although 
conducting it on the side which 
they encouraged with paper pel- 
lets of the brain and windy 

The Democrats witnessed the 
decapitations of the " faithful " 
with half suppressed expressions 
of pleasure, though they had no 
love for Clayton or his man Fri- 
day, Acting Governor Kadley. So 
the Gazette, Democratic organ, 
without much dissimulation, could 
vilify Hadley for any cause, and 
on every pretext. He had written 
a letter to Clayton, doubtless re- 
hearsed privately by him and Clay- 
ton, to demand of the President the 
removal of Whipple and Catterson. 
The Gazette took occasion to lay 
the matter before the public in the 
following article : 

" The most important point made by Act- 
ing Governor Hadley in his recent villainous 
letter to Senator Clayton, May 15, 1872, ask- 
ing the removal of Whipple and Catterson, is 
that some members of the grand jury of the 
United States court were Democrats, or those 
who were not, were personal enemies of the 

" It may not be inappropriate to publish a 
list of that grand jury which found the indict - 
ments, (and there were several) against Gov- 
ernor Clayton. Here they are : 

" J. Clark Wheeler, Oscar M. Spellman, 
Anthony Hinkle, Joe Demby, Nathan S. 
Rawlings, John Tatum, W. H. Stanbury, 
Edward Wheeler, Edward Stowell, O. S. 

Dillon, Geo. Kingsbury, J. W, Beidleman, 
Geo. E. Blackburn, William Cook, S. S. Sweet, 
Henry Rudd, T. L. Alder, Fred Kramer, M. 
C. Rerdell, R. F. Sayward, Jacob Copeland. 
" If we mistake not, two only of the above 
list are Democrats (Cook and Sayward), and 
Sayward was a Union soldier. Cook a 

Disaffection in the party grew 

April 6th, the Republican State 
Central Committee met by ap- 
pointment, and the Brindles again 
reported that, " On counting noses, 
they had five members, and the 
Minstrels had only four, where- 
upon the latter withdrew. Then 
the Committee proceeded to de- 
clare vacant the places of the four 
seceders, viz : O. A. Hadley, John 
McClure, Geo. S, Scott and W. 
W. Wilshire. They elected in 
the places of two of them, Thomas 
Boles and E. A. Fulton (colored).' 

This action was followed by a 
grand street ovation, in front of the 
Metropolitan Hotel, in which 
Joseph Brooks, Thomas Boles, 
Gen. Geo. W. McLane, Logan H. 
Roots, John A. Williams and W. 
J. Hynes took part, pledgingthem- 
selves to support the action of the 
Committee, and denouncing the 
*' Minstrels " in the roundest terms. 

The Gazette thus describes the 
conclusion of the symposium: 

" Ex.-Rev. John M. Bradley, at the close, 
mounted the goods-box which served as a 
rostrum. He began a speech in reply to the 
' Brindle " orators. Some one from a third- 
story window, presumably a ' Brindle,' threw 
an earthenware vessel and its contents upon 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


the revereud orator, dislodging him from his 
Stand. Mr. Brooks, seeing that Bradley was 
unhurt, said, with his terrible smile, ' Let 
justice be done, though the heavens fall I ' It 
was the only attempt at humor ever made by 
Mr. Brooks. The crowd jeered. Bradley 
was ' full,' of humor at least, and replied, 
'Buth — U's falling in the shape of washbowls 
when devils throw them." 

The bolting committeemen of 
the Clayton faction called a meet- 
ing immediately, with six members 
present. They proceeded to 
organize a new " Republican State 
Committee." The new committee 
adopted a call for a " Republican " 
State Convention at Little Rock, 
on the 1 8th May, 1872, on the 
basis of the party "vote " in 1870. 
The call announced, that it was 
" for the election of a Republican 
State Central Committee, and to 
appoint delegates to the Republi- 
can National Convention, and for 
such purposes only." 

The old Republican Committee, 
now composed solely of Brindles, 
had already called a Republican 
State Convention, at Little Rock, 
on the 22d May, 1872, for the 
purpose, as announced in the call, 
of nominating a State ticket for the 
coming general election, and ap- 
pointing delegates to the Republi- 
can National Convention. 

The State Journal announced, 
April nth, that Hon. Joseph 
Brooks and Col. John A. Williams, 
of Pine Bluff, would address the 
people at various appointments, 
mentioned, in South Arkansas. 

They challenged " The advocates 
and defenders of the corruptions 
of the State administration and 
enemies of universal suffrage, uni- 
versal amnesty and honest men 
for office, to meet them as these, 
at such appointments," No one 
responded. They made their can- 
vass unopposed. The Gazette of 
May the 15th, thus comments up- 
on the result of that canvass : 

"Judging from reports received from South 
Arkansas, the canvass of Mr. Brooks has 
proven unprofitable to him. He has lost 
much of the white strength of the Republi- 
cans in that section, while he has failed to 
make any breach among the colored people. 
He has lost the strongest support he had in 
Columbia county, 'The Magnolia Flower,' 
which had his name flying at the head of that 
paper, for the last eight months, has taken it 
down in its last issue. The Archers, Frank 
M. Thompson and others, were great cham- 
pions of Mr. Brooks. That they should go 
back on him, is significant. 

" While Mr. Brooks has been very severe 
against the State administration, he has not 
said one word against the meretricious policy, 
of the national administration. Though he 
and Catterson and Whipple had their official 
heads cut off by the President, for the stand 
they had taken against the Clayton party, they 
have palliated the conduct of the President, 
and thereby failed to attract to their support 
the ' Liberal Republican ' element of the State. 

" Overlooking this element, Mr. Brooks has 
made a fatuous advance to the colored men. 
He has borrowed Sumner's civil rights idea, 
and wasted time in trying to impress them 
with the notion that they are badly treated, 
and never will be the political equals of the 
whites, until they enjoy social equality by law 
of Congress, for that is the meaning of Sum- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

ner's bill. The negroes turn a deaf ear to 
Brooks as an apostate from their cause; but 
the whites listen and lose confidence in him as 
a man or a politician." 

There is no doubt but that these 
comments threw some light upon 
the unexplored pathway Brooks 
had chosen, and aided him in de- 
termining his subsequent course. 
About this time, all was not placid 
in the current events upon which 
the " Minstrel " organization was 
being borne. Another Minstrel 
daily paper was talked of. It was 
to be published to advance the 
pretensions of Maj. Gen. Upham, 
who had gubernatorial aspirations. 
Hadley's party fealty was openly 
questioned. Of Upham, a certain 
wing had no fears. Upham did 
not believe in conciliating the 
whites. He was in favor of ignor- 
ing the rebel whites entirely, and 
exterminating them. Hadley was 
said to be meditating a sale of the 
party for the price of a seat in the 
Senatorial chair occasioned by 
Senator Rice soon to be vacated. 
But McClure said he was promised 
the seat occupied by Rice, if a 
Republican legislature should be 
elected. And every means had 
been taken to secure such a legis- 

Also at this time there loomed 
up in the East a supposed rail- 
road builder, who was seemingly 
engaged in constructing a narrow- 
gauge road from Helena, on the 
Mississippi River, to White River, 
somewhere. It was never ascer- 

tained precisely where it would 
terminate. It was, in fact, then 
but "two short streaks of rust " 
that ended in "moonshine." The 
promotor of this great enterprise 
was Mr. Stephen W. Dorsey. 
He had been educated atOberlin, 
Ohio, in the mixed, or colored 
college, and was said to have been 
a janitor and rung the bell of that 
institution. He was an officer in 
the Union army, it was said, and 
had made a " barrel of money." 
The estimate of his boodle was up 
in the millions. He attended the 
meeting of the legislature, moved 
about mysteriously among the 
members, and soon had them un- 
der favor to him, for timely ad- 
vances, quite a following of mem- 
bers of all parties. And so it was, 
that neither Hadley nor McClure 
was elected Senator. But this is 

The Republican (Minstrel) Con- 
vention met, occording to call, at 
Little Rock, on the i8th May, and 
elected the following delegates to 
the Philadelphia convention: Pow- 
ell Clayton, O. A. Hadley, W. H. 
Grey (colored), delegates at large; 
Elisha Baxter, Stephen W. Wheel- 
er, J. H. Johnson, First District ; 
O. P. Snyder, H. A. Millen, T. V. 
Rankin, Second District; J. M. 
Johnson, H. H. White, E. J. Searle, 
Third District. 

In reforming their State Central 
Committee, the Minstrel Conven- 
tion left off all those who had 
seceded and sided with Brooks. 

of the Reconstr2ictio7i Period in Arkansas. 


It appointed an Executive Com- 
mittee, chosen from the Central 
Committee, viz : Powell Clayton, 
J. T. White, D. P. Beldin, E. D. 
Ham and H. B. Robinson. 

It became apparent that the 
Brindles were organizing to co- 
operate with the Liberal Republi- 
can party in support of any ticket, 
that might be nominated, " to beat 
Grant," and there were many in- 
dications pointing to Horace 
Greeley, of the Nezv York Tribune, 
as the head of such a ticket. The 
movement gave little uneasiness to 
the regular Republicans. Mr. 
Greeley, like Mr. Brooks, had ex- 
haled himself, as it were. In his 
exaggerated enthusiasm hereto- 
fore in the cause of abolition, 
now the negroes were freed, there 
was nothing left of him, which 
they could hope to profit by. His 
transitions were admitted to be 
sincere, but were so contradictory 
as to be confusing. A protection- 
ist, Know-Nothing, a Son of Lib- 
erty, he was found devoting his 
great powers as an editor, to the 
support of policies which invited 
foreign artisans to compete with 
native wage-workers ; to measures 
which levied tribute upon slave 
labor and made it harder on the 
slave; that opposed extension of 
territory, ostensibly against slav- 
ery, but in the interest of Eastern 
capital and desire of control. He 
venerated the institutions of the 
mother country, where you must 
not fish, and poaching is punished 

by transportation, and yet whose 
policy was "free trade," and ac- 
quisition of territory in every 
land and clime. Was it that his 
myopic vision would not let him 
perceive that expansion of terri- 
tory and commercial rivalry were 
the safety-valves of a Republic 
like ours ? preventive of too rapid 
immigration, with its un-American 
tendencies? Or was he but a 
servile minister to the wishes of 
those who wielded financial and 
political influence, that hesitated 
at no device to carry their mer- 
cenary ends? 

These persons abandoned him 
the instant he ceased to serve 
them. Because of the most Chris- 
tian act of his life, he was dis- 
owned by his brother philanthrop- 
ists, and denounced by the party 
which he had labored to organize 
and to which he had given the 
vigor of his manhood. That par- 
ty, like the Frankenstein monster, 
terrorized and finally destroyed 
him. But he died game, and 
shouted defiance to the last, as 
shown by the following letter : 

"New York Daily Tribune, May 23, 
1867. By these Presents Greeting : To Messrs. 
George W. Blunt, John A. Kennedy, John O. 
Stone, Stephen Hyatt, and thirty others, mem- 
bers of the Union League Club: Gentle- 
men — I was favored on the i6th inst., by an 
official note from our ever-courteous Presi- 
dent, John Jay, notifying me that a requisition 
had been presented to him for a special meet- 
ing of the club at an early day for the purpose 
of taking into consideration t^ie conduct of 
Horace Greeley, a member of the club, who 


TJie Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

has become a bondsman for Jefferson Davis, 
late chief officer of the Rebel Govern- 
ment. * * * 

Gentlemen, I shall not attend your meeting 
this evening. I have an engagement out of 
town, and shall keep it. I do not recognize 
you as capable of judging or even fully ap- 
preciating me. You evidently regard me as 
a weak sentimentalist, misled by a maudlin 
philosophy. * * * * 

I tell you here that out of a life earnestly 
devoted to the good of human kind your 
children will select my going to Richmond 
and signing that bail bond as the wisest act, 
and will feel that it did more for freedom and 
humanity than all of you were competent to 
do, though you had lived to the age of Me- 

I ask nothing of you, then, but that you 
proceed to your end by a direct, frank, manly 
way. Don't slide off into a mild resolution 
of censure, but move the expulsion which 
you proposed, and which I deserve, if I de- 
serve any reproach whatever. All I care is 
that you make this a square stand-up fight, 
and record your judgment by yeas and nays. 
I care not how few vote with me, nor how 
many vote against me, for I know that the 
latter will repent it in dust ashes before three 
years have passed. * * * * 

I give you fair notice that I shall urge the 
re-enfranchisement of those now proscribed 
for rebellion as soon as I shall feel confident 
that this course is consistent with the freedom 
of the blacks and the unity of the republic, 
and that I shall demand a recall of all now in 
exile only for participating in. the rebellion 
whenever the country shall have been so 
thoroughly pacified that its safety will not 
thereby be endangered. 

And so, gentlemen, hoping that you will 
henceforth comprehend me somewhat better 
than you have done, I remain yours, 

Horace Greeley," 

The Liberal Republican Na- 
tional Convention was called and 
assembled at Cincinnati, on the 
1st day of May, 1872, and on the 
3rd, nominated Mr. Greeley over 
Adams, Chase and Turnbull, for 
President, and B. Gratz Brown, 
for Vice-President. Arkansas was 
represented by an irregular dele- 
gation, composed of Q. K. Under- 
wood, W. M. Fishback, Ed. Ban- 
croft, John Kirkwood, O. S. Dillon, 
R. J. Jennings, John F. Owen, 
R. J. Rutherford, C. N. Under- 
wood, A. D. Lindsley, D. W. 
Mason, Bright Herring and A. D. 

The platform adopted announc- 
ed 13 articles of faith, of which 
the following synopsis is given 
that the reader may understand 
references which were afterwards 
made to it by Senator Clayton in 
his terrific Lewisburg speech re- 
ported later on in this history. 

I. The equality of all men, 2. 
Perpetual union and enfranchise- 
ment of all men. 3. Immediate 
removal of political disabilities in- 
curred through "rebellion." 4. 
Local self-government and sub- 
ordination of the military to the 
civil authority. 5. and 6. Civil 
Service Reform. 7. Federal tax- 
ation not to interfere with any in- 
dustry, leaving questions of " free 
trade" and "protection" to the 
decisions of the people of the Con- 
gressio7ial Districts {/) 8, Main- 
tenance of the public credit, 9, 
Resumption of sjiecie payments. 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


10. Gratitude to soldiers and sail- 
ors. II. No more land grants to 
railroads. 12. Peace with all na- 
tions. 13. Pledge to support the 
platform and candidates, regard- 
less, etc. 

The nominations gave general 
satisfaction. The platform was 
sufficiently "liberal" and mean- 
ingless. The Democrats were in- 
clined to ally themselves with the 
new party. They saw in it a hope, 
an opportunity, to realize the force 
of the motto, " Divide et itnpera." 
Mr. Stephens of Georgia, regarded 
it " The best avt^iue of relief 
from the oppressions of the money 
power." He took occasion to 
criticise the course of Mr. August 
Belmont and the New York World 
for opposing Democratic support 
of Mr, Greeley. The Democratic 
State Committee favored the 
support of the Cincinnati plat- 
form and nominees. Mr. A. H. 
Garland, and ex-Chief Justice 
English warmly advocated it. 
Hon. Geo. C. Watkins, a former 
Chief Justice of Arkansas, was 
especially eager that no Dem- 
ocratic nominations be made. Mr. 
Watkins was a learned and able 
lawyer of Little Rock, former 
partner of the late ex-Senator, 
Chester Ashley. He was a Dem- 
ocrat of the old school. Being 
owner of large estates, he felt 
practically the oppressions of the 
party in power and understood 
the causes of them. Nearly all 
leading statesmen of the South, on 

one ground or another, favored 
making no Democratic nomina- 
tions. Only Northern Democrats, 
embittered by Mr. Greeley's 
course against their party in the 
past, found it difficult to under- 
stand what they deemed a most 
mistaken and hopeless inconsist- 
ency for them to take up Mr. 
Greeley.* The wearer knows where 
the shoe pinches. The condition 
of the South was desperate. Its 
only hope was in the division of 
the Republican party. It was at 
the point of exhaustion and turned 
to any hope of relief. 

The Democratic National Ex- 
ecutive Committee, whose office 
was and is merely to appoint the 
time and choose the place for 
holding its party National Con- 
vention, met in the Art Gallery of 
its Chairman, Mr. August Belmont, 
on Fifth Avenue, in New York 
City, on the 8th of May. A dowdy 
mulatto girl opened the front door 
to Gen. Bate (on crutches) mem- 
ber for Tennessee, and to the mem- 
ber for Arkansas. This poor col- 
ored girl had evidently received 
no instructions. Though past the 
appointed hour, the two Commit- 
teemen were the first comers and 
had to find their way to the marble 
gallery without guidance. Mr. 
Belmont was reported to be a 
"several times millionaire," as the 
phrase is. After all had arrived 
he limped into the gallery and 
made his way to a center table, 
and without other greeting than a 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

bow, rapped the Committee to 
order. Mr. Belmont had been 
lamed in a duel fought over some 
private grievance. The gallery was 
nothing to be admired, particularly 
with cold inhospitable light shin- 
ing down upon a solitary statuette 
and a few paintings. 

" Candidate " cities for holding 
the convention were advotated in 
well chosen words by their re- 
spective representatives. The 
member for Arkansas seconded 
the nomination of Baltimore and 
made bold to state as his reason, 
that the convention might leave 
the field to Greeley. The Chair- 
man and Northern members gen- 
erally were visibly shocked at the 
proposal. The Chairman said that 
meeting was not the place for 
nominating candidates. Out of 
this incident, which was reported, 
grew the following article and 
correspondence of the New York 
World, of May I2th: 


"We understand the intolerable oppression 
and wholesale robbery under which the South 
suffers, and make allowance for the asperity 
and unreflecting haste with which an impul- 
sive Southern man resents any Northern op- 
position to a ticket which, in his estimation^ 
gives promise of relief. If it were possible to 
admit that the endorsement of Mr. Greeley by 
the Democratic National Convention would 
free the Southern States from Federal tyranny, 
a Southern citizen would be justly incensed 
at opposition to Mr. Greeley by a Northern 
journal which has made steady profession of 
friendship for the South. But we think the 

member from Arkansas misconceives the 
whole situation. 

" The Arkansas Committeeman has a ridi- 
culous overestimate of the importance and in- 
fluence of Mr. Greeley. He does not seem to 
understand that Mr. Greeley has thrown 
away the great ascendancy he once had over 
the Republican party. His peace mission to 
Niagara, his advice to President Lincoln to 
offer $400,000,000 as a compensation to the 
Southern slave holders, and his subsequent 
signing the bail bond of Jefferson Davis, 
estranged so many of Mr. Greeley's Republi- 
can friends that his hold on the party is re- 
duced to nothing. The assumption therefore, 
that Mr. Greeley will draw off a large Re- 
publican vote is a mere flight of fancy. [The 
British Parliament voted $5,000,000 to com- 
pensate owners of slaves in Jamaica emanci- 

" Republicans would as soon vote for an 
out-and-out Copperhead Democrat as for the 
foremost signer of Jeff. Davis' bail bond. The 
politicians who speculate on the Republican 
following of Mr. Greeley misappreciate his 
recent standing in the Republican party. 
Since the Union League Club forbore to turn 
him out after his signature of Mr. Davis' 
bond, he has been rather tolerated than fol- 
lowed by his former political associates. It is 
a great and grave mistake to suppose that he 
has any considerable Republican following in 
the Northern States, when he steps over the 
party traces. To be sure, Mr. Greeley is 
the editor of what has been a powerful party 
journal. But his present position as a solici- 
tor ot Democratic votes will estrange a great 
part of his old subscribers. 

" The Tribune has forfeited and flung away 
its standing as a Republican organ. Of course, 
nobody will accept it as a Democratic organ, 
and it is hereafter a mere newspaper, and the 
personal organ of a man who has broken his 
party relations in his aspirations for the 
highest office. 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


"Even if he should be elected, he will have 
sacrificed the Tribune! The Republicans 
will not tolerate it after it has deserted their 
party, and the Democrats will regard it with 
no favor while it advocates ideas and princi- 
ples which they have always repudiated. The 
influence of a great journal has been sacrificed 
to the personal ambition of its chief. The 
member from Arkansas prudently expresses 
no opinion as to Mr. Greeley's hold on the 
negro vote of the South. We presume that 
he is aware that the Southern negroes will 
nearly all vote for Grant. If so, what possible 
advantage can Mr. Greeley have in the South 
as a Democratic candidate ? As a Democratic 
candidate pure and simple, no man in the 
country could have a weaker hold on the 
party. If he can draw off neither negroes 
nor white Republicans what advantage can 
there be in adopting him as a Democratic 
candidate? The endorsement he has thus far 
received in the North are not Republican, but 
Democratic endorsements ; but it is prepos- 
terous for Democrats to endorse him except 
on the supposition that he will bring an acces- 
sion of strength to the party. Assuming that 
the negro vote will be given to Grant, we 
cannot imagine what would be gained by a 
Democratic endorsement of Mr. Greeley. To 
be sure, he favors universal amnesty ; but a 
President can do nothing to promote amnesty 
except through the pardoning power. Presi- 
dent Jc'hnson in his last amnesty proclama- 
tion carried the pardoning power to its utmost 
limit, leaving nothing for any subsequent 
President to do. 

" The member from Arkansas seems to for- 
get that all this unrighteous legislation was 
advocated by ]\Ir. Greeley with the truculent 
vehemence he has always shown in such mat- 
ters. Before Southern citizens come to the 
strange conclusion that their salvation de- 
pends on Mr. Greeley's election, they had 


better ask him if he repents of his strennous 
advocacy of all the measures by which they 
are so grievously oppressed. He has done 
more than any other man to fasten the yoke 
upon them and unless he recants and apolo- 
gizes, we do not see how those who complain 
of the measures can expect relief from their 
chief instigator and advocate." 

In answer to this attack upon a 
well matured plan and purpose of 
the Southern Democracy, the 
member of the Committee sent 
the editor the following, which 
the World published : 


" To the Editor of the World: 

Sir — If your object, as you intimate in your 
Saturday's issue, is, by withholding a too 
ardent support of the nomination of Mr. 
Greeley, to avoid drawing the bankers' the 
office holders' " syndicate " of the Republican 
party from their hitherto settled purpose of 
nominating Grant, your course might be com- 
mended as patriotic in its intentions, if slightly 
Machiavelian in its method. I mi^ht say 
that the end at least to be attained is right- 
eous. But that such a plea is not a mere pre- 
tence, which conceals a deeper design, it will 
be difficult to conceive. I, a Southern Dem- 
ocrat, read your article this morning warning 
the Democratic party against suicide, and say- 
ing: 'But how trivial a matter is the 
release of a few thousand elderly gentle- 
men from disability to hold office, in com- 
parison with the great question which pene- 
trates the very roots and fundamental structure 
of our Government?' This innuendo, is un- 
worthy \ of the World in many respects, as 
will be apparent to the most superficial reader. 
It is chiefly so by reason of the utter want of 
familarity it betrays with the matter in hand, 
viz., the true welfare o-f the Democratic party 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

and cf the condition in which the party is to 
be found to-day under the powers assumed by 
the office holders' syndicate aforesaid, of co- 
ercing eighty-eight votes of the electoral col- 
lege, the vote of ten of the States of the 
South. This, to me and every one who will 
see how it affects the structure of the Govern- 
ment, IS at this time, to the exclusion of the 
others, * the great question ' which penetrates 
to the very roots and fundamental structure of 
the Government. In comparison with it 
* the release of a few thousand elderly South- 
ern men from disability to hold office ' is a 
very ' trivial matter.' I speak only of the 
power which Grant, through such instrument- 
alities as Clayton and others of those South- 
ern States, reserves to coerce a vote that will 
decide the contest. But beneath this consid- 
eration are other questions of the preservation 
of their lives, their property, and their most 
sacred personal and private rights, by the 
Southern people under the carpet-bag tyran- 
nies from which they suffer, to which the at- 
tention of the World is not directed, because 
the World cannot feel, or commiserate or 
hazard a tittle of its own local interests to help 
to relieve. I beg of you however, before 
again indulging similar taunts against the 'un- 
fortunate elderly gentlemen ' who can't hold 
office because of their disabilities, to look 
carefully to the Constitution of the States re- 
ferred to, and when you see that, by those 
Constitutions and the election laws under 
them, the present Governors of those States, 
without interference on the part of members of 
their own party, have the power to control the 
ekctive franchise of those Stales for Grant at 
their pleasure: the power to declare any 
county under martial law at pleasure, to in- 
vade and devastate any county at pleasure, to 
exclude the vote of any county at pleasure, to 
review and cut down the registration in any 
or all of those counties at pleasure, and then 
say if you do not think the arbitrary power 

thus wielded and which Mr. Greeley is pledged, 
and a Greeley ticket in each State will help to 
revoke, in your practical view of a power as 
affecting the result of the election by eighty- 
eight votes, is not of much greater importance 
than the 'trival matter' of releasing a few 
elderly Southern gentlemen from official dis- 

From a letter that I received from the 
Secretary of the State Central Committee of 
Arkansas, I will quote the following para- 
graphs: 'Judge Watkins offered a resolution 
in committee instructing you to vote against 
holding a National Convention in case the 
Cincinnati nominations proved satisfactory. 
But it was lost by a tie vote, for the reason 
that half of the members believe you were not 
subject to instructions, the mover at last com- 
ing to the same conclusion. The policy of 
non-action, however, I believe is approved by 
all. In Arkansas we want to be perfectly 
free to choose between Greeley and Grant. 
That being the condition, both factions of the 
Republicans will be forced to count the con- 
servative vote and to make concessions to se- 
cure it. Before the Legislature is over I think 
it more than likely that Article 8 of the State 
Constitution, under the head of ' Franchise,' 
and which disfranchised by letter of its pro- 
vision only about 10,000 but was taken ad- 
vantage of to disfranchise 50,000, at the last 
election, will be a dead letter if there is no 
Democratic National nomination. Otherwise, 
Capt Hadley (the Governor of the State, a 
creature of Qayton) will appoint whom he 
pleases as electors. The situation here is 
precisely what it was in Missouri in the con- 
test that resulted in the election of Gratz 

These are the views held by our State 
Democratic Central Committee. The con- 
siderations to the World may not seem such 
' trivial matters ' with all its selfishness and 
narrowness of view confined to local New 
York State politics. 

of tJie Reconstruction Period in Arkaftsas. 


The fling at the few thousand elderly 
Southern gentlemen, I fear not. Other 
reasons for supporting the Cincinnati nomina- 
tions, not hinted at are eloquently alluded to in 
the speech of Governor John C. Brown, on 
accepting the nomination for re-election by the 
Democratic State Convention which met at 
Nashville, on the 9th, and indorsed the Cin- 
cinnati nominations, and are already printed 
in your columns. I beg you to refer to them. 
Gen. Brown is one of the few Southern gentle- 
men, though a Major-General in the Confeder- 
ate army, who is not disfranchised, thanks to 
the Senter split of the Republican party in 
Tennessee. By that split he is enabled to suc- 
ceed Senter, and the State of Tennessee nerved 
to throw off the curse of Brownlow and 
Stokes, and their ragged militia, and free to 
vote in the coming election, but not until 
those plunderers have saddled it with a debt 
of many millions. This debt would other- 
wise have kept on increasing until this day, 
as it is daily increasing in the other Southern 
States. All brokers will vote against the Cin- 
cinnati movement who have 'margins' on de- 
posit for 'bearing' by multiplying these 
Southern securities. 

On the 22d May, 1872, the 
Brindle State Convention met in 
Little Rock, at the call of B. F. 
Rice, James L. Hodges and G. W, 
McDiarmid, who were members of 
the former Republican State 
Central Committee, denominated 
"bolters" by the Little Rock Re- 
ptiblicaUy Clayton organ. From 
the columns of that paper, the 
following outline of the proceed- 
ings of the convention is taken. 

Robt. F. Catterson (the deposed 
Marshal) was elected temporary 
chairman, and appointed the usual 
committees. On motion of W. P. 

Grace, of Pine Bluff, the conven- 
tion adjourned until the next day. 
On the 23d, the convention met 
pursuant to adjournment. William 
G. Whipple, the suspended U. S. 
Attorney, as chairman of the com- 
mittee on credentials reported the 
names of delegates entitled to 
seats to the number of one hun- 
dred and thirty-five. They were 
mainly the old organizers who had 
been left out and had the sharp- 
ened appetites of a new swarm. 
In the case of Zara L. Cotton, of 
Montgomery county, Mr. Whipple 
introduced the following resolu- 
tion : 

Whereas, said Cotton has been guilty of 
outrageous frauds in registration, for which he 
has been indicted, it is recomnlended that he 
be excluded from the convention. 

The resolution was adopted. 
Cotton had been indicted at the 
same time upon the testimony 
on which one of the indictments 
was found against Powell Clayton, 
accusing him of ordering, and Cot- 
ton as Registrar, corruptly adding 
to the registration list several 
hundred names of fictitious elec- 
tors. It was a favorable opportu- 
nity for Whipple to strike back at 

The committee on permanent 
organization reported John A. 
Williams, of Jefferson, for Presi- 
dent, and numerous Vice-Presi- 
dents. When the President had 
appointed a committee on resolu- 
tions, E. A. Fulton of Drew county 
(colored), moved the convention 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

declare Hon. Joseph Brooks its 
nominee for Governor of Ark- 
ansas, which was carried by accla- 
mation. Thereupon Mr. Brooks 
declared his thanks in a brief 
speech, concluding with the pledge 
to the convention that he would 
zealously join the members of the 
convention in making an active 
canvass throughout the State for 
Truth, Justice and Good Govern- 

What is Truth ? asked Pilate of 
Christ. What is Justice? have 
asked the law-breakers from the 
first-born of Adam. What is 
Good Government? is the question 
which man has been asking 
through all the centuries. 

Mr. Blackwell of Jefferson, 
moved that H. King White be ex- 
cluded from the convention, as not 
duly appointed a delegate. After 
discussion, the mover withdrew 
the motion. Mr. Whipple then 
read the majority report of the 
committee on resolutions, which 
resolutions are given in full. Sub- 
sequent bitter and forcible com- 
ments upon them could not be 
otherwise understood. 

Whereas, A large number of persons 
were indicted in the Federal Courts of this 
State for most flagrant violations of the elec- 
tion laws, and President Grant, upon the ap- 
plication and, in the interest of such indicted 
criminals and their accessories, suspended 
honest and efficient officers for no other reason 
than that they would vigorously enforce the 
law; and allowed such indicted criminals to 
name the marshal to select the juries by which 

they were to be tried, and to name the at- 
torney who was to prosecute them for their 
offenses, whereby the criminals were turned 
loose without punishment and the laws tramp- 
led under foot and fraud and crime encour- 
aged; and has seen fit to take sides with and 
support and sustain the corrupt State House 
ring in their iniquities against the people of 
this State, 

And Whereas, It is now evident that Gen. 
Grant will receive the nomination for Presi- 
dent by the convention of office-holders to be 
held at Philadelphia, 

Therefore Resolved, That we emphatically 
condemn the course of the President in his in- 
termeddling with Arkansas affairs in the inter- 
est of crime and disorder, and decline to send 
delegates to the Philadelphia convention. 

And Whereas, Horace Greeley and B. 
Gratz Brown are now before the people as 
Republican candidates for President and Vice- 
President upon a platform which we heartily 
approve, and are men of unquestionable 
ability, integrity and patriotism, and have for 
many years been consistent advocates and 
champions of Republicanism and universal 
suffrage and universal freedom, 

Therefore, be it Resolved, That we most 
cordially indorse the nomination of the said 
Horace Greeley and B. Gratz Brown and the 
platform upon which they stand, and pledge 
ourselves to co-operate with the friends of civil 
government and reform throughout the land in 
securing their election. 

And Therefore, To the end that a free 
people may be disenthralled from unjust and 
unlawful burdens and calamities, which are 
imposed upon them, we cordially invite all 
the friends of free government, law and order 
and justice to co-operate with us in \.\\& fearful 
but determined conflict which a wronged and 
robbed people are waging in response to 
Greeley's rallying cry, "Honest men for office; 
thieves to the rear! 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


The resolutions were signed, J. 
E. Bennett, chairman, W. G. Whip- 
ple, Joseph Brooks, A. H. Barrett, 
H. Lewis, J. W. Jackson, T. J. 
Hunt, R. L. Glassick, H. S. John- 
son, committee. 

Mr. Daniel Webster of the com- 
mittee, offered the following min- 
ority report : 

Resolved, That this convention approves 
the national administration and believes it the 
duty of the Republicans of Arkansas and of 
the United States to adopt the decision and 
support the nominees of the National Republi- 
can Convention. 

The majority report was adopted 
with cheers and the minority re- 
port rejected without division. 
The convention forthwith com- 
pleted the ticket of State officers 
as follows — (all Republicans ex- 
cept Grace and E. J . Brooks, who 
were not Democrats). 

For Lieut. Governor, D. ' January ' Smith, 
of Columbia. 

For Sec'y of State, E. A. Fulton (colored), of 

For Auditor, J. R. Berry, of Pulaski. 

For Treasurer, T. J. Hunt, of Sebastian. 
(Chosen over Logan H. Roots and Henry 


For Attorney-General W. P. Grace, of Jeffer- 

For Supt. Pub. Instruction, Thomas Smith, of 

For Associate Justices Supreme Court, William 
Harrison, of Jefferson ; John Whytock, of 

For Supt. Penitentiary, Richard Samuels (col- 
ored), of "Washington. 

For Congressman at Large, Wm. J. llynes. 


M. L. Rice, of Pulaski ; Sidney M. Barnes. 


First District — Geo. W. McLane. 
Second District — ^R. L. Archer. 
Third District— E. J^ Brooks. 

A State Central Committee was 
appointed as follows : 

B. F. Rice, chairman, Geo. Hay- 
cock, G. W. McDiarmid, Logan 
R. Roots, Jas. W. Jackson, J. L. 
Hodges, E. A. Fulton, R. C. Kerns 
and E. H. Vance, and the con- 
vention adjourned. 

It will be observed that the fore- 
going resolutions offered no more 
than Clayton had done, and no 
greater guarantees of sincerity 
than the action of bolting the 
national Republican organization, 
except declaring for Greeley 
against Grant. This was a step in 
the right direction, but as the Ga- 
zette pointed out, the character 
and overtures of this faction to the 
negroes and their political anteced- 
ents weakened confidence in their 
professions- The real issue behind 
all the party pledges and parade, 
was, whether the material interests 
of the State could longer bear 
negro dojuination ? It had been 
tried and proved a carnival of cor- 
ruption and ruin. The Clayton 
faction represented this dread ele- 
ment. It could not be endured. 
The negro was the mere un- 
conscious force. Like dynamite 
he was used destructively. The 
Republican, Clayton organ at 
Little Rock, published many scan- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

dalous articles against the mem- 
bers who constituted the Brindle 
convention. These were written 
and issued for reading at the Fed- 
eral capitol. 

Brooks in his speeches, retorted 
with equal vindictiveness, and said 

Price and McClure (of The Republican'), 
were never Republicans; they were thieves, 
border-ruffians and murderers ; that the two 
named had been copperheads, and Clayton & 
Co., had swindled poor, miserable Mallory, 
until he did not have money to pay whisky 
bills; that Hadley went to the Democratic 
convention, and on the steamer made propo- 
sitions to the Democrats ; and Clayton had 
bargained with the Democracy, through 
Chamberlain ; and Garland had the letter con- 
taining the stipulations, and he (Brooks) had 
seen it. 

June 5, 1872, the Republican 
National Convention at Philadel- 
phia nominated General Grant for 
re-election, by acclamation, and 
Henry Wilson for Vice-President. 
The platform was according to 
the following synopsis : 

I. Reduction of the public debt and settling 
threatened difficulty with a foreign power. 

2. Liberty and equality must be established. 

3. Approval of recent (reconstruction) amend- 
ments to the Constitution. 4. Peace abroad 
and sympathy for those who fought for greater 
liberty. 5. Civil Service Reform. 6. Opposed 
to further grants of public lands. 7. Reve- 
nues to be raised by duties on foreign impor- 
tations, thus securing remunerative wages to 
labor. 8. In favor of legislation for pension- 
ing soldiers and sailors. 9. Rights of adopted 
citizens to be guarded and urging encourage- 
ment to immigration. 10. Abolishment of the 

franking privilege and reduction of postage. 
II. Protection for capital and a just share for 
labor. 12. Thanks Congress for protecting 
the ballot-box in the lately rebellious regions. 
13. Denounces repudiation. 14. Proposes ad- 
mission of women to wider fields of usefulness. 
15. Approves Congressional amnesty to late 
rebels. 16. Disapproves of interference with 
States rights. 17. Favors measures to en- 
courage ship-building. 18. Eulogizes Grant, 
and 'starts on a new march to victory.' 

On the 13th June, the Senate 
Committee at Washington, having 
charge of the investigation of 
Powell Clayton, unequivocally ex- 
onerated him from the accusations 
against him. The committee re- 
ported : 

In our opinion, the charges, if such they 
can be called, are not sustained. The testi- 
mony fails to impeach the Senator's official 
conduct or character. 

On the 19th June, 1872, the 
Democratic State Convention, at 
the call of Gordon N. Peay, chair- 
man of the State Central Com- 
mittee, met in the hall of the 
House of Representatives, at Lit- 
tle Rock. W. W. Reynolds, of 
Benton county, was made Presi- 
dent, and appointed the necessary 
committees, after which the con- 
vention adjourned to the next day. 
The next day the convention se- 
lected delegates to the National 
Democratic Convention, at Balti- 
more, and elected a State Central 
Committee, viz., L. A. Pindall, E. 
P. Watson, J. T. Trezevant, D. J. 
Jacoway, Fay Hempstead, H. F. 
Carrigan, T. F. Dockery and John 
R. Hampton. 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


The convention adopted the fol- 
lowing resolutions : 

Whereas, It appears to us, the representa- 
tives of the Conservative and Democratic 
parties of Arkansas, in convention assembled, 
that the majority of the men constituting the 
State administration have proved themselves 
unworthy the high trust reposed in them and 
have taken advantage of their positions to rob 
and plunder the people, both white and col- 
ored, and have by their peculations in railroad, 
levee and other bonds of the State almost 
bankrupted its credit abroad and at home, and 
have used fraud and unlawful force for the 
purpose of retaining power against the will of 

We therefore, Declare it to be our opinion, 
that it is absolutely necessary to the welfare of 
the people that a radical change in the admin- 
istration of the affairs of the State and many 
of the counties should be effected. 

Resolved, I. That the best policy to be 
pursued by the people to make certain of suc- 
cess in the coming election is to have unani- 
mity of action, as well as feeling, on the part 
of all good citizens of all parties who favor 
reform in the administration of the affairs of 
the State and county governments. 

2. That the Chairman of each Democratic- 
Conservative County Executive Committee 
be requested to put in operation the amend- 
ment to the enforcement act of Congress in 
regard to the appointment of Supervisors of 
registration in each voting precinct of their 
respective counties. 

3. That delegates be appointed to the Balti- 
more convention called to meet on the 19th 
July next, and they are instructed to vote for 
the ratification of the nomination of Greeley 
*nd Brown, as candidates for President and 
Vice-President of the United States in the en- 
suing election. 

4. Fhat we endorse theCincinnati platform ; 
and also the platform of political principles 

(?) adopted by the Reform-Republican Con- 
vention which met at Little Rock, May 22, 
1872. ■ [Left the tariff to Congressional Dis- 

5. That it would be unwise and inexpedient 
for the Democratic party to nominate a State 
ticket for the ensuing election, and we declare 
against it. [Stomach for the ' Reform ' State 
ticket too]. 

6. The State Democratic Executive Com- 
mittee be hereby authorized to act with like 
committees of all Reform-RepuVjlican organ- 
izations in this State opposed to the present 
administration, in the conduct of the ensuing 

7. That we earnestly urge the organization 
of the Conservative and Democratic parties in 
all election districts and in all counties, and 
the'using of all honorable means to secure the 
election of county officers and members to the 
General Assembly ; and that we extend a 
cordial invitation to all persons opposed to the 
present State administration to unite with us in 
said organization ; and we pledge ourselves 
to oppose the election of all independent can- 
didates for any of said offices running against 
the regular nominees. We append hereto, as 
part of this report the platform referred to in 
the fourth resolution. 

Geo. p. Smoote, 
D. W. Carroll, 
J. T. Bearden, 
T. W. Newton, 

Committee on Resolutions. 

The resolutions were adopted 
without division. No Democratic 
State ticket was therefore nomi- 
nated by the convention. The 
action and tickets of the national 
and State " Liberal Reform-Re- 
publican " Conventions were ac- 
cepted and indorsed. In the 
existing state of affairs, a rump 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Congress, representing a section, 
and certain class interests, held 
power. Its members plumed them- 
selves upon their liuinanity in 
liberating the bodies of a few in- 
competent blacks, while riveting 
chains upon the intelligent labor of 
all the people for their material 
profit. The delusion that they 
were Republicans and patriots was 
too appetizing and sweet! They 
followed instincts which we all 
have in common with the "beasts 
that perish." The Executive De- 
partment of the General Govern- 
ment was under a victorious Gen- 
eral, who had risen to power 
through strict obedience of tiieir 
behests, and knew no other guide. 
Titcre was no hope of relief 
through the agency of a free elec- 
tion. The victors inevitably quar- 
rel among themselves over their 
ill-gotten spoils. 

July loth, the Republican (Min- 
strel) State Executive Committee 
met at Little Rock. On motion 
of H. King White, of Pine Bluff, 
(who had appeared as a delegate 
to the Brindle State Convention, 
it will be remembered), it was 
agreed to call the Minstrel State 
Convention on the 2 1st August, 
for making nomninations of State 
officers, a Congressman for the 
State at large, and Presidential 
electors. The committee ap- 
pointed John McClure, J. T. White 
and M. C. McCanany, " to draft an 
address to the Republican voters 
of Arkansas." The convention as 

well as the address had been antic- 
ipated with much interest. This 
wing or faction of the Republican 
party in the State was in control 
of the election niacliinery. Acting 
Governor Hadley had the power 
of appointing the election officers. 
J. M. Johnson, as Secretary of 
State, had the receiving and keep- 
ing the returns of the election. 
The presiding officer of the Senate 
merely went through the form of 
presenting them to the Legislature 
to be counted. 

The hope of the Democrats 
(and conservatives, as many old 
citizens preferred to call them- 
selves, from a feeling of ancient 
party antipathy to " democracy ") 
in the coming campaign was based 
upon the same reasoning that led 
to the endorsing by the national 
Democracy of the nomination of 
Horace Greeley. Mr. Brooks had 
ever been an ultra Republican. 
He could not be arraigned upon 
any charge of " disloyalty." He 
had been among the first to advo- 
cate negro emancipation at the 
North, and negro suffrage in Ark- 
ansas, and could consistently 
claim to be the champion of the 
negro race in Arkansas. But more 
than this, he was familiar with 
Republican tactics and agencies 
white and black, throughout the 
State. He could expose their of 
ficial misdoings and it was claimed 
anticipate or thwart their party 
maneuvers. This he promised he 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


would do fully and fearlessly " on 
every stump in the State." 

The other faction expressed 
only scorn for his threatenings. 
They were the regular and ac- 
credited representatives of the 
party in the State and had the ear 
of the federal administration which 
was in the acme of its power. Be- 
yond all this, they were in control 
of the Union League of the State. 
The wealthy and aristocratic 
gentlemen who composed clubs of 
this order in the Northern cities 
would have been astonished to be- 
hold a meeting of their order in 
Arkansas about this time. They 
would have witnessed a secret as- 
semblage of black men, officered 
by adventurers of their own race, 
ignorant to the last degree of 
parliamentary usages and of many 
of the amenities of civilized asso- 
ciation. They were dominated 
by a white man, or a few white 
men, acting perhaps as secretary 
and president to administer oaths, 
take down names, and enact the 
semblance of binding them to the 
organization. They were as abso- 
lute as Stanley or Emin Pasha 
over their naked followers. 

Acting Governor Hadley was 
President of the "State Council " 
of the League, and his son-in-law, 
Keyes Danforth, was its secretary. 
It was all-powerful for controlling 
the negro electors. It was under- 
stood among them, that no voters 
would be registered by the elec- 
tion officers who were not members 

of the league. Lodges were in- 
stituted and paraphernalia fur- 
nished by" lecturers " from the 
State Council. The chief emblems 
were the Holy Bible, the Declar- 
ation of Independence and the 
American flag; by which use of 
them, all three were desecrated. 
The members were required to 
take the following oath : 

I, , with an uplifted hand, in the 

presence of God and these witnesses, do sol- 
emnly swear, without reservation of any kind, 
that I will support, protect and defend the 
Constitution and government of the United 
States of America, one and indivisible, and 
the flag thereof against all enemies, foreign 
and domestic; that I will vote only for those 
who advocate and support the great principles 
set forth by this league. 

And I further promise and swear that I will 
protect and defend all worthy members of the 
Union League of America, and will never 
divulge or make known to any person or per- 
sons not worthy members of this organization 
any of the signs, pass-words, grips, proceed- 
ings, designs, debates ox places of meeting of 
this or other councils of this organization, 
unless authorized to do so by competent au- 

And I farther promise and swear that I will 
aid and defend the workingmen of the nation 
in all lawful methods to secure them the right 
to labor and enjoy the fruits of their labor, 
and that I will not countenance or employ 
any one who is in any way hostile to the work- 
ingmen of the Nation, 

And with my hand on the Holy Bible and 
flag of the United States of America, I ac- 
knowledge myself firmly bound and pledged 
to the faithful performance of this, my solemn 
obligation, so help me God! 

This oath is taken kneeling with 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

the members around the " poor, 
bhnd " candidate in a circle with 
clasped hands. Then after the 
announcement : " That this circle 
of freedom must never be broken 
by treachery under the penalty of 
death," the new member rises and 
is greeted : " Hail Brother, worthy 
and true ! " Meetings are ap- 
pointed to be held weekly. Of 
course, the power of the council at 
the capital is exercised without 
reserve in dictating the candidates 
to be voted for by members of the 
league, to which all the negroes 
in the State have belonged at one 
time or another. It can be seen 
that no writings or speeches, even 
if they could be read or heard, 
would penetrate a Kraal like this. 
John C. Calhoun painted this scene 
more than fifty years ago. 

July 9, 1872, the Democratic 
National Convention met at the 
city of Baltimore, in Ford's Opera 
House, and was called to order 
by August Belmont, Chairman 
Democratic National Committee. 

Mr. Randolph, of Va., grand- 
son, of Thomas Jefferson, eighty 
years of age, was made temporary 
chairman, and Fred. O. Prince, of 
Boston, secretary. After the com- 
mittee on credentials reported, J. 
R. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, was 
elected permanant President and 
the usual number of vice-presi- 
dents and secretaries appointed, 
when the convention adjourned. 

On reassembling July loth, 
the report of the committee on 

resolutions was read by E. O. 
Perrin, of New York, formerly of 
Memphis. Mr. Barr, of Pennsyl- 
vania, explained that the resolu- 
tions were the Cincinnati platform 
of the Liberal Republican Con- 
vention exactly^ iwtJiing added, 
nothing excluded. Mr. Bayard ob- 
jected to going before the country 
without an independent expression 
of principles. He was interrupted 
and voted down by 662 yeas to 70 
nays. The vote being taken on 
the nominations for President, 
Horace Greeley received 686 
votes, James A. Bayard 15, Jere- 
miah Black 21, Groesbeck 2 ; for 
Vice-President, Gratz Brown re- 
ceived 712 votes, Stevens of Ken- 
tucky 6, Jeremiah Black 12. An 
anti - Greeley Democratic meet- 
ing was held the same day in 
Baltimore, but accomplished noth- 
ing. Our friend. Col. E. Nat Hill, 
participated in that meeting. 

The Democrats and Liberal Re- 
publicans of Little Rock ratified 
the nomination of Greeley and 
Brown in the City Hall, July i ith. 
Joseph Brooks, R. C. Newton and 
R. A. Howard were the principal 

Mr. Brooks opened his cam- 
paign as the " Reform Republican" 
candidate for Governor, with a 
speech in the State House yard, 
June 2 1 St. As yet no rival candi- 
date had been announced, and he 
seems to have made the appoint- 
ment chiefly for placing himself 
on the Greeley ticket, and as a 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


public acceptance of the nomina- 
tion ; an earnest of the service he 
proposed to render in the cause of 
"truth, justice and good govern- 
ment," It was no task for him to 
speak at any time. As he stood 
in the shade thrown by the quiver- 
ing leaves of the ancient cotton- 
wood, and his thin locks were 
lifted by the soft breezes of the 
beautiful summer day, he seemed 
to feel a fresh pleasure in stirring 
up the animals in the State House 

The windows of the ancient 
capitol were filled with these, look- 
ing down smilingly and com- 
placently. So the Philistines may 
have looked on the blind old Sam- 
son as he made " sport " for them. 
Judges Bowen and McClure smok- 
ed their choice Havanas and 
made merry comments from the 
Supreme Court Library windows. 
Bent. Turner and Bill Oliver sat 
immediately under the droppings 
of the stream of denunciation 
which for an hour or more was 
poured against their faction. 

Mr. Brooks said, with the fiercest 
energy of action and scornful facial 
expression, among many other 
bitter things, the following : 

Why may not the Liberal Republicans, in 
the language of <7?<r candidate, 'clasp hands 
across the bloody chasm ? ' Why may they 
not, seven years after war has ended and 
peace resumed its sway (?) beat their swords 
into pruning hooks ? This is a movement to 
wipe out military government and conduct 

government unmixed with ' orders from these 

I have no desire to injure the individual 
who is running the machine, but I do wish to 
see the machine go to pieces! I wish to see 
that the people are no longer interfered with, 
and deprived of sacred constitutional (?) 
rights, by these seven-by-nine bob-tails, such 
as were sent to Hot Springs with orders to 
regiiter eight hundred voters [for which Clay- 
ton had been arraigned] whether in existence 
or not, and to some other county to register a 
thousand, ' to meet emergencies.' 

One general system of corrupt employ- 
ment has stained this State administration 
from head to foot. It has administered the 
financial affairs with a desperate energy and 
with sleeves rolled up to the elbows, in order 
to make a complete gobble. The county of 
Jefferson, where the chief ruler lives [Clayton], 
incurred before the war the annual expendi- 
ture of $9,000. Now these guardians of its 
interests spend $100,000 yearly — to make 
loose change. In the little county of Van 
Buren, the tax exceeds the entire surplus of 
the county, still the schools and other , in- 
stitutions, destroyed by the war, are not re- 

I need not assure this intelligent audience 
that our judicial officers are mere creatures to 
carry out the wishes of these rings, and our 
grand and petit juries are a mere semi-annual 
put up job in the interest of these robbers. I 
here solemnly promise that if I am elected 
Governor, I will cause an investigation of 
these crimes. And I do not doubt, if I can 
find grand juries to present indictments and 
attorneys to prosecute the perpetrators, I will 
fill the penitentiary so full of them that their 
legs and arms will be sticking out of the 
doors and windows! 

A great deal has been attempted to be 
made out of a report that I said in the Legis- 
lature, November 23, 1868, that Arkansas 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

should be Republican, or I would make it a 
waste and howling wilderness. I did say, in 
that speech, that I would see the laws obeyed 
and crimes punished or make it a wilder- 
ness, and I hold that purpose still and will 
carry it out, if I am elected Governor. 

His Democratic auditors and 
dissatisfied Republicans of his own 
party greeted these bursts of " for- 
cible " denunciation against the 
men in power with loud cheers of 
amusement and encouragement. 
Some had misgivings, arising from 
the style and excessive audacity 
of the orator, who had so lately 
come out of the camp of the men 
he stigmatized. The State House 
officials jeered and affected to be 
amused by " the old blatherskite," 
but they felt the necessity of 
having him answered. He had 
appointments in Conway, Perry 
and Yell counties, following close 
upon this speech. Crowds would 
assemble at his appointments to 
hear this abuse, and it would be 
well for the opposition to meet 
him and demand some authority 
fer these gross invectives. He had 
an appointment to speak at Lewis- 
burg, on the river, above Little 
Rock, on the 25th June, after 
speaking at some previous appoint- 
ments in Yell and Perry. Powell 
Clayton was the principal object 
of his severest phillipics. Now 
that Clayton had extricated him- 
self without injury to his party 
standing, from the difficulties of 
the Senate investigation and crim- 
inal prosecutions, he was especially 

desirous of having, at least, one 
debate with the outspoken Brindle 
chief. Having returned from 
Washington, he quietly got ready 
to intercept ]\Ir. Brooks at Lewis- 
burg, in Conway county. 

The Senator, it is evident, had 
carefully prepared himself, and 
was disciplined by the senatorial 
investigation in the kind of war- 
fare to be waged and material and 
argument to be employed. He 
accordingly went up to Lewis- 
burg, and took with him James M. 
Pomeroy, an expert stenographer, 
who had been employed in report- 
ing the debates of the Constituti- 
onal Convention. The Senator 
was accompanied also by Henry 
M. Cooper, " Gen." A. W. Bishop, 
" Col." Nat Hill and E. B. Blanks. 
He had faithful supporters among 
the Republicans of Conway 
county. Several supporters of 
Mr. Brooks, hearing of the intend- 
ed meeting also went up, viz: R. 
F. Catterson, James L. Hodges, 
M. L. Rice, Barney McKenna, 
Thos. Fletcher and Capt. Cutter, 
(whites), Jack Agery Jerome 
Lewis and D. McWhorter (col- 

The place of speaking was in a 
little grove on the table-land that 
rises from the Arkansas river near 
Lewisburg. The old town be- 
trayed signs of the ravages of war 
and lawless havoc. There was the 
road and tumble-down worm fence, 
along which old man Hopper was 
conducted to his death, mounted 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


and guarded by Clayton's militia 
— his legs tied with ropes under 
his horse's belly. And there in 
the crowd were some of his mur- 
derers. The old, weather-beaten, 
two-story jail with its iron-barred 
windows, frowned upon its dismal 
site, amid the red gullies, deepen- 
ing as they descended to the Ark- 
ansas River, The muddy waters 
of the river at Lewisburg swept 
around a black, slaty point, which 
marked-the town landing. In the 
distance across the river were the 
level cotton fields, stretching miles 
away to a long, blue ridge, called 
the Petit Jean Mountain. It rose 
out of the river like the bastion of 
gigaiaic,ancient fortification. The 
audience was in keeping with the 
scene, motley as to race and 
clothing, yet possessing a certain 
picturesqueness and poetic remem- 
brance, for one who recognized in 
many of the scarred faces under 
the slouch hats, men that defended 
Vicksburg and followed Stonewall 
Jackson from the Shenandoah val- 
ley to the Chickahominy and to 

Mr. Brooks made the first 
speech. He repeated his scathing 
denunciations of the State admin- 
istration, its frauds of finance, 
ballot-stuffings, official corruption 
and burdensome taxation. He 
announced himself pledged to 
those reforms which the Liberal 
Republican party proposed to in- 
augurate, such as honest registra- 
tion, without disfranchising any- 

body, and reduction of taxation. 
His motto was " Honest men for 
office, thieves to the rear ! " 

He referred to his services in 
the cause of the negro race, and 
to Mr. Greeley as their first and 
greatest champion. He was not 
actuated by desire for office, but 
to maintain right, and put down 
ivrong. His disapproval of the 
iniquities of the State administra- 
tion antedated his removal from 
the office he held as revenue col- 
lector. He appealed to Clayton 
to bear witness that an office ten- 
dered him by that gentleman, he 
had declined. He then went into 
personal criticisms of the regis- 
trars who had been appointed re- 
cently by the State administration 
and asked, From such a planting 
what fruitage was to be expected 
in the coming election? The 
Democrats cheered him lustily — 
those same Ku-Kluxes who kept 
their eyes on the assassins of 

Clayton kept his eyes upon the 
speaker, listened intently to him, 
but took no notice of his appeal. 
He stepped to the stand at the 
conclusion of Brooks' speech ; with 
studied dignity, he began by dis- 
cussing the attitude and "plat- 
forms " of existing parties ; then 
he answered the charges against 
the State administration by the 
familiar Tu Qtioqiie, and concluded 
with a severe yet humorous de- 
rision of Mr. Brooks and his pre- 
tences and impotency for good or 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

evil. Senator Clayton said, accord- 
ing to the stenographic report 
made by Mr. Pomeroy : 

I was accustomed to labor from my boy- 
hood in the eighty-two-acre farm of my father, 
who raised a family of ten children. I am 
here to defend that party which had made 
labor honorable and rendered it possible for 
the colored man to enjoy the fruits of his 
honest toil. It could not be denied, that al- 
though there were several parties in the field, 
the great fact to be recognized was the exist- 
ence of only two great political parties. This 
is proved by the platforms of the parties 
themselves. There is the Cincinnati-Balti- 
more platform which I call the platform of the 
old Democratic- Conservative-Ku-Klux-Abo- 
litionist — anything to beat Grant party. 

Now I will give you my interpretation of 
the first article of that platform. ' We, the 
secessionists of the South, the copperhead 
Democrats of the North, the Ku-Kluxes of the 
South, the Tammany thieves of New York, 
bow our heads and meekly subscribe to this 
article which recognizes the equality of all 
men before the law, and the duty of the gov- 
ernment to mete out equal and exact justice to 
all of whatever race, color or persuasion.' Now 
I hope very much that my Ku-Kluxs friends 
are in earnest in subscribing to this article 
and I am willing for one to accept their re- 
pentance, but as to them, I believe the good, 
old Methodist doctrine of a reasonable pro- 
bation should be applicable. This reminds 
me of the difference between Greeley and 
Grant and Brother Brooks and myself. My 
father never voted the Democratic ticket. But 
I thought I was wiser than he, and when I 
came of age I acted with the Democracy for a 

A voice from the audience asked 
him : " How about that secession 

The man that said that is a liar! The 
man who says I ever wore a secession cock- 
ade, or any other kind of a cockade, is an un- 
mitigated, infamous, damnable liar! I have 
heard that before and other lies about my be- 
ing a 'border ruffian,' and sending colored 
men back into slavery from Kansas. They 
are all infamous lies. 

Now, as I said, before these men can be 
trusted it should be known to a certanity 
that their professions are not a mere subter- 

As to the second article of that platform, 
which pledges to accept the amendments to 
the Constitution and to maintain the Union — 
when I remember how gallantly some of them 
have struggled to break up the Union, and 
that the Democracy of the North had helped 
them, and Ku-Klux clans that rose so promptly 
to resist the amendments, I should ask a better 
guaranty than mere windy words of a political 

The third article demands the immediate 
removal of all political disabilities, and uni- 
versal amnesty. On this question I and 
Brother Brooks quarreled two years ago. I 
had maintained publicly, fearlessly in October, 
187c, that the time had come for removing 
disabilities. He contended that the time had 
not come to even think of it ! I have heard 
that he denies using this language. 

Mr. Brooks — I never used it. 

I have come prepared to prove that you 
did. Here are two reports of your speech at 
Butlerville, which contain it. One the Re- 
publicaii's report; one the Gazette's, which 
substantially agrees with the Republican. And 
furthermore, there, sitting before me, is the 
reporter who reported your speech [referring 
to Mr. Pomeroy]. There is the record against 
you, and as Artemus Ward has truly said, 'A 
record is a mighty onconvenient thing.' lam 
possessed of another record and will read it 
as proof that Mr. Brooks has favored the con- 
fiscation of lands of the Southern people. As 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


I had recommended it in my message, as Gov- 
ernor, the Legislature adopted the proposed 
amendment to the State Constitution provid- 
ing for the complete removal of political dis- 
abilities that Brother Brooks had helped with 
great zeal to incorporate in the Constitution. 
Meanwhile h^ had gone up and down trying 
to make the colored people believe, that by 
this measure your speaker was ' selling out the 
party to the Democracy,' and inaugurating a 
plan for putting them back into slavery I But 
the following Legislature, when the people 
had ratified the amendment, went to work and 
made the amendment a part of the Consti- 
tution, which was a speeder and more efficient 
method than resohiiing it in ' platforms,' or 
vaguely postponing its adoption, according to 
the idea of Mr. Brooks, ' until all the colored 
children should be educated iti the Yankee 

I was in favor of imposing disabilities as a 
temporary measure, because it was necessary 
to accomplish the reconstruction of the State, 
and the ex-Confederates refused to help me in 
doing so. I have always advised a liberal 
course. Brooks, Price and Hodges thought 
differently and placed these disabilities in the 

[Here the speaker read his message favor- 
ing the removal of disabilities and the re- 
duction of the number and salaries of officers] _ 

The fourth article of the platform of the 
Democracy in favor of local self-government 
is as old as the government itself, and I cor- 
dially endorse all that this article contains. 

The fifth article, I regard as too general 
in its first sentence to admit of discussion. 
The remainder of the article throws light upon 
the political policy of its authors. It attempts 
to evade the great issue which has been for 
many years the most important that has ever 
engaged the attention of the American people. 
'Protection for American industry' is one of 
the most important questions that this gener- 

ation has been called upon to consider. If 
such a policy is right, why do they not plant 
themselves squarely upon it? If wrong, why 
not stand squarely against it ? The fact is, 
that the men who went to Cincinnati were 
drawn there by hatred of Grant, to whom the 
people owe a debt of greatest gratitude. 
From such a heterogenous conglomeration 
what would you expect but contradiction ? 

The eighth article is good, in favor of a 
speedy return to specie payments. I favor it 

The ninth article is first rate, declaring 
gratitude to the soldiers and sailors and their 
right to be rewarded. It would please me to 
believe that the ex-Confederates, who fought 
them so gallantly, remembered with gratitttde 
the men who thrashed them ! 

The tenth article, opposing further grants 
of lands is a principle which I have supported 
by fighting every such thing as often as it 
came up since I have been in Congress. The 
Brindles, on the contrary, have voted for 
every one of these schemes and made money 
by the operation. Rice could not deny that 
he took money for them, or that he took the 
money of Kentucky orphans, who %vere his 
clients, and decamped tvith it — kept it seven 
years, and only paid it back after he had been 

The eleventh article referred to our foreign 
policy. Grant's foreign policy met every re- 
quirement of that article. 

The twelfth article, all true Republicans 
can endorse. He could amend it to read a 
little stronger. 

The speaker then read the Whip- 
ple resolutions of the Liberal Re- 
publican State Convention, which 
he called the " Brindle-tail plat- 

For cool, unmitigated, scientific lying, he 
would commend it. It is true, that not 'a 
large,' but a small number of persons had 
been indicted in the Federal courts. All the 


The Brooki and Baxter War: a History 

rest was false as hell ! It was not true that 
certain men had been removed by the Presi- 
dent ' in the interest of criminals.' It was a 
lie ! It was not true that the men removed 
were honest and efficient. 

They were as scurvy a set of knaves and 
theives, as ever plunged their hands into the 
public treasury, and eluded the walls of the 
penitentiary ; and he would show this to be 
so, before he got through! It was not true 
that they were removed because 'they would 
vigorously enforce the law,' but it was because 
they would not enforce the law against their 
pals, whilst, on the other hand, they could not 
sleep at night for scheming to oppress honest 
men. It is not true that the attorney appointed 
in the place of Whipple allowed these men 
who were indicted to go free. Whipple was 
invited to prosecute the case and did prose- 
cute it. He was retained and when the court 
met. Judge Dillon, and not that Whipper- 
snapper tried the case. And what was the 
result? That able and pure judge decided 
that there was no offense! Then they raised 
the cry, that 'Clayton was afraid of investiga- 
tion.' What did he do on hearing that cry ? 
He invited his brother senators to investigate, 
and men who would have bowed to the crack 
of no party-whip, heard testimony for four 
months. Brooks testified, Rice testified, and 
McLane and the balance of the Brindle crew, 
thirty-eight witnesses. And what was the 
result of that investigation by honorable men ? 
They declared ' the testimony fails to impeach 
the Senator's official conduct or character.' 
That committee, upon sworn testimony, and 
not newspaper articles paid for by Cairo and 
Fulton railroad money, summed up by saying 
that 'This charge is totally and entirely un- 

Your speaker will not say that the State 
government is perfect. The question was not 
what kind of government the people should 
have, but whether they should have any 

government ? When we came to reconstruct 
the government, the old citizens would not 
take a hand. The negroes and carpet-baggers 
did the best they could. If it were in my 
power I would wipe the past all out ! If the 
State government is imperfect, no men are 
more to blame than Joseph Brooks, B. F. 
Rice and James L. Hodges. They ran the 
Constitutional Convention. I had no hand 
in it. 

It came out in evidence at Washington, 
that this man Brooks and others were direc- 
tors in the Little Rock and Helena railroad 
company. In course of time, the Red River 
and Ouachita railroad company wanted more 
bonds of State-aid than had been awarded it. 
So the latter company bargained with Brooks 
and another member of the Helena company 
for their State-aid of $25,000 in State bonds. 
They got it from the Helena company ! and I 
have a copy of Joseph Brooks' relinquish- 
ment over his ozun signature. He gave up 
the bonds issued to his company, to be con- 
verted into money by the other company. 
Mr. Rodgers came before the committee and 
testified to these facts. They are not hear- 

Rice, Hodges, Benjamin and other prom- 
inent Brindle-tails, have taken out $350,000 of 
the life-blood of the Little Rock and Fort 
Smith railroad, and that is why your citizens 
of Lewisburg cannot step on the cars to-day 
and go to Fort Smith. That money has gone 
in a way that might be guessed at by looking 
at Hodges' beautiful house at Little Rock, 
upon what the old citizens called ' Robber's 
Bluff.' These men have destroyed the credit 
of the State in the city of New York. They 
got control of the Cairo and Fulton railroad 
franchise, not by purchase, for they did not 
buy it ; and when Marquand and his associates 
were ready to buy it, the latter in order to get 
rid of Rice and Brooks, had to buy iket>t off, 
by giving them over $500,000! After the 
bargain was made, and the time fixed for pay- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


ment, they all tramped off to St .Louis to re- 
ceive it. They were too well acquainted with 
each other to trust any one of their number, 
even Parson Brooks with such a missiott. They 
knew Rice had stolen the money of the Ken- 
tucky orphans, and was given to gambling. 
No one thought of trusting Hodges. So they 
all went together ! After setting aside $40,000 
to be placed in Ben. Rice's hands for political 
purposes, and after paying the two Rice's their 
attorney's salaries, at the rate of $10,000 a 
year, they divided the balance among them- 
selves ! Rice acknowledged under oath that 
he got $40,000 ; Brooks got about $23,000. 

Brother Brooks need not try to keep me 
answering questions, during my speech, I am 
too old for him to play that trick upon me. 
Brooks and Hodges and Rice are the men 
guilty of robbery and peculation in this 
State, and I have come here to charge them to 
their faces that they are thieves a)id scoun- 
drels, reeking with corruption ! They have 
stolen not only $500,000 from the Cairo and 
Fulton railroad company, but nearly every- 
thing else in the State. All these charges can 
be sustained by evidence. They are not made 
merely in this State, but have been made be- 
fore their faces in Washington, where Rice 
had only stammered they ' were untrue.' 

I have pledged my honor and reputation 
as a Senator, that they were true, and chal- 
lenged Rice, as a Senator, to demand an in- 
vestigation, as I have done. But Rice is too 
smart for that ! But I have something to say 
of the Brindle candidate for Lieut. Governor, 
'January' Smith. It was in evidence in 
Washington, and the witness was a Brindle- 
tail, that old man Smith was paid $200.00 for 
his support of the levee bill. 

James L. Hodges interrupted 
the speaker by saying, " It is not 

I repeat that ' General ' McLane testified 
to what I have said. He also testified that, he 

himself received $20,000 for assisting in lob- 
bying the levee bill through. Of course this 
was for his services as 'attorney.' Pretty good 
pay for an attorney doing lobbyist's work, es- 
pecially such an attorney as McLane. Fulton, 
the colored Brindle candidate for Secretary of 
State, swore in Washington that he received 
money from a man named Townsend, or 
* Keno Townsend,' as the Journal used to 
call him. He refused to testify what sum was 
paid him, or for what, on the ground that it 
would criminate him ! The Rices, Hodgesi 
Catterson, Whipple, Brooks, Whytock were 
all in this Cairo and Fulton railroad ring. 
They are a nice set of fellows to talk of 
' honest men for office, and thieves to the 
rear ! ' 

I had interests in this State before the 
most of these statesmett came here. I had, as 
John M. Bradley would say, ' harnessed my- 
self to the soil,' and 'taken my chances' 
with the people of the State. At first, I lost 
money, but I stuck to it, until it has paid well. 
Taxation for general purposes is no higher 
now than five years ago, one-half of one per 
cent. The additional taxation, of one-fifth of 
one per cent Brooks and his Ho if or d Bond 
enterprise has caused us to pay as interest on 
the funded debt. I believe that some of his 
ring secured money for that job. Gen. Karney, 
of Kansas, told the speaker that he had loaned 
Rice $25,000 to be repaid in funded bonds of 
this State. The General's partner said he 
had the bonds now, paid by Rice on the loan 
■ — and is liable to keep them a lo7ig time ! 

And now let me conclude, by telling you 
a little story, or fable, by way of illustrating 
what we have seen and may expect to see. 
There was once an old brindle bull, which had 
been driving the small game into the lion's 
mouth, by bellowing up and down ; and in 
turn the lion permitted him to graze a little, 
unmolested. But we shall not let the old 
brindle play his little game any longer. In 



The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

November, we will strip his hide off, and hang 
it up for a warning. Or else, Grant, who is a 
good tanner, will tan it. And Wilson, who 
is a shoe?naker, will make it into shoes, so that 
the poor Brindle Democracy can have shoes 
to wear on the rugged trip they are destined 
to take up Salt River. 

The " Klu-Klux " Democracy 
could but admire the pluck exhib- 
ited by Clayton, and cheered him 
generously. The negroes seemed 
perplexed at the antagonism ex- 
hibited between these recognized 
leaders, and remained silent. Mr. 
Brooks looked, if anything, more 
sardonic and sallow during its 
delivery. The State militiamen 
shouted wildly. Hodges smarted 
severely under the terrible personal 
castigation inflicted on him. He 
was a short, thick man, with mut- 
ton-chop whiskers, red face and 
tip-tilted nose — a living embodi- 
ment of the "butcher" in English 
toy-books. He was lessee of the 
penitentiary, and went heavily 
armed with revolvers and stout 
hickory stick. He panted in im- 
potent rage, and with flushed 
cheeks whispered to Brooks, who 
repressed him. Brooks made a 
short, formal reply. He attempted 
to be humorous at the Senator's 
expense and to admire the adroit- 
ness with which he shifted blame, 
but secured for himself the chief 
honors and profits, " all the same." 
Hodges wanted to speak, and 
Clayton stood silent as if he wished 
he would, but Brooks, McKenna 
and others dissuaded him. The 

combatants separated and the 
crowd dispersed. 

August 21, 1872, the Republican 
(Minstrel) State Convention met 
in the Hall of the House of Rep- 
resentatives, at Little Rock. A. 
J. Warwick, Chancery Judge, was 
chosen temporary chairman, and 
appointed the customary commit- 
tees, when the convention took a 
recess until evening. At the even- 
ing session. Judge Warwick was 
made President ; Vice-Presidents 
were chosen for each Congres- 
sional district. Senator Clayton 
moved the appointment of a com- 
mittee on resolutions, which was 
carried. The President appointed 
Powell Clayton and five others as 
the committee. 

It was moved and agreed to, 
that the convention now go into 
nominations for State officers on 
the Republican ticket. 

Judge E. D. Ham nominated 
Elisha Baxter, of Independence 
county ; J. A. Lockhart nominated 
Gen. A. W. Bishop, of Pulaski; 
J. F. Bottsford nominated ex-Sen- 
ator Alex. McDonald, of Pulaski ; 
Chas. W. Tankersley nominated 
O. A. Hadley, the acting Govenor. 

The movement of the Liberal 
wing of the Republican party and 
its alliance with the old-citizen 
Democracy was admonitory that 
carpet-bag strangers, (as were all 
who had so far been put in nomin- 
ation, except Elisha Baxter) should 
play a less conspicuous part in this 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


The opposition combination was 
too formidable to be trifled with. 
So Senator Clayton, who really- 
wielded omnipotent power in his 
faction, stated that he had been 
authorized to withdraw from nomi- 
nation for Governor the name of 
O. A. Hadley. Asa Hodges, of 
Crittenden, a confidant of Clayton, 
stated that he was authorized to 
withdraw the name of Alex. Mc- 
Donald. Gen. Bishop himself de- 
clined the nomination, and moved 
that, " Elisha Baxter be nom- 
inated, by acclamation the candi- 
date of the Republican Convention 
for Governor," which was carried, 
although without much cheering 
or enthusiasm. Judge Baxter was 
escorted to the platform, and said : 

You must accept the tribute of a grateful 
heart. It is to Governor O. A. Hadley that I am 
more indebted for occupying this position than 
to any other man in the sound of my voice. 
Had he not fully and finally determined to 
withdraw, I could never have been nominated. 

I see many faces before me that a few 
years ago would not have been allowed to 
come into this hall. I saw a bill passed in 
this hall, in 1858, requiring all persons of color 
to give bond for their maintenance or leave 
the State. I combatted that infamous propo- 
sition on the floor of this house. Men have 
come to me and said, you are an old citizen, 
if you are elected, can we, as carpet-baggers, 
or we as colored citizens, rely on your favor- 
able consideration ? 

A friend of mine referred to-day to the 
time when I was in prison here for treason 
against the Confederate States. No feeling 
on that account is entertained by me. I am 
to forgive as I expect to be forgiven. Through 

the agency of friends, some white and some 
colored, I was enabled to escape. May my 
arm drop from its socket if ever I prove rec- 
reant to the colored people of Arkansas. The 
infamy which I see heaped upon one who 
has pursued such a course, would alone serve 
to deter me. Joseph Brooks claims to be the 
candidate of a party or parties who have put 
him forward to betray the Republican party, 
and the colored people of the State. 

I have some knowledge of law, as through 
the kindness of Governor Clayton I have held 
a position in the judiciary of the State. I 
know something of the solemnities of a con- 
tract. Mr. Brooks' contract with his parties 
has been signed and sealed, but not deliv- 
ered (?) If the Republican party lives, it will 
never be delivered. The cry of this eminent 
man, is: 'Honest men for office.' I should 
not wish to see any man occupy any office, 
however small, unless he is a hundred times 
more honest than I believe the Rev. Joseph 
Brooks to be ! 

I intend to do my part, and I think we 
have inaugurated a policy that will result in a 
victory of the Republican party of 20,000 
majority, and which will bury Joseph Brooks 
so deep that the intense indignation of the 
people will never reach him. ^I will sup- 
port Grant and Wilson, and will not vacate 
the executive office, until the expiration of my 
term of office. I thank you for the honor. 

As crude as were the notions of 
his auditors of forensic propriety 
and elegance, this short speech of 
acceptance did not seem to im- 
press them very favorably. They 
seemed to realize that the man 
was silly enough to be honest. 

Volney V. Smith was nominated 
for Lieut. Governor; Jas. M. John- 
ston for Secretary of State ; Henry 
Page for Treasurer; Stephen 


The Bfooks and Baxter War: a History 

Wheeler for Auditor; T. D. W. 
Yonley for Attorney General ; M. 
L. Stephenson and E. J. Searle 
for Associate Justices ; J. C. Corbin 
(colored) for Superintendent of 
Public Instruction; H, B. Robin- 
son for Superintendent of the 
Penitentiary, and John M. Bradley 
for Congressman at Large ; W, W. 
Willshire for Congress, Third Dis- 
trict. The nomination of electors 
for President and Vice-President 
of the United States was confided 
to the Executive Committee, 
which subsequently appointed D. 
S. Griffin, W, W. Granger and 
Thos. Barnes, Electors at Large ; 
W, H. Howes, First District ; 
Arthur Hemmingway, Second Dis- 
trict, and L. G. Wheeler, Third 

Powell Clayton, chairman of 
the committee on resolutions, pre- 
sented the platform as prepared 
by the committee, which was 
adopted without change. The 
platform was : 

I. Adhesion to principles of the Republican 
party. 2. Equality of all men before the law. 
3. Free Schools ; Superintendents to be abol- 
ished, and question of education remitted to 
the local authorities. 4. Strict enforcement of 
the registration law. [Union League]. 5. 
Removal of political disabilities [subject to 
registration]. 6. The exclusive right of the 
States to determine the qualification of voters. 
[They were then the 'State']. 7. Reduction 
of taxes and opposition to repudiation. 8. 
Exemption of personal property to the value 
of $300. 9. Repeal of State law creating 
Superintendent of Immigration. 10. To give 
to the people the right to elect all officers. 

11. To prohibit collectors and treasurers from 
buying scrip, and require payments in kind. 

12. To reduce salaries and fees. 13. To make 
penitentiary self-sustaining. 14, To reduce 
amount of exemptions. 15. To require j/rzV^ 
investigation as to the means employed for 
procuring the law funding the Holford Bonds. 
16. Eulogizing Gov. O. A. Hadley. 

The Executive Committee ap- 
pointed was : Powell Clayton, O. 
A. Hadley, J. N. Sarber, S. W. 
Dorsey, at Large ; E. R. Wiley, J. 
T. White, First District ; James 
Torrans, Francis Sawyer, Second 
District; John McClure, E. D. 
Ham, Third District. 

The " Pope county war " was 
about this time disturbing Gover- 
nor Hadley's administration. Its 
details would cover many pages. 
Pope county is divided from Yell 
county on the south by the Ark- 
ansas River. It extends north- 
ward into the mountains. At the 
foot of these lies Dover, a pretty 
village formerly, and the county- 
seat. Hickox, the County Clerk, 
issued, on his own motion, an 
'' order," or warrant, for the arrest 
of young Poynter, whose father 
had long kept tavern at Dover. 
Brown, a deputy Sheriff, in execut- 
ing it, was shot and killed, old 
man Hickerson always said, by 
Poynter. Hickox caused the Sher- 
iff, Dodson, to arrest young N. J. 
Hale and his father, Joe Tucker, 
and Perry West as the murderers. 
Dodson, Williams and Cloninger, 
militia officers, with the pretence 
of taking their prisoners under 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


guard for examination before 
Judge W. N. May, at Dardanelle, 
across the river, murdered young 
Hale and Tucker, in the night, 
about six miles from Dover. Old 
man Hale and West escaped in 
the darkness. The party was 
armed with rifles recently sent to 
Williams' company, by the Gov- 
ernor. The Governor hearing of 
the killing, said he would have re- 
moved Dodson, but was powerless 
under a recent decision of the 
Supreme Court. He went in per- 
son to Pope county. On the 13th 
July he issued to Williams an order 
to disband his company. He 
issued a second order to the same 
effect, as follows : 

Little Rock, July 26, 1872. 
Maj. T. M. Gibson, Commanding State 
Guard, etc.. 

Sir : It has been reported to me that a 
portion of the arms sent Capt. Williams' 
company, has been placed in the hands of 
men charged with the assassination of Hale 
and Tucker. If true, you will cause the arms 
to be taken away, or AVilliarns' entire com- 
pany to be disarmed, and the storing of the 
arms, if this will restore quiet, etc. 

Edward Saxton, Capt. & A. A. G. 

Gibson (who was one of Catter- 
son's raiders) either could not or 
would not restore quiet. Then, 
having sent Gen. Bishop, the Gov- 
ernor sent Upham, with authority 
to call out the militia and to 
take general command. He finally 
sent Lieut. Grove, with a detach- 

ment dressed in regular United 
States uniforms. He wrote to 
Maj. Gibson, at that date : 

I am satisfied, from what / have seen my- 
self, that Cloninger has acted in gross violation 
of law. I hope no |means will be spared to 
bring him to justice. 

No steps were taken to arrest 
Cloninger, who had robbed all, in- 

On the 4th September Gov. 
Hadley received the following 
letter from Dodson, at Little Rock, 
to which place he had gone, after 
the events related in his letter, as 
follows : [written for him there]. 

Dear Sir: On ist September, 1872, in 
company with W. H. Hickox, the County 
Clerk, and my deputy, John H. Williams, 
I started out of the town of Dover, Pope 
county. At a distance of about one hundred 
yards from the court square we passed twenty 
or thirty men armed with revolvers. At a point 
further on we were fired upon from a house 
occupied by one Meecham as a wood-shop, 
and Capt. W. H. Hickox was shot through his 
head and killed. From the point where 
Hickox was killed, for a distance of a quarter 
of a mile, deputy Sheriff Williams and myself 
were fired upon by persons secreted in houses, 
fence-corners and alleys, and in our rear by 
the persons of whom mention has already 
been made. [Here he gives an account of 
Gen. Bishop's visit — of no consequence]. 
Much excitement prevails throughout the 
county, and nearly all the male inhabitants 
thereof are under arms and refuse to recognize 
the forms of law [as observed by Dodson]. 

The Governor replied to his let- 
ter the same day, stating that Maj. 
Gen. Upham had been instructed 
to assist Jiini in the enforcement 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

of the civil and criminal law, and 
directing him to place himself in 
communication with Upham. Both 
letters were for publication, and 
appeared the next day in the Re- 

There appeared also in the Re- 
publican, the military order of 
Sept. 6th, entitled, " Special ord- 
ers. No. 128," in four paragraphs, 
assigning Maj.-Gen. Upham to the 
command of all the State Guards 
and enrolled militia, arid ordering 
him to proceed to Pope county. 
Signed by O. A. Hadley, as Com- 
mander-in-Chief, and by Edward 
Saxton, Capt. and A. A. General. 
Dodson returned to the county 
v/ith Upham and resumed com- 
mand of his old gang of maraud- 
ers, but was ordered by Upham 
not to enter Dover. Sept. loth, 
Capt. Williams was killed while 
collecting militia for Dodson. 

Upham, himself, did not seem 
to approve Dodson's methods. 
The mountain militia "appeared 
to hesitate." This was no bed- 
quilt raid that invited them. About 
the loth of Nov. as Dodson was 
boarding the train to leave the 
county, at the terminus of the Fort 
Smith and Little Rock railroad, 
he was shot to death by a party of 
citizens in pursuit of him. Tliey 
"removed " him, if the Governor 
could not. They meted out to 
him the doom he had visited upon 
many others — a leaden summons 
and summary execution by the 
roadside. Cloningcr fled to Hot 

Springs. There he was torn limb 
from limb in the machinery of a 
saw-mill he had bought and was 
operating. " They say, blood will 
have bloody said Macbeth. These 
disturbances for a time helped the 
canvass of Mr. Brooks, so lately a 
militia champion. But in the end 
they taught the people to doubt 
both sides, and rely upon them- 
selves. Credit was given Governor 
Hadley for his attempts at pacifi- 

Brooks and Clayton, not far from 
these scenes, were engaging in 
heated discussions, and spoke to- 
gether at Van Buren, on the river 
above, the 3 ist of August. Brooks 
was accompanied by Hynes, the 
" Reform " candidate for Congress 
at large. Since the last Legisla- 
ture, an additional Representative 
in Congress was allowed the State 
for whom no district had been 
laid off. 

Mr. Hynes was about 30 years 
old. He had some connection 
with the press at the Federal Capi- 
tol, whence he was sent to Ark- 
ansas, by B. F. Rice, to become a 
candidate on the Brindle ticket. 
He was an Irishman, and, like most 
of his countrymen, was a fluent 
talker. He had not been long in 
the United States. He wore side- 
whiskers, with a retreating chin. 
In winter he had appeared in drab 
overcoat and gaiters, a Mark Med- 
dle, or Oily Gammon, as depicted. 
In summer, he dressed in short 
seersucker coat, white necktie and 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


high silk hat. It was one of the 
reverses of the time that this callow 
foreigner, who did not have a 
hundred acquaintances in the 
State, was put forward to occupy 
the seat once filled by Yell and 
Sevier, Johnson and Hindman, who 
were qualified by long training and 
exceptional ability. This was 
enough to show the contumacious 
disregard in which the people and 
their interests were held by these 
adventurers of both factions. He 
was a Catholic also. His constit- 
uency (?) were protestants and ne- 

There was a large crowd to 
meet the speakers at Van Buren. 
Mr. Brooks opened the discussion 
with his familiar denunciations of 
the State House ring and determin- 
ation to fill the penitentiary with 
them. Clayton demanded of him 
whether he intended his remarks 
to apply to him personally. The 
speaker replied that he did not, 
unless the Senator believed they 
had a personal application. When 
Brooks had concluded, Clayton 
rtplied, laying at Brooks' door 
most of the troubles that beset 
his administration (!) and charged 
Brooks with being the father of 
the law for funding the Holford 
Bonds. He repeated the history 
of the Cairo and Fulton railroad 
steal by Brooks, Rice, Hodges 
and Whipple, and denounced the 
Brindle leaders in pretty much the 
same language employed by him 
at Lewisburg, and concluded with 

his parable of the " Old Brindle 

Hynes followed and made a ter- 
rible expose of the misdeeds of 
Clayton and his military and civil 
*' myrmidons." He produced re- 
cords and gave data against them 
with telling effect and an audacity 
that contrasted with the somewhat 
guarded criticisms of Mr. Brooks. 
He had no crevices in his armor, 
since he had just put it on, and 
was bold in the knowledge that 
Clayton could make no counter- 
charges against him. He would 
have come off with trophies, if he 
had not ventured one stroke too 
many. Clayton listened to him 
calmly, from his seat in an open 
carriage until Hynes repeated the 
story of the secession cockade. 
The Senator immediately sprang 
from the carriage and rushed to- 
wards the stand upon which Hynes 
was speaking. Seeing Clayton 
coming at him, Hynes jumped 
from the platform and ran off to a 
place of shelter, where he remained 
in safety until Brooks encouraged 
him to return, and led him back, 
panting and bareheaded, to the 
stand again. He continued his 
speech, but spared any further 
allusion to the obnoxious cock- 
ade. His opponent could listen 
quietly to charges of official cruelty 
and corruption. At the mention 
of the " secession cockade " he 
gave way to ungovernable rage. 
Why? Because the former com- 
mended him for positions of power 


TJie Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

and pelf. The wearing of the 
badge, which was really a decor- 
ation of everlasting honor to its 
wearer, would have disqualified 
him ! 

When Hynes concluded, the 
Senator denied the story with 
characteristic vehemence ; gave a 
history of the advent of Hynes, 
and described him as a tool and 
"henchman of as scurvy a set of 
knaves as had 'ever eluded the 
States' prison." He said that 
Brooks knew this story and similar 
charges to belies, and yet instigat- 
ed this fellow to repeat them. 

The crowd enjoyed the scene 
immensely — admired Clayton's 
dash, but endeavored to encourage 
Hynes to badger him again. 
Hynes was indisposed to retort. 
He wiped his silk hat with his 
handkerchief, adjusted his white 
necktie, and seized the first oppor- 
tunity to retire. The trio spoke 
together again at Fort Smith, and 
then at Greenwood, in the hills 
southward. Crossing the river to 
Oliver Springs, they spoke again 
together. Here Mr. Brooks ad- 
mitted that he was paid ;^23,ooo, 
and received sundry shares of 
stock for his interest in the con- 
trol of the Cairo and Fulton rail- 
road franchise, but refused to say 
how much stock of the company 
he received. And here Hynes 
again alluded to the " secession 
cockade," when Clayton denouced 
him as a liar and damnable scoun- 
drel. Hynes again left the stand 

and sought protection in the audi- 
ence. Gen. Hugh F. Thomasson, 
of Van Buren, was present and en- 
couraged Hynes to take the stand 
again, but counseled him to cease 
personalities. Judge Searle, of the 
Supreme Court, who was known 
by the sobriquet of " Highland 
Piper of Hamelin," spoke after 
Hynes, and reviewed Brooks' polit- 
ical record. Before he concluded, 
Judge Baxter, Republican candi- 
date for Governor, arrived. He 
made a speech characteristic of 
an old citizen, dignified, and avoid- 
ing personalities, but charging 
Brooks with betraying the poor 
black people, who trusted him. 

Thenceforward, Brooks, Hynes, 
and Baxter and Clayton conducted 
the campaign against each other. 
At Fayetteville, Sept. 5th, Clayton 
spoke. Brooks shed tears at this 
place, in narrating a case of black- 
mailing, as he termed it, under 
pretext of enforcing the United 
States revenue laws by the Min- 
strels. He told how an old Ger- 
man, at Little Rock, was robbed 
by them of a considerable amount 
of money. Clayton replied and 
charged Brooks with aspersing 
the character of Southern ladies. 
Brooks jumped up and declared 
the charge was false. Clayton re- 
plied that he had a letter in his 
pocket from a well-known citizen, 
stating that he heard Brooks say, 
" There is not a virtuous woman 
in the South." Mr. Brooks did 
not call for the reading of the 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


letter. The subject was one unfit 
to be discussed by either on such 
an occasion. The assertion was 
preposterous on its face. lacha- 
Dwes, before, have impeached 
the chastity of women they never 
saw, who were Imogens of purity. 

Baxter and Brooks continued 
the debate through Eastern Ark- 
ansas, until the eve of election. 
It is due to this history to record 
that the Republican candidate for 
gubernational honors took no part 
in these turbulent scenes — was 
never indecorous in word or act, 
as became his antecedents. Col. 
Thomas Newcombe was not more 
dignified and courteous when he 
stood for the suffrages of his 

It will be remembered that the 
Brindle State Convention, of May 
22d, invited " all the friends of 
free government, law, order and 
justice to co-operate in the fear- 
ful, but determined fight which a 
wronged and robbed people were 
waging ill response to Greeley's 
rallying cry, 'Honest men for 
office : Thieves to the rear !' " The 
Democratic convention of June 
19th, responded by resolving that, 
" There must be unity of action as 
well as feeling on the part of all 
good citizens," and indorsed "the 
platform of principles (?) adopted 
by the Reform Republican Con- 
vention of May 22d," which was in 
no sense a platform of principles, 
but only a string of invectives 
against Powell Clayton. It author- 

ized the Democratic Executive 
Committee to act with the com- 
mittees of all Reform Republican 
organizations opposed to the pres- 
ent administration, in the conduct 
of the ensuing campaign. 

This hope of " unity of action " 
proved impracticable. At Xkio. first 
conference of the Pulaski commit- 
tees, Democratic -Conservatives, 
and "Reform" Republicans, the 
Reform Republicans, Senator Rice 
being their spokesman, put the 
Democrats decidly " to the rear," 
with "the thieves." The result 
was the Democrats seceded and 
threatened to nominate their own 
party tickets ! The estrangement 
grew until it resulted in a meeting 
of Democrats in convention, to 
put out a ticket of their own, and 
accordingly, on the 1st of October, 
1872, the Democratic members of 
the Executive Committee, uniting 
with a committee, calling itself a 
pure " Liberal Republican" com- 
mittee, put in nomination a purely 
Democratic ticket, with Rev. An- 
drew Hunter, at its head, who was 
far from seeking such an office. 
It was understood that Mr. Hunter 
had declared his acceptance of 
this nomination; but such a storm 
of protest assailed him, from those 
who considered themselves pledg- 
ed to Mr. Brooks, that Mr. Hunter 
precipitately signified his unwill- 
ingness to continue on the ticket. 
So the " new ticket " was with- 
drawn. October loth, in an ad- 
dress, specifying the causes of the 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

movement, and withdrawal of the 
ticket, signed by B. F. Dan- 
ley, B. D. Turner, John M. 
Moore, R. H. Johnson, Solomon 
F. Clark, E. H. English, J. N. 
Smithee, Geo. A. Gallagher, E. 
Thuemmler, " Democratic mem- 
bers Executive Committee." They 
were men of the highest standing 
and approved integrity, besides 
being men of ability and political 

The address stated, among the 
causes that inspired the nomin- 
ation of the Hunter ticket, the 
following : 

At the same time that the new ticket, 
with Mr. Hunter at its head, was nominated 
by the Liberal Republican Committee [not 
the Reform Republican Committee led by 
Rice], the acting Governor of the State agreed 
in a public correspondeiice, for reasons which 
we are led to conjecture only, without exacting 
or receiving any promise or pledge from the 
undersigned or their friends, io require a fair 
registration and Just cou7tt in the cotning 
election, and issued instructions to his regis- 
trars in accordance with such agreement. 

It is not denied by any one that, with such 
a registration from whatever motive guaran- 
teed, which was the most we hoped to obtain 
by co-operation with Mr. Brooks, the Demo- 
cratic-Conservative party can easily elect can- 
didates from its 07un party, being largely in 
the majority in this State. Neither is it to be 
claimed with truth, that co-operation with 
Mr. Brooks will bring to us any considerable 
accession of votes. But, we assert on the con- 
trary, that such co-operation is sure to drive 
from the opposition to radical misrule, a large 
number of our fellow-citizens. By these con- 
siderations, we were actuated in advocating 
the nomination of the ticket. 

The canvass had been hurtful 
to Brooks and his Republican con- 
freres with such men in the State. 
He had organized a formidable 
support, it is true, from the large 
body of old citizens who stickled 
for the name " conservative," 
through traditional hostility to 
" democracy." This class of citi- 
zens adhered to Brooks with a 
disinterested tenacity truly won- 
derful. They said, we have formed 
this association ; it has been 
rather unpalatable to us, but, 

" Returning were as tedious as to go o'er." 
They not only denounced the 
Hunter movement as ill-timed, and 
a hideous mistake, but some of 
them impunged the motives of 
the Democrats who countenanced 
it. They charged that it was a 
betrayal of the " Reform " party, 
in aid of the Minstrels, in order 
that these Democratic leaders 
might receive a share or the ivhole 
of ;^ 10,000 said to have been sent 
by Grant to aid the Clayton Repub- 
licans ! and " for gold, they had 
been bribed by Clayton and Had- 
ley to put up the Hunter ticket, 
really in the interest of the regular 
Republican ticket." In the ad- 
dress, withdrawing the Hunter 
ticket, the above named patriotic 
and " honorable men," thus ac- 
cused, replied to these charges, as 
follows : 

The men who embarked in the movement 
looking to the election of the ne^v tickets 
could never be actuated by such consider- 
ations. The exigency of this moment pre- 

of the Recoiistruction Period in Arkansas. 


sented a '■'■golden opportunity," which, by 
means of such groundless slanders has been 
lost ; a tide in the affairs of the party which 
would have led to a brilliant and unequivocal 
success, and given freedom and peace to our 
people, has been neglected. By these means 
our candidates were driven to withdraw, and 
the movement caused to be abandoned at the 
very threshold of a rescued State. 

There may have been in the 
" Hunter movement," all its origin- 
ators claimed for it. James M. 
Pomeroy and E. Thuemmler, of 
the [regular] Liberal Republican 
committee, after full conference 
with the acting Governor, Hadley, 
in which they at least were confi- 
dent and sincere, communicated 
his purpose to give the committee, 
which should place a Democrat 
in nomination, the appointment of 
all registrars and election judges 
in the coming State and Presiden- 
tial election ! This proposition 
would have been deemed prepos- 
terous, without ample "assur- 

The Governor had it in his 
power to keep his word. The 
Republican detestation of Brooks 
was unutterable. They were de- 
termined that he should never be 
Governor. His threat to fill the 
penitentiaries with them, which 
was amusing to Democrats, may 
have had a real dread for some of 
them. The Brooks movement 
looked so formidable, that Clayton 
himself may have meditated an 
honorable surrender to the old 
party of which he had once been 

a zealous follower. He would have 
preferred Hadley as a colleague to 
Rice. This was the only means 
of having him such without com- 
mitting a great election crime that 
might be followed by revolution 
or what not ! 

Or it may have been that acting 
Governor Hadley conceived that 
he was in the line of succession 
and indulged a natural aspiration 
to go from the gubernatorial chair 
to a seat in the Senate. He may 
have been truly willing to give the 
lawful voters of the Scate their 
Legislature, if the Legislature 
would elect him Senator. Perhaps 
Baxter, the candidate for Gov- 
ernor, in his speech accepting the 
nomination, did not express the 
entire thought in his mind when 
he declared that he "owed more 
to Hadley for tae position he then 
occupied, than to any other man 
in the house." The great French 
diplomat said that words are not 
intended to express the thought. 
But Baxter's words indicated very 
clearly that to Hadley's self-denial, 
or forced repression, he owed the 
nomination. He wished to an- 
nounce his recognition of the fact. 
It did not prevent Hadley from 
turning his eyes to a seat in the 
United States Senate, which was 
then exercising unlimited control 
— a great imperial parliament, 
omnipotent — a constitution to it- 
self. The sceptical said he was 
only double-dealing for the benefit 
of Baxter and his faction. This 


77/,? Brooks a?id Baxter War: a History 

kind of treachery was character- 
istic of his confreres (a very cheap 
quality, possessed largely by in- 
ferior races of men), but Hadley's 
general course did not indicate it, 
and the ends to be accomplished 
did not call for it. 

The Brooks people seemed mad- 
dened by the Bourbon defection, 
as they called it, and prosecuted 
the canvass without any qualms. 

Under the pretended " election " 
laws, framed to meet the recon- 
struction acts, the result of the 
ballot was easily determined " by 
the will of the commander,'' If 
Pomeroy and Thuemmler had been 
duped, their illusion sprang from 
the only reasonable hope — which 
was to get the appointment and 
control of election officers. Martial 
law had been only nominally re- 
voked. As a minion of martial 
law, which he had gloried in caus- 
ing, Brooks was but thistle-down 
before the breath of the " district 
commander," Mr. Greeley, in a 
government truly free, had been a 
recognized " power," but now that 
he defied the victorious armies 
which he had not called in being, 
he became an object of contempt 
to his old associates and mistrust 
to his nezu ones. 

The day appointed for the elec- 
tion came round. The mockery 
of a registration had been faintly 
observed, and was followed by the 
performance which men called 
"an election." What it really 
was, is described in the depositions 

of a large number of witnesses, 
read before the committee of Con- 
gress, of which Hon. Luke E. 
Poland, of the House of Repre- 
sentatives was chairman, sent to 
inquire into the condition of 
affairs in the State of Arkansas. 
In the report of that committee : 
43d Congress, 2d Session, Report 
2d, page 97, is the deposition of 
William F. Grove, an ex-Union 
soldier and Lieutenant of State 
Guards, ordered to Pope county, 
by Governor Hadley. He testi- 
fied, among other experiences, to 
the following : 

I first went to Pope county, on the 6th of 
September, 1872. I went there as First Lieut, 
of State Guards. The Guards had been 
ordered to Pope county by the Governor. I 
was in charge of the company. I was com- 
missioned as such by Governor Hadley. When 
we arrived at the end of the raihoad (Perry 
Station) we found about two hundred and fifty 
militia. Captain Stuart, Circuit Superintendent 
of Schools, seemed to be in charge of the 
militia. The greater portion of said militia 
looked to be pretty hard cases. Next morn- 
ing we went into Russellville. The citizens, 
what were left of them, seemed very glad to 
see us, as they thought my detachment to be 
' regular soldiers.' They said that if we were 
regular soldiers we would take no part on 
either side, but would preserve peace. My 
detachment was uniformed in regular United 
States uniform. We kept up the impression 
for three or four weeks that we were regular 
soldiers. On Sunday evening I was ordered 
by Gen. Upham, to take three men, together 
with Mr. J. B. Erwin, of Russellville, and go 
to Dover, the county-seat (eleven miles north, 
at the foot of the mountains). On arriving 
in sight of Dover, I saw quite a number of 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


armed men drawn np in the street, embat- 
tled farmers, and on arriving in town found 
there betweeq seventy and eighty men. I 
asked them why they were armed ? They 
told me that Dodson (sheriff of the county, 
by appointment of the Governor) had threat- 
ened to kill some of them, and burn the 
town. I asked them if they had any idea that 
he would kill any of them, or burn their town 
down ? They said they did ; that he had al- 
ready partially carried out one threat by kill- 
ing Hale and Tucker. I stayed with them 
until about ten o'clock at night. Their state- 
ments were, that so long as Dodson and his 
men were in arms, they purposed to do the 
same, for the reason that they had applied to 
the Governor for protection and he had re- 
fused it; and the only hope they had of 
saving their lives and property was by de- 
fending it themselves. If Gen. Upham would 
disband Dodson's militia, they were ready and 
willing to lay down their arms. All they 
wanted was peace in the county ; and if any 
of them were charged with any crime, they 
were willing to surrender themselves to Gen. 
Upham or myself. I then returned to Russell- 
ville and reported to Gen. Upham. On the 
next Sunday my detachment was moved up 
to Dover, also Dodson, with his militia [un- 
der cover of the supposed regulars] up to 
within five miles of Dover, where they re- 
mained about two weeks. Then they were 
also moved into Dover. His force was about 
two hundred and fifty men. The people all 
along had expressed fears that if Dodson 
came into the town of Dover he would burn 
the town. There was more trouble in the town 
on account of this militia than there had 
been before. They broke into several stores 
and smokehouses, robbed beehives, henroosts, 
etc. They were camped in the town about 
one month. Before they were disbanded reg- 
istration was concluded. He claimed to be 
there to protect the registrar. The registrar's 
name was John Martin. I offered to protect 

him; in fact he needed no protection. Gen. 
Upham also offered to protect him. 

Dodson and Frank Hickox [the clerk by 
gubernatorial appointment] were present with 
the registrar during the whole of the registra- 
tion. I should have stated that during the 
registration at Russellville [near the Arkansas 
river] when the registration commenced 
[there] one company of Dodson's militia went 
down there for the purpose of protecting the 
registrar. I was present in Russellville dur- 
ing the latter part of the first day's registra- 
tion, and the citizens expressed a good deal of 
dissatisfaction at the way it was being con- 
ducted. A good many of them who had al- 
ways before (since reconstruction) been reg- 
istered, were refused ; the registrar assigning 
no reasons whatever for so refusing. 

I was present during the whole of the 
registration at Dover. I noticed that when 
citizens came in to register, on making appli- 
cation to the registrar he would ask them, 'if 
they had listed their property.* If they said 
no, he would tell them ' to step inside, that 
Mr. Frank Hickox would attend to them.' 
The registrar would then ask Dodson, ' if they 
were all right?' Meaning by that, as I un- 
derstood it, would they vote all right? If 
Dodson said no, when the man returned from 
inside' to register, the registrar would tell 
him that he could not register him. When 
I speak of Dodson, I mean E. W. Dodson, 
who was then the sheriff of Pope county. A 
great many others were refused registration 
by him, the registrar, saying it was sufficient 
for them to know that he would not register 
them. ***** 

Dodson's militia were at Dover duiing 
the whole time of the registration, and nearly 
in full force all the time — about two hundred 
and fifty men. Dodson was present in the 
room with the registrar all the time. He had 
more to say and do about the registration than 
Martin himself. I don't know that there was 
a single man of the militia but was registered. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

I do not know how many were registered, but 
almost every man voted that was registered. 
Dodson's militia, with their arms, were in and 
about the Courthouse where the registration 
took place all the time of the registration. 
They had one room of the Courthouse as a 
guardhouse. There were some of them pres- 
ent in the clerk's office where the registration 
was had all the time during the registration 
and during the sitting of the board of re- 
visers. The citizens that desired to register 
had to pass through the militia to get to the 
registrar. The registration continued in 
Dover ten days ; in Russellville six days. 
That was the only registration had in the 
county, and the only places. The county 
judge, it was claimed, had divided the county 
into two districts, the northern and southern 
districts. There was no record ever made of 
the order on the records of the county. [Grove 
was afterwards appointed county clerk]. He 
told me it was so divided for registration pur- 
poses only, and that the intention was to have 
the voting done at the various precincts in 
the county. But there was no election held 
at any other places than Dover and Russell- 
ville. * * * 

A day or two before the election, reports 
came into Russellville, that the militia were 
again collecting, and that they were going to 
come to the polls armed. On the day before 
the election Dodson came into Russellville 
and swore that he would have enough armed 
men in there next day to run the election as 
he damned pleased. He also said that he was 
sheriff of the county and that he proposed to 
conduct that election. There were armed 
men about the county. On the morning of 
the election Dodson's men came into Russell- 
ville, in companies, in military order, fully 
armed. [Witness states how he disarmed 

Dodson's militia were around the polls all 
day. I should think there were some one 

hundred and thirty or forty. They were 
crowded around the polls all the time, and 
any person coming up to vote had to pass 
through them. I myself was about the polls 
all day. My force was in the town, but none 
of them were permitted to go near the polls 
armed. We were there for the purpose of 
protecting the citizens in their right to vote. 

During the counting of the votes, the day 
after the election, I noticed Captain Herriott, 
one of the judges of the election, who took 
the ballots out of the ballot-box and put them 
into a hat-box, which he held between his 
knees. He would then take the ballot from 
the hat-box, and unfold the ballot and pass the 
same to Mr. Walker, another of the judges, 
who then read it off, and passed it back to 
Captain Herriott. Herriott would then drop 
the ballot into a basket which sat upon the 
floor, between his feet. Sometimes, instead of 
dropping the ticket into the basket, he would 
drop it back into the hat-box [to be counted 
the second time]. This hat-box had the bot- 
tom torn in such a way that by pressing upon 
it a little, a person could thrust his hand 
through. During the counting, Captain Her- 
riott would pick out the Baxter tickets, which 
could be easily told from the Brooks tickets, 
by being on different paper, and keep pressing 
some of the tickets down, when they would 
fall through into the basket. The bottom of 
the hat-box was so torn that he could press 
the parts of the bottom apart, and pass his 
hand through, which he did occasionally, and 
when he did so, he took tickets out of the 
basket. They counted two nights and one 

A few extracts from depositions 
of witnesses, residing in different 
localities, will sufficently expose 
the trick of " registration : " 

John R. Lofton, of Jackson county, sworn 
and examined by the Poland committee, stated, 
p. 280. What do you think about registration 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansvs. 


in your county ? A. I know that registration 
was conducted in such a manner as to prevent 
a good many Conservative voters from reg- 
istering; as nearly as I can judge, there must 
have been at least five or six hundred legal 
voters prevented from registering. 

Jordan E. Cravens, sworn and examined. 
I reside in Johnson county, p. 282. The 
vote of the county would have stood, at the 
election in 1872, about 1,000 for the Reform 
ticket and about 200 for the Republican or 
Minstrel ticket, as it was known. There were 
from 300 to 700 each day standing around, 
seeking to register, but the registrars got 
through with only about one hundred in three 

James Coffin, p. 385, sworn, states, I re- 
side in Lawrence county. When the registra- 
tion in my county was completed there were 
only 207 names in the book, although the 
personal tax list of the county for the year 
showed something like 1,017 rot ers. At the 
election in 1872, acting under the construction 
placed upon the enforcement act of Congress, 
all voters who had been deprived of their 
franchise, except those 207, voted at side- 

The "side-polls" were employ- 
ed as the despairing make-shift of 
the Reform Republican Commit- 
tee to resist the arbitrary methods 
(which had returned to plague the 
inventor) of Joseph Brooks. The 
act of Congress, of May 31, 1870, 
authorizing a commissioner of 
election, and in towns of 20,000 
inhabitants a supervisor or super- 
visors. The act provides that when 
a law of a State or Territory, re- 
quires anything to be done by the 
citizen, as a prerequisite to vote, 
the offer of the citizen to perform 
the act, he being prevented, shall 

be deemed and held a performance 
— the citizen being otherwise 
qualified, shall be entitled to vote, 
was construed to mean, shall have 
his vote counted. But as Mr. 
Brooks would say, "under orders 
from these headquarters," it " did 
not pan out." 

The depositions of a great num- 
ber of witnesses, p. 37 et seq., who 
voted at the side-polls, after be- 
ing refused by the election officers 
in Sebastian county (Fort Smith), 
are in the following form : 

E. H. Devany, being duly sworn, says: I 
reside at Fort Smith, Upper township, Se- 
bastian county. I registered as a voter in said 
township, in 1872. I offered to vote at the 
polls of said township, on the 5th of Novem- 
ber, 1872, and was refused. I made the affi- 
davit required by the enforcement act, and 
again offered to vote, and was refused. I then 
voted at the side-polls. I voted for Joseph 
Brooks, for Governor. The ballot I cast at 
the side-polls was the same I offered to vote 
at the regular polls. 

J. P. Kilgour, sworn, stated, p. 36 : I re- 
side in Crawford county. I was present at 
the polls in Van Buren, in said county, at an 
election held November 5, 1872, for State and 
county officers. At noon the polls were closed 
to allow the election officers to get dinner, in 
a room in the second-story. A ballot-box had 
been prepared, containing just the number of 
votes that were in the ballot-box used by the 
judges and clerks of election. The judges 
took the ballot-box up-stairs. At the head of 
the stairs, the regular ballot-box was changed 
for the one that had been stuffed. This was 
all done in my presence. Nearly all the 
ballots cast in the forenoon were cast by 
friends of Joseph Brooks. The friends of 
Baxter refrained from voting until the after- 


TJie Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

noon All the ballots in the substituted box 
were for Elisha Baxter, for Governor, They 
were the ballots counted by the judges [as 
east] when the polls closed at night. 

Joseph Spears, sworn, stated, p. loo: 
About the ist of October, 1872, as a member 
of the State Guards, I went to Pope county. 
On election day, Dodson's militia came to 
Russellville armed — from one hundred and 
fifty to two hundred of them. [Then states 
how Lieut. Grove, his commanding officer, in- 
duced them to place their arms in a room he 
provided for them]. While I was standing 
around the polls, I saw a great many of Dod- 
son's men vote. I was at both polls during 
the day (the regular and side-poll). Lieut. 
Fowler of the Guard, on going to supper, told 
me to go and see where the ballot-box v/as. 
He told me he wanted me to find the box and 
keep my eyes on it, and see that it was not 
disturbed. I went to the house indicated. I 
pushed the door of a back room open, and as 
I stepped in saw an officer of the election^ 
Captain Herriott, with his hands in the ballot- 
box. I know it was Herriott, for I saw him 
after he was killed. The man that led me 
into the room, was a one-eyed man, but I did 
not know his name. I know it was the ballot- 
box, for I had seen the box during the day 
when the officers of the election were putting 
ballots into it. 

All the witnesses testfied that 
the negroes all voted the green- 
back, or Baxter ticket. They saw- 
no colored voter cast the white 
ballot, or Brooks ticket. 

These are specimens of the man- 
ner of holding the " elections," 
shown to the Poland committee, 
occupying several hundred closely 
printed pages. On the i8th 
November, the Reform Central 
Campaign Committee issued their 

announcement, that despite frauds, 
force, etc., by election officers, 
the entire State ticket, headed by 
Hon. Joseph Brooks, had been 
triumphantly elected. On Novem- 
ber 27th, their organ. The State 
Journal, published a table of " cor- 
rected returns of the election," 
claiming that the vote for Brooks 
and his ticket footed up a total of 
15,390. It conceded to the Bax- 
ter, or Minstrel ticket, a doubtful 
total of 13,267. 

On the same day a mass-meet- 
ing of the Reform party was held 
at Little Rock, and adopted the 
following resolutions : 

Whereas, The party in power in this State 
has in the last election, committed the most 
flagrant and shameless frauds ever perpetrated 
in any country, and are yet perpetrating frauds 
in the forging and manipulating of returns 
and certificates of election, and 

Whereas, Notwithstanding these frauds, the 
Reform State ticket, and a majority of both 
branches of the Legislature have been tri- 
umphantly elected, therefore, be it. 

Resolved, i. That we congratulate the 
people of the State, etc. 

Resolved, 2. That in order to cotisolidate 
the Reform party and increase its tcsefulness, 
it is deemed advisable to call a State Con- 
vention of said party early in January, to 
which end the President of this meeting is 
directed to appoint a committee of seven to 
issue the appropriate call, and take such other 
.steps as may be deemed necessaiy in reference 

Resolved, 3. That all delegates to said con- 
vention be requested to collect and bring up 
all evidences of fraud in the late election in 
their respective townships and counties. 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


Its president appointed as such 
committee : Maj. John S. Duffie, 
Col. W. A. Crawford, Col. L. C. 
Gause, Hon. B. F. Rice, Hon. E. 
A. Fulton, Gen. James F. Fagan 
and Col. S. W. Williams. 

The Reform party believed that 
Brooks was elected, with their en- 
tire ticket, by a very large majority. 
Under the enforcement act of Con- 
gress, they claimed the votes of- 
fered and rejected at the official 
polls, together with those that were 
counted, authorized them to in- 
stall their officers. It was stated 
that they proposed to install 
Brooks as Governor, in the State 
House, unless forcibly prevented. 
In that case, they would organize 
a State government in some other 
place at the Capital. 

Reciting the foregoing resolu- 
tions, the committee, on the 21st 
December, 1872, issued a call for 
a convention of the Reform party 
to meet at Little Rock, on the 4th 
day of January, 1873. The call 
contained the following rule as to 
representation : 

Each county shall be entitled to- one vote 
in the convention for every one hundred votes 
cast in the county, in the late election for the 
candidates of the Reform party and for every 
fraction of one hundred, fifty or over, and one 
vote for every one hundred persons unlawfully 
disfranchised, and fraction of fifty or over. 
The counties can send as many delegates as 
they see proper and all will have a voice in 
the convention. 

The committee urge upon the friends ot 
the reform movement to hold mass county 
conventions for the purpose of having their 


respective counties fairly and fully represented 
The committee respectfully suggest that con- 
ventions in the different counties be held on 
or before the 2ist December, 1872. 

John S. Duffie, 
J. F. Fagan, 
B. F. Rice, 
E. A. Fulton. 

W. A. Crawford, L. C. Gause 
and S. W. Williams, of the com- 
mittee, did not sign the call. It 
will be seen that fifteen per cent 
of all the voters of the State, not 
acting with the Republican party, 
were invited to the Capital. Most 
of them had served in one or other 
of the armies in the civil war. 
Col. W. M. Fishback headed a 
large party from Sebastin county, 
and walked twenty miles before 
getting transportation to the Capi- 
tal, to install Brooks, he said, as 
Governor, on the day fixed by 
law. The Colonel had accepted 
the command of a regiment during 
the war of Arkansas Federals, but 
beyond wearing the eagles on his 
shoulders a few days, did not enter 
the actual service. He had been 
preferred for other than military 
duties and was a candidate for 
various civil offices. There was 
great excitement all up the Ark- 
ansas River, and an unusual move- 
ment of citizens in the direction 
of the Capital. 

The convention met in O'Hara's 
Hall, passed resolutions and issued 
an address. The public proceed- 
ings gave the impression that 
practical steps of vital importance 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

were soon to be taken. But the 
appearance of Federal troops at 
the arsenal, and many indications 
that the Minstrels would be sus- 
tained by the central power, caused 
the most zealous to postpone any 
immediate actioji that may have 
been meditated. 

In the meantime the National 
candidate of the Liberal Republi- 
can party had died on the Hudson 
river. His death being hastened 
by exposure in the campaign and 
disappointment. He had been in 
earnest. He desired the accomp- 
lishment of greater ends than per- 
sonal preferment. His last words 
were: " It is done;" and it was. 
The restoration of the Union soon 
followed. He not only clasped 
hands across the chasm, but leaped 
into it. 

The coolness with which the 
"Minstrels" treated these demon- 
strations seemed ominous of their 
determination to hold the offices. 
It was plain that the Reformers 
would like to proceed to take pos- 
session forcibly, but feared the 
silent man at the Federal Capital, 
who had sent a regiment to " have 
peace," and who represented the 
Republican party of the " Nation." 
The Greeley movement which 
Brooks espoused had been pro- 
jected " to beat him.'* 

The Minstrels quietly took steps 
to prevent any violent demonstra- 
tions. These precautions are de- 
scribed in the testimony (given 
afterwards) of the following wit- 

nesses before the Poland com- 
mittee : 

John McClure, a witness before the Poland 
committee stated in answer to questions by 
Mr. Wilshire, p. 214 of the report of that 
committee : 

Q. With reference to the apprehended 
danger of a separate government being estab- 
lished here (Little Rock), by the organization 
of another Legislature, outside of the State 
House, or in the State House, state if you 
know, whether Mr. Hadley, the then acting 
Governor of the State, was not apprehensive 
of some danger? A. I think he was. 

Q. Do you know that he made an arrange- 
ment with the proper authorities at Washing- 
ton to have a regiment of United States sol- 
diers come here in order to preserve the peace 
at the installation of the new government? 
A. I do not know. 

Q. State what you know about it? A. 
My impression is, that some representation 
was made to the President that there was 
likely to be difficulty here. Who made it — 
whether it was made by Gov. Hadley, or 
through other influences, I do not know. I 
only know that a regiment of United States 
soldiers came here about that time. 

By Mr. Ward. Do you know whether 
the troops which were stationed at the door of 
the State House were State or United States 
troops? A. They were State troops, known 
as the Governor's Guard. They were uni- 
formed — they had Zouave jackets. 

D. P. Upham sworn and examined by Mr. 
Rice, p. 291. Q. Were you in command of 
the militia of this State at the time of the as- 
sembling of the Legislature on the 6th Jan- 
uary, 1873? A. I was. 

Q. State whether the State House was under 
your charge as commander of the militia at that 
time, and for a few days previous to the as- 
sembling of the Legislature ; how and whose 
instance did you take charge? A. Yes. Un- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


der a special order from the Governor, Mr. 
Hadley. I have a copy of the order here. 

[Special Order, No. 144]. 
Adjutant General's Office, 
Little Rock, Dec. 29, 1872 
Major General D. P. Upham is hereby 
ordered to furnish a sufficient force of State 
troops to duly protect and preserve the Capitol 
building of this State. General Upham will 
confer and act in conjunction with the Hon, 
James M. Johnson, Secretary of State and 
custodian of public buildings. 

By order of the Commander-in-Chief. 
Keyes Danforth, 
Adjutant General. 

Q. Did you consult with Mr. Johnson ? A. 
Yes. I reported to him, at once,- on receiv- 
ing the order. Q. Was there a military force 
placed there ? A. Yes. Q. What were the 
instructions of Johnson in relation to the mat- 
ter? A. I think he gave me an idea of what 
he thought was necessary to protect the build- 
ing by making an explanation of what he 
feared might take place. There had been a 
State Convention called at the House of 
Representatives by the Conservative party, I 
believe. I do not recollect exactly whether 
that convention was to assemble on the Fri- 
day or the Saturday before the meeting of the 
Legislature. It was thought they proposed to 
get possession of the hall and hold it if they 
wanted to. 

Q- On what day did you take charge of 
the Capitol with themihtia? A. On the same 
day that I got the order — the 29th December, 
1872. Q. Did you hold it from that time 
until the Legislature assembled ? A. Yes. 

Q. Was the State militia in possession at 
12 o'clock, when the members of the Legisla- 
ture assembled ? A. I think there were some 
of them there about that time. I placed a 
door-keeper at the door of each hall, after the 
members commenced to come. 

Q. Under order from whom did you place 
the door-keepers ? A. By no one's. I did not 
think the bayonets of the State militia looked 
very well to be stationed at the door as mem- 
bers were coming in, and I withdrew them, and 
put a door-keeper at each door. 

Q. You had soldiers about there, on hand ? 
A. Yes, there were plenty of them within the 

Q. What direction did the Secretary give 
you about permitting men to pass into the halls» 
and what were your directions to the door- 
keepers? A. I think his instructions were 
only to allow those persons to enter who had 
the tickets which he issued. 

Q. Did the door-keepers observe that rule 
as far as you know ? Yes. I was present my- 

Q. After the Legislature met and organized, 
what did you do with the militia? A. They 
were all withdrawn from there before the 

Q. But they were about the building ? A. 
Yes. They were in the armory. 

Q. How many soldiers were there in and 
around the State House grounds at the time 
the Legislature assembled ? A. About 
twenty-five I should say. 

Q. Were there any other soldiers on hand 
at any other place in the city ? A. No, sir. 

Q. Was a whole company out, or picked 
men from a company ? A. Picked men from 
a company. 

By Mr. Howard. Q. From whom did the 
Governor, or the Secretary of State, or those 
from whom you got your orders, anticipate 
trouble ? Was it not from Brooks and his 
friends ? A. I do not know who else it could 
have been. 

On the 31st December, 1872, 
Judge William M. Harrison, former 
Associate Justice of the Supreme 
Court, who had been a candidate 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

for re-election, on the Brooks 
ticket, filed his bill in the United 
States Court, at Little Rock, set- 
ting out such candidacy, and that 
Bearden, Searle and Stephenson, 
were severally candidates for the 
like office, and that acting Gov. 
Hadley and James M. Johnson, 
Secretary of State, had confeder- 
ated to use their power to defeat 
him in violation of the election 
laws and, in short, caused him to 
be counted out, by depriving citi- 
zens of the right to vote, among 
whom were persons so deprived 
on account of race and color and 
former condition of servitude, con- 
trary to the act of Congress, ap- 
proved May 31, 1870, filling many 
pages with its charges and aver- 
ments. It concluded with the 
prayer : 

That defendants severally answer the 
premises, and bring into court and file the lists 
in their possession, together with all returns, 
etc., copies of all instructions to registrars, 
county clerks and election judges ; that said 
James M. Johnson be required to send mess- 
engers to procure returns from counties that 
had made none, and a general supervisor 
and the supervisors heretofore appointed by 
the court be required to make returns of said 
general election to this court. That said M. 
L. Stephenson be enjoined from exercising 
the duties of Associate Justice of said Supreme 
Court of Arkansas, until the further order of 
the court, and that E. J. Searle be enjoined 
from exercising the duties of Associate Justice 
of said court after the expiration of the term 
imder which he held by previous election, 
and that Ozra O. Hadley and James M. 
Johnson, be enjoined from in any manner 

altering, obliterating, defacing or destroying 
any of said election returns or memoranda of 
the same, until further order of the court, and 
be required to bring into court all the original 
ballots cast in said election ; and during the 
pendency of these proceedings that James M. 
Johnson be compelled, by the order and 
mandamus of the court to grant plaintiff 
access to all official papers in his office, apper- 
taining to said election, and for all further and 
proper relief. Complainant's solicitors were 
A. H. Garland, U. M. Rose, M. L. Rice, M. 
W. Benjamin, Gallagher and Newton. 

Upon his bill thus presented is 
made the following indorsement : 

Temporary restraining order prayed for 
in this bill is refused. The motion for in- 
junction pendente lite will be heard by the 
Judge at Chambers, on Monday next, at 10 
o'clock, A. M., upon complainants giving to 
respondents four days' notice of the hearing, 
accompanied by one copy of the bill. 

Henry C. Caldwell, 

Dec. 24, 1872. District Judge. 

While Judge Harrison submit- 
ted himself to the law's delays, 
the more practical and speedy so- 
lution of the questions involved,, 
if there were any questions, was 
adopted by the energetic measures 
of the faction in power, as related 
by McClure and Upham above. 

A prophetic quiet characterized 
the action of the State House 
party during these feverish dem- 
onstrations of their opponents. 
They were by no means asleep, as 
the testimony above reported goes 
to show. They were using all 
necessary precaution to have their 
ticket counted in, when the two 
houses of the General Assembly 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


should meet to declare the result 
of the election as to the officers. 
The Constitution made it the duty 
of the joint session to announce 
the persons elected, according to 
law. They had the State armory 
and militia. They had not only 
the sympathies of the federal ad- 
ministration, but Governor Hadley 
had gone to Washington and pro- 
cured an order of the War De- 
partment, granting a regiment of 
United States soldiers in Little 
Rock, at the Arsenal grounds, for 
the undisguised purpose of "pres- 
erving the public peace." We 
know what preserving peace 
means, under arbitrary power. 
"Order reigns in Warsaw," is the 
announcement of the victorious 

Before the curtain falls upon the 
comedy let us look behind the 
scenes a moment into the Minstrel 
camp, through the testimony of 
the veracious Col. E. Nat Hill, 
who explains some mysteries of 
the burletta. In his answers be- 
fore the Poland committe, July 
27, 1874, he gave the following 
testimony. He is as "good as a 
chorus." Questioned by Mr. Rice, 
p. 241 : 

Q. Did you participate to any extent in the 
election in this State in 1872 ? A. I was said 
to have taken a tolerably prominent part in it. 

Q. What was your political position in that 
election? A. I was a Democrat, but refused 
to accept the nomination of Mr. Greeley and 
Mr. Brooks as the Democratic candidates, and 
I canvassed against both of them. 

Q. Were you here when the returns from 
the different counties were coming in? A. 
Yes, I was here at the time when all the re- 
turns were coming in. Some of the returns I 
saw, and I had a statement of the returns 
every day, either from Mr. Johnson, Secretary 
of State, or Mr. Baxter, or some other one of 
the leading members of the party ; generally 
from Mr. Johnson, who was in my room every 

Q. About the time the returns were coming 
in, was Mr. Baxter here ? A. He was. He 
occupied the second room from mine in the 

Q. You and he were together very fre- 
quently? A. Not a day passed that he was 
not in my room or I in his. 

Q. You were also very intimate with Sec- 
retary Johnson ? A. Yes, I had a room in 
the hotel which was a common place of meet- 
ing for all the politicians in the city. They 
came there every night — the Baxter politicians 
and some of the Bourbon Democrats. I oc- 
cupied room No. 49, and Mr. Baxter room 
No. 50. 

Q. When the returns came in did you 
make any estimates of the results as they came 
in ? A. These estimates were made every day 
as the returns came in. Each county was put 
down on the lists we had, and the returns from 
each county were added to the list, and calcu- 
lations were made as to how the vote stood. 

Q. Did they finally get all the counties, so 
as to ascertain the vote before the meeting of 
the Legislature? A. There were some counties 
from which no official returns ever came. Re- 
ports, but no official returns, came from the 
counties of Scott, Green, Poinsett and John- 
son. We added these to the lists, but not to 
be counted, simply to show how the whole 
matter stood. These reports were published 
in the newspapers here. 

Q. In what newspapers? A. In the Journ- 
al; that was Brooks' organ in the canvass. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Q. Have you a copy of that paper? A. I 
have [produces the table referred to already 
in the text], thus giving a majority for Brooks 
of 2,123, after having been doctored by their 
commissioners, Asa Hodges, McDonald, Wil- 
shire, Montgomery and others. 

Q. How does it foot up ? A. It foots up 
majorities for Brooks, 15,390; majorities for 
Baxter, 13,267. 

Q. Counting all the counties, did it come 
out as it does here ? A. Nearly. 

Q. "WTiat parties went, so far as you know ? 
A. Mr. Wilshire went up in his district ; Mr. 
McDonald went to Fort Smith, although I 
understood his business was to see Judge 
Storey; Mr. Hodges went to his district: Mr. 
Montgomery to the northeastern part of the 
State, it was said. 

Q. What counties were thrown out in order 
to allow Mr. Baxter to be elected? A. Sev- 
eral townships in Van Buren county ; I be- 
lieve all of Johnson and Conway, except one 
or two precincts. Green, Poinsett and Scott 
were entirely thrown out. 

Q. After " doctoring " the returns, it re- 
quired all these counties to be thrown out in 
order to get Baxter ahead ? A. I believe it did. 

Q. After the Legislature was organized 
there was a bill introduced known as the " rail- 
road steal bill." Do you know anything about 
that ? A. I know when and how the bill was 

Q. Can you state briefly the effect of the 
provisions of that bill ? A. Yes ; the State had 
loaned its bonds to certain railroads to the 
amount of between eleven and twelve millions. 
There had been issued over five millions. It 
was a bill to release the railroads from any 
liability for those bonds, with the understand- 
ing that no further issue of bonds should be 
made. That was the consideration for the 
State releasing the railroads — that they would 
not call for any more bonds. For my part, I 
think the railroads are not liable on the bonds. 

Q. Was there any squabble about the bill? 
A. Yes. Baxter called me into his roonl and 
handed me an election bill which he said was 
an infamous one. I told him of the railroad 
bill. He was very much opposed to it. * * * 

By Mr. Wilshire. Q. Whom did you 
favor for Governor in the election of 1872? 
A. I preferred Mr. Baxter to Mr. Brooks. 

Q. Did you and Baxter and Johnson, at any 
time after the returns were all in, get the re- 
turns all together and foot them up and ascer- 
tain that Baxter was not elected ? A. I think 
we did. 

Q. State when and where that was, and 
what the result of that footing was ? A. The 
result of the footing was, according to my re- 
collection, that Mr. Brooks was elected by 
about seven hundred votes, counting no side- 
polls, and leaving off' Scott, Green and Poinsett 

This much of the witnesses testi- 
mony is pertinent at this stage. J. 
M. Johnson, the Secretary of State, 
was interrogated as to this point, 
professing to be friendly also to 
Baxter, and siding with him in 
subsequent conflicts. The witness 
was questioned by Gov. Baxter : 

Q. If you ever made an exhibit of any- 
thing appertaining to the election returns to 
me in presence of Nat. Hill, or any other per- 
son, state when it was. A. On one occasion, 
just after you came to the hotel, I told the 
clerks to take down the sum total of the 
election, as for instance that Baxter received 
so and so; Brooks so and so; Johnson so and 
so ; Fulton so and so, all the way down. I 
did not go to the office to look at it myself. It 
was just on a piece of paper. I went into 
your room. My recollection is that Judge 
McClure was sitting in your room. I do not 
recollect Nat Hill being there at all. I said to 
you, ' I reckon you want to see how the thing 
stands. This is substantially the way the boys 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


tell me it is.' I stated that I had not added 
up the columns myself, but they had hastily 
done so; that it was substantially correct. I 
do not know whether you or Judge McClure 
took hold of the paper first, but my recol- 
lection is that both of you looked at it. 

Q. Did you make any other or further 
exhibit of the condition of the vote to me? 
A. I have no recollection of it. 

Q. State which of your clerks made out 
that statement? A. I do not recollect that. 
They were both in there. I think it was Mr. 
Curry who made it up, but I am not positive. 

Perhaps the most " willing " 
witness to his own participation in 
theracy proceedings of this "elec- 
tion " and subsequent organization 
of the Legislature to decide the 
official general result, was Judge 
W. J. Warwick, questioned by Mr. 
Rice, p. 237. So much of his 
testimony as will illuminate these 
transactions is given here. The 
selection of parts of the testimony 
of witnesses is not for " garbling " 
their statements. That only is 
given which bears upon the point 
of present interest. Inadmissible 
statements, as to mere surmises 
and opinions of a witness, or vague 
rumors are omitted, not being evi- 
dence in any tribunal. 

Q. Where do you reside, etc. ? A. I re- 
side in Little Rock. I am at present Judge of 
the Chancery Court of Pulaski county. 

Q. Were you elected to the Legislature of 
1872? A. I was. 

Q. Did you sit as a member of the Legis- 
lature which organized on the first Monday in 
January, 1873? A. I did, in the lower house. 

Q. What precincts were you at on the day 
of election ? A. I was in the city of Little 
Rock, and about all the precincts. 

Q. Do you know about one of the judges 
having his poll-books a little mixed up ? A. 
At the request of Mr. Fitch (registrar for 
Pulaski county) I went into the Circuit Court 
room, and found the poll-books and the bal- 
lots and the judge himself very considerably 
muddled. He asked me to straighten the 
thing out for him. I looked over the muddle 
and left the room in disgust, giving him no ad- 
vice at all. [The witness himself was addicted 
to getting very 'considerably muddled']. 

Q. And you actually left the room in dis- 
gust at the condition in which you found 
Saxton's papers and himself? A. Yes. I 
think it was the second day after the election. 
Q. You ran on the Baxter ticket, did you 
not? A. Yes, or Baxter X2X\. oii my ticket — 
I don't know which. 

Q. Was Saxton veiy drunk ? A. Yes, sir. 
Q. He had the papers out there ? A. Yes. 
Q. What do you know of his having 
changed the ballots, or anything on that sub- 
ject ? A. He told me he had changed them, 
and that he could not make them correspond. 
Q. How did he say he had changed them? 
A. He was one of our fellows, and I suppose 
he had changed them from Brooks to Baxter. 
He had the ballots out in two or three different 
piles — greenback tickets and white tickets, 
or one kind and another, and he was trying to 
make them correspond with his returns. 

Q. What kind of ballots were they? A. 
He had all kinds of ballots up there — green 
tickets and white tickets. My recollection is, 
that he was at a loss how to fix it up so as to 
give the Bourbons enough votes for a Rep- 

Q. Was not Saxton at one time the private 
secetary, or acting as such for Governor Clay- 
ton, when he was Governor, and afterwards for 
Governor Hadley, who succeeded Governor 
Clayton ? A. I cannot say. I know that he 
was in the office of both of them, but whether 
he was private secretary or not, I am not 
able to state. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Q. Do not this and White county vote to- 
gether in the same district? A. Yes, sir. 

Q. And did not Brooks carry these two 
counties largely? A. Brooks carried this 
(Pulaski) county by a small majority — i8o, as 
far as returns show. He carried White county 
by a thousand or fifteen hundred votes. 

Q. Then the district went for Brooks ? 
A. Yes, by i,6oo or i,8oo majority. 

Q. With the two tickets for the Legislature 
— your ticket and the Reform ticket, would 
not your ticket have been beaten ? A. I sup- 
pose there is no doubt about it. In that rep- 
resentative district, out of six members elected 
to the lower house, two Bourbon candidates 
were elected, and four on our ticket were 

Q. Was there any chance for the Bourbon 
ticket to be elected ? A. I never thought 
there was. 

Q. Did they make the canvass as if they 
thought they would be elected ? A. House, 
of White county, made the canvass as if he 
thought he would be elected. I was laughing 
in my sleeve at the simplicity of the young man. 

Q. Was not John M. Harrell a candidate 
for the Legislature on the Bourbon ticket ? A. 
He was. He did not claim to be a Republi- 
can ? A. No, sir, he was a Democrat. 

Q. (By Wilshire). Do you know any ar- 
rangement between Mr. Harrell and any mem- 
ber of the party on whose ticket you were a 
candidate? A. I do not. 

Q. (By Rice). You were a tolerably active 
man in the Legislature ? A. As active as my 
constitution admits of. 

Q. Some of the witnesses spoke of a|resolu- 
tion (of Furbush), on the subject of contested 
elections. Were there many Brooks men who 
contested seats there? A. My recollection 
is that about one-half of the seats in the 
lower house were contested. 

Q. The contestants were mostly Brooks 
men? A. Mostly. There were some Re- 
publican contestants. 

Q. Most of the Republicans got on John- 
son's roll ? A. Yes, sir. 

Q. And a good many Brooks men who 
claimed to have been elected were left off the 
roll, and contested their seats ? A. Yes. 

Q. It has been stated that there was an un- 
derstanding at the commencement that no 
member was to be unseated. What do you 
know about such an arrangement? A. I can- 
not say that there ever was a positive arrange- 
ment to that effect. When the lower house was 
organized, we (I mean the Republicans), had 
an active working majority in it. There were a 
number of Democrats whose seats were con- 
tested, and a number of Republicans whose 
seats were contested. Mr. Tankersley's dsitrict 
was contested, and so was Mr. Sarber's; and so 
was Mr. Turner's, A large number of the con- 
testants for seats, if investigated would have 
been against Republicans. 

Q. The contests would have succeeded? 
A. That I cannot say. 

Q. But if they had succeeded, it would 
have been against the Republicans ? A. Yes. 
There was no agreement, but there was a 
quasi utiderstanding between Mr. Tankers- 
ley, Mr. Sarber and myself at the beginning 
(perhaps at my own suggestion) that if all 
these seats were contested, it would take up 
one-half of the time of the Legislature to de- 
termine them, and might perhaps develop some 
things which we did not care to have developed 
at that time. But my own reason for it, was 
that these contests would take up one-half or 
two-thirds of the time of the Legislature 
There was a quasi understanding that we 
would do all we could to prevent any change 
being made in the complexion of the house, 
whether by Republicans or Democrats. 

Q. You, Sarber and Tankersley were all 
Republicans? A. Yes. 

Q. And the majority of the house were 
Republicians ? A. Yes. The seat of Mr. 
Sumpter, a Democrat, from Hot Springs 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


county was contested, and I think we gave 
him to understand at the beginning that he 
need not have any apprehension, as we did 
not propose to have any changes made in the 
organization of the house. 

Q. That house was organized on the list 
furnished by the Secretary of State? A. Yes. 

Q. The members went in under passes? 
A. I believe we all had passes. 

Q. Nobody else was allowed in at the 
preliminary organization? A. No, sir. 

Q. And afterwards you and Tankersley and 
Barber had a quasi understanding that no 
contests would be allowed to succeed and no 
changes would take place in the body? A. I 
think 7ve had that understanding before we 
went in. 

Q. That you would go on the roll and no 
changes of members should be made? A. 
Yes, sir. 

Q, And you gave Sumpter to understand 
that that was the fact ? A. My recollection 
is that Sumpter was given to understand that 
that would be the case. 

Q. When the resolution to that effect was 
adopted afterwards was it not voted for by 
Republicans and Democrats almost unani- 
mously ? A. My recollection is that there 
was no dissenting vote. 

Q. The understanding was made before 
you organized? A. Yes. 

The General Assembly was re- 
quired to meet every two years, 
on the first Monday in January. 
To it was committed by the Con- 
stitution the duty of opening and 
publishing the returns of the elec- 
tion for Governor, Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor, Secretary of State, Treas- 
urer, Auditor, Attorney General 
and Superintendent of Public In- 

struction and declaring the result. 
This was exclusive of any other 
power or tribunal — Art. vi. Sec. 9. 
All contested elections for Gov- 
ernor were required to be decided 
by joint vote of both houses, over 
which the President of the Senate 
should preside. The contestant 
was required to present a petition 
to the General Assembly, stating 
the grounds of his contest and 
praying for leave to introduce 
proof. Thereupon, if leave should 
be granted by a majority of the 
whole vote of both houses, a joint- 
committee was required to be ap- 
pointed to take testimony on be- 
half of each party to the contest, 
with power to send for witnesses 
and authorize, by warrants issued 
to justices of the peace, to take 
depositions of witnesses, at a time 
and place in the warrant specified, 
on reasonable notice to the op- 
posing party. The committee was 
required to report the facts to the 
two houses, which in joint session 
were authorized to decide the con- 
test by a vote upon call of the 
yeas and nays, to be taken and 
entered upon the journal of each 

It remained to be seen whether 
upon the returns presented the 
General Assembly would be gov- 
erned by the law, their oaths and 
duty to the people, or boldly vio- 
late and defy them in the determi- 
nation to exercise their arbitrary 
will and for their own personal 


Tlie Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Note — The Democratic Convention, after 
the proceedings above had June 5, 1872, 
agreed to a committee, of which Judge 
Thomas B. Hanley, of Phillips, was chair- 
man, to confer with a like committee of 
"iBrindles" for reforming the State ticket, 
with which there was great dissatisfaction on 
part of Democrats. 

The committee of this conference met not 
long after the adjournment of the convention 
and agreed to the following substitutions of 
candidates on the Brindle ticket of May 22d : 
For Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, 
instead of John Whytock, substituted the 
name of John T. Bearden ; for Attorney Gen- 
eral, instead of \y. P. Grace, substituted Ben 
T. DuVal ; for Presidential electors at large, 
instead of M. L. Rice and S. M. Barnes, sub- 
stituted R. C. Newton and J. E. Cravens ; for 
District electors, instead of G. W. McLane, 
R. L. Archer, J. H. Demby and E. J. Brooks, 
substituted J. H. Fleming, Poindexter Dunn, 
George P. Smoote and Walter O. Lattimore. 

The vote in the election of 1872, in Boone 
County, hereto appended, is a fair criterion of 
the vote in Northern Arkansas : 



Presidential Electors. 

*Jordan E. Cravens 717 

*Robert C. Newton 717 

*James H. Fleming 717 

*Poindexter Dunn 717 

*George P. Smoote 717 

*Walter O. Lattimore 717 

f D. S. Griffin 209 

f W. W. Granger 208 

f Thomas H. Barnes 208 " 

f W. H. Howes 203 

fArthur Hemmingvvay 204 

f L. G. Wheeler 206 


*Joseph Brooks 721 

f Elisha Baxter 202 

Lieutenant Governor. 

*Daniel J. Smith 728 

fV. V. Smith 197 

Secretary of State. 

*Edward A. Fulton 697 

f James M. Johnson , . . . 197 


*James R. Berry 740 

fStephen Wheeler 185 


*Thomas J. Hunt : 729 

f Henry Page 197 

Attorney General. 

*Benjamin T. DuVal 733 

fT. D. W. Yonley 195 

Superintendent Public Instruction, 

*Thomas Smith 731 

tj. C. Corbin 195 

Judges Supreme Court. 

*William M. Harrison 732 

*John T. Bearden 732 

f M. L. Stephenson 200 

fE. J. Searle 196 

Superintendent Penitentiary. 

nVilliamL. Cook ' 718 

f H. R. P.obinson 193 

Congressman at Large. 

*William J. Hynes 737 

f John M. Bradley 193 

jw. D. Padgett i 

Congressman Third District. 

*Thomas M. Gunter 746 

fW. W. Wilshire 186 

*Reform. fMinstrel. ^Independent 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkatisas. 



" Is there, among the greedy band 
Who 've seized on power with harpy hand 

And patriot worth assume, 
One on whom public trust can rest? 
One fit to wear Elisha's vest 
And cheer a people's gloom ? " 

— George Catming. 

The " Minstrels " in possession 
of the State House and control of 
the machinery of government, had 
no idea of vacating the one or re- 
linquishing the other. Their 
haughty confidence suggested the 
conquering power of the central 
government. It was evident they 
based reliance on the President 
and their ability to sway his action. 
They bade defiance to the num- 
bers and representations of the 
" Reformers." The negro mania 
of the North, so long depended 
upon to sustain the power of Con- 
gress, had not abated a whit with 
time. Again it was appealed to, 
upon the theory that an armed 
force in the "rebellious States" was 
required to protect the freedmen. 

Not in drunken orgie, but with 
deep, religiojis fervor, they pro- 
claimed, like Parson Jones, in 
Cable's "Old Creole Days : "— 
" The tiger and the huffier shell \[q 
down together." It was the right- 
eous thing to send a regiment of 
U. S. Infantry to occupy, at that 
juncture, the United States Ar- 
senal, at Little Rock for the pro- 
tection of the freedmen. That 
sentiment continued to exist, co- 

temporaneously with a commercial 
" protection." We behold Ruth- 
erford B. Hayes, upon accepting 
the conditions of securing the Pres- 
idency, lifting up his voice in la- 
mentation for "the poor freed- 
men." We exterminate the In- 
dians, and slaughter the Chinese, 
but piously cherish (for voting 
purposes) the tariff-taxed negro — 
through hatred of his /t^rw^r mas- 
ter, who resisted unconstitutional 

The Reform County Convention 
met in a private hall in the city. 
It appointed a large body of dele- 
gates to the State Convention 
which met, January the 5th, in the 
same hall. The State Convention 
organized temporaly but failed to 
induce the members elected to the 
legislature on the Brooks ticket to 
unite with them in the formation 
of a separate government. They 
realized that the object of the 
convention was completely frus- 
trated. Those who were elected 
as Democrats to the Legislature, 
after viewing the convention, ac- 
cepted the passes of Secretary of 
State, as we have seen, and recog- 
nized the Clayton-Hadley Legis- 
lature as the legitimate body. 
The Reform Convention beheld 
this betrayal with unspeakable in- 
dignation. After two days in 
secret session, the convention 
adopted, as the result of its de- 
liberations, a resolution in open 
session, "That it was impracti- 
cable to inauETurate Mr. Brooks 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Fishback,* from the same place, 
as Governor, at the prese?it time." 
Mr. James Brizzolara, of Fort 
Smith, an impulsive son of Italy, 
advocated immediate installation, 
" if he had to do it himself." Mr. 
Fishback said, "since blame must 
be visited somewhere, in explana- 
tion of insurmountable difficulties, 
he attributed the defection " en- 
tirely to the course of the Little 
Rock Gazette." 

The convention adjourned, after 
appointing a " State Central Com- 

*[Col. Fishback, twenty years 
after the occurrences here men- 
tioned, in a speech at the State 
House at Little Rock, in 1892, 
when a candidate for Governor of 
the State, thus referred to his ad- 
vocacy of Brooks : ] 

In 1872 we elected Joseph Brooks Gov- 
ernor, zve Democrats, by about 25,000 major- 
ity. We heard that the RepubUcan party in- 
tended to resist his instalment. A number of 
us in Fort Smith — I made my will — started to 
Little Rock and walked fifteen or twenty 
miles of the way, to install Brooks at the 
point of the bayonet if necessary. We heard 
that Gen. Grant intended to interfere, and of 
course we acquiesced. 

We had voted for Brooks, not because he 
was Joseph Brooks, but because he promised 
to relieve us from reconstruction and restore 
power to the people. Subsequently we found 
that Joseph Brooks was going to take up re- 
construction where Powell Ctayton left it off, 
and that Baxter was the man to release us of 
reconstruction. We would have been false to 
our country if we had failed to sustain Bax- 
ter, as we did. H. 

mittee," of which James L. With- 
erspoon was made the chairman. 
This committee was created and 
vested with powers distinct from 
the Democratic State Central 
Committee. An analysis of the 
composition of the convention 
will show that its members were 
not all Democrats. They were a 
gathering somewhat like that 
which went to David in the 
cave of AduUam. Its leaders were 
Joseph Brooks, militia champion; 
R. F. Catterson, the drum-head 
general; B. F. Rice, Texan emi- 
gree; his brother, the railroad at- 
torney, and J. L. Hodges, peniten- 
tiary lessee. It appointed a com- 
mittee "to prepare an address to 
the people," as was usual. It 
adopted the fallowing resolution : 

Whereas, Latta and Sumpter, of Hot 
Springs ; Cunningham, of Izard ; Wright, of 
Carroll ; Matheny, of Fulton ; Parrish, of 
Desha ; Brown, of Prairie ; Thrower, of Ouach- 
ita; Gilbreath, of Scott; Breidenthal, of 
Washington ; Pindall, of Chicot ; McVeigh, 
of Mississippi and Askew, of Columbia, re- 
form members elected to the General Assem- 
bly, have disregarded the wishes of their con- 
stituents in joining with and organizing a 
"Minstrel" Legislature, and failing to par- 
ticipate in the inauguration of Hon. Joseph 
Brooks as Governor, 

Be it Resolved, That they are hereby placed 
upon the roll of infamy. 

Appended also were other reso- 
lutions condemning "their actions 
as disgraceful ; " holding up the 
persons named "to public scorn," 
denouncing them as " unworthy of 

of the Reco7istructio7i Period in Arkansas. 


further association with the Re- 
form Party," and requesting Re- 
form journals to pubHsh the reso- 
lutions. And this was the "lame 
and impotent conclusion." 

Mr. Jacob Frolich (who had 
taken a trip to Canada to evade 
the pursuit of Clayton's milita, but 
returned and was conducting his 
paper, the Searcy Record), said of 
the convention, editorally : " It is 
reported, and no doubt correctly, 
that the Brindle Reform Conven- 
tion was the grandest failure of the 
season. Were all the money taken 
away from Wall Street, New York, 
it could not look blanker than did 
The Select Few's phizes on the day 
that the Democratic members of 
the Legislature refused to have any 
thing to do zviih them, either in ac- 
cepting their modus operandi, or 
political association. It shows 
that the bone and sinew of the 
country does not relish brindle 
steak, even when well seasoned." 

The address prepared by the 
committee of the Reform Conven- 
tion was not published until the 
23d of January, but expressed the 
more sober view of the committee 
by declaring that "the members 
of the Legislature who, by grace of 
Clayton, had been permitted to sit 
in the Legislature, had made a fatal 
mistake ; but the committee would 
concede they were not prompted by 
corrupt motives, but acted upon 
what they believed to be their duty 
to their constituents." The ad- 
dress was signed by J. L. Wither- 

spoon, J. S. Duffie, Granville Wil- 
cox, Wm. Glass, M. L. Rice and 
W. M. Fishback. 

Mr. Fishback, in 1862, had ed- 
ited the " Unconditional Union," a 
newspaper, in Little Rock, op- 
posed to the Southern movement 
and thenceforward acted with the 
Republican party. But he now 
espoused the Greeley movement. 
He had too much political sagaci- 
ty to lend himself to unqualified 
aspersion of citizens. 

A bill in chancery to decide a 
contest for the office of Governor 
of Louisiana was filed, at this 
time, in Judge Durrell's court, — 
similar to Judge Harrison's suit 
against Stephenson and Searle. 
It contained the averment, which 
Harrison's case did also, that per- 
sons otherwise qualified had been 
deprived of their right to vote, 
" by reason of race, color," etc. 
This averment, Judge Durrell 
claimed, gave his court jurisdic- 
tion under the enforcement act of 
Congress. He granted an injunc- 
tion which excluded the " Re- 
form " legislature of McEnery 
from the hall they rented. He 
was eventually sustained by Gen. 
Grant, the President, who issued 
a proclamation and gave military 
orders to disperse the McEnery 
government and install that of 
Kellogg. This action proceeded 
on the theory which inspired 
"Posson Jones's" wild "dictum," 
that " the buffler shell lie down 
with the tiger." It was modified, 


TJie Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

to be sure, so as to admit the ly- 
ing dozvn, on the part of the buf- 
falo, inside of the tiger, after being 
swallowed. This remedy, which 
was grounded on deprivation of 
right, on account of race, was 
available by one party, but denied 
to the other. It could not be 
pleaded by Brooks, who had no 
negro following. 

The two houses of the General 
Assembly of Arkansas, as organ- 
ized for the State-house ring, by 
James M. Johnson, met at the 
State House and proceeded to 
declare themselves ready for busi- 
ness on the 6th of January, 1873. 
At half past three o'clock in the 
afternoon, they met in joint ses- 
sion in the Representatives' hall to 
count the returns for Governor, al- 
ready so carefully counted, but 
supposed to be for the first time 
laid before them by the President 
of the Senate. He was required 
by law to receive the returns and 
keep them until so counted. He 
received them from the Secretary 
of State ; necessarily, it seems, 
since the presiding officer of the 
Senate had been only that day 
chosen pro tein., until the per 
son elected Lieutenant Governor 
could be ascertained. 

The manner of the organization 
of these bodies was dramatic, and 
will be best described by wit- 
nesses who were present as mem- 
bers, and who afterwards testified 
to the facts of such organization 
before the Poland Committee of 

the 43d Congress, appointed to 
investigate affairs in Arkansas. 
John M. Clayton (a brother of 
Powell Clayton), who was Presi- 
dent of the Senate, and Benton 
Turner, among the (recognized) 
members of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, testified before the Po- 
land Committee, Little Rock, Ark., 
July 20, 1874. 

John M. Clayton, recalled, ex- 
amined by Mr. Rice (p. 193) : 

Q. Were you in the Senate when it was 
organized on the first Monday in January, 
1873? A. I was. 

Q. A portion of the Senators held over 
from the previous session ? A. Yes. 

Q. One-half of the Senators are elected 
every two years. They all hold for four 
years ? A. Yes. 

Q. You were a new member at that time? 
A. Yes. 

Q. Who organized the Senate? A. Sen- 
ator Beldin, of Hot Springs, a former mem- 
ber, called the Senate to order and nominated 
Senator Torrans for temporary chairman. 
Senator Torrans, being elected, read over the 
list of new members as returned by the Sec- 
retary of State. They were sworn. I was 
elected President pro tern, and the other offi- 
cers were elected by the same vote. 

Q. The former Secretary of the Senate 
did not organize that Senate? A. No, sir; 
Senator Beldin called it to order. 

Q. How was it ascertained who the new 
members were? A. Senator Torrans s>aid 
he found the list on the President's stand — 
placed there, I suppose, by the Secretary of 

Q. And they were sworn in then? A. 
That is my recollection. They were sworn 
by Judge Underwood. 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


Q. How did the new Senators get into the 
room? A. They walked in. 

Q. Was there any pass required? A. 
Yes, I believe tickets were given us by the 
Secretary of State. I had forgotten that. 

Q. \Yho distributed those passes? A. 
The Secretary of State, I believe. 

Q. Were any other persons allowed in ex- 
cept those who had passes? A. I think not. 

Q. You had the thing all to yourselves, 
and went in and organized ? A. Yes. 

Q. Did not Wishard contest his seat? A. 
Yes ; he contested the seat of Hanks. 

Q. Was he not summarily ruled out, on 
technical grounds, without the merits being 
gone into ? A. Yes. He was ruled out on 
the technical ground that he had not con- 
formed to the statute and given the notice of 
contest in time. 

[Similar questions as to P. H. Wheat.] 

Q. Was the present Secretary of State the 
Secretary of State previous to that election ? 
A. Yes. 

Q. Was he a candidate for Secretary of 
State at that election ? A. He was. 

Q. And was declared elected at that elec- 
tion? A. He was. His name is James M. 

Q. Were you at the House of Representa- 
tives when it organized ? A. No, I was in 
the Senate. Both houses organized at 12 

Examined by Mr. Wilshire : 

Q. How long did you act as president 
pro te»i.1 A. I acted for one day only. 
The Lieutenant Governor was sworn in and 
took his seat on the night of the first day, V. 
V. Smith. 

Q. Were you not president pro tetn. of 
the Senate at the time of the counting 
up and announcing the vote for Governor? 

A. Yes. That was done on the first day. 
It was done before the vote for Lieutenant 
Governor or other officers was counted. The 
law requires that the vote for Governor shall 
be counted in the presence oi both houses. As 
to the other executive officers, the vote is re- 
quired to be counted only in the presence of 
the Senate. 

Q. State who received the largest vote as 
declared by this convention — Mr. Baxter for 
Governor, or V. V. Smith for Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor ? A. I do not recollect. My impres- 
sion is that it was about the same. The re- 
turns will show that. 

Q. The two bodies in joint session deter- 
mined only the vote for Governor? A. Only 
the vote for Governor. 

Benton Turner, returned as 
member of the House from Con- 
way County, was examined with 
others as to the organization of 
that body. Question by Mr. 
Rice, after introducing in evidence 
a section of the act of July, 1868. 
" Sec. 54. It shall be the duty of 
the Secretary of State, on the 
first day of each regular session 
of the General Assembly, to lay 
before each house a list of the 
members elected agreeably to the 
returns in his office." 

Q. Were you returned as member of the 
Legislature in 1S73, as supposed to have been 
elected at the election in 1872 ? A. Yes. 

Q. Did you sit in that body ? A. Yes. 

Q. Were you present when the House was 
organized ? A. Yes. 

Q. What military force had possession of 
the hall of the House of Representatives then, 
the city police or State militia? A. I am 
inclined to think there were some of both. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Q. Are you sure there were some of the 
State militia, and if so, under whom? A. 
My understanding was that Col. Main had 
charge of the squad of State militia. I never 
talked to Col. Main in regard to it. 

Q. Did you go in immediately when the 
doors were opened ? A. Yes. 

Q. How did you succeed in getting 
through the armed men? A. We had 

Q. From whom? A. I am not positive 
now who distributed the tickets. I do not 
know whether they were handed me by 
Cooper or Tankersly. 

Q. Who first went into the House? A. 
I think Tankersly and Sarber and myself. 

Q. Who put Tankersly in nomination as 
temporary chairman ? A. I am not positive 
whether it was Sarber or myself. It was one 
or the other. 

Q. How soon was that after you went in ? 
A. It was immediately on getting inside. 

Q. On your going down the aisle? A. 
Yes ; before we got to the chairman's stand. 

Q. And whoever made the nomination 
put the vote and declared it carried ? A. 
Yes ; the motion was put and carried and the 
declaration made before Tankersly got to the 

Q. He went to the stand in a good, fast 
walk, did he not ? A. Yes. 

Q. What was done in the organization of 
the House — how did it proceed? A. It pro- 
ceeded in the regular way. A caucus had 
agreed upon a full organization after the tem- 
porary organization. We had a caucus pre- 
vious to going in, at 12 o'clock on the 6th of 
January, and we had agreed upon our organi- 
zation of the House, and then we proceeded 
to organize in the regular way. 

Q. Did the clerk of the prior House ap- and organize it ? A. Yes ; the clerk 

of the House of Representatives in 1871. 
His name was Richards. 

Q. What did he do towards organizing? 
A. He came in with the roll, framed by the 
Secretary of State, I think. 

Q. What was the prima facie case on 
which you all acted in there? A. The cer- 
tificate of the Secretary of State. 

Q. You mean the roll of the Secretary of 
State? A. Yes, sir. 

Q. How many in that body were elected 
on the ticket with Brooks ? A. My recol- 
lection is that there were thirty-six. The en- 
tire number of members was eighty-two. 
There were thirty-six of them elected on the 
ticket on which Brooks ran. 

Q. Did they go in at the same time with 
the rest of you ? A. I think all of them went 
in at the same time, with the exception of two 
or three. I think two or three absented 
themselves for a day or two. They were not 
absent more than two or three days. 

Q. Was there any talk here of organizing 
a separate Legislature of men who claimed to 
be elected on the Brooks ticket? A. That 
was my understanding. 

Q. Where had they proposed to organize ? 
A. My understanding was they proposed to 
set up an outside government. I never under- 
stood that they themselves had arrived at a 
definite conclusion as to the place at which 
they would open, whether at Fletcher & 
Hotze's hall, or O'Hara's. 

Q. By some means, that fell through ? A. 

Q. After you organized, what action was 
taken in regard to any question of contest — 
to general action on the subject of any con- 
test ? A. After the House had been perma- 
nently organized, committees were appointed. 
I was on elections. There were several con- 
tests presented for the consideration of the 
committee. I think that perhaps one case 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


was disposed of. The report of the commit- 
tee was based on the technical ground of 
want of notice as required by our statutes. 
There was then a resolution offered by some 
member, declaring all members then sitting, 
members of the Legislature, and it was passed 
almost unanimously by Democrats and Re- 
publicans. I do not know whether such a res- 
olution is on the journal or not. 

Q. Such a resolution was offered, that the 
members then sitting should be declared 
members of the House? A. Yes, and that 
there should be no further contests enter- 
tained. That was a resolution of the House. 
We had been discussing the Pindall matter, and 
all the contests came up on this want of notice. 
The committee came in and made a report, 
on which there was considerable discussion. 
During the discussion this resolution was 
offered, I think by Mr. Furbush (colored mem- 
ber), and it was adopted almost unanimously. 
The Election Committee never entertained 
another contest, or had another meeting after 

Q. Was Secretary Johnson a candidate for 
Secretary of State at the election of 1872? 
A. He was. 

Q. He was elected, if elected at all, at the 
same election with you ? A. He was. 

Questioned by Mr. Wilshire. 

Q. You were not sure whether it was you 
or Mr. Sarber who put Tankersley in nomina- 
tion? A. I am not positive in regard to that. 
The understanding was, that we should nomi- 
nate him as soon as we got in. Mr. Tankers- 
ley started up the aisle, and before he got to 
the chairman's stand, he was declared elected. 

Q. And there was nobody there at the time, 
except you and Sarber and Tankersley ? A. 
Other members were coming along, but we 
entered first, and before Tankersley could 
reach the Speaker's chair, he was nominated 


and declared elected. Our friends were all 
right at the door, and were coming immedi" 
ately as fast as they could get in. Of course 
they could not all get in at the same moment. 
As soon as we were inside the nomination 
was made, and Tankersley proceeded right 
down the aisle. 

Q. Then there could not have been many 
members in besides you three, if you were the 
first to enter? A. By the time the thing was 
through, there were probably twenty members 
or more in the hall. 

Q. Was there a quorum present ? A. I 
reckon that is questionable. 

Q. You stated that there was a caucus — 
of what party ? A. It was the caucus of the 
Republican party. 

Q. How many Republican members were 
present at that caucus? A. I think every 
Republican member of the House. 

Q. A quorum of the House was present at 
that caucus ? A. Yes. 

Q. This organization, which you speak of 
was made through an arrangement entered 
into in caucus of a majority of the House? 
A. Yes ; the organization was made under 
the understanding adopted at that caucus. 

January 6th, the committee from 
the House of Representatives, hav- 
ing announced that body ready to 
receive the Senate to canvass the 
election returns for Governor, the 
Senate proceeded to the Hall of 
Representatives, where the follow- 
proceedings were had : 

Halt, of the House of REPRESENTAxrvEs, 1 
Jan. 6th, 1873, half-past 3 o'clock p.m. J 
The President of the Senate called the joint 
session to order and ordered the call of the 
roll. The Secretary of the Senate called 
the roll of Senators, and the following 
Senators answered to their names : Askew, 


TJie Brooks a?id Baxter War: a Histoiy 

Beavers, Beldin, Brooker, CaralofT, Clayton 
Coit, Dawson, Dooley, Dugger, Elliott, 
Frierson, Gallagher, Goad, Hanks, Hodges, 
Holland, Howard, McChesney, Ratcliffe, 
Thomas, Torrans, White of Phillips, WTiite of 

The Clerk of the House of Representatives 
called the roll of Representatives, and the fol- 
lowing members answered to their names: 
Berry C. E., Berry J. H., Beardsley, Brown 
N., Brown C. F., Bridenthal, Chapline, Cor- 
bell, Cleveland, Coit, Copeland, Chapman, 
Crowley, Cunningham, Davie, Erwin, Eagle, 
Fox, Furbush, Foster, Gist, Gilbreath, Gos- 
sett, Grissom, Hawkins A. M., Hawkins O. 
S., Hawkins M., Havis, Hynds, Harley, 
Johnson A., Johnson J. H., Joyner, Kings- 
ton, Kent, Lee, Lynn, Latta, Murphy J. M., 
Murphy W., McLeod, Marshall, McGehee, 
Merritt, Miller, McVeigh, Matheny, Mitchell, 
Nunn, Page, Pindall, Parrish, Rawlins, Reed, 
Robertson W., Robertson H. H., Sarber, 
Shingley, Sheppard, Spears, Stephenson J. 
S., Stephenson A., Strong, Sumpter, Stewart, 
Turner, Thrower, Thomasson, Tillar, Thorn- 
burg, Warwick, White, Wheat, Walker, Wil- 
liams, Wright, Mr. Speaker Tankersly. 

A quorum of each house being present. 
Senator J. M. Clayton, President pro tent., 
said : 

'* Gentlemen of the General Assembly: 
The day and hour having arrived for counting 
the returns for Governor, the Secretary of the 
Senate will read over the returns and the 
proper tellers will count out all the votes cast 
for every person voted for as Governor." 

The Secretary of the Senate then read the 
returns, which, when footed up, resulted as 
follows: Elisha Baxter, 41,684; Joseph 
Brooks, 38,726; A. Hunter, i ; Joseph Brook, 
50; Baxter, li; E. Baxter, 113; Brooks, 133; 
U. S. Grant, i ; William Byers, i ; A. H. Gar- 
land, I. 

The presiding officer announced that " Eli- 
sha Baxter, having received a greater number 
of votes than any other candidate, was duly 
elected Governor of the State of Arkansas, 
for and during the term prescribed by the 

A committee composed of Sen- 
ators and Representatives was ap- 
pointed to notify the Governor- 
elect of the result of the canvass, 
and learn his pleasure. The com- 
mittee returned, and Elisha Bax- 
ter coming in was introduced to 
the joint Assembly and delivered 
his inaugural address. When he 
had concluded his address the 
oath of office of Governor was ad- 
ministered to him by Chief Justice 
McClure ; and the joint Assembly 
dissolved. Thus the Minstrel fac- 
tion retained its hold upon the 
machinery of the State govern- 
ment, and their newly-chosen ex- 
ecutive was inaugurated. 

The delegates to the reform 
convention adjourned subject to 
call of their State central commit- 
tee. The "Minstrels" were jubi- 
lant and the "Brindles" corre- 
spondingly unhappy, the carpet- 
bag element among them still 
meditating measures for over- 
throwing their rivals and retriev- 
ing their fallen fortunes. They 
urged the maintenance of their 
State and County organizations, 
and held themselves in readiness 
to seize every opportunity that 
might afford a hope of a success- 
ful assertion of their right to the 
offices to which their candidates 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


had been undoubtedly elected. 
"The select few," as Frolich de- 
nominated them, never despaired. 
On the nth of January the de- 
murrer to Judge Harrison's com- 
plaint, modelled after that filed by 
Kellogg against McEnery, was 
argued before Judge H. C. Cald- 
well, U. S. District Judge. He 
sustained the demurrer, on the 
ground of want of jurisdiction of 
the courts of the United States to 
hear and determine a contest for 
a State office. He announced the 
maxim that it was a fair presump- 
tion, that a cause is withojit the 
jurisdiction of the courts of the 
United States, until the contrary 
appears, being courts of limited 
jurisdiction. This proposition he 
argued to be sustained by IV. 
Dallas Reports, 8 ; VH. Cranch, 
32; Id. 506; III. Blatchford, 84; 
I. Dillon, 341. The 23d section 
of the enforcement act, he held to 
confer jurisdiction only in case of 
a denial of the right of a citizen to 
vote, " on account of race, color 
or previous condition of servi- 
tude." As counsel had frankly 
stated they had not been able triith- 
fiilly to allege denial of right to 
vote on that ground, the injunc- 
tion and writs and relief prayed 
for would be denied, and com- 
plainant be remitted to the courts 
of his State, in which exclusive 
jurisdiction over cases of contest- 
ed election for State offices, ex- 
cept some enumerated o-ffices, was 

vested from the origin of the con- 

At the election, in joint session 
of the General Assembly, for U. S. 
Senator to succeed B. F. Rice, the 
Democrats at first voted solidly 
for A. H. Garland, thirty-five votes: 
the Republicans dividing upon T. 
M. Bowen and Stephen W. Dor- 
sey, giving the former twenty votes 
and the latter forty-three, Alex. 
McDonald five, and W. W. Wil- 
shire one. On the 1 8th of January, 
the Democrats changed to Dorsey, 
except Senators Askew and Frier- 
son ; Representatives, J. H. Berry, 
Cote, Cunningham, Foster, Har- 
ley, Matheny, Pindall, Thrower 
and Tillar, who continued to vote 
for Garland ; and Beavers, Gossett 
and Thomasson, who voted for 
" Little " David Walker, and Par- 
rish, who voted for R. C. Newton ; 
fifty-two votes being necessary to 
a choice. Dorsey was elected, 
receiving eighty-seven votes. Gar- 
land eleven. Walker three, and 
Newton one. Dorsey was repu- 
ted to be a "boodle" candidate, 
but this seems to have been 
largely on paper. He conferred 
on Mr. Garland the appointment 
of attorney of his paper railroad, 
from Helena inland. But Clayton 
believed that Garland was still 
bent upon a seat in the Senate 
and would be his rival ultimately. 

(On the loth of February, the 
Republican elections for President 
and Vice-President of both Arkan- 
sas and Louisiana fo«" the candi- 


TJie Brooks arid Baxter War: a History 

dates of both parties, were reject- 
ed at Washington, because of 
alleged irregularities. Thus four- 
teen votes of the electoral college 
were counted out. But they 
would not have changed the re- 
sult, it was so largely in favor of 
the reelection of Grant.) 

The Helena World of Feb. 7th 
said of the election of Dorsey to 
the United States Senate : 

" S. A. Dorsey has been in our State about 
two years, all told. About half of that time 
he was not a denizen, his family remaining in 
his cherished home, Oberlin, Ohio. He is un- 
known to the people of Arkansas. He came 
here to promote his railroad interests. He 
obtained State, County and City aid, under the 
most solemn pledges. By trickery, hocus-pocus 
and legerdemain, the gauge of the road was 
changed from standard to narrow gauge, as 
adopted. To-day we have a wheelbarrow 
road from Helena westward, costing nothing 
in comparison with the one he professed to 
come here to construct." 

March the 3d, the election upvon 
the constitutional amendment re- 
sulted in its adoption, by a large 

The candidates for Congress, on 
the Conservative ticket, Gunter 
and Gause, were importuning Gov- 
ernor Baxter for certificates of 
election. They had received none 
from Governor Hadley, who pre- 
tended to canvass the election, 
and merely proclaimed the result 
of the vote in the case of Gause 
and Gunter, Democrats. Hadley 
had proclaimed Snyder, Minstrel, 
elected over Bell, and Hynes, Re- 

former, over Bradley, and issued 
these two certificates of election, 
which entitled them to seats. The 
others had given notice of con- 
tests to their opponents, Wilshire 
and Asa Hodges, Minstrels. Gun- 
ter's notice was served and pub- 
lished in the papers March 12th, 
and that of Gause March 14th, 
Governor Baxter declined to issue 
the certificates. He remitted the 
contestants to Congress. Hodges 
really abandoned his case by re- 
maining in the State Senate. 

On the 31st of March, Mr. Ben- 
ton Turner, claiming to represent 
Conway County in the House, in- 
troduced the following bill, which 
immediately became a cause of 
discord that revived the dormant 
antipathies of the factions, and 
produced results of far-reaching 
and of incalculable moment. It 
was designated the " Railroad 
Steal Bill," but was entitled by its 
introducer : 

An Act Amendatory of and Supplementary 
to An Act to Aid in the Construction of 
Railroads ; approved July isi, iS68 : 

Whereas, In pursuance of the above enti- 
tled act, the State issued her bonds amount- 
ing to $5,200,000, and the Railroad Commis- 
sioners have power to add $6,200,000 to the 
amount so issned when road-beds of railroads 
shall be prepared for iron ; and 

IVhereas, Bonds have been issued to rail- 
road companies to the amount of $1,000,000 
for road-beds upon which no iron has yet 
been placed ; and 

IVhereas, Said railroad companies have 
become otherwise indebted to the State in 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


their present condition, not completed or fully 
equipped, and without iron rails or ballast are 
of no security or value to the State ; and 

Whereas, To complete said roads, and to 
limit further issue of State bonds and to in- 
duce said railroad companies to release the 
State from the further issue of bonds, etc. 

Section i. Be it therefore enacted, that any 
railroad company which has received the 
bonds of the State of Arkansas to aid in the 
construction of its road, or become otherwise 
indebted to the State, which shall deliver to 
the Treasurer of the State, certificates of full 
paid stock of such company not liable to as- 
sessment, equal in amount to the bonds which 
have been issued to said company, or other 
indebtedness, and any railroad company now 
existing or which has been or shall be organ- 
ized by purchase or otherwise, are authorized, 
by a vote of the majority of the directors of 
said company, to issue and deliver to the 
Treasurer of the State the amount of stock 
herein indicated, which when tendered and 
delivered by said company shall release the 
same from the payment of the principal of 
said bonds delivered to said company and the 
interest or tax due thereon and from any and 
all liability to the State arising out of the de- 
livery of said bonds to said railroad company 
under and by virue the provisions of An Act 
entitled An Act to Aid in the Construction of 
Railroads, and for any other indebtedness ; 
and that the treasurer shall execute and deliver 
in the name and behalf of the State a receipt 
for said stock, and discharge said railroad 
company from the payment of said bonds, 
interest or tax due thereon, and any other in- 
debtedness for which said stock was delivered. 

Provided, That any railroad company shall 
be entitled to the provisions and benefits of 
this section whenever the board of directors 
or a majority thereof of said company shall, 
within ninety days from the passage of this 
act, file with the board of railroad commis- 

sioners written acceptances of the provisions 
of this act and a release of the State from a 
further issue of bonds and of the right to de- 
mand the same. 

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, that any and 
all demands which may be declared upon said 
railroad stock delivered to the State, shall be 
paid to the treasurer of the State and shall be 
set apart as a separate fund, to be applied by 
him exclusively to the payment of the inter- 
est on said bonds and to their redemption 
when they become due. 

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, that the 
shares of stock held and acquired by the 
State in the said railroads, in pursuance of 
the provisions of this act, shall have the same 
rights as the shares of other stockholders, and 
none others ; and the Governor shall desig- 
nate an agent to vote the said stock at all 
meetings of the stockholders. 

Sec, 4. That a tax of three mills on the 
dollar is hereby levied on all the real 2.'^^ per- 
sonal property in the State, subject to taxa- 
tion, for the purpose of creating a fund for the 
payment of interest on said bonds and the re- 
duction of the principal. And it is hereby 
ordered and declared, that the taxes collected 
under and in pursuance of the levy herein 
made, shall be collected in lawful money of 
the United States, and used for no other pur- 
pose than the payment of such interest and 
principal of the same. 

Sec. 5. That this act shall take effect and 
be in force from and after its passage, and all 
acts or parts of acts inconsistent herewith are 
hereby repealed. 

[Mr. Pindall (Democrat) of Chicot, upon the 
first reading, moved that the bill be rejected, 
in order, he said, " to test the sense of mem- 
bers as to this gigantic steal." 

White of Crawford (Republican), voted 
with the Democrats to reject. Pindall's mo- 
tion was voted down, ayes only 29, nays 41. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Turner, the reputed author of the bill, had 
been declared elected member for Conway 
county, where negroes were the principal 
electors. There were great numbers of them 
on the plantations along the Arkansas River. 
He had been originally Sheriff of the county, 
appointed by Clayton. He was an avowed 
political wrecker, and loud-mouth supporter 
of all measures of oppression and extortion, 
of unlimited gall, a modern Ancient Pistol- 
He had been chosen to introduce the bill by 
its real framers, who preferred, for obvious 
reasons, to remain in the background.] 

The introduction of the bill to re- 
lease the indebtedness of the rail- 
road companies, and tax the peo- 
ple in currency to pay interest on 
the bonds, aroused the public in- 
dignation and alarm. It was re- 
garded as indicating the com- 
mencement of a new era of spoli- 
ation, exceeding anything yet 
inaugurated. The motion of Pin- 
dall sounded the alarm. The Dem- 
ocratic newspapers caught it up 
immediately. The Gazette of Lit- 
tle Rock thus commented upon its 
introduction and the refusal of the 
House to postpone it : 

" At last, the big railroad steal, or the 
measure donating to the railroad companies 
and bondholders $5,200,000 of the bonds of 
the State, has been introduced into the House. 
Benton Turner, a carpet-bagger of the deepest 
dye, who never earned a dollar in Arkansas 
by the sweat of his brow, and who is supposed 
to represent Conway County, is the fitting in- 
strument through which the measure was 
launched into the House yesterday. It seems 
that all the Republican members of the House, 
save one or two, have already been secured in 

support of the measure. A motion to reject 
the bill was voted down by the Republicans 
except Mr. White of Crawford voting for the 
motion. The bill not only makes a present of 
the bonds to the railroad companies (for every 
one knows that the stock of the companies, 
which is to be delivered under it is worthless), 
but it levies a tax on the people of three mills 
in currency on the dollar, to pay the interest. 

" We believe that every vote given for the 
bill has hetn purchased, in one way or anoth- 
er. Its supporters should be held up to pub- 
lic scorn and contempt for all time to come. 
The tax to be imposed by it, suppose only 
$5,000,000 bonds have been issued, and the 
taxable property is $100,000,000, will be $300- 
000 annually in currency. The depreciated 
State scrip in the hands of the people not re- 

"All roads which had been built or equipped 
through aid of the bonds of the State, owed 
the State interest on them at 8 percent. /^r 
annum, and this was a lien on the road-beds 
and tangible property. The bill was drawn 
to release them from this lien and interest and 
taxes due by them to the State. It will dis- 
charge not only that accruing on the bonds 
issued under the act in aid of the railroads, 
but interest on money loaned years before the 
passage of that act — $94,000 advanced as in- 
terest on the bonds issued to the Fort Smith 
and Little Rock Railroad, and $44,000 accrued 
interest on the Memphis and Little Rock 

The entire expenses of the State 
Administration prior to reconstruc- 
tion had at no time exceeded One 
Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dol- 
lars. Here was to be added, in 
one measure, not called for (and 
proposing to violate the Constitu- 
tion) a tax of double that sum. 
The Constitution required a vote 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


of the people at the ballot box to 
authorise a loan of State credit 
(Art. X. Sec. 6). If loaned, by 
vote of the people, it required the 
same authority to revoke the con- 
tract, or modify it, in order to cre- 
ate out of it a new indebtedness. 
A similar attempt in Missouri 
was declared invalid by the Su- 
preme Court of that State. Dur- 
ing the agitation of this nefarious 
measure attempts were made to 
commit Governor Baxter in its 
favor; and that appearing to fail, 
to create the belief " that he had 
pledged himself to it, but had be- 
come alarmed at the public oppo- 
sition, and refused to fulfill his 


The attitude of the Governor 
towards this bill was the great 
controlling cause of the alienation 
of such influential leaders of his 
party as Chief Justice McClure, 
Asa Hodges, H. M. Cooper, Ste- 
phen Wheeler, John M. Clayton, 
and finally, as a sequence, Senator 
Powell Clayton. 

The Poland investigation into 
the causes of the alienation of the 
Claytons, McClure & Co., goes 
into the subject at great length, 
and fully develops the fact, that 
McClure's dislike of Baxter grew 
out of his final opposition to this 
measure, and refusal to be the 
mere instrument of "a ring" of 
political wreckers, rather than 
Governor of his State which he 
had sworn and pledged himself to 
his neighbors to be, according to 

the best of his ability, in conform- 
ity to law. Powell Clayton was 
drawn into the alienation by Mc- 

Chief Justice McClure, at the 
same time that he was a judge of 
the court of last resort in the 
State, had an interest in, and fre- 
quently wrote for, the Little Rock 
Republican,\.h.Q "Minstrel" organ. 
To show that he did not regard 
these several occupations as in- 
compatible or conflicting, there is 
his testimony on oath preserved 
in the Congressional records of the 
Senate investigation of the meth- 
ods of the election of Senator 
Clayton to a seat in that body, pp. 

344. 345- 

Questioned, by Mr. Barnes, as 

to his receiving levee bonds, in any 
transaction, McClure declined to 

Interrogated by Senator Nor- 

Q. What was the consideration for those 
bonds? A. For the bonds I received? 

Q. Yes. A. My services. 

Q. Your services in what way? ^\^lat 
were 'your services connected with ? A. In 
the passage of the bill ! 

He was then the Chief Justice 
of the Supreme Court of the 

Questioned by Senator Clayton. 

Q. I am interested to ask you, if you did 
not at one time, while you were Judge of 
the Supreme Court, receive for your services 
as a judge, the sum of $3,000 in money from 
Milton L. Rice, of the City of Little Rock? 
A. No, sir. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Q. Neither directly nor indirectly? A. 
Neither directly nor indirectly. Right there 
I want to make a statement. I was connected 
with the Little Rock Republican. [He was 
Judge of the Supreme Court from the adop- 
tion of the Reconstruction Constitution until 
the Constitution of 1874 displaced it.] Mil- 
ton Rice, as the President of the Cairo & Ful- 
ton Railroad Co., came to me and had a con- 
versation. In that conversation he desired to 
ascertain of me, if I could control the columns 
of the Republican from attacking the Cairo & 
Fulton Railroad, as they were about submit- 
ting propositions to the different counties to 
vote county aid. I said to Mr. Rice, that I 
did not know whether I could or not, that I 
would ascertain. I satisfied myself upon that 
point, that I could control the paper to such 
an extent that articles would not appear against 
the railroad. I went to Rice and so stated to 
him. Mr. Rice then proposed to pay me $2,ocx) 
in money and $12,000 in paid-up stock of the 
company in the event that I would control 
the paper to that extent. I said I would not 
give him a picayune for the Cairo & Fulton 
stock. He then said he would pay me $6,000 
in money to keep the Republican from at- 
tacking the road. I said I would take it. 
Very well. There were no writings about it 
of either the one or the other. Mr. Rice as- 
sured me upon his personal honor that the 
$6,000 should be paid. I controlled the col- 
umns of the newspaper in accordance with 
my agreement. After the work had been per- 
formed and the election was over, I went to 
Mr. Rice one day and told him I wanted some 
money. He went off on a tangent and said 
that I had gone to a party by the name of 
Smith, and some other parties down there, 
who were to make a contract for that road 
and had prevented his making that contract ; 
that Hodges and Benjamin and others were 
growling and refused to pay the $6,000. I 
then said to Mr. Rice that I had notliing to 
do with Hodges, Benjamin or Senator Rice, 

or with the railroad, one way or the other; 
that he had pledged me his pergonal honor 
for the payment of that $6,000 in the event 
that I should do as I agreed, and I had done 
strictly as I had agreed to do. Said I : " Mr. 
Rice, you can pay this or not." Said he: 
"Whatever I pay I will have to pay out of my 
own pocket, as Hodges and others refuse to 
contribute to the payment." He then gave 
me a check on the Merchants' National Bank 
for $600 and his acceptance for $2,400. 

Q. That made $3,000? A. That made 
$3,000. The other $3,000 I did not get. 

Senator Clayton's object in 
drawing out this testimony can 
only be inferred. If it was to 
sTiow the peculiar methods of the 
Rice and Cairo & Fulton people, 
it was more remarkable as the 
transaction of a judge of the Su- 
preme Court. The Senator con- 
fined it to a period "while the 
witness was a judge of the Su- 
preme Court." The transaction 
was in no way connected with the 
judicial office. 

The newspaper McClure had 
thus controlled for the Cairo & 
Fulton railroad people, the Repub- 
lican, was the outspoken advocate 
of the railroad bond bill. Mr. 
Wilshire had published an article 
in the Gazette of April 8th, de- 
nouncing the bill, in which he 
said : *' I have heard it whis- 
pered that, if the Governor should 
veto the bill, articles of impeach- 
ment would be preferred against 
him. If such is the policy of the 
bond thieves then I say, 'lay on, 
McDuff!" " 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


To this the Republican rephed : 

This one-man power was given to the exec- 
utive to hold the Republican party in power. 
No man in the executive chair, before this 
time, ever threatened to use it to carry out 
his personal wishes. 

The Representatives who voted for the bond 
bill were elected by the same votes and ap- 
pliances which elected Judge Baxter and 
Judge Wilshire (claiming a seat in Congress). 
They are the men to whom the latter are in- 
debted for their present position. If it be 
true that the Representatives do not represent 
their constituents, what assurances have we 
that Gov. Baxter and Judge Wilshire are the 
favorites of the people. Our impression is 
that the less said upon this subject the better. 
From what we know of the last canvass, we 
should advise either Gov. Baxter or Judge 
"Wilshire not to court a very rigid examina- 
tion into the title to their offices." 

The bill having passed the 
House, went to the Senate, where 
it was amended by striking out 
the three-mill tax, or any special 
tax, to pay interest on the bonds. 
It was then returned to the House 
for concurrence in the amend- 

Upon this the Little Rock Re- 
pnblicaii, controlled by McClure, 
said : 

The bill will now go to the House, where 
it will pass, and from there to the Governor, 
who will veto it. From the executive, it will 
come back to the House, where it will also 
pass, and become a law. The fight against 
the bill by the executive and his friends will 
be bitter and strong. We understand that the 
entire official patronage of the executive de- 
partment is to be used to defeat the bill. 

We say, stand firm! The Governor's ap- 
pointments need confirmation by the Senate. 
The vote of that body yesterday, in the face 
of the Governor's hostility to the bill, shows 
that the appointing power is not altogether in 
his hands. Attempts to pay for men's votes 
by appointments to office will not be con- 
sented to by the Senate. 

Down with the one-man power ! It is time 
a lesson was taught the men who would thwart 
the will of the party. We say, strike at the 
root, and never cease striking until this con- 
tumacy and pig-headedness has been taught 
its first lesson. 

" One-man power! " It was he 
that contrived it. " How soon the 
whirligig of time brings in his 

In the Senate, fourteen Repub- 
licans voted for the bill. Seven 
Republicans and all the Demo- 
crats voted against it. The seven 
Republicans were Dooley, Duke, 
Elliott, Good, McChesney, White 
(colored) of Phillips, and White 
(colored) of Pulaski. 

Upon the Congressional investi- 
gation of affairs in Arkansas, the 
following testimony was elicited 
on the subject of the contest over 
this shameful measure : 

E. N. Hill, having been sworn, 
examined by Mr. Rice, p. 446. 

Q. Was there a great squabble on the bill? 
A. Before the bill was ever introduced, I was 
passing one day from my room in the Metro- 
politan Hotel, and going by Governor Baxter's 
room, he called me in and handed me an elec- 
tion bill, I think it was, — a printed bill which 
he said was a very infamous one. I did not 
like it, myself. I think his principal objec- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

tion to it was, that it would make Lieutenant 
Governor Smith the appointing power, instead 
of himself. There were several other objec- 
tionable features in it. After we finished talk- 
ing about tnat bill, I told him that a railroad 
bill would be introduced in a short time, and I 
gave him a sketch of its provisions. We 
talked about it for some time. ■ He was very 
much opposed to the bill. I had learned its 
provisions from Mr. Sam Tate, of Memphis, 
and from conversations with Alex. McDonald. 
These gentlemen were very much interested in 
its passage. 

Q. And Baxter was opposed to it? A. 

Q. Did he afterwards change his mind or 
his action on that ? A. There was a great 
dispute in the Legislature about the bill, and 
it raised a great deal of talk. I believe that 
the original bill passed the House at one time 
by a small majority. I think Mr. Baxter 
said he would veto it. I know that he was 
very much opposed to its passage, and that it 
was the cause of political difficulty between 
himself and some leading Republicans. The 
bill was amended, but the amendment 
made very little change in the nature of the 
bill. A very strong effort was made to get 
Gov. BaAter to withdraw his opposition to it. 
Going to my room one night, between eleven 
and twelve o'clock, I understood before I 
went up stairs that a gentleman was in Bax- 
ter's room endeavoring to get him to sign 
that bill. [This is inaccurate, as the bill 
would not be ready for his signature after the 
amendment by the Senate, until submitted to 
the House again.] I mean the amended bill 
which was to be presented the next day. I 
had heard the gentleman was authorized to 
offer Gov. Baxter some pecuniary reasons for 
withdrawing all opposition to the bill. [The 
Gentleman was Asa Hodges, of Crittenden 
county, opposite Memphis, and Sam Tate, of 
Memphis, and the Memphis and Little Rock 

Railroad Company's agents had doubtless 
started and talked of a purpose to corrupt the 
Governor.] As I passed Gov. Baxter's door, 
the two gentlemen were standing together. 
I did not stop to listen to the conversation, 
but I heard Baxter say: "You can tell them 
that I will not oppose the bill if these things 
are all made up right." 

Q. You did not know what " these things " 
were? A. I did not, only by what I had 
been told. 

Q. Do you know what the parties were 
prepared to put up as " these things " — that 
$25,000 was ready to be given Baxter if he 
would withdraw his opposition to the bill? 
A. I had heard some such talk as that. 

Q. And Baxter's remark to this man was 
made on the subject of that railroad bill? A. 
I suppose it was. (?) I had been informed 
that the gentleman had gone there to consult 
him with reference to it. I had been in- 
formed by the man who sent him. 

Q. Was the bill revived the next day? 
[Col. Hill's answer to this last question shows 
his imaginings to have been unworthy of him, 
and that he did not know enough about the 
bill to form a correct idea of a conversation 
in regard to it.] A. The bill was brought 
into the Senate next morning in an amended 
form ! [The amendment, as we have seen, 
was a Senate amendment, and it had to go 
thence to the House. Mr. Rice should not 
have cross-examined his witness so closely.] 

Q. For some reason or other, the thing 
fell through, and Baxter still opposed the 
bill? A. Yes. He still opposed it, and it 
did not pass. 

It is due to Gov. Baxter to give 
his version of the circumstances 
attending this transaction and 
similar ones. In his letter, writ- 
ten to the New York Herald, in 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


May, 1874, and which was in- 
spired by later events, he said : 

I had scarcely been installed, when the 
Chief Justice and his friends began a series of 
demands in partial or total violation of every 
pledge upon the strength of which I had been 
elected to office * * * in short, I had to 
choose between being their tool or their en- 

I may name, among the measures of which 
they attempted to compel my approval, the 
subsidy bill, by which certain railway com- 
panies were to be released from payment to 
the State on account of bonds issued to them 
for the construction of their respective lines, 
about $6,000,000: the metropolitan-police 
bill, which proposed to constitute the State a 
metropolis, the police of which should have 
power to arrest without warrant any citizen of 
the State, and drag him for trial at the capital ; 
an election bill concentrating in the hands of 
three men, designated a board of canvassers, 
and having for their chairman the Lieutenant 
Govenor, not alone the power of appointing 
judges and clerks of election, but also the 
supervision and review of all proceedings and 
rettirns of election ; a triumvirate, which could 
have held the liberties of the people in the 
perpetual grasp of a clique. When it was dis- 
covered that I could not, and would not lend 
my influence or give my consent to measures 
such as these, persuasion and intimidation 
gave place to attempted bribery and kindred 
propositions of a most disgusting character. 

After the adjournment of the 
Legislature, there was a calm 
on the surface of political affairs 
in Little Rock, The Republican 
studiously withheld all further crit- 
icism of the executive. It even 
paid him "mouth honor" which 
the reader knew to be " breath." 

and it repressed any number of 
curses, not loud, but deep. Attor- 
ney General Yonley was mani- 
festly perturbed in spirits. He 
took long aimless walks, and 
chewed up many handfuls of pea- 
nuts. His partner, Mr. Whipple, 
wore a most somber aspect. There 
were flittings to and fro between 
their offices and the State-house ; 
the occupants of which all held 
authority by the same warrant that 
Baxter held, but who would be 
glad, in some way, to question his 
authority. The Rices and Mc- 
Clure had become companionable. 
The two newspaper organs were 
billing and cooing. On May i ith, 
the Little Rock Gazette, published 
the following pararaph entitled : 


There is a rumor current that the Attorney- 
General will file an application before the Su- 
preme Court, at its meeting on Monday, for a 
writ of Quo IVarranio against Governor 
Baxter. If he is not entitled to the office of 
Governor, by reason of the election frauds 
in November, neither is the Attorney-Gen- 
eral, nor the Lieutenant-Governor, nor Asso- 
ciate Justices Searle and Stephenson, claim- 
ing positions under that electiom, to entitle 
them to consider such application. 

Notwithstanding public expect- 
ation, no such action was taken. 
Nearly a month elapsed. On June 
the 3d, the Secretary of the State 
Central Committee of the Demo- 
cratic party, at the office of the 
committee (his law office), received 
a visit from Governor Baxter. The 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Governor, who had never before 
entered his office, informed him 
that notice that application on the 
relation of Joseph Brooks to test 
the vaHdity of the Governor's 
election, would be presented to 
the Supreme Court the next day, 
and he would have to employ 
counsel to represent him. He 
said the movement was absurd, as 
the court would have no jurisdic- 
tion, but the issuance of such a 
writ would cause trouble and 
should be prevented if possible. 
He asked the Secretary to oppose 
the filing, or demur to the jurisdic- 
tion for him at the time notified. 
The Secretary reflecting upon the 
importance of the proceedings, 
and the character of the Judges 
of the Court, promptly assured the 
Governor that the matter was of 
such momentous importance to 
him, and to the State, it should 
be represented, with the greatest 
care, and by the ablest and most 
experienced counsel. The Gov- 
ernor replied with a smile, that he 
trusted the Court, and did not think 
that it would have any difficulty in 
arriving at a just conclusion. His 
nonchalence was astonishing. 

And then several of the leading 
members of the bar were men- 
tioned. It was argued that it 
would be unwise to entrust the 
destiny of the State and people to 
any who were known to have had 
transactions with the members of 
either wing of the Republican par- 
ty, however harmles-s such trans- 

actions may have been. Then ex- 
Judges English and Compton were 
named. They had been Judges 
of the Supreme Court, and were 
lawyers of experience and ability. 
Judge Gregg, an old citizen, and 
the soundest lawyer on the bench, 
had a high regard for Judge En- 
glish. " Be it so," said the Gov- 
rnor, " if they will accept the em- 

The Secretary accompanied him 
back to the State-house and, on 
the way, hinted that it might be 
well to employ an armed guard for 
himself and his books and papers 
in future. The Governor laughed 
at what he deemed an exaggerated 
idea of the danger threatened. 
The Secretary proceeded to seek 
the two ex-judges. He found 
Judge English at McNair's barber- 
shop, and went with him to his 
office over Risen's store (Tucker's 
corner). Judge English fully ap- 
proved the idea of an armed guard, 
and Captain John C, Peay was 
agreed upon as the commander. 
Judge Compton accepted the em- 
ployment. Governor Baxter con- 
sented to the protection of the 
militia, and Captain John C, Peay 
and his company, composed of the 
first young men of the city, were 
that night quartered in the Execu- 
tive wing of tJie capitol. 

The argument in this quo war- 
ranto proceedings lasted until noon 
of the 5th of June, That after- 
noon, Judge Lafayette Gregg de- 
livered an oral decision of the 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


Court, which held that the writ 
should not issue, on the ground 
that the Court had tio jiirisdiction 
of such a contest ; that the juris- 
diction was in the General Assem- 
bly alone. The reasons for the 
opinion would be given thereafter 
in writing. The Chief Justice, 
McClure, announced that in proper 
time he would file, in writing, the 
reasons which compelled him to 
dissent from the decision of a ma- 
jority of the Court, which he did. 
The case is reported in 29 Ark. 
These proceedings, and the prompt 
action of the Governor, produced 
a tremendous sensation in the 
city and all parts of the State to 
which they were communicated. 
Offers of aid and armed support 
came to the executive from all quar- 
ters and from men of all parties. 
Senators Clayton and Dorsey, 
who were in New York, before a 
decision was announced by the 
Court, telegraphed their disappro- 
val of the application for quo zvar- 
ranto, and their sympathy with 
the Governor. Clayton's dispatch 
was as follows : 

New York, June 3d, 1873. 
His Excellency Elisha Baxter : 

Quo Warranto proceedings against you 
have been inaugurated without my knowledge 
or approval, and are in my opinion unwise 
and highly detrimental to the interests of the 
State. ' My judgment did not approve your 
late action (calling on the military) because I 
did not believe that such a move was seriously 
contemplated, and even if contemplated, I 
regard the calling out of the militia as prema- 

ture. Nor would I now advise any show of 
force, unless a forcible attempt should be 
made to oust you. I believe you are the legit- 
imate Governor of Arkansas ; and as much as 
I regret to see our State disgraced abroad by 
distractions at home, I hope you will stand 
firm, regardless of results. 

Powell Clayton. 

Jack Agery, Brooks' colored 
friend, said on hearing this dis- 
patch : " Clayton's got his eye 
on a seat for second term in de 
Senate. But if he sticks to Bax- 
ter, Brooks will set down on dat 
eye yit." 

Senator Dorsey's dispatch of 
the same date, also from New 
York, was brief and unequivocal : 

To Governor Elisha Baxter: 

You have the unqualified support of my- 
self and friends. The revolutionary proceed- 
ings instituted will not be sustained by the 
people. S. W. Dorsey. 

The dispatch of Senator Clay- 
ton, embodying the lecture to 
Baxter upon having called on the 
military to guard the executive 
office was, to say the least, un- 
reasonable. It was as impracti- 
cable as to counsel an Arkansas 
River planter not to erect his levee 
against a flood until his fields 
should be overflowed. Clayton, 
under the circumstances, would 
have dissolved the court. Arkan- 
sas securities must have immedi- 
ately gone down in Wall street 
several points. Senator Dorsey's 
dispatch was more direct and 
frank. He condemned the quo 


The Brooks mid Baxter War: a History 

warranto proceedings for displac- 
ing the executive by a co-ordinate 
department in violation of all pre- 
cedent and the provisions of the 
constitution, as " revolutionary." 
It was revolutionary, conceived in 
z, spirit of disregard for law and 
contempt of the decision of the 
Legislature (alone having authori- 
ty), which had just passed upon 
the right of Brooks to contest the 

The propriety of calling in mili- 
tary aid had been considered by 
Gov. Baxter. His office, in the 
\7est wing of the capitol, was ac- 
cessible at all times to any and all 
who might see proper to enter. 
The Sheriff of the county, Col. 
William S. Oliver, upon whom 
devolved service of the process of 
the Supreme Court, was a partisan 
of McClure & Co., and bold to ut- 
ter recklessness in the perform- 
ance of a congenial service. Had 
the court ordered the writ oi ouster 
contemplated by the proceedings 
instituted, or other process for 
securing the possession of the ex- 
ecutive office, Oliver would have 
been in the executive office with 
his force in an instant, and the 
Governor been compelled to con- 
tend for possession from without. 
The Governor, as commander-in- 
chief, had a right to protect his 
office by a military guard when he 
was thus menaced by revolution- 
ary and unlawful proceedings. 
Clayton, himself, would not have 
hesitated a moment, and would, in 

a similar case against him, have 
sworn out an affidavit against the 
Attorney-General and caused his 
arrest under the statute against 
treasonable conspiracy and usur- 
pation of authority. 

The decision of the court gave 
great satisfaction to citizens, as 
an assurance that it was the end 
of official contests ; that an era of 
tranquility had arrived at last. 
They sought to express their grati- 
fication in a serenade to the Gov- 
ernor on the evening of the 9th of 
June, in the State-house yard. 
There was a large crowd in attend- 
ance. The Governor responded 
by an earnest appeal in justifica- 
tion of such action as he had 
deemed it necessary to take, claim- 
ing it to be solely for the public 
welfare. After a brief history of 
the events leading up to the ap- 
plication {ox quo zvarranto, and his 
precautions to prevent violence, 
he said : 

Under these circumstances, and with a 
knowledge of many of the more secret move- 
ments and declarations of those bad men, who 
had been urged to violent extremes, by being 
thwarted in their many efforts to rob and 
plunder the people, I felt fully justified by 
every rational consideration not only to for- 
tify and defend myself against these desper- 
ate intrigues, but to put myself in a position 
that, if need be, I might meet force with force, 
and repel violence with violence. 

It is a source of great happiness \p me to 
know that I was not only spared the sorrow 
and humiliation of an actual conflict, with all 
its attendant evils, but still more so that in 
my efforts to strengthen the executive arm I 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


was supported by the ready response of my 
most worthy fellow-citizens of all parties and 
colors, and was not driven to the necessity of 
inflicting the slightest injury to any interest, 
or of interfering with the forms of law, or 
disturbing, in the least degree, the ordinary 
currents of social peace and order. 

None but his enemy or an inter- 
ested schemer hesitated to com- 
mend his course. It had been a 
negative action, it is true, but was 
borne with firmness and courage. 
He had been in great peril but his 
success in the crises thus formed, 
seemed to augur a triumphant 
vindication. These difficulties 
were thought to be at an end. 
The two organs gave forth angry 
mutterings and vague threats. 

Ordinarily, the decision of a 
court of the dignity of an Appell- 
ate Court of a State is supposed 
to be certain and final, unless 
modified or overruled upon formal 
petition and notice. Four of the 
five Judges, Gregg, Bennet, Searle 
and Stephenson had agreed in de- 
ciding that this Court had no jur- 
isdiction in a contest for the office 
for Governor. The Chief Justice, 
McClure, openly dissented from 
this opinion. It is difficult to be- 
lieve that officials occupying their 
positions, would "descend to jug- 
gling and yield to intrigue, before 
they could conveniently reduce 
their decision to writing, and cause 
it to be entered upon the record. 
The history of the travails of the 
Court in finally delivering its opin- 
ion is both amusing and humiliat- 

ing. If some of them were not 
the tools of political bosses, they 
were belied. 

The fact is, the Court was about 
to adjourn when the application 
for quo warranto was attempted to 
be filed. It decided against its 
jurisdiction, and adjourned with- 
out putting the decision in writing. 

Judge M. L. Stephenson was 
one of the Supreme Judges who 
sat in the quo ivarranto case, 
though claiming his election at 
the same election and by the same 
returns relied on by Baxter. His 
testimony will fully explain the 
views of those whose interests or 
positions led them to consider the 
subject of those legal controver- 
sies. Upon them turned the des- 
tiny of the State. Gov. Baxter 
afterwards charged him with be- 
traying him. 

M. L. Stephenson, sworn and 
examined by Mr. Rice (report of 
Poland Investigation, p. 266) : 

Q. State your residence and occupation? 
A. I reside in Helena, Arkansas. I am a 

Q. Were you formerly Justice of the Su- 
preme Court ? A. I was. 

Q. Were you present on the bench when 
the quo warranto case of Brooks and Baxter 
was introduced ? A. I was. 

Q. What question was submitted to the 
Court in that case? A. The Attorney Gen- 
eral filed an information, or rather asked 
leave of the Court to file an information, in 
the nature of a quo warranto, on the relation 
of Joseph Brooks against Elisha Baxter. 
[The Attorney General did not appear in the 
name of the State.] 

1 84 

The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Q. Was the question made by Attorney 
General Yonley as to how much was before 
the Court: and was an announcement made 
by the Chief Justice as to what the Court 
would hear and decide in the progress of the 
case? A. My recollection is not very dis- 
tinct upon those matters. My recollection is, 
however, that at the opening of the case it 
was proposed by Mr. Baxter's counsel to ar- 
gue the merits of the case touching the juris- 
diction of the Court to hear and determine 
such a suit. I think Mr. Yonley, who ap- 
peared for Mr. Brooks, objected to that ques- 
tion as premature. 

Q. Did he, Yonley, only appear for Mr. 
Brooks, or did he appear as Attorney Gen- 
eral? A. He appeared as Attorney General. 
The suit was filed on the relation of Mr. 

Q. Did he file it as Brooks's private attor- 
ney, or as Attorney General ? A. As Attor- 
ney General, as a matter of course. On that 
point the Court retired for consultation. My 
recollection is that when we retired into the 
consultation room a vote was taken as to what 
question the Court should hear. The first 
vote was taken as to the jurisdiction of the 
Court to hear and determine such a case. It 
was decided that, as to the jurisdiction of the 
Court to hear a contested election case, the 
Supreme Court had no such jurisdiction. 

Q. What was the announcement made by 
Chief Justice McClure ? A. After that we 
agreed that the questions which should be 
submitted would be on the motion of the At- 
torney General for leave to file. That was 
the motion to be heard. 

Q. What was the announcement of the 
Chief Justice as to the question which the 
Court would try ? A. I am not prepared to 
say what the announcement of the Chief Jus- 
Mce was. 

Q. What did the Court decide to an- 

nounce? A. The Court decided that the At- 
torney General would not have leave to file. 

Q. Who made that announcement? A. 
Judge Gregg, on behalf of a majority of the 

Q. Was that entered as the judgment of 
the Court ? A. I never saw the record, but 
I presume it was. The records were under 
control of the Chief Justice. 

Q. Who was to draw up the opinion? 
A. The oral announcement was made on the 
last day of the session, in the afternoon. The 
Court was ready to adjourn, and would have 
adjourned, but for that business, which was 
presented at the heel of the term. I think we 
extended the term one or two days for the 
purpose of hearing and disposing of that case. 
When the oral announcement was made by 
Judge Gregg it was agreed among those mem- 
bers of the Court who concurred in the opin- 
ion, that we would file no written opinion at 
that time ; that each of the concurring judges 
was to write up his views, and that at the 
November sitting one of the judges would de- 
liver the opinion of the majority of the Court 
in writing. 

Q. Was it understood that you were to 
meet and agree upon the opinion when you 
got together at the next meeting. A. Yes ; 
we were to meet on the 20th November and 
then submit our views. 

Q. You adjourned with that understand- 
ing? A. Yes. 

Q. Was there ever any consultation after- 
wards in the entering up of the opinion as 
was then contemplated? A. The proceed- 
ings were afterwards somewhat irregular. 
[Witness here narrated the whereabouts of 
the Judges in their summer vacations, and 
their return, at the urgent request of Governor 
Baxter, to consider matters of great public 
importance. Judges in those days wandered 
about everywhere, traveling on railroad 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


passer,.] On our arrival here I was informed 
by several gentlemen who were my friends 
and the friends of Governor Baxter, that a 
suit was pending in the Pulaski Circuit Court 
(I may have known that before I went away) 
of the same nature of the one that had been 
decided in the Supreme Court, and that it was 
apprehended, nnless the opinion of the Su- 
preme Court was reduced to writing and put 
on file, Judge Whytock (of the Pulaski Cir- 
cuit Court, a Clayton appointee — now in sym- 
pathy with Brooks), would take jurisdiction 
of the case, on the plea that he did not know 
what the opinion of the Supreme Court was, 
and render some kind of judgment in it. So 
it was considered of great importance that the 
opinion of the Supreme Court in the quo war- 
warranto case should be reduced to writing 
and placed on file, so as to be authoritative on 
Judge Whytock's court. I understood that 
Judge Gregg had been also written to to come 
to the capital. The difficulty then was how to 
get the concurring members together for con- 
sultation, and to reduce the opinion to writ- 
ing. It was agreed that we should correspond 
with Judge Gregg, and, if he were not able to 
come, that we would, by mail, interchange 
views and arrive at a conclusion. 

Q. When did you first see this opinion 
(producing the opinion on the quo warranto 
case)? A. I wrote to Judge Gregg and he 
submitted his views. He drafted that opin- 
ion and sent it down here. 

Q. When was that ? A. That was in the 
early part of September, I think. Perhaps 
the opinion as perfected was not received 
until the latter part of September. It took 
some time in correspondence. 

Q. Had he signed the opinion ? A. Yes. 

Q. Go on and state what you know about 
the slip of paper which is annexed to it ; 
where it was written, and by whom ? A. I 
was very intimate with Judge Caldwell — Judge 

of the U. S. District Court — who was a warm 
friend of Governor Baxter. When I got 
Judge Gregg's opinion, I took it up to Judge 
Caldwell, and showed it to him, or raiher read 
it to him. He made some suggestions about 
it. The particular objections which he had to 
the opinion was that no where in it was there 
an epitomized statement of the case in short 
form, so that the public and everybody inter- 
ested would readily grasp it. He suggested a 
change, or that there be interpolated at the 
end of the opinion a summarized statement of 
the points contained in it. He met Judge 
Searle and myself in the library of the Su- 
preme Court the next morning. I sat down 
and embodied what I conceived to be Judge 
Caldwell's ideas, telling him, however, that I 
thought they were all in the opinion already. 
He admitted that they were, but said they 
were not in such concise form as they could 
be understood generally by the public. Ht 
was not exactly satisfied with what I had 
written, and he wrote himself a statement of 
what he conceived ought to go to the public, 
and in that Judge Searle and myself agreed. 
It was substantially what the opinion was. I 
copied it in my own handwriting, and when 
I wrote to Judge Gregg I sent it; perhaps I 
mentioned Judge Caldwell's name, and asked 
him if it met his views to copy it in his own 
handwriting and send it to me with authority 
to add it to his opinion. He did so, and I 
appended it to his opinion. That is the his- 
tory of the fly-leaf. 

Q. Had you signed the opinion before 
that was appended? A. No, sir. 

Q. Had Judge Searle? A. I think he 
had. I think he signed it with the under- 
standing that it should go in. I know that 
he was present when it was sent to Judge 
Gregg, and we agreed that if he should con- 
cur and send it down it would be apjiended to 
the opinion. 

(After some testimony to the friendly rela- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

tions of Judge Caldwell to Baxter.) Q. Was 
the wording of the opinion, the so drawing it 
as to attempt to exclude the jurisdiction of the 
Circuit Court influenced in any way by the 
desire to prevent martial law ? A. There is 
no question but that the intention of framing 
the decision was that the Circuit Court should 
not take jurisdiction. 

By Mr. Wilshire. 

Q. Judge Caldwell wrote the addendum as 
being the summary of the opinion? A. Yes. 
I do not think he desired to add anything 
new in the opinion. As he stated, it was a 
general summary, and such a one as the pub- 
lic could grasp without difficulty. I do not 
deny that on reflection, he did suggest the 
language, "neither this, nor any other court" 
[can exercise jurisdiction in a case of contest 
for the Governor's office]. 

Q. Would you have filed the opinion 
whether Governor Baxter had disbanded the 
militia or not? A. I think that in all proba- 
bility I would. 

Q. Do you 'know of any positive demand 
being made upon Gov. Baxter, or statement 
made to him, that unless he disbanded the 
militia, that opinion would not be filed'? A. 
I do not personally. I only know from state- 
ments of Governor Baxter himself in regard 
to it. He told me that the reason he complied 
with that demand was, that he was threatened 
that unless he disbanded the militia, he could 
not have the benefit of the opinion. 

Q. Did he say that the threat came from 
any member of the Court? A. No, sir; he 
made the above statement, after the disband- 
ment of the militia. He said the person who 
made the threat said, " I am not authorized 
by any member of the Court to make the 
statement, but I believe that will be the 

Q. Do you know who that person was? 

A. I know who Governor Baxter said it was, 
but I have my own opinion whether it was 
said or not. 

Q. Who was it that Governor Baxter said 
told him so? A. He said it was Senator 
Clayton. Judge Caldwell and Senator Clay- 
ton were the only two persons who went to 
Baxter about it. 


" Under the constitution, the determination 
of the question as to whether a person exerci- 
sing the office of Governor has been duly 
elected or not is vested exclusively in the 
General Assembly of the State, and neither 
this nor any other court of the State has juris- 
diction to try a suit in relation to such a con- 
test, be the mode or form what it may, whether 
at the suit of the Attorney General, or on 
relation of the claimant through him, or by an 
individual alone claiming a right to the 
office. Such issue should be made before the 
General Assembly. It is their duty to decide, 
and no other tribunal can determine that 

( Signed.) " L. Gregg. 

" M. L. Stephenson. 
" E. J. Searle." 

April 15, 1874. by a remarkable 
coincidence, the anniversary of 
the mustering out of Upham, and 
the reorganization of the militia 
under Wilshire and Newton, little 
John Whytock, de facto Judge of 
the Pulaski Circuit Court, called 
up the usurpation case of Brooks 
against Baxter, at the instance of 
Whipple, Benjamin and Burton, 
attorneys of Brooks, in the ab- 
sence of the attorneys of Baxter, 
and caused to be entered the fol- 
lowing judgment: 

of the Recofistriiction Period i?t Arkansas. 


"The demurrer filed by the defendant to the 
complaint of the plaintiff, having heretofore 
been submitted to the Court, and taken under 
advisement, and the Court being sufficiently 
advised of the law arising thereon, overrules 
the said demurrer, and the said defendant_/at7- 
ing to answer, and there being no answer to 
said complaint, the same is taken for con- 
fessed (!) 

" It is, therefore, ordered and adjudged, that 
Joseph Brooks, named in the complaint, and 
plaintiff in this action, is, and he is hereby 
declared to be entitled to the said office of Gov- 
ernor of Arkansas, and all books, papers and 
other appurtenances thereto belonging by vir- 
tue of the election in said complaint men- 

" It is also further ordered and adjudged, that 
the said plaintiff recover of the said defendant 
the sum of two thousand two hundred and 
eighteen dollars with interest thereon at the 
rate of six per cent, per annuni, from this 
date, until paid, also his costs in this behalf 
expended, for which he may have execution." 

Laymen as well as lawyers, will 
perceive the clandestine nature, 
as well as the unjust character of 
this judgment. It was rendered 
upon technical " confession" and 
false statements that the case was 
submitted. It was made final 
without warning to the defendant 
or his attorneys. It gave recovery 
for certain sums of money, without 
proof, or inquest of damages, and 
expresses the interest to be re- 
covered thereon. Its phraseology 
is prophetic of its futility. In the 
very wording of the judgment, 
justice was heard interpolating her 
reversal of it. This judgment was 
followed by motions of Baxter's 

counsel, one to correct the entry 
which was granted, another to 
amend the judgment so as to 
show the cause had not been sub- 
mitted, another to set aside the 
judgment, which were overruled.^ 
which order denying defendant 
leave to amend the record entry, 
that it may show that said cause 
was not submitted by defendant 
or his counsel, and to set aside, the 
plaintiff prayed an appeal to the 
Supreme Court — where no action 
could be had immediately. 

Meanwhile, as Governor Baxter 
states in his Herald letter : 

By an extraordinary coincidence Mr. Brooks 
and' his friends were convenient to the scene 
of the judgment. Without awaiting the 
issue of the writ of ouster, and upon the 
overruling of the demurrer, no moment of 
time being given for the filing of an an- 
swer on the merits of the case, these gen- 
tlemen procuring a mere copy of the min- 
utes of the judge's action, and, by a second 
coincidence, yf«^/«_^'- the Chief fustice close 
by, had Mr. Brooks secretly sworn as GoV' 
ernor. The party proceeded without delay to 
the executive office, where, as I have, in a 
public proclamation remarked, the traditions 
of the American people would have rendered 
it absurd to place an armed guard or even a 
vidette, Mr, Brooks, in person, with an armed 
force of a dozen or twenty, took possession of 
my room, and I was permitted the alternative 
of forcible and unseemly ejection, or of such 
arrest or punishment as he might see fit to in- 
flict. Before I could take measures to reoccu- 
py the State House it was filled with armed 

"Traditions of the American 
people" is an eloquent phrase. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

The friend who advised the policy 
of the first guard on the State 
House to protect Baxter from 
wanton interference in the per- 
formance of his duty to the people, 
begged him never to disband it 
wholly, as long as there were rev- 
olutionary menances against his 
authority and the safe keeping of 
the public archives. 

But the Governor felt safe in 
the hands of the eminent counsel 
in whose hands he had placed his 
case, 'va. the guarantees of his en- 
emies and the protection of the 
courts. His attorneys testified 
before the Congressional Com- 
mittee in explanation of the tak- 
ing of the "snap-judgment," as 
follows : 

E. H. English, sworn and examined by Mr. 
Howard : 

Q. Were you one of the attorneys of Gov- 
ernor Baxter in the case in the Pulaski Circuit 
Court of Brooks against Baxter? A. Yes : 
Mr. Compton and myself were the attorneys 
in that case and no one else. 

Q. Were you present in the Circuit Court, 
Judge Whytock's court on the morning of the 
day when the U. S. Circuit Court was to meet 
in Little Rock ? A. No, sir ; I did not have 
any knowledge that Judge Whytock's court 
was to meet. 

, Q. Were you present at any time when 
Judge Whytock made a statement in reference 
to the session of his court during the session 
of the U. S. Circuit Court ? A. Yes : on the 
Saturday before the meeting of the U. S. Cir- 
cuit Court, I was present when Judge Why- 
tock made his statement from the bench. He 
said that eases in which counsel were con- 
cerned who had business in the U. S. Court 

would be passed over for the week and would 
not be called, — that was the substance of his 
statement, — and that any members of the bar 
who had business in the U. S. Court were at 
liberty to go there and he would not call their 
cases during their absence. 

Q. Was that statement confined to jury 
cases ? A. I have no recollection of any qual- 
ification of the general remark. 

Q. And that was on the Saturday prior to 
the week in which the decision was given by 
Judge Whytock in the Brooks-Baxter case? 
A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Did you have any notice prior to the 
rendition of that judgment that that case 
would be taken up for determination? A. 
No, sir; none whatever. I had no knowledge 
that the case had been taken up until judgment 
had been rendered. Mr. Green came into the 
United States Court and informed me that 
judgment had been rendered, and that Brooks 
was in possession of the State House. That 
was the first knowledge that I had that the 
case was to be taken up or had been taken 

By Mr. Rice. 

Q. Was not that case submitted on de- 
murrer while you were present? A. I un- 
derstood it was submitted on Monday. 

Q. Was not that published in both the 
papers of the city ? A. I never saw it. I 
have understood since then that there was a 
notice of it in the Republican, but I did not 
see the Republican. There was no one in 
court authorized to submit it ; for Mr. Comp- 
ton and myself were the only attorneys of 
record in the case. There had been other 
counsel in the United States Court, but we 
were specially retained in that case, with the 
understanding that no one else was to be 
counsel in the case. 

Q. You were not only the only attorneys of 
record, but were the only attorneys who took 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


any action in the case ? A. It was the dis- 
tinct understanding that we were the only 
counsel in that case in the Supreme Court and 
in the Circuit Court. Mr. Compton and my- 
self had an understanding with Gov. Baxter 
that we were the only counsel, and that we 
were to get whatever fees were paid. 

Q. What position do you hold? A. 
Temporarily, a position as Chief Justice of 
the Supreme Court, commissioned by Gov. 
Baxter. [Commissioned after these events.] 

F. W. Compton, sworn and ex- 
amined by Mr. Howard: 

Q. Were you counsel in the case of Brooks 
against Baxter, in the Pulaski Circuit Court? 
A. I was. 

Q. Did you ever submit or consent to the 
submission of the demurrer in that case ? A. 
I never did. 

Q. When did you first know of the de- 
cision ? A. A short time after Gov. Baxter 
was ejected from the executive office. I knew 
nothing of the rendition of the judgment up 
to that time. 

Q. Or of the pretended submission of the 
case? A. I saw it in one of the papers, the 
Republican, I think. I had been at Camden 
very sick. After my return home I went to 
none of the courts. I was not able to do so. 
I saw, however, a few days prior to the de- 
cision, an announcement in the Republican 
that the demurrer had been submitted. I 
thought perhaps Judge English had been 
there. I paid no attention to it, and did not 
go into court at all, and knew nothing of the 
judgment until after it was rendered. Before 
I went to Camden I had a conversation with 
Mr. Whipple. I was anxious that there might 
be some disposition of the case, and Mr. 
Whipple promised me that he would have it 
dismissed. On my return from Camden I as- 
certained that it had not been dismissed. I 

saw Mr. Whipple again, and asked him why 
it had not been dismissed. He said he did 
not like to take the responsibility; but that 
some time or other it would be taken up and 
dismissed on demurrer, and he would let it go 
off that way. 

He tells of other suits of a simi- 
lar nature that had been dis- 

Examined by Mr. Rice : 

Q. A case can be submitted on demurrer 
without consent, can it not? A. It is usual 
in the practice, so far as I know anything 
about it, where a demurrer is filed, the other 
side has notice. At least it is a rule among 
the lawyers. They do not take up a demur- 
rer and submit it when the counsel on the 
other side is absent. I know of no such 

Q. Did counsel not bring it up once in 
court? A. Not so far as I know. 

Q. You do not know the fact that it stood 
upon call for submission? A. I do not I 
had not been attending court. 

Q. What position do you hold now ? A. 
I am one of the Justices of the Supreme 
Court of the State, appointed and commis- 
sioned by Gov. Baxter. 

Gov. Baxter, in his testimony 
in regard to that case, when ques- 
tioned by Mr. McClure, said: 

Q. Why did not your counsel answer after 
the demurrer was overruled ? A. My delib- 
erate opinion is, that it was because there was 
a clandestine agreement between yourself. 
Judge Whytock and others to prevent me 
from having an opportunity to do so. 

Q. Upon what facts do you make that 
statement ? A. I make it generally from the 
characters of the men and the instances 
which occurred. 


The Brooks mid Baxter War: a History 

Q. State the character of the men on 
which you formed your deliberate opinion ? 
A. I do not care to do that. I do not want 
to be personal. 

Q. You made no attempt to appeal ? A. 
I made an attempt, by prohibition, to have 
the decision opened up. .Failing in that the 
town became a military cavip, and I deter- 
mined to fight it out on that line. I think I 
would have appealed, but for the interference 
of the military. 

Gov. Baxter, in his testimony, 
also stated in regard to counsel 
employed in his case : 

Mr. Whytock refers to Mr. "Williams (Sam. 
W.) as havu.g been present in the Court at 
the time the demurrer was submitted, and 
says he was generally informed that Mr. 
"Williams was employed by me in that case. 
I desire to say that I never employed Mr. 
Williams in my life to do anything. Mr. 
Williams and I have been always friends and 
acquaintances for twenty years, but I never 
employed him, and he had no authority 
whatever to speak for me in that case. 

It is too much the case in Arkansas, of late 
years, that men decide cases on reports and 
rumors and hearsays, and frequently decide 
them without going into the court house ; as I 
verily believe this case was decided. But, so 
far from not intending to answer the case on 
its merits, I have always intended and so in- 
structed my attorneys, to answer on the merits 
of the case, and to have an answer prepared 
denying the allegations of the complaint. I 
did not intend to give them the opportunity 
of saying that I was unwilling to answer on 
the merits. I say now, generally, on this sub- 
ject, that it has been my understanding that 
the only tribunal on earth which has a right to 
decide between Brooks and myself is the Leg- 
islature of Arkansas. I have given him two 
opportunities to decide the question before 

the Legislature, but I was not willing that par- 
tisan courts should interfere and decide, and 
I do not intend that they shall do so. 

But, as witnesses in their testi- 
mony allude to the case in the 
Pulaski Circuit Court, upon "w^hich 
the Supreme Court decision was 
thought to have an important 
bearing, it will be rendered more 
intelligible to give first a summa- 
ry of the proceedings in the Pu- 
laski Circuit Court. It was upon 
the disposition of that case that 
the Reformers and their new al- 
lies claimed the authority to eject 
Baxter and take forcible posses- 
sion of the State House. The 
following is a rescript of the prin- 
cipal steps taken in the Pulaski 
Circuit Court, at Little Rock. 
The suit had been instituted im- 
mediately after the failure of the 
qtio warranto proceedings. 

Monday, June 16, 1873. 
Court met pursuant to adjournment. Hon- 
orable John Whytock, Judge, presiding. 

Joseph Brooks, Plaintiff, 1 ^ 1 • ^ ^ 
•' g ( Complamt at 

Elisha Baxter, Defendant.] ^^'^' 

Comes the complainant by Messrs. Whip- 
ple, Benjamin and Burton, and by leave of ♦hf* 
Court files his complaint herein, which said 
complaint is in words and figures as follows, 
to wit : 

Joseph Brooks, Plaintiff, 

Elisha Baxter, Defendant. 

Complaint at 

Joseph Brooks brings this his complaint 
against Elisha Baxter, and thereupon respect- 
fully shows this Court: 

1. That on the fifth day of November, 1872, 
at a general election duly held on that day in 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


the State of Arkansas, pursuant to the Consti- 
tution and laws of said State for the elec- 
tion, among other officers that of the 
Governor of said State, for the term of four 
years from the first day of January, 1873, the 
said plaintiff received the highest number of 
legal votes cast at said election for the office 
of Governor as aforesaid; the said plaintiff, 
then and there, received for said office a large 
number of legal votes, duly and regularly 
cast, to-wit: more than forty-five thousand 
legal votes so cast as aforesaid ; and the said 
defendant, then and there, receiving a smaller 
number of votes, to-wit: less than thirty 
thousand votes for said office ; and at wliich 
said election no other candidates for said office 
of Governor, as aforesaid, received more than 
twenty-five votes. 

2. That at the time of said election, saM 
plaintiff had attained the age of twenty one 
years, etc. (stating his legal qualifications). 

3. That, the plaintiff is entitled to exercise 
said office and to be installed therein, and 
placed in possession thereof. 

4. That, on the seventh day of January, 
1873, the said defendant usurped the said of- 
fice of Governor, and has ever since unlaw- 
fully exercised the same, and withheld the 
same from the said plaintiff. 

5. That, since the said usurpation, the said 
defendant has received a salary, fees, and 
emoluments pertaining to said office amount- 
ing to a large sum of money, to wit, to the 
sum of three thousand dollars. 

6. Wherefore the plaintiff demands judg- 
ment with costs: 

(i). That the said defendant is not entitled 
to said office, and that he be ousted therefrom : 

(2). That said plaintiff is entitled to the 
said office and to assume the duties of the 
same, and to be installed therein, and placed 
in posession thereof on taking the oath pre- 
scribed by law. 

(3). That he may have judgment for the 
salary, fees and emoluments aforesaid. 
(4). And for all their proper relief. 
M. W. Benjamin, 
R. A. Burton, 
Wm. G. Whipple, 

Attorneys for Plaintiff. 

State of Arkansas, \ 
County of Pulaski, j ^^' 

I, Joseph Brooks, say that I believe the facts 
and matter stated in the foregoing complaint 
to be true. (Signed) Joseph Brooks. 

Subscribed and sworn to before me this l6th 
June, 1873. W. F. Blackwood, 

Clerk Circuit Court. 

The filing was indorsed " Filed in open 
Court June i6th, 1873," and summons issued 
this 17th June, 1873, and returned served on 
defendant by W. S. Oliver, Sheriff, the same 

There were no further proceed- 
ings, in this case, at that term of 
the Pulaski Circuit Court, in view 
of this action of the Supreme 
Court in the quo tvarranto case. 
The Supreme Court decision, it 
was inferred, would be filed and 
would control the Circuit Court in 
the determination of the usurpa- 
tion suit, in that subordinate trib- 
unal. But, at the October term, 
upon the arrangement entered in- 
to by Clayton that the Supreme 
Judges would file their decision, 
Baxter having disbanded his mili- 
tia in pursuance of that arrange- 
ment, there was yet no decision of 
the Supreme Court made of rec- 
ord. Baxter's attorneys saw prop- 
er to enter a demurrer in the case 
in the Pulaski Circuit Court. So 


The Brooks and Baxter War : a History 

at the October term, 1873, of the 
Circuit Court they filed the follow- 
ing demurrer to the plaintiff's 
(Brooks') complaint on the 8th 

The defendant demurs to the complaint 
herein, because it appears upon the face of the 
complaint, that the Court has no jurisdiction 
of the subject of this action. 

Wherefore the defendant prays judgment 
that the plaintiff be debarred from maintain- 
ing said action. 

At a subsequent day of the term, 
the cause was continued on mo- 
tion of the plaintiff. Brooks. The 
case now stood upon demurrer, 
which is held to confess the truth 
of the allegations of the com- 
plaint, but if overruled, the de- 
fendant may then answer and deny 
the truth of the matter alleged — a 
perilous attitude, until the answer 
is filed. 

The statute under which the at- 
torneys of Brooks brought this ac- 
tion, in the Circuit Court (it being 
remembered that Whipple was the 
partner of Yonley, the Attorney 
General, who instituted the quo 
tvarranto proceedings), was con- 
tained in Gantt's Digest of the 
Statutes of Arkansas, in force at 
the time, and is still the law. 

Section 5745. In lieu of the writs of scire 
facias and quo warranto, or of an information 
in the nature of a quo warranto, actions by 
proceedings at law may be brought to vacate 
or repeal charters, and prevent the usurpa- 
tion of an office, or franchise. 

Section 5748. Whenever a person usurps 

an office or franchise, to which he is not enti- 
tled by law, an action, by proceedings at law, 
may be instituted against him, either by the 
State, or the party entitled to the office or 
franchise, to prevent the usurper from exer- 
cising the office or franchise. 

Section 5752. Where a person is adjudged 
to have usurped an office or franchise, he 
should be deprived thereof by the judgment 
of the Court, and the person adjudged entitled 
thereto reinstated therein, but no one shall be 
adjudged entitled thereto unless the action is 
instituted by hini. And this court shall have 
power to enforce its judgment by causing the 
books and papers and all other things pertain- 
ing to the office or franchise, to be surrendered 
by the usurper, and by preventing him from 
further exercising or using the same, and may 
etiforce its orders by fine and imprisonment 
until obeyed. 

Section 5753. Declares the usurper liable 
for fees and emoluments to the person entitled 
to the office or franchise. 

The Brooks lawyers contended 
that denial of jurisdiction by the 
Supreme Court in the quo war- 
ra7ito proceedings would «<?^ apply 
to a case brought in an inferior 
court under this statute against a 
usurper, even if the decision of the 
Supreme Judges had been prop- 
erly signed and entered of record; 
that the case in the Circuit Court 
could not be disposed of on de- 
murrer, since the fact of a previous 
contest decided between the par- 
tics must be made to appear in the 
pleading -^.s a barhy way of answer. 

The Baxter lawyers took the 
ground that the statute was opera- 
tive in the cases of other offices 
than that of Governor of the State, 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


but not operative in a contest for 
the office of Governor. The com- 
plaint showed a gubernatorial 
contest ; the Constitution, which 
was higher than the statute, gave 
exclusive )wx\s6.\cWow of such a con- 
test to the General Assembly. 
The decision of the Supreme 
Court, if properly entered, would 
declare that neither that " 7ior any 
Court in the State" had jurisdic- 
tion to determine a contest for the 
office of Governor, and would be 
binding on all the courts of the 
State. Judge Gregg's opinion did 
not go to the extent of saying 
that " no other court could exer- 
cise jusisdiction." 

Governor Baxter was examined 
by Senator Clayton afterwards, 
before the Congressional Commit- 
tee. He testified as follows, p. 

Q. In your letter to the New York Herald, 
I see that you speak of a person who assumed, 
as you say, to be an agent of mine. I infer 
that he must have been at Little Rock about 
the time I was here? A. No, previously. 

Q. Do you intend to convey the idea that 
this person visited you previously to my arri- 
val in Little Rock ? A. Yes. 

Q. Did that person show you any author- 
ity from me ? A. No, sir. 

Q. Did you consider that he really had 
any authority to speak for me? A. He spoke 
as if he was speaking for you and Senator 
Dorsey, and I understood him to include other 
prominent men in Little Rock and Washing- 
ton City. 

Q. Had you any reason from my past in- 
tercourse with you to judge that that person 

spoke by authority from me ? A. Only this : 
that the crisis, as between you and myself and 
other politicians was approaching a point 
where I suppose you did not feel at liberty to 
speak to me on a matter of that sort as you 
had done. 

Q. Give me the name of that person who 
assumed to be my agent ? A. Asa Hodges. 

Q. And the time ? A. I do not recollect 
the time, but it was during his visit to Little 
Rock, some time preceding your visit in com- 
pany with Senator Dorsey. 

Q. I have also seen it stated in some papers 
that another reason for the rupture between 
yourself and me was because you declined to 
issue bonds to me? A. I never considered 
that as a reason for our unfriendly relations. 

Q. Did you ever decline to issue bonds to 
me ? A. Never to you. 

Q. Did I ever make application for bonds 
to you ? A. No, sir. 

Elisha Baxter recalled. Exam- 
ined by Mr. Wilshire : 

Q. State what it was that produced the feel- 
ing of disrespect which you entertained to- 
ward the Legislature ? A. It was their general 
bad conduct. 

Q. Was there any combination formed by 
a portion of the Republican members which 
you regarded as dishonorable ? A. Yes, two 
of the members of the House told me that 
eleven of them had combined with the view of 
preventing the passage of any bill unless they 
pleased to allow it to go through. That was 
one instance. I understood them to mean, 
though they did not say it in so many words, 
that they had combined to let nothing go 
through unless they were paid for it 

Q. Do you know that there was an effort 
made to pass a bill for the purpose of paying 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

claimants for militia services in the militia 
operations of 1868? A. I do not know that 
it was ever introduced. I know that it was 
talked of a good deal by members. They 
seemed to be willing to act in a manner which 
I thought most disreputable and dishonor- 
able. Governor Hadley once told me in a 
conversation complaining of my course, and 
which I attempted to explain to him, that 
"he did not object to my politics, but I 
should let the boys make some money." 
Judge McClure, on one occasion, speaking of 
what is here termed the " railroad steal bill," 
said that "they" (he did not say who) after 
some reflection and conversing, " had a pool 
of $1,300,000 in bonds made up for the pur- 
pose of carrying that measure, and that they 
intended to carry it." Mr. Asa Hodges once 
proposed to me that he would blackmail Sen- 
ator Dorsey $10,000 in my favor for my sup- 
port of him for Senator. 

Mr. Asa Hodges, interrupting: "That is a 
lie !" 

Mr. Baxter: "You are another liar, sir!" 

Mr. Ward, chairman, called both gentlemen 
to order. 

Mr. Baxter : Mr. Hodges has sworn false- 
ly against me to-day, and I claim the right to 
say so. Mr. Asa Hodges, on another occa- 
sion, when I was speaking of the inconveni- 
ence of bringing my family to town and sug- 
gesting a State executive mansion, proposed 
to me that he had a fine house which would 
answer, and which he would sell for $20,000. 
That he would get through an appropriation 
for $30,000 or $50,000, and I should have the 
balance. Mr. Hodges was a member of the 
State Senate. I could tell a great many in- 
stances of the kind, but these are the promi- 
nent ones. 

By ex-Chief Justice McClure: 

Q. I would like you to state the names of 
the two members of the Legislature who repre- 

sented that there were eleven of them in com- 
bination ? A. One of them was Mr. Joce- 
lyn, a representative from Chicot, I believe. 
The other was Jacob Chapline. 

Q. Did they state the names of the other 
nine members ? A. They did not. 

Q. When was this ? A. It was during 
the Legislature of ^'J'^. 

McClure had never ceased to 
ridicule Baxter's assertion that he 
would be the Governor of the 
State, not of a party, as hypocrit- 
ical and quixotic. 

The testimony which Asa 
Hodges offered to the Congress- 
ional Committee, and which Bax- 
ter denounced as false, was as fol- 
lows : 

I wish to state that if Gov. Baxter under- 
stood me as representing myself as the agent 
of Senators Dorsey and Clayton for the pur- 
pose of interviewing him on any subject, he 
was mistaken. I made no such representa- 
tion and did not intend to convey any such 
idea to him. A good deal transpired between 
Gov. Baxter and myself on that occasion. I 
stated to Gov. Baxter that at the request of 
Senators Clayton and Dorsey I had called to 
see him for the purpose of inquiring whether 
or not he desired that they should secure an 
appointment for Mr. Brooks, in order to get 
him out of the way in the contest. He said 
that he had desired that Mr. Brooks should 
have an appointment of some kind or an- 
other, but had become indifferent about it. 
He had thought at one time, he said, of going 
to Washington to assist in procuring such an 
appointment, but he had concluded to have 
nothing more to do with it. A good deal took 
place between us which it is not necessary to 
now detail. During the conversation, how- 
ever, he said he had grown sick and tired of 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


being Governor of the State, and that a propo- 
sition had been made to him to take a Fed- 
eral judgeship and a competency and resign ; 
that he had thought of doing it, but that it 
had become necessary, in order to vindicate 
himself, to decline the proposition, and to 
serve out his time as Governor. 

I said to him that I had no doubt that if he 
desired he could still get that judgeship, pro- 
vided there was a vacancy. As to making 
him a proposition to give him a judgeship 
and a competency, it never entered into my 
head. I had only one idea in going to see 
him, and that was for the purpose of getting 
his assistance in procuring an appointment 
for Mr. Brooks, so that we might get Brooks 
out of the State, and prevent any future 
trouble in a contest and in the suit then 
pending in court. I had no idea of making 
any proposition to him, and did not intend to 
be so understood. He said to me: "You 
know, Hodges, I have said to you on one or 
two occasions, that I have no objection to 
making money, if I can make it in such a way 
as I will not be caught at it," or "will not 
criminate myself," or something to that effect. 

Mr. Baxter, interrupting: That is false. I 
never said any such thing. 

Mr. Hodges: On one or two occasions 
you have made statements of that kind to me. 
We continued our general conversation and I 
bade him good morning and left him. 

Mr. Baxter (to the Committee): My con- 
versation with Mr. Hodges about the money 
matter was this : I said that I was as anxious 
to make money as any man, and that I needed 
it, but that I would not consent to make it un- 
less I could do it honorably. In regard to the 
matter touching Mr. Brooks, I have been fre- 
quently asked if I did not wish Mr. Brooks to 
get a Federal appointment, and I believe Mr. 
Dorsey will do me the justice to say that I 
wrote a letter to him on the subject, saying 
that while I was willing that Mr. Brooks 

should have an appointment, I did not choose 
to take any part in it myself. I ask Mr. 
Dorsey whether I did not write to him to that 

Mr. Dorsey : Yes, sir. 

The position of Governor Bax- 
ter, at this juncture, would have 
discouraged many men. Those 
who had placed him in power had 
fallen away from him like leaves 
in autumn. Their methods of se- 
curing his election had necessari- 
ly reflected upon and made him 
an object of suspicion to a large 
body of the people, who had 
been bred to expect fairness in 
popular elections. The leaders 
and partisans of Mr. Brooks pub- 
licly pronounced him to be as un- 
scrupulous as his associates, and 
a willing recipient of their corrupt 
practices. As a Republican, Dem- 
ocrats mistrusted him, or prudence 
dictated they should hold them- 
selves aloof. Mr. Sayler, one of 
the Congressional Committee, 
said, when Baxter was testifying 
before them : 

Q. The thing that puzzles me about the 
whole affair is that there seems to have 
been in some way an almost entire overturn. 
They very men who elected Baxter, or who 
counted him in, seem to be now the men who 
are opposed to him, or to whom he is opposed ; 
while the men who opposed Brooks, seem now 
to be in Brooks' favor. How is this to be ex- 
plained ? What is the secret of this thing ? 

If Mr. Sayler had read Gover- 
nor Baxter's letter in the New 
York Herald^ and dispatches sent 
that paper prior to the publica- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

tion of that letter, supported as 
they were by the testimony which 
was daily offered to the Commit- 
tee, he was certainly wanting in 
penetration and understanding, 

McClure, Liberty Bartlett, Coo- 
per, Stephenson and John M. 
Clayton testified, that they dis- 
owned him nozv, and " ceased to 
regard him as a good Republican, 
when he began to appoint Demo- 
crats to office." When Cooper 
was asked to state whether Dem- 
crats of the House, of which he 
was clerk, were appointed to of- 
fice by Governor Baxter he an- 
swered : 

I made a list of them, which I now have 
here. McVeigh was appointed Prosecuting 
Attorney for the Mississippi Circuit; Robert- 
son was appointed County Superintendent of 
Public Instruction for Calhoun County ; Lynn 
was appointed Assessor for Jackson County; 
Latta was appointed Prosecuting Attorney for 
the Fifteenth District. I think Harley was ap- 
pointed Superintendent of Public Instruction 
for Dallas County. 

By Mr. Ward. 

Q. Those appointments were made by 
Baxter, after he became Governor? A. Yes, 

By Mr. Rice. 

Q. Can you tell what Republican members 
of the Legislature were appointed by him ? 
A. Yes, sir, I have got a list of them: Chas. 
F. Brown was appointed Treasurer of St. 
Francis County ; Corbell was appointed Sher- 
iff of Howard County ; Coit was appointed 
Circuit Clerk of Ouachita County : Copeland 
(colored) was appointed Sheriff of Crittenden 

County ; Davis was appointed Assessor of 
Sebastian County ; Fox was appointed Circuit 
Judge ; Grissom was appointed Assessor of 
Phillips County ; O. S. Hawkins was appointed 
Clerk of Howard County ; Havis was ap- 
pointed Assessor of Jefferson County; J.H. 
Johnson was appointed Assessor of Woodruff 
County ; McGehee was appointed Prosecut- 
ing Attorney of the Tenth District, I think ; 
Merritt was appointed Assessor of Bradley 
County ; Millen was appointed Supervisor of 
Ouachita County; Nunn was appointed As- 
sessor of Van Buren County ; Page was ap- 
pointed Circuit Clerk of Hempstead County; 
Robinson was appointed Assessor of Monroe 
County ; Sheppard was appointed Prosecuting 
Attorney of the Pope Circuit ; Shepherdson 
was appointed Assessor of Hempstead Coun- 
ty ; Kent was appointed Circuit Judge ; J. M. 
Murphy, Supervisor of Pulaski County ; Mc- 
Leod, Sheriff of Dorsey County ; Marshall, 
Supervisor of Howard County ; Stewart, As- 
sessor of Lee County ; Turner, Sheriff of 
Faulkner County ; Warwick, Chancellor of 
Pulaski County; A. M. Hawkins, Supervisor 
of Little River County; Furbush (colored), 
Sheriff of Lee County; Kingston was ap- 
pointed Circuit Judge. I think there were 28 
Republicans and 5 Democrats appointed to 
office, by Baxter, out of the Legislature. 

Governor Baxter, in answer to 
the question asked by Mr. Sayler 
of the Congressional Committee, 
said : 

Judge McClure says, speaking of me, " He 
commenced the appointment of Democrats to 
office." In regard to that I desire to say this : 
A good portion of the time that we were can- 
vassing, Senator Clayton \yas with me. In the 
northwest, I came across a young man who 
was partly raised in my own county, a prom- 
ising young lawyer, up there. I suggested to 
Senator Clayton that if he thought it would 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arka7isas. 


not work injury to the cause, I would like to 
appoint that young man, Mr. Peay, Prosecu- 
ting Attorney, and he consented to it. Of 
course I was not compelled to ask his con- 
sent, but I did ask it. I also told him that as 
my own successor as Judge, if I were elected 
Governor, I would appoint Mr. Butler, to 
which he consented. I also told him I would 
appoint Mr. Harrell, Prosecuting Attorney of 
this circuit, a pleasant affable gentleman, 
although a Democrat, and to that Senator 
Clayton also consented. With these excep- 
tions, I do not know that I had appointed 
other Democrats to office, at least until the 
breach had become widened between us. 
These were consented to by Senator Clayton, 
who was the representative man of the Repub- 
lican party here. I will say further that before 
finally making these appointments, I called 
the Republican Senators together and sug- 
gested to them that I intended to appoint 
these men. As I now remember, every Re- 
publican Senator was present except Mr. 
Duke, and he was absent from town. I did 
not name them all. There was no dissent at 
all expressed. Thereupon I sent in the name 
of Mr. Butler for Judge of the Circuit Court, 
and so far as I know he was unanimously 
confirmed by the Senate. Judge McClure 
says that "he opened upon me in his paper." 
So far as I know, when Judge McClure did 
open upon me in his paper, I had not made a 
Democratic appointinent. 

The war on Gov. Baxter was 
waged because he did not act 
upon ex-Gov. Hadley's hint, when 
the latter said : " Baxter, I have 
no objection to your politics, but 
you should let the boys make 
some money." What money? 
The money that was to be wrung 
from the hard hands of an impov- 
erished people, by such measures 

as the railroad steal bill? The 
farmers of Arkansas, white and 
black, women and children, were 
working barefooted, living upon 
insufficient diet, already plundered 
to destitution. Yet their scanty 
stock and stores were to be fur- 
ther taxed to release great corpo- 
rations from indebtedness, and 
interest thereon at eight per cent, 
of millions, and to pay interest on 
bonds sold by such promoters as 
Josiah Caldwell, in New York and 
London, for fifty or sixty per cent 
of their face value, in order that a 
horde of idle strangers, without 
right, or merit, should live in vi- 
cious indulgence. 

Baxter stood alone, exposed to 
the temptations of Dorsey, the 
deluding suggestions of Asa 
Hodges, the object of the con- 
temptuous vituperation and men- 
aces of the Republica?i, and super- 
cilious criticism of the Gazette. 

The people were slowly realiz- 
ing Baxter's attitude. They were 
asking : Where now stands the 
" Reformer " Brooks, our 

" Boanerges with his threats of doom, and 
loud-lunged anti-Babylonianism? " 

Cheek by jowl with " the thieves " 
with whom he threatened to fill 
the jails and penitentiaries " until 
their legs and arms should stick 
out of the windows." The first 
plan of this strange coalition of 
Brooks and McClure was the le- 
gitimate and apparently feasible 
one of reopening the contest of 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Brooks before the General Assem- 
bly. This movement was inau- 
gurated, accordingly, on the 19th 
of April, when Representative 
Thrower, Democrat, of Ouachita 
County, presented to the House 
the petition of Joseph Brooks, 
asking the right to contest the 
seat of Elisha Baxter as Governor 
of the State. This step gave a 
serious aspect to the state of af- 
fairs, and set people to thinking. 
The public conclusion in regard 
to it was expressed in the Gazette's 
article of the 22d of April, entitled 
" Governor Baxter's fight with the 
Ring." The article read as fol- 
lows : 

People living outside of the Capital and not 
acquainted with the inside workings of the 
ring politicians of this city, can hardly form a 
conception of the nature of the fight which 
Gov. Baxter is making against the ring of 
desperate political plunderers who have con- 
trolled this State in the name of Republican- 
ism for the last five years. The announce- 
ment that he would be impeached if he should 
veto the railroad bond release bill, and other 
Kindred measures for wrecking the property 
and crushing the liberty of the people of this 
State, has developed the secret of the ani- 
mosity of the most powerful "ring" that ever 
cursed a State. 

The bringing on of the petition of Joseph 
Brooks, asking to contest the right of Baxter 
to the executive office is a movement on the 
part of the very men who put Baxter in that 
position, and who lately denounced Brooks in 
ttie vilest terms. 

Representative McVeigh, in op- 
position to the motion to receive 

the petition, made a truly eloquent 
speech : 

At whose wish is this contest now asked 
to be allowed ? Not by the Democrats, all of 
whom had most strongly urged Mr. Brooks 
not to bring the subject into the House at this 
late day. No ! The patrons of this move- 
ment are the very men who, in the late can- 
vass, had exhausted the vocabulary of bill- 
ingsgate for epithets of abuse and reproach to 
lavish upon the present petitioner. The men 
who now favor this measure are those who 
loudly swore that Baxter was elected by a 
most decided majority ; men who with a kind 
of imperial authority declared that no investi- 
gation should take place, hvX made the claim 
of the " Old Brindle Bull" a subject of their 
sneers and witticisms. 

Hence we, on this side of the House, are 
found, almost to a man, opposing the petition 
as unwise and inopportune. We all know, 
from the evidence of our senses, that a tre- 
mendous pressure has been brought to bear 
against Governor Baxter, to force him to ap- 
prove certain measures destructive of the ma- 
terial interests of the people of this State. 
We have found him firm and immovable, un- 
dismayed by threats of impeachment or cJf 
being dismissed by this Assembly from office. 

Cunningham, of Izard, made an 
able speech against it. 

The request to present the peti- 
tion was rejected by a vote of 63 
to 9 — many of the Minstrels, 
knowing the temper of the House, 
voted with the Democrats against 
it upon the call for the ayes and 

On the 27th of April, about 
midnight, as the Legislature was 
about to dissolve, the Senate 
passed the Railroad Release 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


(steal) Bill, in an amended form, 
leaving off the provision requiring 
a levy of three mills in currency. 
It was immediately sent to the 
House where its authors were con- 
fident of its passage. But the 
House, about half an hour previ- 
ous to adjornment, took the bill 
up and defeated it. And so this 
infamous measure was killed. 

In his testimony before the Po- 
land Committee, Governor Baxter 
corrects an amusing misapplica- 
tion of language used by Brooks, 
his oppenent in the gubernatorial 
canvass. He said, '* Mr. Burton 
quotes me as saying that the pen- 
itentiary should be filled so full of 
McClure, Clayton & Co., that their 
legs would stick out of the win- 
dows. It was Mr. Brooks who 
made that remark, and repeated it 

Mr. Burtofi: " That was a typo- 
graphical mistake in my testimo- 
ny. I meant Brooks, not Baxter." 

Gov. Baxter, in his examination 
before the Congressional Commit- 
tee, was asked by Mr. Howard : 

Q. Do you know whether at any time 
during the difficulties instigated by Mr. 
Brooks and his friends, Mr. Brooks made any 
statement in regard to what he would do if 
he succeeded in his attempt to get possession 
of the government. I call your attention to 
a public statement made over Mr. Brooks' 
signature and published in the New York 
Herald^. A. I never had any direct com- 
munication with Mr. Brooks since November, 
1872, either written or verbal. 

before the Congressional Commit- 
tee, alluded to the great embar- 
rassment which omission to file 
and enter the decision on the 
qtio warranto proceedings caused 

Examined by Senator Clayton. 

Q. I wanted you to disband the militia ; to 
muster all out — Democrats and Republicans ? 
A. Yes. 

Q. On the ground, first, that the militia 
was unnecessary ; second, that the disband- 
ment of the militia would produce a feeling 
among Republicans that the militia was not in 
the hands of men who would persecute them ? 
A. Yes, you talked a good deal in that way, 
but you finally demanded it of me. 

Q. Demanded it in that way: that the 
thing I proposed to have done could not be 
done unless that (disbandment) was done? 
A. You finally demanded it of me with an 
oath. You said that it must be done, or that 
I would never have the benefit of the quo -war- 
ranto decision ! 

Q. How could I say that, when the decis- 
ion had been rendered? A. It had been 
rendered, but it had not been filed. 

Q. Could that have affected the quo war- 
ranto decision ? A. I think that the judges 
would have refused to file it, and there would 
have been no evidence of it. I thought it im- 
portant to have the decision spread upon the 
record. I say, however, in the main, that you 
have treated me kindly until this thing com- 
menced. * * * But I vvill tell you 
frankly (and I hope you will excuse me, for I 
am under oath) that I never did think the ar- 
rangements (to have decision filed, as the 
consideration of his disbanding the militia) 
was sincerely entered into, and I do not think 
so yet. 

Gov. Baxter, in his testimony There nowhere appears in the 

The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

records any testimony of Judge 
Whytock or Mr. Whipple. 

Senator Clayton appeared vol- 
untarily before the Poland Com- 
mittee of Congress and testified 
as follows, p. 452 : 

I desire to say, that I never authorized any 
person — Mr. Hodges or any one else — to make 
a proposition of the character alluded to in 
Governor Baxter's statement as published in 
the New York Herald. 

Questioned by Mr. Baxter. 

Q. Do you know that Mr. Hodges never 
made such a statement? A. I do not know 
anything about that. He says he did not. I 
only desire to say, that every proposition of 
that character by which I was approached 
looking toward your resigning, or getting out 
of the office of Governor, I always set aside 
as a thing not to be thought of at all. 

This was all the testimony of- 
fered before the Poland Commit- 
tee by Powell Clayton, p. 211. 

John McClure testified, at con- 
siderable length before the com- 
mittee. After testifying that, as 
Chairman of the Republican State 
Central Committee, and for the 
use of the Little Rock Republican, 
he had obtained, at the office of 
Governor Hadley, from time to 
time returns of the election of 
1872 and on that point only, here 
omitted, he was asked the follow- 
ing question by Mr. Rice, p. 212 : 

Q. It was your understanding that there 
was an effort made on the part of the Brooks 
men, to get the men who were elected on the 
same ticket with Brooks, those who were re- 
turned and those who were not certified by 

Johnson, to make a separate organization? 
A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Was it the effort of yourself and others 
who supported Baxter, to prevent that ? A. 
We did not desire anything of the sort. 

Q. You very strongly desired that it should 
not occur ? A. Yes. 

Q. Do you know any means through 
which the bottom dropped out of that move- 
ment? A. There was a little coquetting on 
that subject between some Democrats and 

Q. That coquetting I want to get at. State 
all about it ? A. I do not know that I can 
state all about it. I had a good many conver- 
sations as to the policy which should prevent 
the organization of two Legislatures. How it 
was to be brought about I do not remember 
exactly, but I recollect Smithee coming to me 
about it. 

Q. Who was he ? A. He was connected 
with the Gazette. I believe he is some kind 
of a State officer now, through appointment of 
Governor Baxter. The Gazette was at the 
time opposing two legislative organizations. 
The congressional certificates had not been 
issued, either to Gunter or Gause (Democrats), 
or to Wilshire and Hodges (Republibans), by 
Governor Hadley. Smiihee said he wanted 
Gause and Gunter to have their certificates : 
said if they could get their certificates, this 
proposition of making an outside organization 
of the Legislature by the Brooks men would 
be defeated. Well, that was something tang- 
ible, I asked about how many of the Brooks 
men he could control. My impression is 
that he said something between from eighteen 
to twenty-three. 

Q. You mean that eighteen or twenty-three 
members, who Johnson, the Secretary of State, 
had put on ihe roll, could be taken into your or- 
ganization ? A. Yes, Democrats, I call them. 
Smithee seemed to have some idea in his 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 

head that if I could stave over the issuing of 
the certificates during Hadley's term, Cause 
and Gunter would have no difficulty in get- 
ting their certificates from Baxter after his 
inauguration. I said I thought that could be 
done. A night or two before Hadley's term 
was to expire, Smithee and Gause came to me 
in a room in the Metropolitan Hotel, or at all 
events we three were there together. Mr. 
Smithee seemed exercised about a conversa- 
tion he had had with Governor Hadley. He 
said he was afraid that Hadley was going to 
issue the certificates for Congress before he 
went out of office. 

Q. To whom was he going to issue them ? 
A. To Wilshire and Hodges. I told him I 
did not think there was any danger of that. I 
said, I will go and see Hadley about it. I 
have no idea that he is going to do it, but I 
will go and see him. 

Q. Did you succeed in hedging over Had- 
ley's giving the certificates ? A. Hadley did 
not give the certificates. 

Q. Did they furnish the eighteen or twen- 
ty-three men whom they agreed to have go 
into your Legislature? A. They all went in. 

Q. They took the thing from us (Reform- 
ers) ? A. They burst the thing up. 

Q. And that explains the falling through 
of the proposition for a separate organization 
of the Legislature ? A. I do not know that 
that explains it. I am only stating what I do 

This evidence discloses the vigi- 
lant action of the Democrats to 
secure their rightful representa- 
tion in the National Legislature, 
Baxter, however, refused to issue 
the certificates. Judge McClure 
continued his testimony as to the 
returns, on cross-examination by 
Mr, Wilshire, and on that point 


his testimony is omitted here. 
The cross-examination was con- 
tinued : 

Q, With reference to the apprehended dan- 
ger of a separate government being established 
here by the organization of another Legislature 
outside the State House or elsewhere, state, 
if you know, whether Mr. Hadley, the then 
acting Governor, was not apprehensive of the 
same danger? A. I think he was, 

Q. What do you know about an arrange- 
ment to have a regiment of U. S, Soldiers sent 
here to preserve the peace at the installation 
of the new government? A. My impression 
is that some representation was made to the 
President, that there was likely to be difficulty 

Q. Who made it, — whether Governor Had- 
ley or some other influences? A. I do not 
know. I only know that a regiment of U, S, 
soldiers came here about that time. (More 
questions and answers about the troops). 

Q. Were you connected with any newspa- 
per at that time, if so, in what capacity? A. 
I was president of the Little Rock Printing & 
Publishing Company, which was publishing 
the Little Rock daily and weekly Republican. 

Q. Were you the editor of that paper at 
that time? A. I do not know that I was 
really its editor, but I wrote a good many ar- 
ticles for it. 

Q. Did you not write editorials for that 
paper, at the time of the organization of the 
Legislature,and for some time afterwards,stat- 
ing it as your opinion that Mr. Baxter was 
elected. A. I am offering a reward for any 
editorial in which I ever announced the fact 
that Baxter was elected. 

Q. Did not editorials of that character ap- 
pear in that paper? A. That may have been 
so, but I liad no supervision over the general 
editorials of the paper, I wrote when I felt 

The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

like it. If I did not supply editorials, some- 
body else did, and I did not see them until I 
saw them in print. 

Q. Did you contribute, or think you con- 
tributed toward inducing Mr. Hadley not to 
issue certificates of election (to Congress) of 
Asa Hodges and myself? A. I do not know 
about that. 

Q. Did you ever have a conversation with 
him on the subject ? A. I had a conversa- 
tion with Hadley, in which I stated to him 
that if these certificates were withheld, Smithee 
had said he would do what I have already 

Q. Do you not think that the non-issuance 
of those certificates by Mr. Hadley was the 
result of your information and advice, that you 
might capture these Democratic members of 
the Legislature ? A. It may have been, or it 
may not have been. 

Q. What do you think about it? A. I 
would not be surprised if that had something 
to do with it. 

By Mr. Ward (member of the 
committee) : 

Q. Did Hadley issue the certificates at all? 
A. No, sir, not in these two cases. 

Witness was then asked about 
Baxter's appointment of Demo- 
crats to office, but named fewer 
such than had been named already 
by Mr. Baxter in his testimony. 
He was re-examined by Mr. Rice 
as to the military around the State 
House when Baxter was inaugur- 

Q. Do you mean that you would not dis- 
approve of it now, as a political move ? A. 
It was rumored at that time that Mr. Brooks' 
friends were likely at any moment to make a 
raid on the State House, and to take it for the 

purpose of organizing the Legislature in the 
Capitol. In order to prevent a thing of that 
kind, I thought it a matter of precaution, I 
would, under similar circumstances, again 
put a guard over the State House to hold it. 

This, with a few additional an- 
swers to Mr. Rice's questions, 
which, eliciting nothing positive, 
completed the testimony of Judge 
McClure before the committee. 
The ex-chief justice was not ex- 
amined as to the disposition of the 
orders of the State Supreme Court 
in the quo ivarranto case, or as to 
administering the oath of office to 
Mr. Brooks. 

Soon after the oath of office 
was administered by McClure to 
Brooks, upon the snap judgment 
of Whytock, Brooks, with a body- 
guard of his immediate friends, 
entered the executive office, where 
Gov. Baxter was seated, attended 
only by his son. Brooks, Catter- 
son, James L. Hodges, Toot Dil- 
lon, a son of Mr. Brooks, and An- 
derson, short-hand reporter, en- 
tered together at one door, while 
a larger party, unseen by Baxter, 
filled a room that communicated 
with the Governor's private office. 
Oliver and Cutter made their way 
to the empty armory. Mr. Brooks 
addressed Baxter in a severe tone, 
informing him that he had quali- 
fied as Governor before the Chief 
Justice, and had come to enter 
upon the discharge of his duties 
as Governor. He demanded the 
books and papers of the office, as 
a right which he only might exer- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


cise, and forbade the removal of 
anything pertaining to the office. 
Catterson said that he would 
be at liberty to leave the office 
unmolested, unless he offered re- 
sistance, in which case force would 
be used to expel him, or to place 
him in military custody. The 
retiring Governor confronted this 
unexpected intrusion calmly. As 
he rose from his seat he said that 
he was alone, he had ho means of 
resistance, and could only protest 
against this lawless invasion of the 
office of the State executive. 
There was nothing left but for 
him to retire and submit to force 
and violence, against which he 
had been guaranteed by repeated 
assurances of the men who were 
now putting Mr. Brooks forward, 
when all lawful means had failed. 
He submitted to indignity for the 
present, but to such violent usur- 
pation of his office he would never 
submit willingly. Accompanied 
by his son, he passed out of the 
State-house yard and walked 
slowly down Markham street to 
the Anthony House. No one 
meeting him would have supposed 
that anything unusual had hap- 
pened to him. 

Before night, as he has testi- 
fied, " the city was an armed 
camp." The "Minstrels" and 
"Brindles" collected all their 
"forces" in the State House and 
acted in unison to convert it into 
a military stronghold, " Gen." Cat- 
terson taking military command 

under " Gov." Brooks. The mi- 
litia General Newton, and subor- 
dinates, heretofore appointed by 
Baxter, immediately mustered the 
regularly organized "forces" in 
the city, and issued orders to those 
of adjacent counties to march with 
least possible delay and place 
themselves under the Governor's 
command at the State Capital. 
The Governor, under escort of the 
students of St. John's College, a 
military institute in the city, first 
took up headquarters at the col- 
lege, but subsequently returned to 
the Anthony House, which was in 
the second block east of the State 


" O, you poor cat's-paws of spite, 
Ain't there 'nough things for to fight? 
Ain't there rust, an' tempest, an' blight — 

Ain't tliere misery sore an' deep? 
Ain't there ignorance an' wrong 
An' what woes to them belong 
But that you must fight each other 'bout 
A brindle calf and sheep?" 

— Wilt Cartel07u 

" A spy — a spy," were the words 
he heard, and turned quickly to 
learn whence they emanated. He 
saw that there were a number of 
armed cadets in the hall — but all 
of them wore an expression of 
lamb-like innocence. He was a 
"long time citizen" — an old set- 
tler, and yet not old in years, and 
had for a companion a dapper 
youth who was a stranger. They 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

had been up to the recitation 
room of St. John's College to call 
on Gov. Baxter. As they were 
about to pass out through the 
gothic doorway, which was the 
main entrance to the building, the 
cadets, standing guard, barred 
their exit with locked bayonets. 
It was then that the words were 
spoken that excited the citizen's 

"Wot t' 'ell," asked he of Maj. 
Peay, who commanded the cadets. 
"Say, wot's the kids' racket?" 

" They have orders not to let 
you pass," said the officer, firmly 
but blandly. 

" T' 'ell !" exclaimed the citizen 
with a puzzled look. " I'll see 
wot ails 'em," and turned back up 
stairs, leaving the young stranger 

He saw the Governor still quiet- 
ly conversing with Gen. Newton, 
seated on a plain, unpainted 
" form," or school-bench, too nar- 
row for a seat of a person of the 
Governor's proportions, and too 
low to be comfortable. It was 
the only piece of furniture, except 
a few others like it, and the Gov- 
ernor and the General were the 
only persons he then saw in the 
room : chilly with its bare floor, 
bare, plaster walls and broken 

" Governor, they stopped us at 
the door," said the citizen. " The 
kids: they said they had or- 

*' Go down," interposed Gen, 

Newton, seriously, "and tell them 
to let you out, both of you." 

With some question in his mind 
how this simple message would be 
received, but without another 
word, the citizen went down. He 
repeated the order that had been 
given him. Without further par- 
ley he and his companion were 
permitted to pass out. 

At the foot of the high steps 
leading from the college entrance, 
the citizen hesitated, and saying 
to the young man, "Wait here a 
minute, I wish to see the mug and 
ask him what worked the kids," 
he went back, and seeking the 
commandant, addressed him : 

" Sav ! give us the tip about the 

"Oh," said the Major. "The 
word was passed that your friend 
was a spy from the State-house 
crowd, and then I got orders not 
to let him out without an investi- 

"And I am a chump?" asked 
the citizen, sarcastically. 

" No, it seems you are not, as 
you got out," replied the Major, 

The citizen and his companion 
passed on across the campus to 
the entrance of the United States 
Arsenal grounds, in the city sub- 
urbs. In the arsenal the State 
•arms were stored — fifteen hundred 
stands of rjfles, perhaps some can- 
non. It lay some few hundred 
yards west of the college, was sur- 
rounded by spacious grounds, 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


filled with noble trees, which were 
putting on Nature's passementerie 
of opening buds and stamenifer- 
ous tassels. It was drizzling rain. 
The visitants chose their way- 
through the, grounds for the sake 
of the protection the trees af- 
forded against the shower. There 
were a few United States infantry- 
men lounging about the barracks, 
and a sentinel at the front gate. 
A city hack was standing at the 
gate, and this the two pedestrians 
were lucky enough to procure to 
take them back to town. 

The youth was the telegraphic 
reporter of the New York Herald. 
Him the citizen had found and en- 
gaged to send his first "special" 
to the Herald, giving an account 
of Baxter's expulsion from the ex- 
ecutive office, as the citizen should 
frame it. The youth declined, at 
first, unless the Governor himself 
should write it. But he compro- 
mised on being assured that he 
should see the Governor, and be 
requested by him to send it writ- 
ten as the citizen should instruct 
him. He was fancifully attired, 
had been seen moving among the 
Brooks people, perhaps, by some 
of the college "kids," and was 
mistrusted by them. Hence the 
cry he had heard in the college 
corridor. He did not speak of it. 

When the two reached a room 
where there were writing materi- 
als, gas and fire, which the humid 
day rendered comfortable, they 
addressed themselves at once to 

formulating the dispatch. The 
citizen wrote and the reporter 
copied. It was not long until the 
citizen saw it in the hands of the 
right man at the office of the tele- 
graph company, which was close 
at hand. 

About dark the citizens were 
aroused by music and shouting at 
the Anthony House. It was the 
return of Gov. Baxter and Gen. 
Newton to the Anthony House 
from St. John's College. Files of 
the cadets marched in front and 
rear of his carriage. Citizens fell 
in behind it and formed a rapidly- 
increasing escort until the pro- 
cession reached the old hotel. 
The gathering crowd greeted the 
Republican official as he alighted 
with cheers and cries of " Hurrah 
for Baxter;" "Good-bye, Old 
Brindle;" "Down with Clayton 
and Poker Jack;" "Theives to 
the rear," and the like. Conserv- 
atives, who had been zealous sup- 
porters of Brooks, now came up 
to Baxter, congratulated him on 
his fidelity to his duty, and 
pledged him personal and mate- 
rial aid. 

They said it had come to a 
question of enslavement and im- 
poverishment under negro rule, or 
American citizenship, growth and 
enterprise. These were to be ut- 
terly struck down by a system 
which proposed riot in oppres- 
sion, vice and crime. 

On the i6th of April, just pre- 
vious to his moving his quarters 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

from St. John's College, Gov. 
Baxter proclaimed the existence 
of martial law in the County of 
Pulaski [at the seat of government] 
through the following proclama- 
tion : 

Whereas, An armed rebellion exists in the 
County of Pulaski against the State Govern- 
ment, and it becomes necessary to employ all 
the force at my disposal to suppress it, there- 
fore, by authority vested in me by lav^r, I 
hereby proclaim the existence of martial law 
within the said county, and command all per- 
sons capable of military duty to assist in the 
putting down of said rebellion. 

During the time that martial law shall thus 
prevail, every infringement of the rights of 
peaceable and well-disposed persons will be 
severely punished, by whomsoever it may be 
committed. The utmost respect shall be paid 
by all persons to citizens not in arms, and to 
their property, and to that of the Federal 

In testimony whereof, I, Elisha Baxter, 
Governor of the State of Arkansas, do hereto 
set my hand and private seal, i/ie seal of said 
State not now being accessible to the Gov- 
ernor of the State. 

Done at Little Rock, this i6th day of April, 

Governor of Arkansas and Com.-in-Chief. 

The reporter had copied the 
telegraphic message to the Herald 
in his own hand from slips rapidly- 
written by the citizen, so that the 
latter had his own copy. He read 
it over. He said to himself, " I 
believe this presents the main 
points^ of the imbroglio. It will 
reach the President and his cabi- 
net through the Herald, to-day. 

It will be the first consistent ver- 
sion to reach him, and will cause 
the first impression. Then let them 
telegraph, petition, send delegates 
as often as they please. The situ- 
ation is parallel with the Louisi- 
ana experiment. McEnery was 
dispersed, and Kellogg, the un- 
speakable, recognized. He rep- 
resented the party machine," 

The following is the dispatch to 
the New York Herald, which that 
paper contained in its issue of the 
15th of April, 1874, and was read 
in Washington at breakfast the 
same day. The dispatch had 
hardly been transmitted when Gov. 
Baxter took military possession of 
the telegraph office and placed 
the management in control of a 
chief chosen from among the 
operators. This step followed so 
soon upon citizen's visit as to seem 
to have been suggested by it. 

Little Rock, Ark., April 15, 9 r. m. 
In the case of Brooks vs. Baxter, in the 
nisi prius court of the Little Rock circuit, 
brought last summer, stating that Baxter was 
a usurper, Circuit Judge Whytock, at ten 
o'clock this morning, overruled the demurrer 
of plaintiff as to jurisdiction and issued a writ 
of ouster. This occurred in the absence of 
Gov. Baxter's counsel. Chief Justice McClure 
immediately administered the oath of office to 
Brooks, and soon after Sheriff Oliver served 
a writ on Gov. Baxter at the executive office. 
He was accompanied by Brooks and an 
armed guard. Brooks demanded possession 
of the office, was refused, and then declared 
himself in forcible possession. Brooks' 
friends had possessed themselves of the Capi- 
tol, and had broken into the State armory and 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


seized guns and ordnance. Brooks sent word 
to say he could not see your correspondent 
yet. The Capitol halls are filled with ex- 
cited groups. Gov. Baxter, on leaving the 
State House, went to the Anthony House and 
held a consultation with his friends and coun- 
sel, then drove to St. John's College, on the 
outskirts of the city. The Brtioks party are 
jubilant and defiant. It is asserted that the 
couj) d'etat was planned by Messrs. Clayton 
and Dorsey, when here at Easter, after failing 
to agree with Gov. Baxter regarding the man- 
agement of the fall elections. Brooks has 
revoked all Baxter's militia appointments, 
commissioned R. F. Catterson Adjutant Gen- 
eral and Jack Brooker Major General. I 
went to Baxter's headquarters, in St. John's 
College, at three o'clock. The entrance was 
guarded, Baxter said to your correspondent 
that he would act vigorously ; that he had 
plenty of arms at his disposal at the United 
Stales Arsenal. Baxter is organizing the 
militia. Gen. Robert C. Newton will call out 
the militia. There will probably be blood- 
shed if the Government allows them to fight 
it out. The State House and grounds are 
well guarded to-night, over 300 Brooks men 
under arms. There is great excitement here, 
and the people from the country are arriving 
in masses. 

Joseph Brooks, who claims as the Reform 
candidate to have been elected Governor in 

1872, took the oath of office about eleven 
o'clock this morning before Chief Justice Mc- 
Clure, and within five minutes from that time 
seized forcible possession of the Governor's 
office and ejected the regular Republican offi- 
cial, Elisha Baxter, who by the returns of the 
election and the General Assembly was de- 
clared and installed as Governor January, 

1873. About one year ago Brooks com- 
menced suit in the Circuit Court of Pulaski 
County against Baxter as an usurper of the 
office of Governor. This was shortly after 
the Attorney General had commenced suit 

against Gov. Baxter by quo warranto in the 
Supreme Court, and after the latter court had 
rendered a decision that the courts of the 
State had no power to decide a contested elec- 
tion for the ofifice of Governor. By the State 
constitution it is provided that the Legislat- 
ure, in joint session, shall canvass the returns 
for Governor, and announce the candidate 
elected, and all contests for Governor shall 
be decided by that body. The Legislature, 
in 1873, canvassed the returns and declared 
that Mr. Baxter was elected. Subsequently 
that body rejected the petition of Brooks to 
contest Baxter's election. Nothing more was 
thought of the matter particularly until a few 
days ago, when the attorneys of Gov. Baxter 
desired that the "usurpation" case in the 
Circuit Court of Brooks vs. Baxter be taken 
up on demurrer at an early day, with the ob- 
ject of disposing of the same. An under- 
standing was then had that the demurrer 
should be submitted and argued next week, 
no day being agreed upon, as the United 
States Court was in session. On Monday, 
during the absence of the attorneys of Gov. 
Baxter, Mr. Whipple, the attorney of Brooks, 
arose and stated that it had been agreed be- 
tween himself and the counsel of Gov. Baxter 
that a demurrer to the jurisdiction of the Cir- 
cuit Court should be submitted. This, al- 
though in the absence of Gov. Baxter's attor- 
neys, was thought nothing of at the time. 
Yesterday morning, about eleven o'clock, 
when there were but few in the courtroom and 
neither of the Governor's counsel present, 
Circuit Judge Whytock announced his de- 
cision, overruling the demurrer. None of 
Baxter's counsel being present to answer, 
plead over or move for an appeal, he then 
rendered final judgment and a writ of ouster 
was issued out of said inferior court against 
Baxter, then in charge of the office, in favor of 
Brooks, claimant. In five minutes from that 
time an armed mob, headed by Brooks en- 
tered the Governor's office demanding pos- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

session. The Governor declined to yield, 
whereupon forcible possession was taken and 
guards placed at all the entrances to the office. 
In the meantime, Gen. Catterson, who claimed 
to act as Brooks' Adjutant General, in the same 
building took possession of about one hun- 
dred stand of arms, Adjutant General Strong, 
of Gov. Baxter's staff, refusing to give up the 
keys, although surrounded by armed men. 
Baxter refused to be ejected except by force, 
when some of Brooks' men took hold of him 
and led him out. Since that time Brooks has 
had possession of the State House. Gov. 
Baxter has established his headquarters at 
St. John's College. The greatest excitement 
prevails throughout the city. 

The dispatch was mistaken in 
saying a writ of ouster had been 
issued. Gen. Catterson, as Brooks' 
Adjutant General, took military- 
possession and ejected the occu- 
pants of the executive office by 
armed force without any writ. 

The following dispatch was 
sent by Gov. Baxter to the Presi- 
dent : 

Little Rock, Ark., April 15, 1874. 
To the President of the United States: 

I have been advised by public rumor that 
in the State Circuit Court for this county, in a 
long-pending case brought by Joseph Brooks 
for the office of Governor of this State, a de- 
murrer to the complaint was overruled and 
an immediate judgment of "ouster" against 
me given. This was done in the absence of 
counsel for me and without notice, and im- 
mediately thereafter the circuit judge ad- 
journed his court. The claimant has taken 
possession of the State buildings and ejected 
me by force. I propose to take measures im- 
diately to resume possession of the State 
property and to maintain my authority as 
rightful Governor of the State. Armed men> 

acting under this revolutionary movement, 
are now in charge of the government armory 
and Capitol buildings. I deem it my duty to 
communicate this state of affairs to the Presi- 
dent. I trust the revolutionary acts may be 
settled without bloodshed, and respectfully 
ask the support of the general government in 
my effort to maintain the rightful govern- 
ment of the State of Arkansas, and that the 
commander of the United States Arsenal at 
this post be directed to sustain me in that 
direction. I respectfully request a reply to 
this communication at an early moment. 
Governor of Arkansas. 

Gen. Catterson now walked the 
State House as military comman- 
der. Gen. Upham was his Assistant 
Adjutant General, par nobile fra- 
triim. Rev. Mr. Brooks, now Gov- 
ernor and Commander-in-chief, 
on taking possession April i6th 
of the office, issued his first proc- 
lamation as Governor and Com- 
mander-in-chief, which is here 
reproduced, except the introduc- 
tion, which goes into the facts of 
his election, petition of contest, 
suit and judgment against Baxter 
for the office, which are now fa- 
miliar by repeated mention. His 
spcond paragraph began : 

Being in the office, it is fair that I, to some 
extent, define my future policy, which adher- 
ents of Elisha Baxter will no doubt misrepre- 
sent, for the purpose of advancing personal 
interest and gratifying their ambition. 

For my political tenets, I respectfully refer 
you to the platform of the Reform Party, on 
which I was a candidate in 1872. From the 
principles there enunciated I have not departed, 
and God helping me, I never will ! * * * 

of the Reconstructioti Period in Arkansas. 


Efforts no doubt will be made by designing 
men to convey the impression that it is the 
duty of the people to rally to the standard of 
a man who, no doubt, will claim he is Gov- 
ernor of Arkansas, that you all know was not 
elected, and who has not more right or claim 
to the office than any one of you have, that 
was not a candidate, for the purpose of plac- 
ing that man again in the executive c>ffice 
{sic). I say frankly to you that all such at- 
tempts will lead to strife and bloodshed, for I 
shall resist and suppress the action of all 
mobs that may assemble together under the 
banner or at the call of Elisha Baxter! No 
man in the State can more deeply regret 
strife and bloodshed than myself. But feel- 
ing as I do that self-government, rather 
than self-aggrandizement, is in the issue, I 
shall employ every means to maintain its 

Elisha Baxter forced me from the legislat- 
ure to the courts, and thus far I have patiently 
borne with the law's delay, at all times feel- 
ing that justice would be done me. By the 
judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction 
I am in the executive office. When it is ad- 
judicated that I am not there legally, I will 
bow my head in silence to the decree of the 
court, be it what it may. The power that 
Elisha Baxter used to force me into the courts, 
I will use to make him respect and abide its 
decrees. To one and all I say, keep quiet 
and pursue your different vocations \your ser- 
vices are not needed at the capital to preserve 
either peace or good order. Should the time 
come when they will be needed you will be 
notified in due time through proper chan- 

Governor of Arkansas. 

Gov. Baxter also issued a proc- 
lamation " to the people," from 
his headquarters at the Anthony 

House. The following extracts 
will show its bearing : 

Executive Office, 1 
Little Rock, April 16, 1874./ 
To the People of Arkansas : 


An insurrection, organized in the interest of 
certain parties, disappointed in an attempt to 
secure the influence of the executive for pro- 
posed frauds in the approaching election has 
effected the seizure of the capitol, and now 
attempts to usurp the functions of government. 
The momentary success of this insurrection, 
as far as regards the occupation of the build- 
ing, has been owing to that security which 
the political traditions of the American peo- 
ple give to legitimate government in time of 

The armed sentries and loaded cannon 
which, for the moment, support the usurpa- 
tion within the precincts of the State House 
had ftot beeji dee?ned requisite to the mainte- 
nance of a recogjiized government. The oc- 
cupation of the building, unexpected and 
forcible, could not at the instant be success- 
fully resisted. Aversion to unnecessaiy 
bloodshed has, for a few hours, withheld the 
arm of the State Government from the imme- 
diate vindication of its rights and dignity. 

Forbearance has seemed only to embolden 
the impudence of the handful of insurgents. 
Forbearance therefore is at an end ! General 
Order No. i, from headquarters of the mili- 
tia of Arkansas, of date correspondent with 
that of this proclamation, declares martial law 
in the County of Pulaski. It is due the people 
of the State that the circumstances which 
have rendered necessary this course of action. 

[Here Gov. Baxter enters at 
length in his version of the facts 
and law attending the efforts and 
failure of Mr. Brooks to establish 
his claims, and continues : ] 

The Brooks afid Baxter War: a History 

In pursuance ol a plot, already matured, in 
anticipation of the decision of the Circuit 
Court, the conspirators, forgetting in their 
haste that no -writ of ouster had been issued, 
betook themselves to the room where the 
Chief Justice (the sole dissenter from the de- 
cision of the Supreme Court in the matter) 
awaited them, by appointment, and then, 
armed with his attestation to Mr. Brooks' 
oath of office, proceeded forcibly to eject 
from the State House the chief magistrate of 
the commonwealth. 

An appeal lies of course to the Supreme 
Court of the State. That court has already, 
in a case involving the point in issue, deter- 
mined that the court has no authority to de- 
cide the validity of election of any executive 
officer of the State. 

It need hardly be remarked that, pending 
an appeal, the effect of the judgment of the 
Circuit Court of Pulaski County is suspended, 
and that the undertaking to sustain the en- 
forcement of that judgment pending the ap- 
peal is without color of law or moral pallia- 
tion. The forcible ejection of the chief mag- 
istrate from the premises was followed by 
pre-arranged and prompt summons to armed 
desperadoes to bar all access to the State 
House of its legitimate occupants. Mr. 
Brooks has issued a paper entitled " a procla- 
mation," in which he distinctly announces his 
intention of bloodshed. 

The executive of the State has but one obli- 
gation to perform — that to which he is bound 
alike by his duty as a citizen and his official 
oath. The authority of the law will be im- 
diately and effectively asserted, peaceably if 
it may be, but asserted in any event. The 
government purposes to occupy the Capitol. 
As Governor of Arkansas I appeal to the peo- 
ple of the State to support the government of 
the State against shameless usurpation. Un- 
der the solemn obligations of my oath of of- 
fice I renew my promise to be true to them. 

I ask from them the support which they owe 
to their chief magistrate. 

Governor of Arkansas. 

These pronunciamentoes were, 
perhaps, proper enough to be pub- 
lished, through a " decent respect 
for the opinions of mankind;" but 
either " governor " might have ad- 
vanced his cause by'asking Feder- 
al interposition under the Federal 
constitution and statutes to aid 
him in resisting "domestic vio- 
lence," as was soon intimated to 
them in answer to their informal 
dispatches, by the Attorney Gen- 
eral of the United States. 

Article IV. Section 4 of the 
Constitution declares, " that the 
*^ United States shall guarantee to 
every State in this Union a repub- 
lican form of government, and 
shall protect each of them against 
invasion, and, on application of 
the Legislature, or of the Executive 
(when the Legislature cannot be 
convened) against domestic vio- 
lence.'' The statutes prescribe the 
manner of invoking the assistance. 

The Attorney General reminded 
both of the claimants that their 
applications were not in form. 
He then referred them both, flip- 
pantly, to the courts. He used the 
word "courts" in its restricted 
sense. He momentarily forgot 
that a judicial sentence may be 
pronounced by other arbiters than 
courts by authority of the sover- 
* eign. The earliest notion. was, 
that a judgment should be pro- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 

nounced by the king himself upon 
the facts of each case. It was 
supposed to be by direct, divine 
inspiration. Long development 
of jurisprudence has reversed 
that conception. It is " not a 
transient, sudden order from a 
superior to, or concerning a 
particular person ; but something 
permanent, uniform, universal," 
according to England's greatest 

The Attorney General perfunc- 
torily refers the two "governors" 
to the decision of the State courts 
for a settlement of their dispute ! 
It provoked a universal howl of 
derision, that a complication so 
serious, which had been wickedly 
brought on by the paltering, and 
even the conspiracies, of so-called 
courts, should be left, by the At- 
torney General to the solution of 
" the courts !" 

Department of Justice, \ 
Washington, April i6, 1874. J 

Hon. Elisha Baxter, Little Rock, Ark.: 

I am instructed by the President to say in 
answer to your dispatch to him of yesterday, 
asking for the support of the general govern- 
ment to sustain you in your efforts to main- 
tain the rightful government in the State of 
Arkansas, that in the first place, your call is 
not in conformity with the constitution and 
laws of the United States. In the second 
place, that, as the controversy relates to your 
right to hold a State office, its adjudicacion, 
unless a case is made under the so-called en- 
forcement act, belongs to the State courts. (?) 
If the decision of which you complain is erro- 
neous, there appears to be no reason luliy it 
may not be reviewed (!) and a correct de- 

cision obtained from the Supreme Court of 
the State. 


Attorney General. 

This same legal luminary, the 
same day, as if writing from his 
landau, in answer to requests from 
each of the contending " govern- 
ors " to the President for leave to 
withdraw the State arms from the 
United States Arsenal, in which 
they had been deposited by the 
State, telegraphed as follows : 

Department of Justice, \ 
Washington, April 16, 1874. J 
Hon. Joseph Brooks, Little Rock, Ark.: 

I am instructed by the President to say in 
answer to your dispatch to him of yesterday, 
asking that the United States commanding 
officer at the arsenal be instructed to deliver 
the arms in his custody belonging to the 
State to you, or hold them subject to your or- 
der, that he declines to comply with your re- 
quest, as he is not advised that your right to 
hold the office of Governor has been fully and 
finally decided by the courts of Arkansas ! 
Attorney General. 

What relief could be expected 
from the Supreme Court of Ark- 
ansas ? 

Let us turn a moment, while 
the military preparations of each 
side are being perfected, to learn 
the composition of that court and 
true attitude of its members, as 
shown by their testimony before 
the Poland Committee, when they 
were willing to tell the truth in 
the hope of preserving the hold of 
their party upon the power of the 
State ; and which discloses their 

The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

true inwardness toward Baxter 
and his cause when pretending to 
decide upon it as Judges. That 
court was composed of John Mc- 
Clure, Chief Justice, formerly of 
Ohio, appointed by Gov. Clayton, 
1868, term not expired ; Lafayette 
Gregg, old citizen, Arkansas Fed- 
eral, supposed to be elected 1868, 
term not expired ; John E. Ben- 
nett, carpet-bagger, appointed by 
Gov, Clayton, 1870; M. L. Steph- 
enson, of Illinois, supposed to be 
elected 1 872, on the Baxter ticket ; 
Elhanan J. Searle, of Indiana, sup- 
posed to be elected in 1872, on 
Baxter's ticket. 

John McClure, from the begin- 
ning, boldly favored the quo war- 
ranto proceedings, and was for 
displacing Baxter with the Lieu- 
tenant-governor, and finally with 
Brooks. Lafayette Gregg, in his 
testimony before the Poland Com- 
mittee (p. 186), deposed : 

By Mr. Rice : Q. Did you concur in the 
memorandum fiy-leaf amenameni made to your 
opinion (in the Yonley quo warranto case, in 
the Supreme Court)? A. The objection which 
I had to adding it was, that it seemed to me to 
savor more of dictum than of legal ruling. 
On that ground I had some objection to it. 
I did not think it was announcing any incor- 
rect principles of law, but I thought it was 
rather dictum, as the matter then stood be- 
fore the court; but as my brother judges 
(Stephenson and Searle) insisted upon it, and 
as I had not an opportunity of communicat- 
ing with them in person (in the vacation, 
when the memorandum was sent to him), I 
consented to insert that paragraph, 

Q. The question before the court was a 

motion for a petition for a qtio warranto^ 
A. Yes. 

Q. And this dictum, or whatever it was 
termed, which was added to this opinion, is a 
decision that 710 court has jurisdiction of 
the controversy? A. It is an assertion to 
that effect. * * * 

Q. Do you regard that now as law, or as 
dictum? A. I regard it, in the main, as dic- 
tum. That was my opinion at the time, and 
is yet. I think, however, that the substance 
of the opinion conveys the same meaning as 
there is in that paragraph : but I looked on 
that as dictum. 

John E. Bennett testified before 
the committee (p. 256) as follows : 

Q. Were you on the bench at the time the 
petition was filed for quo warranto against 
Elisha Baxter by the Attorney General? A. 

Q. Did you concur in the opinion (deny- 
ing jurisdiction to issue the writ) rendered 
thereon, and would you have signed it had it 
been submitted to you ? A. No, sir. 

Q. Were you corresponded with in refer- 
ence to coming here earlier than the meeting 
of the court, for any purpose? A. No, sir. 

Q. Were you not telegraphed to or written 
to? A. No, sir. 

Marshall L. Stephenson testified 
before the Poland Committee (p. 
268) as follows : 

Q. Did you consider that you had before 
you in that case (the Brooks-Baxter quo 
warranto case) any question as to the juris- 
diction of the Circuit Court? A, We no 
doubt at that time intended to confine the de- 
cision strictly to the case before us. 

Q. What made you depart from that inten- 
tion ? A. The reason that actuated me was 
to jireserve the peace and avert any imiiend- 
ing danger in the State. 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 

Q. What do you know as to Judge Gregg be- 
ing actuated by the same feeling? A. I had 
a letter from Judge Gregg, but I dislike to 
produce it without first having a conversation 
with him, as the matter is one of private cor- 
respondence between Judge Gregg and my- 

Q. It was on this public subject? A. Yes. 
I wrote to him and explained the reason why 
it was desired to have the opinion and the 
appendix both. Several letters passed be- 
tween us. Judge Gregg said that while he 
desired so to restrict himself as not to strike 
down any other case that might be pending* 
still he agreed with us, that if iht Jly-leaf 
would bridge over the emergency, he was 
willing to have it go on file. 

Q. Was not the case of Berry against 
Wheeler (Wheeler was elected on the ticket 
with Baxter) also pending in Judge Why- 
tock's Court ? A. Yes. 

Q. Was not Judge Gregg an intimate 
friend of Berry (who ran for Auditor on the 
ticket with Brooks) ? A. I believe he was. 

Q. You were present at the trial of the 
case of Brooks vs. Whytock, on the man- 
damus? A. Yes (in Brooks' military en- 

Q. Was that case duly considered ? A. 
It was considered as much as any other case. 
We had already exhausted the subject of the 
jurisdiction of the court in the quo warranto 
case, and there was but a single point pre- 
sented which at all involved the question of 
jurisdiction. We agreed on that very readily. 
The case was as well considered as if we had 
taken a month over it. We already had our 
minds made up about it. 

Q. What point in the mandamus case was 
it which you regarded as not being involved 
in the quo zvarranto case ? A. My views 
about that were that the two questions were 
altogether different. There was no conflict 

between the quo warranto and the mandatnus 
cases. No one who has examined the legal 
points in the two opinions can believe there is 
any conflict between the two opinions. 

Q. The point was, that the kind of case 
pending in Judge Whytock's Court was not 
the kind of case that was involved (governed) 
by the a'zV/a in the quo warranto case? A. 
I do not conceive that there was any dicta in 
the quo warranto case. It was stated by the 
Attorney General that the object in the qtio 
7uarranto case was to contest the election as 
between Brooks and Baxter. In the man- 
damus case, which we considered on the 
pleadings (in Judge Whytock's Court, exhib- 
ited with the petition for mandamus) Mr. 
Baxter confessed himself a usurper ! (Tech- 
nically, he means, unless he answered over, or 
had an opportunity to answer, and refused.) 
He had gone into the Circuit Court, and by 
demurrer acknowledged that he was a usurper. 
That was the charge (usurpation) made 
against him by Brooks. (And it was practi- 
cally made in the quo warranto case, as well.) 
Instead of answering to that, he demurred 
and confessed himself a usurper. The rec- 
ord came to the Supreme Court in that atti- 
tude, and it was not for the Supreme Court to 
go outside of the papers in the case in order 
to ascertain the truth or falsity of the state- 
ment. He was judged by the record which 
he presented to the Supreme Court, and, in 
that regard, there is a great difference between 
a contest for office and a suit brought against 
a usurper of an office. They are entirely dis- 
tinct, and have always been so at common 
law. There is a distinct and separate remedy 
for each. The suit was brought against Bax- 
ter as a usurper, and he came in and con- 
fessed, by his demurrer, that he was a 
usurper. In that attitude he stood in the Su- 
preme Court at the time the decision was 
made. The only way that Gov. Baxter could 
remedy that, at that time, was by revolu- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

The mandamus case was an- 
other moot case, made within the 
military lines of the State House 
after Judges Bennett and Searle 
had taken refuge there, as herein- 
after narrated, and joined the 
Chief Justice and Judge Stephen- 
son there. Brooks made a requi- 
sition on Wheeler (the Auditor) 
for money. Wheeler drew an 
Auditor's warrant for the money 
on Page, Treasurer, who denied 
that Brooks was Governor, and 
refused to pay the warrant. 
Brooks, as Governor, petitioned 
for a writ of mandamus to the 
Treasurer to compel payment. 
The Supreme Court granted the 
writ, recognizing Brooks' author- 
ity, as Governor, to have the war- 
rant paid. It so ruled on the 
ground that the Pulaski Circuit 
Court had awarded the office to 
Brooks, in his suit against Baxter 
for usurpation, although it had 
previously held that no court of 
the State had jurisdiction to de- 
cide the title to the office of Gov- 
ernor. It was a case made in 
camp. It might be called "mar- 
tial law" — otherwise camp " dic- 

The Chief Justice himself, 
though dissenting in the giio zvar- 
ranto case, immediately afterwards 
was in favor of prohibiting all 
proceeding to oust Wheeler, Au- 
ditor, and the award of the office 
to Berry, candidate for Auditor, 
who was on the ticket with Brooks 
in the election. He said : " I in- 

cline to the opinion that the juris- 
diction of the Legislature, as to the 
officers named with the Governor 
(in the constitution, sec. 19, art. 6, 
among whom was the Auditor) is 
exclusive, and could not be dele- 
gated to or conferred on the Cir- 
cuit Court, even if the General 
Assembly had so enacted in ex- 
press terms." This was the court 
to which the United States Attor- 
ney General remitted the people. 
Gen. Newton placed ex-Confed- 
erate Generals T. J. Churchill and 
T. P. Dockery in immediate com- 
mand of the volunteers, making 
the last named Military Governor 
of the city. With such arms as 
they could procure, and they 
seemed abundantly supplied, a 
complete chain of sentinels was 
established to command all ap- 
proaches to the State House, also 
to guard the street crossings for 
several blocks in its vicinity. At 
the same time the Brooks men 
had assembled in the State House 
in considerable numbers. The 
upper rooms of the entire build- 
ing were filled with armed men. 
In front of the west wing there 
was a cannon placed — one of the 
12-pound pieces of artillery 
brought out of the State House 
armory, which Baxter had impro- 
vised — and in position in rear of 
the building was another piece of 
artillery, each manned by a suffi- 
cient force. A force of riflemen 
manned the walls of the State- 
house yard. Sentinels, with bay- 

of the Reconstructio7i Period in Arkansas. 


onets, stood guard over the Gov- 
ernor's and Secretary of State's 
offices. It became a belief with 
many of the colored leaders, from 
reading Clayton's and Dorsey's 
indorsements of Brooks that the 
" old Brindle " was in the lead at 
last, and would be recognized by 
Congress. They now eagerly 
filled the ranks of the State-house 
party. Both parties applied to 
the United States officer in charge 
for delivery to them of the 1,500 
stands of arms in the United States 
Arsenal belonging to the State. 
That officer referred them to Gen. 
Emory, his senior officer in com- 
mand, who was absent in New 
Orleans, and who had not been 
heard from. Copies of an " Opin- 
ion " of the Attorney General, 
Yonley, were distributed through 
the State House, showing Brooks 
clearly entitled to recognition as 
de facto Governor. 

Friday's Republican published 
the following telegrams under the 
display head "Congratulatory:" 

Washington, April 15, 1874, 
To Governor Joseph Brooks : 

Accept congratulations upon the final tri- 
umph of the popular will. Republican gov- 
ernment has vindicated itself in your regard 
in the overthrow of usurpation. 

Wm. J. HYNES, 



M. L. BELL. 

These gentlemen were in Wash- 
ington as contestants for seats in 
Congress, to which probably all 

were truly elected. The next two 
dispatches were from citizens who 
were moved by public spirit alone, 
and who knew Brooks personally: 

Helena, Ark., April 16. 1874. 
Hon. Joseph Brooks, Governor of Arkansas: 
We congratulate you on the final triumph 
of your right to the office of Governor, and 
perseverence in vindicating the rights of the 
people, M. T. SANDERS, 


Texarkana, -April 16, 1874. 
Governor Joseph Brooks : 

Many citizens in town to-day. They say, 
"Amen ! Brooks is the man we elected." 


Then in Saturday's Republican, 
the 1 8th, were published the fol- 
lowing dispatches from the two 
United States Senators : 

Washington, April 16, 1874. 
Governor Joseph Brooks : 

The President's action is in full accord 
with your views. We rely on your maintain- 
ing your vantage ground, which you must 
hold at any cost. Our position here is that 
the courts must determine the question, and 
no collusion will be allowed to interfere. 

Everything here perfectly satisfactory, and 
the authorities understand the situation. 
Maintain your position, and we will take 
care of affairs here. 


From Helena there were dis- 
patches same date from M. T. 
Sanders again, and Austin Bar- 
row, Sheriff of Phillips County: 
" What action do you wish me tc 


The Brooks ajid Baxter War: a History 

From Pine Bluff, of same date, 
the following encouraging con- 
gratulatory message, offering as- 
sistance : 

Governor Joseph Brooks: 

Dispatches say you are Governor, at last. 
Stand by your rights — the people will sustain 
you. Considerable excitement, but abating. 

From Hot Springs came over 
the wires the salute of a hundred 
guns to " Old Joe": 

Hot Springs, April 17, 1874. 
Gen. R. F. Catterson : 

The people here are much pleased with the 
change. They fired one hundred guns last 
night in honor of "Old Joe." 


Those clever politicians, Chas. 
W. Tankersley and D. C. Casey, 
sent congratulatory telegrams 
from Arkadelphia, which pledged 
" The people to stand by Brooks 
as the rightful occupant of the ex- 
ecutive chair." Dispatches num- 
erously signed from Marianna, as- 
suring Brooks of hosts of friends, 
and from Furbush (colored). Sher- 
iff, offering one hundred men. 
From Camden C. Thrower, J. L. 
Bragg, B. Fulcomb and D. Mc- 
Kavanaugh sent assurances of 
support. From Hot Springs W. 
P. Walsh telegraphed, " Waiting 
your orders." 

These continued and additional 
messages filled a column of the 
Rep^iblican from day to day. On 
the 20th Poindexter Dunn pledged 

250 men from St. Francis County. 
C. W. Tankersley and L. H. Man- 
gum proffered themselves. A 
mass meeting was held at Fort 
Smith and adopted resolutions 
assuring sympathy and support, 
presented by leading citizens — 
Judge Thomas Marcum, P. T. De- 
vany, W. W. Griffith, Henry 
Reutzell, Maj. John T. Humphreys, 
Col. Hugh L. Rogers, Jos. Eberle 
and Col. W. M. Fishback. Also a 
mass meeting at Dardanelle, pre- 
sided over by T. M.Gibson, of Clay- 
ton's militi, sent encouragement. 
The columns of the Gazette 
teemed likewise with messages of 
encouragement to Gov. Baxter : 
Helena, April 16, 1874. 
To J. N. Smithee : 

Almost every one here is for Baxter. The 
excitement is very high. People are crazy for 
news. Keep us posted. 

Editors " Independent." 
Helena, April 17, 1874. 
To £. D. Boyd: 
Nearly every man for Baxter. 

C. A. OTEY. 
Pine Bluff, April 16, 1874. 
To Gov. E lis ha Baxter : 

Old Jefferson all right. We will furnish 
1,000 men, if necessary, to reinstate you. 

Augusta, April 16, 1874. 
Gen. R. C. Newton : 

What is our duty? We are ready to re- 
spond. L. M. RAMSUR, 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


Pine Bluff, April 17, 1874. 
To Gov. Elisha Baxter : 

We are coming, Father Elisha, with a few 
hundred more. IRA McL. BARTON. 

Hope, April 16, 1874. 
To Maj.-Gen, R. C. Newton : 

Will be with you at the earliest possible 
moment. All for Baxter. 


The Little Rock Bar, April i6th, 
except the attorneys representing 
Brooks, at a meeting of which A. 
H. Garland was president and J. 
M. Moore, secretary, numbering 
thirty citizens, subscribed a reso- 
lution declaring "the act of the 
Circuit Court in rendering a judg- 
ment in the case of Brooks vs. 
Baxter, when the case had not 
been set for trial, involving juris- 
diction which had been twice con- 
sidered by the Supreme Court 
and declared to be not within the 
jurisdiction of the Circuit Court, 
wholly null and void, not a judi- 
cial act, and afforded no color for 
the revolutionary proceedings 
based upon it." 

And the same day there was 
issued an address " urging the 
people to sustain Baxter, and, cost 
what it may, to rally at the Capi- 
tal and aid in the maintenance of 
Baxter in power and authority." 
The signers were Francis A. Terry, 
R. C. Newton, John E. Reardon, 
John Green, Sam W. Williams, 
W. E. Woodruff, John C. Peay, 
Chas. A. Carroll, R. H. Rottaken, 
J. V. Zimmerman, P. Van Patten, 
Z. P. H. Farr, Thos. W. Newton, 


Newman Erb, Thos. H. Walker, 
Thos. Fletcher, A. H. Rutherford, 
Geo. L. Basham, Sol. ¥. Clark, 
A. D. Jones, U. M. Rose, J. L. 
Witherspoon, F. W. Compton, 
Dick Gantt, John M. Moore, E. 
H. English, A. H. Garland, J. W. 
Martin, Geo. A. Gallagher, F. M. 
Parsons, S. C. Faulkner, John 
Fletcher, T. J. Churchill, James 
M. Pomeroy, R. H. Johnson, J 
W. Reyburn, John D. Adams, W 
A. Crawford, T. P. Dockery, J 
N. Smithee, Geo. S. Morrison 
John Kirkwood, Gordon N. Peay 
S. R. Cockrill. 

The Baxter pickets were with- 
drawn from Markham street, be- 
yond Louisiana street, ahd inter- 
communication between Markham 
east of Louisiana street during the 
following day was obstructed. 
No one could pass without per- 
mission. The State-house party 
had sentinels all around the State 
House, and held Markham street 
west. Companiesof United States 
infantry were placed, one at the 
corner of Fourth and Main streets 
(U. S. Court House), another at 
the corner of Third and Center, 
with instructions " to interfere with 
no one, but to prevent conflicts " 
between opposing citizens. The 
State-house "garrison" had a 
large quantity of supplies carried 
into their lines in the afternoon, 
and continued actively barricad- 
ing their ground. The Baxter 
men had possession of the tele- 
graph office. Maj.-Gen. R. C. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Newton commanded one division, 
Maj.-Gen. T. J, Churchill another 
division of the Baxter forces; Col. 
B. F. Danley was Adjutant Gen- 
eral of the latter. The headquar- 
ters of the Baxter army was the 
Anthony House, from the bal- 
cony of which the United States 
army flag floated gracefully. 
Government bunting floated from 
all corners of the State House. 
Maj. Frank Strong, ex-Federal 
oflicer, acted as Gov. Baxter's 
Adjutant General and deputy Sec- 
retary of State. There was no 
truth in a statement that United 
States soldiers had been ordered 
into the State House; they had 
only been extended on State 
street, nearer to the State House. 
Baxter men, under orders, took 
forcible possession of the arms 
and munitions belonging to deal- 
ers in fire-arms. One or two firms 
had large stores of them within 
Baxter's lines, and refused to sell 
upon requisition without the 
money paid. These men made 
complaint to Brooks, and thereby 
lost the full price of their wares 

Sentinels were regularly posted 
and walked their rounds all night. 
All night their challenges might 
be heard. No shots had yet been 
exchanged on the i8th, although 
both sides had been heavily rein- 
forced by volunteers from the 
country. Telegrams of encour- 
agement poured in to Baxter, but 
were no loncrer delivered to Brooks 

if received at the telegraph office. 
Brooks had a wire and instrument 
of his own. Resolutions of county 
and city meetings were sent to 
encourage their several cham- 

A special to the St. Louis Dis- 
patch, of the 1 8th, stated that the 
entire delegation from Arkansas 
waited on the President and re- 
quested him to recognize Brooks. 
" The decision was emphatic not 
to interfere in the Arkansas im- 
broglio. Grant remarked, coldly, 
that he should follow the prece- 
dent set in Louisiana." The Dis- 
patcJi contained the following: 

The situation in Arkansas caused much 
talk here this morning. Groups of Senators 
and Representatives discuss it in all its bear- 
ings. Said Carpenter : " The government 
should keep its hands off. No more Louisi- 
ana, if the Republican party is wise." Said 
Butler : " It is dog eat dog. Baxter has 
no backbone, and Brooks no conscience. 
Neither is true." Morton said : " I see no 
cause for this violent action on the part of 
Brooks. It bears revolution on its face.'' 
[Morton then had more influence with Con- 
gress and Grant, than all his Cabinet.] Said 
Thurman : " What a commentary on recon- 
struction ! Ten years after the war, here is a 
State in a condition of insurrection, because 
two bad and mercenary factions are fighting 
over the property of a helpless people." 

The people generally were 
aroused. The excitement of the 
situation was intense in localities 
accessible to the capital and rapid- 
ly extended to those more remote. 
All minds agreed that the imme- 
diate destiny of the State depend- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


ed upon the result. Each one of 
the opposing parties was daily in- 
creased in numbers by the people 
who flocked to the capital from all 
directions. The State House 
stands upon the elevated south 
bank of the Arkansas River, which 
is in the third-class of rivers; here 
flowing eastward. The front of 
the building faces Markham Street, 
which runs parallel with the river, 
one square south. The Union De- 
pot for the railroads then center- 
ing at Little Rock was at the west- 
ern limit of the town on the same 
side of the river. Passengers by 
the Cairo & Fulton, Fort Smith & 
Little Rock, Memphis & Little 
Rock Railways got off there ; those 
from the north side, after the trains 
had crossed the new iron bridge 
near that depot. The steamboat 
landing was near the eastern limit 
of the town, and passengers could 
enter that part of the town by 
crossing on the ferry-boat. Pass- 
engers by the river were landed 
there. The old Anthony House 
was in the second block east of 
the State House. Recruits for 
Brooks came up from the south to 
the Union Depot and those com- 
ing from the north and west land- 
ed there after crossing the bridge. 
Many negroes were recruited in 
the counties south, along the line 
of the Cairo & Fulton Railroad. 
Tankersly, from Clark, headed a 
detachment of negroes. Coblentz 
and Gill brought down squads of 
negroes from Lewisburg. Man- 

gum and Sanders were accompan- 
ied by a few whites from Lee and 
Philips Counties on the Mississip- 
pi River, and crossed the bridge. 
Baxter's forces were mainly re- 
cruited, at first, by small com- 
panies of whites, who got off at 
the ferry, or came round to the 
east of the town. Brooks had the 
assistance of State Auditor 
Wheeler and Treasurer Page, who 
had gone over to him, and issued 
certificates of indebtedness for 
meeting expenditures. By the 
19th April, the numbers which had 
entered the camps of the oppos- 
ing parties, swelled to the propor- 
tions of armies. It was a situation 
fraught with danger. Reckless 
men went about the streets with 
arms, ready for a conflict, which 
nothing but the presence of the 
United States forces prevented. 

A little after daylight, Saturday 
morning, the i8th, "Gen." Ira 
McL. Barton and Col. H. King 
White came up the river, on the 
steamboat " Mary Boyd," from 
Pine Bluff, with three hundred 
negroes, as reinforcements for Bax- 
ter. They were accompanied by 
Mayor Holcombe of Pine Bluff, 
«. Maj. C. G. Newman, of the Pine 
Bluff P/', and other leading citi- 
zens. With brass band and flying 
colors, they marched from the 
landing to the headquarters of 
Gov. Baxter, who greeted them 
from the balcony of the hotel. 
Soon after Col. Dan. Jones 
marched in from the south with 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

a good following from Howard 
and Hempstead Counties, and 
about lo o'clock a. m. another de- 
tachment of citizens of Saline 
county, under Col. Crawford, ar- 
rived to array themselves under 
the standard of Baxter. These 
arrivals created the greatest com- 
motion, as they were greeted with 
shouting, singing and music of 
brass bands. The Pine Bluff con- 
tingent first sung to the giving out 
of one of their number, five hun- 
dred throats joining in the chorus, 
the following song and chorus : 

Do you see that boat come round the ben'? 

Good-bye, my lover, good-bye; 
She's loaded down with Baxter men ! 

Good-bye, my lover, good-bye. 

This was heard by the negroes 
of the Brooks camp, who broke 
out with emulating cheers and 
songs. But the "poetry" and 
"music" of the Baxter choristers 
took the day, and, during the 
"war," the song was sung on ev- 
ery occasion, until unpoetic hearts 
began to wail : 

Oh for the day that soon shall send, 
That boat again around the bend! 

Good-bye, my lover, good-bye. 

But the song and the men were 
most cheerfully endured' by the 
Baxter camp. 

Gen. Newton's staff consisted of 
Brig. -Gen. J. M. Pomeroy, Chief 
of Staff; Col. Beall Hempstead, 
A. A. Gen.; Maj. Albert Belding, 
Ass't A. A. Gen.; Col. H. H. Rot- 
taken, Insp. Gen.; Col. A. Syberg, 

Chief of Artillery; Lieut. -Col. S. 
B. Reardon, A. D. C; Lieut. -Col. 
W.N. Portis,A. D.C.; Lieut. -Col. 
S. O. Smith, A. D. C; Col. John 
Ainslee, Q. M. Gen.; Maj. T. S. 
Alden, Ass't Q. M. Gen.; Lieut. 
Col. George A. Davis, A. Com. 
Gen.; Rosco G. Jennings, Surg. 
Gen., with rank of Colonel. 

Capt. Sam Houston, the same 
who was in command of the Hes- 
per when she was overtaken by 
the tug Nettie Jones, below Mem- 
phis, on the Mississippi River, 
when he was relieved of " those 
arms," intended for Clayton's 
militia, had now attached himself 
to the fortunes of Baxter. He 
was a passionate, resolute man, 
who expressed himself in language 
the most unrestrained. In going 
near the lines of the Brooks party, 
some of his former political asso- 
ciates resolved to make him a 
prisoner. A squad was sent to 
arrest him. He made violent re- 
sistance, and the guard were about 
to fire on him when Lieut. Fow- 
ler came up with reinforcements 
and took him to the guard-house. 
Mr. Geo. R. Brown, as reporter 
for " two papers, both daily," was 
several times arrested as a proba- 
ble " spy " in both lines, and made 
involuntary visits to the guard- 
houses of both armies. 

The arrival of Barton and King 
White, with their colored bat- 
talion, their tumultuous reception 
and the effect produced on the 
negroes, created much excite- 

of the ReconstructioJi Period in Arkansas. 

ment in the city. That night Col. 
Rose, commanding the United 
States regulars, placed guards at 
the corner of Markham and Main 
streets, the corner immediately 
west of the Anthony House, upon 
complaints of Brooks that citizens 
were being deprived of their lib- 
erty and property. The same 
evening Mayor Kramer received 
a dispatch from the Attorney 
General denying the Mayor's re- 
quest that United States soldiers 
be detailed to act in aid of the 
city police. The Attorney Gen- 
eral stated that the President had 
instructed the officer commanding 
the United States detachment at 
Little Rock to prevent bloodshed, 
as all he could do under the cir- 
cumstances. Brooks' operators 
tapped the telegraph wires in front 
of the State House. 

The next morning Gov. Brooks 
issued another proclamation " To 
the People of Arkansas," in words 
and figures following) omitting the 
customary announcement of his 

I desire to avoid bloodshed and a destruc- 
tion of private property, but while this is so, 
I cannot sit idly by and see the private prop- 
erty of citizens (arms) taken without compen- 
sation by an armed mob, and peaceful citi- 
zens halted and maltreated within sight of the 
capitol ! In the interest of peace and good 
order, I request and command all persons 
who may have been deluded into rallying to 
the standard of the pretender to lay down 
their arms and return to their homes within 
twenty-four hours. 

If this injunction be disregarded, I shall be 

compelled to take such measures as will, in 
my opinion, result in suppressing disorder 
and in restoring the peace atid quiet of the 
State. I do not want to be placed under the 
necessity of proclaiming martial law, believ- 
ing as I do that life and property can be bet- 
ter protected under the civil — but if my re- 
quest is disregarded, those disobeying must 
not complain of what is in store for them, or 
of the punishment that may be meted out. 

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set 
my hand and caused the great seal of the 
State to be affixed at the City of Little Rock, 
this i8th day of April, A. D. 1874. 

Governor of Arkansas. 
By the Governor : 

Edward Curry, 
Secretary of State, ad interim. 

The " call upon the militia of 
the State," supposed to be referred 
to by Gov. Brooks, was the " Or- 
der No. I," of April 17th, of Gen. 
T. P. Dockery, as Military Gov- 
ernor of the City, calling on "all 
male citizens, between the ages 
of 18 and 45, to report for duty at 
his headquarters," at southeast 
corner of Markham and Scott 
streets (old Ashley mansion). It 
was by the orders of Gen. Dock- 
ery that the gun stores of Linzel 
and of Wm. Dabbs and J. F. 
Trumpler were placed under 
guard and some of their guns 

Lieut. Groves, on duty at the 
State House, ventured down Mark- 
ham street to this corner, which 
is east of the Anthony House, and 
was arrested and taken before 
Gen. Newton. On proof that he 

The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

was in the employ of the United 
States, he was released. John 
(known as Jack) Brooker, lately 
United States Revenue Collector, 
wandered over the line and was 
arrested by Dockery's men. He 
was a daring man, of the ultra 
Republican school. He pleaded 
his government employment, and 
was released. It was afterwards 
known that he was one of Gov. 
Brooks' " colonels " among the 
first appointments, in command 
of a regiment at the State House. 
Dan O'Sullivan, City Collector, 
and Maj. Anderson, stenographer 
at the State House, were also in- 
carcerated in Dockery's bastile an 
hour or two, but were released. 

On the 19th, the Hallie^ stern- 
wheel steamer, Ed. Bowlin, mas- 
ter, was pressed into service on 
Saturday night and sent to Pine 
Bluff for "troops." Capt. Sam 
Houston was detailed to command 
her. It would have been fortu- 
nate for the ill-fated captain if his 
arrest of the day before had been 
prolonged until the end of the 
siege. Dick Brugman ran the 
Baxter outposts from Fourche 
dam, east of the city, with a large 
band of negroes for the State- 
house camp. At 4:30 P. M, the 
United States troops were sta- 
tioned as follows : Company C, 
corner of Louisiana and Fourth 
streets; Company I, divided and 
stationed at United States Court 
House ; corner of Main and Fourth 
streets, and at the Western Union 

Telegraph office, Maj. Rosecranz 
in command. The United States 
military guarded the telegraph of- 
fice, complaints having been made 
by a young man sent from Wash- 
ington City to subpoena witnesses 
in the Storey case, and some " mer- 
chants," that their dispatches were 
vised by a Baxter "censor." 
Postmaster General Cresswell is- 
sued the following order to Post- 
master Pollock in regard to letters: 

Washington, April 17, 1874. 
Letters addressed to Gov. E. Baxter, or 
Elisha Baxter, Governor, should be delivered 
to said Baxter. Letters addressed to Gov. 
Brooks, or Brooks, Governor, should be de- 
livered to Brooks. Letters addressed " Gov- 
ernor of Arkansas," you will hold until fur- 
ther orders. 


Postmaster General. 

Gov. Baxter, on the 19th inst , 
telegraphed to the President, com- 
plaining of the interference of the 
United States military. In the 
dispatch he went over the circum- 
stances of his expulsion from the 
State House and the attitude of 
the courts, but concluded thus: 

The people are coming to my aid, and are 
ready to restore me at once. In making this 
organization I am obstructed by the interfer- 
ence of the United States in displacing my 
guards from the telegraph office ; and now it 
is apprehended that there will be further in- 
terference. Such interference breaks me 
down, and prevents any effort on my part to 
restore the State government and to protect 
the people and their rights. I beg you to 
modify any order to the extent of such inter- 
ference, and leave me free to act as the legiti- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


mate Governor of the State. In the interest 
of peace, and these people who are flocking 
here to my support by the hundreds, I beg of 
you to remove the United States troops back 
to the arsenal and permit me to restore the 
legitimate government, which I will do 
promptly, if the United States troops will not 

I have been thwarted and delayed thus 
long, and in fact ejected from my office be- 
cause of the fact that / had heretofore dis- 
banded the militia of the State. 

On the 20th inst., as a large re- 
inforcement for Baxter of white 
citizens from Pope, Johnson and 
adjoining counties, under com- 
mand of Hale, Russell, Ben Young 
and Harry Poynter, veterans of 
the Pope County war, were leav- 
ing the train of the Fort Smith & 
Little Rock Railroad, on the north 
side of the river, the engine sud- 
denly started and threw Capt. 
John B. McConnell, Clerk of John- 
son County, on the rails, between 
the car wheels. Two wheels 
passed over his body lengthwise, 
killing him instantly. This acci- 
dent cast a gloom over the city, 
where he was well known. He 
was the first Democrat elected 
Clerk of his county after recon- 
struction, and was popular with 
all classes. His remains were 
taken home for interment. 

The same day, about 5 o'clock 
p. M., the commander of the Uni- 
ted States soldiers moved the de- 
tachment on post at the Gazette 
office to the foot of Louisiana 
street, only a block east of the 

State House. He ordered also 
two pieces of artillery from the 
arsenal and placed them in posi- 
tion at the corner of Louisiana 
and Second streets. This move- 
ment caused considerable excite- 
ment, which was increased by a 
statement that the Brooks forces 
were preparing to attack the Bax- 
ter camp. A company of Baxter 
men was quickly formed across 
Markham street east of Main. 
Col, King White, mounted on his 
cream-colored horse, moved out 
his large force of colored men, 
yelling wildly, to Second street. 
and formed them on the east side 
of Main. Gens. Newton, Church- 
ill, Barton, Portis and Ben Danley, 
also mounted, with their respect- 
ive staffs, were promptly on the 
ground excitedly giving orders 
and placing other companies in 
position. The scene glittered 
with bayonets, and was luridly 

Observing this demonstration, 
which it seemed was unexpected 
to him, Col. Rose, the Federal 
commander, ordered six men to 
get horses at Davis' livery stable, 
on Scott street, and go to the ar- 
senal for more artillery. As one 
of the soldiers, William Harring- 
ton, was mounting his horse, the 
animal turned suddenly and threw 
the man, his foot catching in a 
tug-chain. In this manner he was 
dragged by the horse at a rapid 
gait up Scott to Markham, and 
down Markham to Rock, where 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

the man was thrown against a 
dray and severely injured. He 
was thought at first to be mortally 
wounded, but eventually recov- 

Just at this time the steamer 
Hallie arrived at the wharf from 
Pine Bluff, with 500 more negroes 
(reported for Baxter), in charge 
of Ferd. Havis, and a company of 
white men under John H. Thomas. 
They marched from the wharf up 
Markham street with drum and fife, 
colors flying, yelling like wild cats, 
eager to join the expected melee. 
Not a Brooks man was to be seen. 
The State-house party were igno- 
rant of what was going on, and 
expected themselves to be at- 
tacked, and were all in position 
behind their breastworks — stood 
there all night. The same day 
ex-Auditor W. R. Miller, Judge 
J. W. Butler, Senator McChesney 
and Maj. Carroll Woods, with a 
company of whites, arrived from 
Batesville. Baxter men along the 
line of the Cairo & Fulton railroad 
took forcible possession of the 
train — thirteen at Hope, twenty- 
five at Arkadelphia and eight at 
Malvern — all armed. Superin- 
tendent Dudley was aboard, and 
said to Conductor Brown : " Five 
men were enough to take a train 
at Gad's Hill, with felonious pur- 
pose. These men, with their ideas 
of duty, would be irresistible." 
The men from Malvern had their 

Telegraphic offers of men were 

still pouring in to both sides. 
Poindexter Dunn offered Brooks 
500 men from Forrest City ; Cope- 
land, from Marion, offered Baxter 
reinforcements, and Thornburg, 
from Walnut Ridge, assured him 
that old Lawrence was for Baxter, 
and asked him to say how many 
men he wanted. Gen. Wilshire 
telegraphed from Washington, the 
19th inst., to Baxter: "The law- 
yers, in and out of Congress, be- 
lieve you right. Be prompt. 
Don't fail." And Sol. Meyer 
telegraphed to King White, from 
Pine Bluff: " Can you use a com- 
pany of Yehudians (Jews) ?" 

Col. Sleeper came down with a 
reinforcement from Conway Coun- 
ty for Baxter. A company of 
negroes from Campbell Township, 
under Capt. Sol. Miller, went into 
Brooks' camp about dark. Dur- 
ing the day the Baxter pickets ar- 
rested Sheriff E. A. Nickels, of 
Hot Springs County, and Benton 
Turner, of Conway County for- 
merly, now Sheriff of Faulkner. 
All had quieted down by dark, 
and by midnight war had closed 
his fiery eyes. 

On the 20th inst. the United 
States House of Representatives 
reported to have appointed a 
special committee to visit Arkan- 
sas and inquire into affairs there. 

Several detachments of citizens 
arrived on the morning trains as 
reinforcements for Baxter; a large 
one from Searcy, White County. 
At 7 p. M. a truce was agreed upon 

of the Recotistruction Period in Arkansas. 


by all the parties until 9 a. m. the 
next day. The Federal comman- 
der then withdrew his guard which 
had been stationed at the inter- 
section of Markham and Louisi- 
ana streets, a block east of the 
State House and nearly opposite 
the City Hall, The two pieces of 
artillery were in position at the 
United States Court Room, then 
being on the corner of Main and 
Fourth streets. Another United 
States company was quartered in 
the City Hall, where they slept. 
The Brooks men occupied the 
State House and Benjamin block, 
opposite. Baxter occupied room 
No. 10, in the Anthony House, 
which was surrounded by a strong 
guard. Many of his men occupied 
the Waite block, opposite, and 
Adams block, east of the Anthony 
House. Others occupied the 
Odd Fellows' block, east of the 
Waite block ; some were at the 
Conway House, on Scott street, 
and others at the Ditter block 
and in the Cleburne Engine House 
— all within a circle of two blocks 

It was reported that an addi- 
tional force of United States reg- 
ulars was expected on the train 
from St. Louis, at noon. Nearly 
all business houses were closed in 
the district occupied by the " com- 
batants." A military order was 
issued by Gov. Baxter for the 
"corps commanders of the Ark- 
ansas State Guard " to report their 
numbers forthwith to Gen. New- 

ton, and assigning Col. Ed. W. 
Thompson to duty as chief of 
staff. " Gen." Pomeroy was ar- 
rested by Oliver, of the Brooks 
camp, and released during the day. 
Moses Reed, brother-in-law of 
Brooks, was arrested by the Bax- 
ter men and discharged during the 

About 5 p. M. Col. King White 
turned out his brigade of negro 
braves for a parade. Mounted on 
his clay-bank horse, and headed 
by a band of music, he marched 
them from the Ditter block, cor- 
ner of Markham and Rock streets, 
west on Markham to Scott, out 
south on Scott to Ninth, thence 
to Rock, and again on Markham 
to the Anthony House, where 
he halted, the band and right 
resting on Main street. Colonel 
Rose, in command of the Federal 
troops, appeared mounted on a 
white horse in the center of Main 
street. In all the upper stories of 
the buildings were armed men 
and citizens of the Baxter side. 
When halted, fronting the An- 
thony House, Col. White's "brig- 
ade" gave "three cheers for Bax- 

Gov. Baxter came out on the 
balcony and made them the follow- 
ing address : 

Soldiers — I am, in point of fact, too un- 
well to address an audience. My health, for 
a number of weeks, has been such as to al- 
most disqualify me for business. But there is 
an emergency — there is an insurrection — the 
government has been seized — the archives 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

are in the hands of the insurgents. I have 
called you here for the purpose of asserting 
not the rights of Elisha Baxter, but the rights 
of the sovereign citizens of the State of Ark- 
ansas. (Great cheering.) The seizure of the 
archives was effected without my ever having 
been served with process of court. I am 
making preparations. I intend to assert my 
right as far as respects the government func- 
tions of the Executive to govern the State of 
Arkansas (Hurrah for Baxter. Thieves to 
the rear \). 

I have, however, to say, that it is a well- 
known fact in military service, that officers 
and commanders cannot give, in advance, to 
the troops or to the country, a detailed ac- 
count of their proposed operations. They 
are necessarily military secrets; there are 
matters which must necessarily be kept quiet ; 
and you will not expect of me on an occasion 
as public as this to detail my plans of opera- 

Col. White, interrupting at this 
point, asked: "Just tell us 
whether you are going to have us 
take that State House, or not?" 

Gov. Baxter replied : 

I ask you, gentlemen, to be patient and 
quiet ; conduct yourselves orderly, as good 
soldiers — such as I know you to be — and in 
due time proper orders will be given you to 
assert the rights of the State (immense cheer- 

Soldiers ! I would fain address you at 
greater length, but — and I say without any 
resort to this as a subterfuge, in order to 
shirk the labor of a speech — I am physically 
unable to address you longer. Thank you ! 

The Governor started to go in, 
when he was requested by a gen- 
eral officer to resume his position 
for a moment. Then Col. White, 

addressing him from the street, 
said : 

Gov. Baxter — I did not come here, of 
course, to make a speech. I came here to 
assist in reinstating what I consider to be the 
legally constitufed authorities of the State of 
Arkansas. I have brought with me here a 
number of colored men. It has been said, 
sir, that these colored men will prove treach- 
erous to you. I now ask these colored men, 
in your presence, and in the presence of this 
assemblage, whether ive shall stand firm to 
Elisha Baxter? (Immense cheering, and 
cries, " We will ; try us !") 

I am here. Gov. Baxter, for the purpose, if 
necessary, of surrendering my life to reinstate 
the lawful authority of the government of this 
State. Furnish us simply with the means — 
give us the authority — pronounce the order — 
and I will guarantee to you, sir, that in twen- 
ty-five minutes from the time the order is 
written, Joseph Brooks will either be in hell or 
the archives — [what else he said was com- 
pletely drowned in the frenzied shouts of the 
men.] I have a force here of men who will 
fight, sir ; summoned from their fields — taken 
from their plows, every one of them. They 
are anxious to go home, but I say to you now, 
as I have said to you before, let it take us one 
day or one year, the colored people com- 
manded by myself and Col. Havis, and the 
other and subordinate officers of this com- 
mand will stand by you until you are the 
recognized Governor of the State of Arkansas. 
(Enthusiastic cheering.) 

This is all I have to say, sir. I know that 
you, in your good judgment, and the officers 
commanding us, in good and proper time will 
give us the order. All we ask is that the 
time and those orders will soon come. (Great 
cheering and shouts " Hurrah for King 

Gov. Baxter replied : 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


Col. White — I wish to say in response to 
your remarks that for one, I have never for 
one instant doubted the patriotism and loy- 
alty of these colored men who stand before 
me (cheers). I well know that attempts have 
been made to change their sentiments and 
attitude ; but in the midst of it all they stand 
as firm as the Rock of Gibraltar. (Amen ! 
laughter and cheers.) And allow me to say 
to you now, that in consequence of the con- 
dition of my health, I must be permitted to 
exhort you, in conclusion — be patient, conduct 
yourselves orderly, and have no fears for the 

The Governor retired from the 
balcony amidst enthusiastic cheer- 
ing. If this was a preconcerted 
tableau vivant, or posing for effect, 
it was about as impressive a one 
as could have stirred men's blood, 
and declamation such as men's 
ears have very seldom listened to. 
Col. White's men were well fed ; 
they were lodged with compara- 
tive comfort, and cared little about 
returning to those "fields ^nd 
those plows." If Brooks' follow- 
ers were endeavoring to induce 
them to betray their leader and 
desert Baxter, they undertook an 

It seems to have completely be- 
wildered Col. Rose, the Federal 
commander, who had heard and 
witnessed it all from his position 
on his white horse in the center 
of the street, twenty steps from 
the band. At the conclusion of 
Gov. Baxter's remarks the band 
struck up. Col. White rode to- 
ward the band, on the right of his 
line, and gave the order " right 

face," intending only to counter- 
march the command back down 
Markham street to quarters in the 
Ditter block, as he afterwards de- 
clared. But, as he was about to 
give the order to march, Col. 
Rose rode abruptly through the 
band, as it was playing, his horse 
striking against some of the musi- 
cians. He excitedly asked Col. 
White if he intended to march his 
men further up the street (in the 
direction of the State House), to 
which question Col. White an- 
swered : " I had not so intended, 
sir; but I wish to warn you, that 
I'll not permit you to ride over 
the men of my command, if you 
are an officer of the United States." 
Capt. Rose replied, warmly, that 
his men must keep their place, 
and he "must keep his place." 
Col. White retorted : " You are 
an officer of the United States 
army and ought to be a gentle- 
man. I am a gentleman, and, 
whether you are or not, I'll not 
permit you to ride over my men, 

nor over me, sir 

On hearing this remark, it is 
said by witnesses, Col. Rose 
drew his pistol and made a gest- 
ure or feint of striking at Col. 
White ; that White struck the pis- 
tol up with his hand, and it was 
discharged in the air above his 
head. Col. Rose denies that he 
had any arms except his saber, 
and consequently could not have 
drawn a pistol. Col. White main- 
tains that Rose had a pistol and 

The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

drew it; that he (White) struck it 
up, when it was discharged with a 
loud report, and that a negro on 
the sidewalk also fired a pistol at 
one of the two officers, which he 
could not say. 

These reports of fire-arms (noth- 
ing could have so effectually con- 
duced) caused the wildest excite- 
ment. An indiscriminate firing 
began immediately between the 
Brooks men standing on the oppo- 
site corners, and in the windows 
of the Metropolitan Hotel, and 
Baxter men on the south side of 
the street, extending in the direc- 
tion of the Anthony House. Min- 
nie balls filled the air, and the 
crack of the rifles was followed 
by the crashing of glass. About 
two hundred of White's braves 
"vverc without arms, and they 
speedily disappeared, taking shel- 
ter in the stores or down the alley 
west of the Anthony House. 
Shots from Springfield and Win- 
chester rifles rained upon the west 
end and front of the Anthony 
House. The balcony upon which 
Baxter stood when he addressed 
the line of soldiers a few minutes 
earlier was ploughed by bullets 
from army rifles. Mr. David F. 
Shall, a wealthy real estate man 
and old and respected citizen of 
Little Rock, was sitting in a win- 
dow of the Anthony House office 
with his back out of the window, 
which was near the pavement, 
conversing with some one in the 
office. One of the rifle-balls (from 

the Metropolitan Hotel, it is sup- 
posed, from all indications) struck 
the back of his head, another his 
side, and caused his death in 
less than an hour. The shower 
of bullets that fell from the same 
direction was intended doubtless 
for Baxter. 

Mr. Shall was not engaged as 
a combatant, but was a conserva- 
tive and sympathizer in the Bax- 
ter movement. He left a large 
estate. A mother and sister sur- 
vived him to mourn his untimely 

Col. Wm. A. Crawford received 
a glancing shot in the head, and 
Col. Dan Jones was hit and slight- 
ly wounded. One of White's col- 
ored men received a ball in the 
foot, and another was hit on the 
arm. O'Sullivan, an editor and 
Brooks man, was shot from an 
alleyway, with a rifle, the ball 
passing through both legs, break- 
ing them. It was at first thought 
his legs would have to be ampu- 
tated, but that was not done fortu- 
nately, for he ultimately recovered. 
A chambermaid at the Anthony 
House, in the panic caused by the 
firing, jumped out of a second 
story window and broke her leg. 

At the opening of the fire Col. 
Rose wheeled his horse and rode 
to the City Hall, in the direction 
of the State House. He quickly 
formed his men in line across 
Markham street. They took the 
trucks of the hook and ladder fire 
company and erected them into a 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arka?isas. 


barricade across the street and 
placed behind it two pieces of ar- 
tillery, promptly brought from the 
corner of Main and Fourth streets 
(U. S. Court-room). He also 
placed a piece in position at the 
corner of Second and Louisiana 
streets, pointing to Markham 
street, along which he anticipated 
the Baxter men would march to 
the State House, and made ready 
for action. Gen. Newton rode up 
and down the Baxter lines, form- 
ing his men on different streets 
and giving them directions. A 
general engagement of the Baxter 
men on one side and United States 
soldiers and Brooks men on the 
other seemed inevitable. A 
strong party of resolute Baxter 
men ("veterans of the Pope Coun- 
ty War") rapidly advanced under 
the river bluff, beyond IV'Iain street, 
in the direction of the State House, 
intending to enter the building 
from the rear if the action went 
on, and only awaited the advance 
of the main column and sound of 
firing. After a half hour's sus- 
pense, it was evident that there 
would be no more fighting. 
Crowds again appeared on the 
streets (without arms), making in- 
quiries and telling incidents of the 
skirmish, but there were no more 
demonstrations of hostilities that 
day. The United States detach- 
ments stood to their arms behind 
the hook and ladder barricade, 
and by their field-pieces at the 
street corners for an hour or more 

in grim expectancy. Looking at 
the ground, the streets, hotels, 
and calculating the close proxim- 
ity of the antagonists, one could 
fancy the slaughter that would 
have been the consequence of a 
general engagement there. Be- 
sides loss of life, there would have 
been doubtless a fearful confla- 
gration and great destruction of 
property. So ended the seventh 
day. All was quiet at nightfall. 

Tom Jones, of Mr. Gibbs' book 
store, saw the meeting of Colonels 
White and Rose, and the first shot 
fired. He thus relates the inci- 
dent in the Repiiblicanoi the 22d: 

Col. Rose rode forward to Mr. (Col.) White, 
and in doing so ran over one of the colored 
members of the band. The colored man at 
the head of the Baxter men then drew up his 
musket and fired at Col. Rose, but did not hit 
him. A moment after, a shot was fired at the 
corner of Scott street, east of the Anthony 
House, and the firing became general. 

Rev. Gillem, a colored divine, 
while forcing his way through a 
glass door of Ober & Co., oppo- 
site the Anthony House, to clear 
the way for the combatants dur- 
ing the firing, was badly cut with 
glass on the face, hands and arms. 
Mr. Castleberg was cut with glass 
in the same doorway. A colored 
man, a stranger in the city and 
not connected with either side, 
had an ear taken off by a bullet. 
James Hill, a colored hack-driver, 
was shot in the thigh. The Uni- 
ted States flag in front of Baxter's 
headquarters was pierced by sev- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

eral bullets. All was quiet at 
nightfall. Strong guards of Bax- 
ter men were placed at the corner 
of Main and Markham streets, and 
the pickets along the line strength- 
ened generally. A large part of 
the force of Col. King White, 
those who were unarmed, were 
sent down the river to their homes. 
H. King White was the most 
conspicuous figure, next to Brooks 
and Baxter, who took part in the 
Brooks and Baxter War. He has 
been criticised in consequence, 
but seemed careless of what oth- 
ers thought of his actions in mat- 
ters of either public or private in- 
terest in which he became en- 
listed. He was about twenty-eight 
years of age in 1874, tall, raw- 
boned, red-haired and freckled. 
He was a Kentuckian by birth, 
and had early training in war un- 
der Gen. John Morgan, the fam- 
ous Confederate cavalry leader. 
He married in Pine Blufif soon after 
the surrender, a granddaughter of 
ex-Gov. Roane, was a nephew of 
Rev. T. C. Trimble, Episcopal 
clergyman of that place, who had 
served as a chaplain in the Con- 
federate army. He allied him- 
self with Powell Clayton in the 
early days of reconstruction, and 
was made prosecuting attorney of 
his district by Clayton, entering 
with apparent zest into the organi- 
zation of the Republican party in 
his county, the large majority of 
whom were negroes. He ac- 
quired an ascendency over the 

people of that race in Arkansas, 
He was a member of the Minstrel 
(Clayton) State Central Commit- 
tee when the fight was commenced 
on Baxter. He refused to join his 
former confreres in that fight, and 
when he heard that Brooks had 
taken forcible possession of the 
State House, he instantly tendered 
his services, by telegram, to Bax- 
ter, and commenced organizing 
the negroes to go with him to the 
State Capital to reinstate the Gov- 
ernor. He is a man of unusual 
strength of intellect and origin- 
ality ; full of resources, energy 
and audacity. He is so frank and 
fearless in his manner with men 
that he controls them by sheer 
force of will and dash — he runs 
over them, as it were, if he can. 
If he finds he cannot, bows to the 
inevitable, fend follows with them 
or withdraws, as his interests may 
appear to him. He is a ready and 
impressive speaker and skillful de- 
bater at the bar or in the party 

After the excitement was all 
over Gov. Baxter sent the follow- 
ing telegraphic dispatch to Presi- 
dent Grant : 

To the President of the United States : 

As I cannot move my troops to assert my 
claims to the office of Governor without a col- 
lision with the United States troops, which I 
will not cause under any circumstances, I pro- 
pose to call the Legislature together at an 
early day and leave them to settle the ques- 
tion, as by law they alone have the jurisdiction. 
But to do this the members of the Legislature 

of the Reconstritction Period in Arkansas. 


must have assurances of protection from you 
and a guaranty that they may meet in safety. 
This will be a peaceable solution of the diffi- 
culty, and I will readily abide the decision of 
the Legislature. ELISHA BAXTER, 

Governor of Ark. 

This was a capital thought. It 
was as simple as the discovery of 
America by Columbus, wafted by 
trade winds ; yet thoughtful and 
comprehensive. That body, it 
will be remembered, contained 
the twenty -eight men whom the 
Brooks convention placed on a 
"roll of infamy." That body 
voted down the " railroad steal 
bill" of McClure & Co., and re- 
jected Brooks' petition for a con- 
test against Baxter. 

In a short time Gov. Baxter re- 
ceived from the President, himself, 
the following dispatch : 

Washington, April 22, 1874. 
Hon. Elisha Baxter, Little Rock : 

I heartily approve any adjustment peacea- 
bly of the pending difficulty in Arkansas — by 
means of the legislative assembly, the courts 
or otherwise — and I will give all the assist- 
ance and protection I can under the Constitu- 
tion and laws of the United States to such 
modes of adjustment. I hope that the mili- 
tary forces will be now disbanded. 



Thereupon Gov. Baxter imme- 
diately called a meeting of the 
Legislature in extra session to meet 
at Little Rock May, A. D. 1874, 
signed by him and countersigned 
by J. M. Johnson, Secretary of 
State, but still over the Govern- 

or's przT^a^e seal, "the seal of State 
not being at present accessible." 

The Republican of the 23d con- 
tained a misspelled copy of Bax- 
ter's proclamation for an extra 
session, with types having the ap- 
pearance of being pied, without 
inserting or publishing separately 
the President's dispatch to Bax- 
ter. But an editorial article in 
the paper of that issue alludes to 
it in the following terms : 

The grave change in the situation yester- 
day toward night was manifest to every one 
on the streets. The telegram of the Presi- 
dent, though brief, and not at all dictatorial, 
produced its effect. Where but a few minutes 
before its receipt, had been armed men not at 
all inclined to show how one can love his 
neighbor as himself, but a few minutes after- 
wards were cheering, if not cheerful individu- 
als, who proclaimed " this cruel war is over," 
and they went home on foot and otherwise at 
once. There was only a small guard left 
about Gov. Brooks and Mr. Baxter to insure 
their safety, etc., from that class who do not 
know what law is, and never respect it. 

Forty-five Federal soldiers, 
armed, came down on the Cairo 
& Fulton railroad "via Columbus, 
from Humboldt, Tenn., under 
Lieut. Noble, of the Sixteenth 
U. S. Infantry, to reinforce Col. 
Rose. Col. A. C. Pickett and 
Judge McCurdy, with a company 
to reinforce Baxter, attempted to 
get on the same train, but were 
prevented, by the aid of this force, 
from taking passage without pay- 
ing their fare. They waited for 
the next train. 

The Secretary of State, J, M. 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

Johnson, having arrived in Little 
Rock after a short visit to his 
home in Madison County (elected 
over Fulton, the colored candi- 
date, by a large majority), whose 
title to his office was never ques- 
tioned, went into the State House 
the 22d inst. to take his place in 
his office, but was refused permis- 
sion to take charge of the office 
or the papers. Gen. Upham, be- 
fore admitting him, demanded 
that he send his card to Gov, 
Brooks, who, hearing the conver- 
sation, came out to meet him. 
Johnson desired of him to know 
if he recognized him as Secretary 
of State, to which Brooks replied 
that he did not, after his action of 
signing Baxter's proclamation 
calling an extra session of the 
Legislature. Col. Johnson retorted 
that he was not aware that Judge 
Whytock had decided that he was 
not Secretary of State, and asked 
by what right he was denied ad- 
mission. " Military necessity," 
replied Gov. Brooks. Thereupon 
the Secretary retired and made 
application in writing for the 
books and records of his office. 
He received no reply. He ap- 
pointed Hon. A. H. Garland his 

A large body of negroes the 
same day went into the Brooks 
camp from Forrest City. W. P. 
Walsh and Geo. Prichard arrived 
with a few " colored troops " and 
went© into Brooks' lines. The 
"river news" of the daily papers 

of that date also chronicle that 
" the steamer Clarksville left for 
Memphis Wednesday afternoon, 
taking with her to Pine Bluff Col. 
H. King White's colored troops." 
On the 24th Col. White tele- 
graphed Gov. Baxter from Pine 
Bluff that he had organized 200 
zuhite men, armed and mounted, 
ready to move whenever he should 
receive orders. And the same 
date Gov. Baxter, through A. H. 
Garland and E. W. Thompson 
presented to John McClure, for 
the consideration of Mr. Brooks, 
propositions in five paragraphs, 
summarized as follows : 

1. That all troops, of either side, be dis- 
missed to their homes, except a body-guard 
for each contestant. 

2. That hostilities cease and disputes be 
submitted to a competent tribunal. 

3. That no person be molested for anything 
done during the disturbances. 

4. That Col. Page (Treasurer) furnish trans- 
portation to departing troops. 

5. That citizens having business with the 
State offices be admitted peaceably, without 
molestation, to such office. 

To this proposition Gov. Brooks 
replied in an article of nearly a 
column, as published in the Re- 
publican, beginning : 

Hons. A. II. Garland and E. M. Thompson: 
Gentlemen — The propositions submitted 
by yourselves on behalf of Elislia Baxter, to 
me through Judge McClure, have been re- 
ceived. You assume at the outset that' the 
question of who is the legal and rightful Gov- 
ernor has not been decided by competent au- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


thority. (He then sets forth all the grounds 
of his clahn to the office.) 

If Elisha Baxter proposes to resort to 
peaceful means to enforce his rights, he does 
not need even a company of armed men at 
the capital, and if he proposes to assert his 
pretended rights by force, I must and will, of 
necessity, place myself in condition to repel 
attack. * * * 

I have, through Col. Henry Page, one of 
my aides-de-camp, been furnishing transpor- 
tation to such persons from the country as 
have been induced to come here to depose 
the legal Governor, who on learning the facts, 
desired to return to their homes. You can 
say to one and all of Elisha Baxter's follow- 
ers, that Col. Page will, at any time, on appli- 
cation, furnish transportation to such as may 
desire the same. 

Persons desiring to transact business with 
any of the offices of the State, including the 
Executive office, need have no fears in going 
to the State House of being interrupted or 
disturbed. JOSEPH BROOKS, 

Governor of Ark. 

On Monday the 26th inst., after 
a twenty-four-hour truce, all was 
quiet along the contending lines. 
Both sides published offers of rein- 
forcements. The preparations for 
the combat continued. In the 
Brooks camp there was drilling 
and throwing up breastworks 
around the State-house yard. 
These preparations were closely 
watched by and known to the 
other side. The material of which 
the Brooks army was composed 
was pretty well understood: sev- 
eral hundred intrepid white men, 
under the lead of brave and expe- 
rienced officers from both armies 


of the late war, and a great many 

That day, for covering and aid- 
ing an assault when it should be 
decided that one was to be made, 
the Baxter men hauled up to Scott 
street and repaired the old sixty- 
four-pounder that had stood on 
the river bank near the Kramer 
school-house, where it had been 
spiked by the Confederates on the 
evacuation of the city, having 
formed part of the battery of the 
gallant Capt. John T. Trigg, who 
was unable to move it off, and after- 
wards known as " Lady Baxter." 
Gov. Baxter, on the same day, sent 
the President the following dis- 
patch : 

On the 19th of this month, as Governor of 
this State, I telegraphed you that there was an 
armed insurrection against the legal govern- 
ment of this State, and made requisition upon 
you for aid to suppress it, and to prevent do- 
mestic violence. I have just now been ad- 
vised that you never received that requisition. 
I now take occasion to say that an armed 
insurrection exists in this State against the 
lawfully constituted authority thereof, and as 
the Legislature cannot meet until the nth day 
of May, I call upon you for aid to protect the 
State from domestic violence. 


Governor of Ark. 

On the 28th H. King White, at 
Pine Bluff, now promoted Briga- 
dier General, telegraphed General 
Newton that he had 1,300 men 
enrolled; would send 200 around 
to Little Rock on Thursday. 
Signed, " H. King White, Briga- 
dier General Commanding." 


TJie Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

The Brooks men showed no 
disposition to cease hostilities. 
Two thousand Springfield rifles 
and 13,000 rounds of ammunition 
were shipped to Brooks from St. 
Louis, through purchases by Geo. 
W. McDiarmid, paid for out of 
the State treasury, i. e., on the 
State's credit. The arming of 
militia to fight over the property 
of the wretched people of Arkan- 
sas would pay their former State 
expenditure. This will give an 
idea of the luxury of war, when 
rulers of old contended for the 
prey that official power still sug- 
gests. Financial schemes of gain 
are an improvement on the older 
method — not so hazardous to life 
and limb. "The patent drill" of 
office, the poet Lowell suggested, 
as the better method of modern 
civilization. Modern civilization, 
like the ancient, has only to be 
"scratched" to disclose the sav- 
age under the skin. 

The Republican of the 27th 
stated that Col. Page had already 
furnished transportation for over 
four hundred of Baxter's men re- 
turning to their homes, but in the 
same column relates the arrest of 
an Eastern correspondent while 
viewing the "big gun" in the 
Baxter lines; also published the 
following telegram from Pine 
Bluff, of April 25th, entitled, " How 
is This ?" : 

Jefferson County is under martial law by 
command of Brig.-Gen. White, of Baxter's 
forces. Sheriffs ofhce, with tax-books and 

funds taken possession of under protest. 
Drew, Lincoln and Bradley counties all right 
for Brooks. (Signed by the Sheriff.) 


After this telegram came the 
following : 

Pine Bluff, April 25, 1S74. 
John M. C lay 1 071 : 

King White has taken possession of the 
court house and telegraph office. 


Pine Bluff, April 25, 1874. 
Martial law is declared in Pine Bluff. 
Drums beating up and down the street. 


Pine Bluff, April 27, 5:35 p. m. 
King While with an armed force in the 
court house. Barton has issued a circular 
order assuming command of the Eastern 
District of Arkansas. Clay and Rice with 
thirty men here from Lincoln. Say they are 
going to reinforce Baxter. 


In his testimony, afterwards, 
before the Poland Committee, 
Gov. Baxter denied that he had 
ever authorized martial law 
throughout the State or in Jeffer- 
son County : 

I did declare martial law in Pulaski County, 
and attempted to enforce it. I did enforce ic 
as best I could, and would do so again under 
similar circumstances. I want to say once for 
all, that I think it unmanly for those gentle- 
men to complain about arrests, and about 
this man being taken and that man being 
taken during a state of war. I understand a 
state of war to mean freedom to make arrests 
and, if necessary, to kill men. 

This leads me to speak something by way 
of explanation of a separate declaration of 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


martial law in Jefferson County. Although 
some of my own friends have attempted to 
explain il, they never have explained it so far 
as I know. As a fact, during " the troubles " 
(I do not know what else to call them) I was 
on one occasion very unwell. I believe 
(though my physicians never told me) that I 
was under the influence of opiates. A number 
of distinguished gentlemen (who were re- 
quired by my physicians not to disturb me), 
without any sort of communication with me, 
in consultation by themselves, in a separate 
room (as I understand the case), concluded 
that it would be better to have martial law 
declared throughout the State. Some one of 
them drew up a proclamation of martial law. 
I think Gen. Newton, the Major General com- 
manding, was present. At least that is the 
way I understood it. He, assuming that I 
would sign the proclamation, telegraphed to 
King White, in Jefferson County, that martial 
law was declared throughout the State. "When 
this proclamation was brought for my signa- 
ture I declined to sign it. 

The Republican of April 25th, 
published the following as a " full 
roster" of military officers in com- 
mand of Gov. Brooks' State Mili- 
tia, furnished by Adjt.-Gen. Up- 
ham : 

Major General, commanding 
State Militia, R. F. Catterson ; 
Commandant of the Post, Lee L. 
Thompson; Brigadier General, O. 
S.Dillon; Adjutant General, D. 
P. Upham ; Chief of Artillery, Col. 
Edwin Bancroft; Surgeon Gen- 
eral, Thomas Smith; Asst. Quar- 
termaster General, M. L. Andrews; 
Ordnance officer, Maj. Geo. M. 
French ; Captain Brigade Surgeon, 
Jas. A. Dibrell, Jr.; Major Brigade 

Surgeon, David H. Dungan ; Asst. 
Surgeon, A. F. Kaufman ; Quar- 
termaster, Henry Rudd ; Capt. 
and Asst. Quartermaster, Moses 
Reed ; Capt. and A. A. G. Staff" of 
Gen. Lee L. Thompson, John S. 
Duffie ; Aide-de-Camp, W. B. Mor- 
gan ; Capt. 1st Reg. Light Artil- 
lery, Jas. A, Bridgman ; 2d Lieut. 
Battery, W. E. Hinman. 

The officers of the First Regi- 
ment State Militia, are : ,Col. John 
Brooker, Lieut. -Col. A. S. Fowler, 
Maj. J. D. Sibbald, Maj. J. A. Sib- 
bald on staff of Gen. Catterson ; 
Captains George N. Perkins (col.), 
Wm. H. Rector (col.), Jesse But- 
ler (col.), Isaac Gilliam (col.), J. 
K. Barnes (w.), Henry K. Pink- 
ney (w.), Ed. F. Stowell (w.) Neal 
Brown (coL), Chas. Goerte, com- 
missioned Captain of the Gover- 
nor's Guard. 

While under the excitement of 
news of King White's reign of 
terror in Jefferson, the Brooks 
people heard heavy firing in the 
neighborhood of the Union Depot. 
About 2 A. M. the 30th of April, 
Gen. T. J. Churchill with a party 
of Baxter men, including his aide- 
de-camp Terry, Ed. Doyle, Booker 
Worthen, Henry Brooking, Frank 
Timms, Fred. Syberg, Eustace 
Officer, J. M. Pomeroy and E. 
Conway, marched to the depot to 
protect an expected arrival of 
Baxter reinforcements. A de- 
tachment of Brooks militia, com- 
manded by Col. W. S. Oliver, was 
sent out of the State House to 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

reconnoiter their movements. 
George Counts, in advance, was 
fired upon by the Baxterites, vi^ho, 
finding themselves outnumbered, 
took refuge in a saloon near the 
depot. Col. Oliver, of the Brooks 
militia, surrounded the house and 
demanded their surrender. Pom- 
eroy made his escape on horse- 
back. Gen, Churchill was par- 
oled. The others were kept in 
the guard-house a few hours and 
released. But something must be 
done at the State House. 

April 30th Gen. Jas. F. Fagan, 
having been appointed by Gov. 
Brooks to the command of the 
Arkansas militia, published an ad- 
dress "to the people of Arkansas," 
in which he upheld the claim of 
Brooks to be the legally chosen 
Governor of Arkansas, and issued 
the following orders : 

[General Order No. i.] 
Headquarters Ark. Militia Forces,") 
Little Rock, April 30, 1874. j 
By order of Gov. Joseph Brooks, Comman- 
der-in-chief, I hereby assume command of the 
militia forces of the State of Arkansas. 

Major General Commanding. 

[General Order No. 2.] 
Headquarters Ark. Militia Forces,") 
Little Rock, April 30, 1874. / 

The following officers are assigned for duty 
on the Staff of the Major General command- 
ing militia forces of the State of Arkansas: 

Brig -Gen. Dandridge McRea, Chief of 
Staff; Lieut.-Col. D. M. Kavanaugh, A. A. G.; 
Col. Bob Newell, Inspector General; Col. 
Poindexter Dunn, Aide-de-Camp ; Col. John 
D. McCabe, Aide-de-Camp ; Col. M. L. Rice, 

Judge Advocate ; Col. John S. Duffie, Quar- 
termaster; Col. Dan O'Sullivan, Chief Com- 
missary ; Maj. E. B. Blanks, A. A. Q. M. 
By order of J. F. FAGAN, 

Maj. Gen. Commanding. 
C. Thrower, Col. and A. A. G. 

A lengthy and able address "to 
the people of Arkansas," in sup- 
port of Gov. Brooks, was issued 
the same day by well-known citi- 
zens of Arkansas, viz. : J. G. 
Frierson, Geo. M. Wright, J. D. 
McCabe, W. R. Cody, Jordan E. 
Cravens, M. T. Sanders, H. W. 
McMillen, R. B. Carl Lee, Ben T. 
DuVal, D. McRae, J. F. Fagan, 
W. F. Rapley, L. H. Mangum, 
Lee L. Thompson, V. B. Izzard, 
P. Dunn, E. B. Blanks, M. Ander- 
son, D. Breidenthal, C. Thrower, 
J. C. McCauley, D. M. Kavanaugh, 
J. T. Humphreys, M. L. Bell, L. 
C. Gause, T. M. Gunter and 

Congratulatory telegrams were 
sent to Brooks, May 5th, from H. 
B. Stuart, J. W. Miller, R. D. 
Hearne and G. W. Reed, of Arka- 
delphia ; W. H. Barry, of Monti- 
cello ; R. H. Dedman, of Prince- 
ton, Elias Harrell, of Madison 

The case of Brooks vs. Page, 
application for mandamus to Page 
to pay warrant issued on requi- 
sition of the Governor, was tried 
before McClure, Ch. J., and Ste- 
phenson and Searle. Governor 
Brooks' attorneys were his Gener- 
als, Mangum and McRae, M. T. 
Sanders, C. Thrower, A. A. G. of 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkatisas. 


Gen. Fagan, and W. G. Whipple, 
Gantt & Kimball, Benjamin & 
Barnes. Page, to protect himself, 
he declared, required an order of 
the court, and denied Brooks' offi- 
cial authority to make the requi- 
sition. A replication by Brooks 
set up the Whytock decision. 
Attorney General appeared for 
the State and submitted his briefs 
in the qiiozvarranto cases of Brooks 
vs. Baxter and Wheeler vs. Berry. 
The court decided that Brooks 
had been awarded the office le- 
gally by Whytock's Circuit Court 
judgment, in these words : 

The only question that we deem it neces- 
sary to notice, is: Did the Circuit Court 
have the jurisdiction to render the judgment 
in the case of Brooks vs. Baxter. We feel 
some delicacy about expressing an opinion 
upon the question propounded, but under the 
pleadings, it has to be passed upon incident- 
ally, if not absolutely, in determining whether 
the relator is entitled to the relief asked ; for 
his right to the office, if established at all, is 
established by the judgment of the Circuit 
Court of Pulaski County. We are of opinion 
that the Circuit Court had jurisdiction of the 
subject matter, and its judgment appears to 
be regular and valid. 

Havmg arrived at these conclusions, the 
demurrer is overruled, and the writ of man- 
damus will be awarded as prayed for. 

If Baxter was a usurper, so were 
the two Judges elected on the 
ticket with him — Searle and Ste- 

No hesitation about signing 
nozv, even under the excitement 
of *' war's alarums." No occasion 
for a "fly-leaf." Perhaps no air- 
drawn "fly-leaf" passed across 
the mental vision of Stephenson 
or Searle in signing their names 
to the foregoing " record." They 
fancied it a record. It could not 
rightfully be considered one un- 
der the circumstances. 

Dispatches to Gov. Brooks were 
received, April 27th, from W. O. 
Lattimore, E. B. Harrison, H. C. 
Bottefur, T. J. Hunt, L. D. Flani- 
gan and John Springer, sent from 
Fayetteville, assuring him of their 
sympathy with his cause, and 
other dispatches from R. L. 
Archer at Camden, J. A. Barnes 
at ElDorado, tendering "troops." 
News was sent him also from Pine 
Bluff that King Wliite had ar- 
rested but released to report again 
Mallory, Kenyon and Silverman, 
just returned from Little Rock, 
and had taken C. H. Rice, a 
wealthy planter, prisoner, and 
captured Prigmore, and that he 
was watching for other Brooks 
men expected down by steamer. 

Col. John A. Williams, who 
testified before the Poland Com- 
mittee that he was " eminently a 
civilian," was also arrested on tivo 
warrants ordered by Gen. White. 
One, he testified, was issued by a 
magistrate, charging "treason, by 
giving aid and comfort," and the 
other " squarely charging treason." 
He demanded bail and it was fixed 

2 -.8 

The Brooks and Baxter War : a History 

at ^3,000 on the first, but denied 
altogether on the second ! Wil- 
liams wished to appear as coun- 
self or Vaughan, the Sheriff, Prig- 
more, the Clerk, and Murphy, also 
under arrest. He said the war- 
rants were in King White's hand, ' 
with which he was familiar. Mur- 
phy was rich, and he and White 
were great friends personally. 
Murphy was sometimes called 
" Coal-oil Johnny." He followed 
the lead of Col. Williams, and was 
active in behalf of Brooks. 

April 30th the dispatches from 
Pine Bluff contained information 
that King White had left there 
with 200 men ; that he went down 
the river on the "Hallie" to at- 
tack Murphy, who was collecting 
a force for Brooks on the planta- 
tions around New Gascony. 

Dispatches from Pine Bluff, of 
May 1st, described an engage- 
ment on the 30th of April at New 
Gascony, on the Arkansas River, 
below Pine Bluff, in which King 
White, of the Baxter forces, sur- 
prised and put to rout a company 
of Brooks recruits (negroes) col- 
lected there by Col. J. M, Murphy, 
of the Brooks forces. Murphy's 
men were at Cornerstone church, 
about one hundred and twenty in 
number, having assembled for pa- 
rade. White had come down on 
a steamboat from Pine Bluff, and 
pressing horses, had mounted his 
men, whites and some negroes, 
fully armed, and charged the 
Brooks new levies, who retreated 

behind a fence and returned 
White's fire until their ammunition 
was expended. Nine of Murphy's 
men were killed (?) and thirty 
wounded. Vandesande was badly 
beaten over the head. Murphy 
was hit in the head. Surgeons 
were sent from Pine Bluffto care for 
thewounded. Three or four of Col. 
White'smenwerewounded. Mur- 
phy was taken prisoner and lodged 
in White's bastile at Pine Bluff. 
Johnny boasted that he was " self- 
made," but White said he " put a 
head on him." 

On Sunday night. May 3d, as 
the Memphis train reached Ar- 
genta, having on board the two 
Associate Judges, John E. Ben- 
nett and E. J. Searle (they were 
returning to make a quorum of the 
Supreme Court of the State) 
Capt. Williams, of the Baxter 
forces, since Sheriff of Hempstead 
County, boarded the train with an 
armed escort. After a short par- 
ley he took the Judges prisoners 
and hurried them across the river 
in skiffs, but where they were 
taken could not be learned. 
Traces of them were found at St. 
John's College, after which all 
traces were lost. Their arrest and 
disappearance created the great- 
est excitement in the State House. 
It was believed by the Brooks 
people that the Judges had been 
taken into the woods south of the 
city and assassinated. 

On the morning of the 4th of 
May, Mr. Eugene M. Bennett, of 

of tJie Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


the Merchants' National Bank, re- 
ceived from his father, Judge Ben- 
nett, through Gen. W. D. Blocher, 
of the Baxter army, the following 
note in his father's hand : 

I suppose you know that Judge Searle and I 
were captured in Argenta last night. I am alive 
and well treated. Please telegraph yourmother. 
Do not know when I shall be released. 

May the 4th Gen. D. McRae, of 
White County, arrived and went 
upon duty as Chief of Staff of 
Gen. Fagan. Brig.-Gen. Mangum 
was commissioned and assigned 
to the command of the first brig- 
ade, comprising all the troops 
south of Markham street, includ- 
ing those in the Benjamin block. 
Gen. Ed. J. Brooks, of the Second 
Arkansas Infantry of Fort Smith, 
was commissioned Brigadier Gen- 
eral and assigned to the command 
of the second brigade, which in- 
cluded the troops in and around 
the State House. Brooks received 
large reinforcements during the 
day. About 9 o'clock that night 
the Baxter guards were doubled, 
and no one was allowed to pass 
up or down IMarkham. All hack- 
men were ordered off the stand 
at the Metropolitan corner. At 
10 o'clock Company C, U. S. In- 
fantry was called out at the City 
Hall, west of the Metropolitan 
Hotel, and formed across IMark- 
ham street, and at midnight Com- 
pany I, U. S. Infantry, was sta- 
tioned at the corner of Louisiana 
and Second streets. The people 

were out in crowds after midnight, 
and great excitement prevailed 
without apparent cause. It pro- 
ceeded from uneasiness caused by 
resentment at the capture of the 
two Judges. 

A writ of habeas corpus was sued 
out and served on Gen. Churchill, 
commanding him to produce the 
bodies of E. J. Searle and John E. 
Bennett, the missing Judges. 
Gen. Churchill returned that they 
were not in his custody, and he 
had no knowledge of their where- 
abouts. Col. Page, upon request 
of Chief Justice McClure, pro- 
duced the piece of paper found 
by him in a room in St. John's 
College, which he pronounced the 
writing of Judge Bennett. It was 
as follows : 

At St. John's College, May 3, 1874. 
Hon. Elisha Baxter, Governor, Little Rock : 
Upon the arrival of the Little Rock and 
Memphis — 

That was all. C. H. Noble, 
Lieutenant U. S. Infantry, stated 
in a note to Judge IMcClure, that 
the unfinished note sent by him to 
Col. Page, was found in the room 
of Cadet Wilson. Young Wilson 
described the two persons who 
were brought to his room the night 
of the 3d, so as to leave no doubt 
that they were the missing Judges. 
On the 5th inst., passengers from 
Benton, Saline County, brought 
news that the two Judges were at 
the hotel in Benton under guard; 
that they arrived at Benton on 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

horseback, under the guard of fif- 
teen or twenty Baxter men, who 
left them under a smaller guard. 

Col. John C. Wright, ex-Con- 
federate, was commissioned by 
Gov. Brooks Brigadier General of 
militia in Union, and R. B. Smith 
Brigadier General in Ouachita, 
Nevada, Dallas and Calhoun. 
News came from Fayetteville that 
Lieut.-Col. Fowler, of Brooks' 
forces had taken 106 stands of 
arms found in the Arkansas In- 
dustrial University, of which Judge 
Gregg was a director or trustee, 
and would land them in the State 
House. The following telegram 
was received from Pine Bluff: 

S €71 at or Dooley : 

Vansande is out of danger. King White, 
with Savage and Stevens, arrived here to-day. 

The Gazette declined to publish 
the address of Gause, Bell and 
Gunter, the Brooks sympathizers 
at Washington City. Col. Cad 
Polk, of Helena, declined to fol- 
low Fagan into the Brooks camp. 
The Republican retorted that 
" there was another instance of 
such refusal, viz., the 4th of July, 
1863, at Helena." Fagan was 
under Holmes in that assault on 
Curtis' breastworks. Whether 
Polk was in Fagan's command 
there or not, it is certain that he 
led, if he did not follow the com- 
manding officers on that day. 

The missing Judges made their 
escape at Ten-mile Creek, west of 

Little Rock, while being guarded 
by two men, coming in the direc- 
tion of Little Rock. They had 
been taken from St. John's Col- 
lege by Maj. Walter Watkins and 
four men the night of the 4th of 
May ; arrived at Mr. Roland's farm- 
house, near Benton, and break- 
fasted the next morning. They 
remained at Roland's until 8 p. m. 
Monday, under a guard in charge 
of Lieut. Summerhill, who in- 
formed them that he was ordered 
to remove them to Benton, " as a 
force of United States soldiers 
was in search of them." Asked 
to show his orders, he produced 
them to the Judges. They read 
as follows : 

To the Armed Guard 071 the Benton Toad: 

You will immediately remove your com- 
mand, and those yoti have in charge back to- 
ward Benton. WM. A. CRAWFORD, 

Brigadier General. 

Col. A. H. Rutherford, an old 
citizen of the vicinity, at their re- 
quest, accompanied the prisoners 
to Benton, with their guard. 

On the way they met Gen. 
Crawford, who took them to Ben- 
ton and lodged them in Pack's 
hotel. The sheriff, Thompson, 
went to see them at the hotel and 
offered to discharge them, but 
they " did not desire to accept his 
proffered kindness, as they pre- 
ferred to be released by the au- 
thority that placed them under 
arrest ; that in the present excite- 
ment their release otherwise might 

of the Reco7istriictio7i Period in Arkansas. 


endanger property and life ; they 
believed they would be protected 
in there personal safety there, and 
would not if they should go on 
the train." One sound conclusion 
though an interested one. They 
were called on by Col. Jabez M. 
Smith, a prominent lawyer, and 
by him it was suggested that 
Sheriff Thompson accompany 
them, with a posse to Scott's, on 
the road to Little Rock, for that 
night. The Sheriff and the Lieu- 
tenant started with them from 
Benton Tuesday night. On arriv- 
ing at the forks of the road the 
Lieutenant hesitated to meet the 
Federal soldiers who were sup ■ 
posed to be seeking them, and 
proposed to the Sheriff that he 
release them then and there, 
which they did, Summerhill giv- 
ing up his pistol to Judge Ben- 
nett in assurance of his good faith 
and the Sheriff riding back to Ben- 
ton. At Ten-mile Creek, meeting 
an armed force, Judge Bennett 
became frightened and escaped 
with Summerhill's pistol into the 
woods. Searle halted the com- 
mand and found it to be a body 
of Federal soldiers, under com- 
mand of Lieut. Morrison, in search 
of them. Bennett was all night 
traveling the ten miles to Little 
Rock, but got in about daylight. 

May 5th Gen. Mangum, of Hel- 
ena, former Adjutant General of 
Pat Cleburne, now Brigadier Gen- 
eral of First Brigade in the Brooks 
army, issued his Order No. i, on 

assuming command. He assigns 
various officers to duty and con- 
cludes with paragraph 

V. In assuming command, I would impress 
upon the officers and men the importance of 
strict obedience to orders. Our efficiency as 
soldiers depends upon it. We have taken up 
arms to enforce the laivs and to preserve 
peace, not to make war. But if the issue of 
war be forced upon us, I rely upon your 
bravery and patriotism to meet it like men. 

Brigadier General. 

Brooks received most encour- 
aging telegrams from E. A. War- 
ren, Texarkana; J. W. Spaulding, 
Greenwood; Prof. James Mitchell, 
of Boonsboro ; J. E. Bennett, of 
Fort Smith, who telegraphed that 
"the Democracy, excepting the 
bourbons of Sebastian, would sus- 
tain him to the bitter end." 

May the 7th the steamboat 
Hallie, under command of Capt. 
Sam Houston as naval comman- 
der, her proper captain, Ed. Bow- 
lin, and with Capt. Welch's com- 
pany of forty men, Baxter forces, 
on board, was ordered by Gen. 
Newton to proceed up the river 
and intercept and capture if pos- 
sible Col. Fowler, with his raft or 
flatboat, coming down the river 
with guns he had taken from the 
Arkansas Industrial University. 
Welch's company mustered about 
forty, and was composed of the 
first young men of the city, though 
indifferently armed. Will Terry, 
Worthen and Curran were officers 
also of the company. The Hallie 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

left about 3 o'clock a. m., and, in 
passing the State House, was 
fired upon. Gen. Fagan became 
aware of the object of the Hallie s 
mission, and in a short time had 
caused six companies of Brooks' 
First Arkansas militia, viz.: Com- 
pany A, Capt. Aiken ; Company 
B, Capt. Stowell; Company C, 
Capt. Pinckney ; Company I, Capt. 
Cox; th^ Governor's Guard, un- 
der Capt. Chas. Goerte, and Capt. 
Gibbons' independent company, 
all under command of Col. Jack 
Brooker, to be put on board the 
train going to Fort Smith, with 
orders to leave the train and form 
on the north bank of the river, at 
the mouth of the Palarm Creek, 
which the railroad crosses near 
the river at the Boyle-Danley 
place, and prevent the further 
passage of the steamboat up the 
river. The channel of the river 
flows near the northern bank there. 
The militia got into position near 
the river protected by the undu- 
lations of the bank and logs 
placed in position, while the Hal- 
lie had stopped below to wood at 
the Natural Steps, on the opposite 
shore. Lieut. Grove was sent 
down the river a distance to hail 
the steamer, and as she came up 
order those in command of the 
boat to proceed no further, but 
return to Little Rock. When the 
steamer got under way and ap- 
proached him within hailing dis- 
tance and "slowed up" at his 
signal, he delivered his orders. 

Capt. Houston, who was on deck, 
answered him with his character- 
istic brusqueness, and signaled the 
pilot to go ahead. The Baxter 
men, suspecting an ambuscade, as 
no one had appeared but Grove, 
went into position behind the bul- 
warks of thick plank that had been 
erected around the bow of the 
boat, forming a horse shoe, one 
side of which only afforded pro- 
tection. It was well they did so, 
for as they neared the bank 
chosen for the ambush, they re- 
ceived a murderous fire from 
Brooks' men, armed with the 
latest and best improved army 
rifles. It riddled the six-foot 
sheathing of the pilot house into 
a sieve, severely wounded the 
pilot, Capt. John Meyers, in the 
breast, knee and calf of the leg, 
pierced the head of Capt. Hous- 
ton, killing him instantly. A shot 
pierced the breast of Frank Timms, 
one of the Baxter men, who was 
passing forward from the engine 
room. Bascom Lee, another Bax- 
ter man, was severely wounded in 
the knee, and Ed. Houston, brother 
of Capt. Houston, and a negro 
roustabout, name unknown. The 
balls cut the steam-pipe and dis- 
abled the steamer so that she re- 
mained half or three-quarters of 
an hour under fire. Capt. Welch 
and company returned the fire un- 
til the steamboat was carried by 
her momentum and the wind three- 
quarters of a mile from the place 
of attack, and their ammunition 

of the Reconstniction Period in Arkansas. 


was exhausted. They mortally 
wounded, of the Brooks militia, 
Jack Blackford (colored) of Com- 
pany B, Coleman (colored) of 

Company C, and inflicted slight 
wounds on several others. 

The steamer was carried or 
drifted against the south bank of 
the river, though there it is pretty 
wide, and the military went ashore. 
The mate tied up her pipe so as 
to steam over, and deliver her to 
the attacking party. Capt, Goerte 
and Lieut. Bell, of Brooker's com- 
mand, w^ere placed in charge of 
her and took her to Little Rock, 
where they tied her up to the 
land under the guns of the State 
House. Drs. Dibbrell and Dun- 
nigan were summoned and took 
charge of the wounded. The 
corpse of young Timms was taken 
home by relatives, and Bascom 
Lee speedily cared for. The killed 
were buried with imposing cere- 

Col. Brooker and his command 
returned by railroad to Little 
Rock, but did not march at once 
to the Fort Smith Junction, where 
he anticipated meeting a force of 
Baxter men. He remained awhile 
in position behind temporary 
breastworks of rocks on the de- 
clivities of Big Rock until in- 
formed that he could reach the 
bridge without opposition. His 
fortifications remained as he left 
them years after the occasion. 

The Baxter men who had been 
on board the Hallie made their 

way down the south bank to 
Cabin Point, where they crossed 
over to the north bank and got 
into the city through Argenta, 
about noon of the 9th. E. W. 
Rector, Esq., a young law student, 
one of the party, gives the follow- 
ing account of their adventures: 

Capt. Welsh and the men of 
his command, after the boat had 
landed or drifted to the south side 
of the river, went ashore, and 
were soon aware that a body of 
cavalry had passed along the river 
bank, and, for fear of capture, 
took a by-path that led through 
a defile in the hills. Their ammu- 
nition had all been shot out. 
They reached Maynard's in time 
for supper and were most hospit- 
ably entertained. After supper, 
as Mr. Rector was somewhat ac- 
quainted with the country, they 
made him guide and pushed on 
down the south side until opposite 
his father's plantation at Cabin 
Point ; they all crossed the river, 
thirty-five or forty of them, in a 
single canoe, two at a time, and 
camped by a spring branch of 
White Oak Bayou, near Old Jack 
Smith's house, a leader of the ne- 
groes in that locality. At the 
McCann place, on White Oak, 
they were furnished with break- 
fast by Mr. John Collins, who had 
been a proprietor of the Anthony 
House for rhany years. Every- 
thing was done that could minis- 
ter to their comfort. After break- 
fast, they marched along the roads 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

and railroad track until they 
reached the Clendennin place, op- 
posite Little Rock. There a scout 
of cavalry sent by Gen. Churchill 
met and escorted them into the 
Baxter camp. 

A good portion of Saturday, 
May 9th, the Baxter men were 
throwing up fortifications on the 
river bank between Main and 
Scott streets. After dark single 
shots were fired into the Baxter 
lines while the Baxter men were 
placing the big gun nearer the 
river. About 3 o'clock Sunday 
morning a party of Baxter men 
fired, from the Red Mill, at Stone- 
wall Jackson (colored), on guard, 
and thus brought out the Brooks 
guard on the Hallie, near there. 
During the melee, Baxter men, 
who had crossed in skiffs, scuttled 
the steamer Hallie, which sank to 
the cabin deck. Trains on the 
Fort Smith & Little Rock Railway 
stopped running on account of 
armed parties forcing passage. 

Gen. King White arrived with 
a company of mounted men and 
a company of foot at noon Satur- 
day and reported several hundred 
men fully armed coming on be- 
hind with ammunition and com- 
missaries. About 6 p. M. Aiken's 
company, on guard at the sunken 
steamer, were withdrawn, and a 
guard of Federal infantry placed 
over her by Lieut. Noble. Col. 
Bancroft, of Brooks' artillery, gave 
notice to the citizens of Argenta 
that unless they prevented firing 

across the river into the Brooks 
encampment, he would shell the 
town! John Blackford, of Capt. 
Stowell's Company, Brooks' mil- 
itia, killed in the fight at Palarm, 
was buried Saturday, the 9th, at 
5 P. M., with the honors of war. 
On Sunday morning Drs. Dibbrell 
and Dungan reported the Brooks 
wounded in the hospital, in the 
Benjamin block, Geo. Wilson, shot 
through the lung; Geo. Aiken, 
through the thigh, and Wm. Wil- 
kins, whose leg was amputated, 
doing well. 

Col. Fowler's flat with the Fay- 
etteville needle-guns, having been 
towed down by steamer Danville, 
reached the State House Sunday 
night. Gen. Bishop, President of 
the University, went through the 
formality, at Fayetteville, of serv- 
ing a writ of replevin for the guns 
on Col. Fowler, and summoning 
him to the June term of the Wash- 
ington Circuit Court. Col. Fowler 
paid no attention to the writ of re- 
plevin, but kept the guns and pur- 
sued his journey with them. The 
State arms in the arsenal (1600 
stand) were taken to pieces by the 
Federal commander and secreted. 

About 2 o'clock White's cavalry 
crossed the river, supported by the 
Lonoke company, Captain Eagle, 
and threw out a line along the 
Cairo & Fulton railway, to attack 
the Brooks force covering the 
landing of the Danville, with the 
Fayetteville needle guns and sup- 
plies. Brooks men crossed the 

of the Reconstruction Pe7-iod i?i Arkansas. 


bridge to meet them. About 8:30 
the firing was rapid on both sides 
and the river bank lined with citi- 
zens watching the skirmish. Col. 
Rose dispatched a company to 
Baring Cross, west of Argenta, 
and quartered them in the railroad 
shops. A Rodman gun was planted 
at foot of Louisiana street, com- 
manding the low-lying level of 
Argenta. About noon a large 
force of Baxter men got off at the 
junction from Newport. The only 
casualty reported was one colored 
man of the Brooks camp killed, 
two wounded on the Brooks side 
and four on the Baxter side. The 
Baxter men held possession of the 
Fort Smith & Little Rock Rail- 
road shops, from which the Brooks 
men tried to drive them. The 
workmen who remained in the 
shops lay on the floor to avoid the 

News of the arrest was received 
on the 9th of Gen. Brizzolara with 
eight men, at Spadra on the 6th, 
whither they were sent to seize 
the steamboat Robert Semple, be- 
longing to G. A. Meyers. The 
owner obtained a warrant, which 
was served on Brizzolara by an 
armed posse, the boat protected, 
and the would-be takers released. 

On the 9th of May some Baxter 
men attempted to capture Lieut. 
Summerhill, who, after releasing 
the captured Judges, had deserted 
to the Brooks camp. As he and 
Sam Williams (of Lewisburg) and 
two colored men were eoine into 

Gleason's Restaurant, under the 
Metropolitan Hotel, Summerfield 
ran, and they fired at him and hit 
Williams in the head, killing him 

The United States Infantry was 
called out at the sound of the fir- 
ing, and formed across the street 
in front of the City Hall, behind 
the movable barricade of the fire- 
trucks. Two Rodman guns, from 
the arsenal, were placed in battery 
at the corner of Markham and 
Louisiana,a few feet behind or west 
of the line of infantry. Brooks men 
covered the roof of the Benjamin 
block with arms, prepared to par- 
ticipate if there was a charge by 
the Baxter men. During the ex- 
citement a lady at breakfast at the 
Anthony House fainted while in 
conversation with Mr. Garland, 
who was acting as Baxter's Assis- 
tant Secretary of State, and who 
assisted the lady to her room. The 
United States Regulars, Saturday 
night, were stationed in the front 
and rear of the City Hall, on the 
corner of Main and Third and 
corner of Main and Fourth. Great 
cheering in the Baxter lines at the 
arrival of reinforcements for Bax- 
ter from Lonoke. 

The following dispatch from the 
United States Attorney General 
to each of the "Governors" was 
received at Little Rock, May 9th : 

Washington, D. C, May 9, 1874. 
It is agreed, this May 9, 1S74, at Washing- 
ton, D. C, between the respective attorneys and 
agents of Joseph Brooks and Elisha Baxter, 


Tlie Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

claimants for the office of Governor of the State 
of Arkansas, that on account of the conflicting 
claims of the parties and the division of senti- 
ment among the people of said State, that the 
Legislature of the State shall be called by the 
said Brooks and Baxter to meet in extra session 
on the fourth Monday of May A. D., 1874, at 
12 o'clock noon, at the usual place of meeting 
in the State House, each to issue a separate 
call forthwith for that purpose, and the Legis- 
lature so called shall be permitted to meet 
without molestation or hindrance by either of 
said parties or their adherents. 

That they shall receive and entertain a com- 
munication from Mr. Brooks, setting forth spe- 
cifically the ground for his claim to the office 
of Governor, as well as his reason for contest- 
ing Baxter's right thereto. That they shall in- 
vestigate the falcts and allegations so set forth 
by BrookS; and such investigation shall be 
conducted in the manner prescribed by the 
Constitution and laws of the State, giving to 
both parties a full and fair hearing upon such 
competent and relevant testimony as either 
may offer. That the Legislature shall deter- 
mine in the manner prescribed by law which 
of the contestants received at the November 
election, 1872, a majority of the legal votes, 
and declare the result, and the parties shall 
abide that action. 

Brooks and Baxter shall each relieve from 
duty and send home all his troops, retaining 
only so many as each may think necessary as 
a body guard at Little Rock, not exceeding 
one company. All warlike demonstrations are 
to forthwith cease, and both parties are to keep 
absolute peace and refrain from any interfer- 
ence with each other or their adherents until 
the contest is finally decided by the Legislature, 
or the national government has taken action 
thereon. That until the determination by the 
General Assembly as to who was legally elected 
Governor, on a contest to be made before that 
body by Joseph Brooks, the question as to 

which of the contestants has the legal right to 
exercise the functions of the office of Governor 
must at his discretion be determined by the 
President on the applications heretofore made 
to him by the respective contestants; that the 
Legislature shall receive from each claimant 
to the office such communications as either 
may send it until the contest for the office is 
finally decided by the General Assembly. 

I submit the foregoing plan of adjusting the 
difficulties in Arkansas to the claimants for 
Governor, it having been agreed to by all their 
friends and attorneys here, subject to approval, 
and I have to say that the President earnestly 
desires its adoption by both parties. 


Attorney General. 

Joseph Brooks, in his dispatch 
of the loth of May, accepts this 
extraordinary and impracticable 
suggestion of the Attorney Gen- 

Elisha Baxter, instead of accept- 
ing it, issued the following brief 
address to his "troops," declining 
to be a party to it, without giving 
any reasons: 

Executive Office, State of Ark., 1 
Little Rock, May 11, 1874. J 
Citizen Soldiers: 

The Little Rock Republicait of this date 
publishes a proposition of Mr. Brooks' friends, 
submitted to me through the Attorney General, 
I have to say to you that I have declined the 

Governor of Arkansas. 

Rice and Burton made formal 
arguments before the Attorney 
General in favor of Brooks, sub- 
mitted in writing. 

Hon. U. M. Rose, at the request 

of tlie Reconstriictio7i Period in Arkaiisas. 


of the Baxter men and the Gov- 
ernor, went to Washington to 
present the Baxter side of the 
controversy. His ability and ex- 
perience as a lawyer is unexcelled. 
He was perfectly familiar with the 
law and the facts in the case. By 
his unimpassioned but incisive ar- 
gument of a case he was eminently 
fitted to present such a case to a 
trained judicial officer or tribunal, 
and no doubt greatly aided the 
Attorney General in obtaining the 
clear understanding of the subject 
displayed in the opinion of that 
officer subsequently rendered. 

On the I ith of May Mr. Brooks 
sent his ultimatum to the Attorney 
General, which was that the Pres- 
ident must recognize either Baxter 
or him, upon this case as made 07i 
the papers. 

On the I Ith of May Governor 
Brooks telegraphed the President 
of the United States that he had 
consented, and was willing to 
make a joint call with Baxter of 
the Legislature, and let the quo- 
rum noiv in existence pass upon 
the question as to whether there 
were vacancies in the districts 
claimed to be represented by 7icw 
members; but that he could not 
recognize the body as organized, 
and now within the Baxter lines. 
That the question of the authority 
of that body could only be deter- 
mined by the courts of tlie State. 

This presented the original dif- 
ficulty of the validity of the de- 
cisions of the courts of the State. 

That had been already disposed 
of by the Attorney General's 
opinion, written, but not yet sent 
to Arkansas. Again, on the 14th, 
the day before the opinion of the 
Attorney General was dispatched 
to him. Gov. Brooks sent another 
dispatch to the President, setting 
out seven paragraphs: i. His 
election by the people. 2. The 
judgment of the Circuit Court. 
3. His installation under that judg- 
ment. 4. The judgment of the 
Supreme Court, recognizing the 
judgment of the Circuit Court. 
5. That he had the recognition of 
every branch and member of the 
State government, except that of 
the Secretary of State. 6. That 
the Circuit Court judgment had 
gone up on an appeal, and would 
be decided in a few days (inside 
his military lines). 7. He was will- 
ing to submit the legality of his 
election as proposed in his (the 
President's) suggestion of the 9th 
inst. (the Attorney General made 
that proposition), which Baxter 
had rejected. 

These dispatches were super- 
fluous, and must have been hurtful 
to him. They remind us of the 
ancient description of the sup- 
ports of the earth — first an ele- 
phant standing on a tortoise, and 
the tortoise on the sea. 

At II o'clock. May I2th, Col. 
John S. Duffie, who had captured 
a Baxter picket at corner of Scott 
and Third, narrowly escaped shoot- 
ing by a Baxter squad under Ben 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a JTistory 

J. Johnson, and was only saved by 
the intervention of Federal sol- 
diers. The same day the steamer 
Robert Semple arrived from up 
the river, and was reported to be 
loaded with Baxter men. Detach- 
ments of Brooks militia were or- 
dered to the boat on the south 
side of the river, just above the 
bridge. Detachments of Baxter 
men reaching the same locality, 
skirmishers were deployed by each 
side and firing commenced. The 
militia occupied the old rifle pits 
near the Union depot. Baxter's 
men were in positions on Fifth, 
Sixth and Seventh streets, further 
south, under Gens. Churchill and 
Blocher. Gen. White, with his 
cavalry, occupied a position be- 
hind the Penitentiary and on the 
hills of the Deaf Mute Asylum, 
overlooking the depot and ex- 
tending to Capital Hill southward. 
For two or three hours the firing 
between the Baxter men and the 
militia was very heavy, rendering 
it unsafe for pedestrians and fright- 
ening families, whose houses were 
struck with bullets. About 4 
o'clock Col. Clayton took com- 
mand of the right wing of Brooks' 
militia, when a resolute attack was 
made by the Baxter men on the 
Fort Smith company, at the cor- 
ner of Spring and Second streets. 
Company I, United States In- 
fantry, went from Arch street over 
to Broadway on a double quick, 
but the Baxter men had retired 
and the fight was over. At the 

Hornibrook residence the fight 
was also lively. Gen. Blocher en- 
gaged at close quarters a party of 
Brooks' militia. Thomas Gillem, 
of Brooks' militia, and Berryman, 
of the Baxter forces, were wounded 
and at the request of Mrs, Horni- 
brook carried into her residence. 
A hack soon came with a white 
flag for Berryman. Capt. Carr 
had his horse killed. Cannon pur- 
chased in Texas for the Baxter 
forces were looked for on the train 
from Texas. 

The extraordinary session of the 
General Assembly met on the i ith 
within Baxter's lines, in the Ditter 
block. In the Senate there were 
Askew, Beavers, Bunn, Duke, 
Frierson, Hanks, McChesney, Rat- 
cliffe, Scott, Pollard and Jones, 
which was not a quorum. In the 
House were Pindall (acting as 
Speaker), Arnold, Barton, Beas- 
ley, Boswell, Burton, Carter, Coffin, 
Conway, Cleveland, Crowell, Davis 
L. W., Davis S. F., Duffie, Eagle, 
Erwin, Files, Foster, Galbreath, 
Gest, Gassett, Hawkins, Hixon, 
King, Johnson B. W., Johnson C. 
C, Johnson L. L., Joyner, Lester, 
Mitchell, McClellan, McGuire, 
Montgomery, Pindall, Preston, 
Reed, Sumpter, Thompson, Tillar, 
Walker, Wheat. On motion of 
Mr. Sumpter that pages be ap- 
pointed, Masters J. J. Wheat, John 
Petit and Walter James were made 

Early in the morning of the 13th 
of May, the looked for Parrott 

of the Reconstruction Period ift Arkansas. 


guns, two twelve-pounders brought 
up from Galveston by Maj. Wood- 
ruff, were received by a sufficient 
force of Baxter men and escorted 
to a position on Scott street, near 
" Lady Baxter," the big siege gun. 

Fifteen Baxter men, among 
whom were Gen. Meyers (of Spa- 
dra, owner of the Robert Semple), 
were captured by Brooks' militia. 
Col. Sam W. Williams and Gen. 
James Pomeroy, made a visit to 
Brooks' headquarters to obtain 
their release. They were ulti- 
mately released. Street fights and 
pistol-shooting at the corner of 
Main and Markham caused a gen- 
eral rally to arms on both sides. 

On the 13th Messrs. Dunnagan 
and McCabe being sworn, took 
their seats as Senators, and that 
body having now a quorum, the 
General Assembly was organized ; 
and after some preliminary busi- 
ness adjourned to the 14th, at lO 
o'clock A. M. 

On the 14th the Legislature 
passed a joint resolution request- 
ing the President of the United 
States to put the Legislature in 
possession of the legislative halls, 
and that the "public property of 
the State-house square " be placed 
under control of that body. 

All these steps were in the right 
direction. They were powerful 
to demonstrate the illogical posi- 
tion of the parties claiming pos- 
session of the executive office, 
rejecting other officers and shap- 
ing judicial decisions to suit them. 

The course of events was casting 
an ominous shadow for Mr. Brooks. 
On the 15th of May the Attorney 
General submitted his opinion in 
the Arkansas case. Let it be 
carefully read in the light of events 
related in these pages. It will be 
interesting to every one who has 
followed the movements of the 
actors in this modern play — con- 
taining so much that is of deep 
meaning, and yet, withal, more 
comical than anything in its line 
since the days of Hudibras. 

The following is the opinion of 
the Attorney General : 

Department of Justice, \ 

Washington, May 15, 1874. J 
The President : 

Sir — Elisha Baxter, claiming to be Gov- 
ernor of Arkansas, and Joseph Brooks also 
claiming to be Governor of that State, and 
each made application, etc. [Stating the 
conflicting claims and the provisions of the 
Constitution of the State then in force govern- 
ing the canvassing of election returns and 
contests for the office of Governor, what was 
done under it, the decision on quo warranto, 
the snap judgment of Whytock and expulsion 
of Baxter by Brooks from the Executive of- 

Section IV. article 4 of the Constitution 
of the United States is as follows: "The 
United States shall guarantee to every State 
in this Union a republican form of govern- 
ment, and shall protect each of them against 
invasion, and on application of the Legislature 
or the Executive (when the Legislature cannot 
be convened), against domestic violence." 

When in pursuance of this provision of the 
Constitution the President is called upon by 
the Executive of a State to protect it against 
domestic violence, it appears to be his duty to 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

give the required aid, and especially when 
there is no doubt of the e\idence of the do- 
mestic violence. But when two persons, 
each claiming to be Governor, make calls re- 
spectively upon the President, under said 
clause of the Constitution, it, of course, be- 
comes necessary for him to determine, in the 
first place, which of said persons is the con- 
stitutional Governor of the State. That sec- 
tion of the Constitution (1868) of Arkansas 
(sec. 19 of art. 6) heretofore cited is decisive 
of this question as between Baxter and Brooks. 
According to the Constitution and laws of the 
State the votes for Governor were counted and 
Baxter declared elected and was at once duly 
inaugurated as Governor of the State. There 
is great difficulty in holding that he usurped 
the office into which he was inducted under 
these circumstances. 

Assuming that no greater effect is to be 
given to the counting of the votes in presence 
of the General Assembly than ought to be 
given to a similar action by a board of can- 
vassers, yet, when it comes to decide a ques- 
tion of contest, the General Assembly is con- 
verted by the Constitution into a Judicial 
body, and its judgment is as conclusive and 
final as the judgment of the Supreme Court 
of the State. 


But the tribunal is not special if the courts 
have concurrent jurisdiction over the subject. 
Brooks appears to claim that when a contest 
for Governor is decided by the General As- 
sembly, the defeated party may treat the de- 
cision as a nullity and proceed de novo in the 
courts. This makes the constitutional pro- 
vision as to the contest of no effect, and the 
proceedings under it an empty form. When 
the House of Representatives dismissed the 
petition of Brooks for a contest, it takes the 
State offices therein enumerated out of the 
purview of section 525 of the digest of State 
statutes and establishes a special tribunal to 

try these contested election cases to which 
they are parties. The jurisdiction of this tri- 
bunal is exclusive. (15 Ohio, 114; 28 Penn., 
9 ; 35 lb. 263 ; 44 lb. 332.) * * * 

Since the foregoing was written I have re- 
ceived a telegraphic copy oi 'w\iz.\. purports to 
be a decision of the Supreme Court of Arkan- 
sas, delivered on the 7th inst. Upon a requi- 
sition of Brooks the Auditor, WTieeler, drew his 
warrant upon the Treasurer, Page, for the sum 
of $1,000, payment of which was refused. 
Brooks then applied to the Supreme Court 
for a writ of mandamus upon the Treasurer, 
who set up by way of defense that Brooks 
was not Governor of the State. The Court 
says : 

"The only question we deem it necessary 
to notice is, did the Circuit Court have juris- 
diction to render judgment in the case of 
Brooks vs. Baxter? We feel some delicacy 
about expressing an opinion upon the ques- 
tion propounded, but under the pleadings it 
has to be passed upon incidentally if not ab- 
solutely in determining whether the relator, 
Brogks, is entitled to the relief asked ; for his 
right to office, if established at all, is estab- 
lished by the judgment of the Circuit Court 
of Pulaski County. W'e are of opinion that 
the Circuit Court had jurisdiction of the sub- 
ject matter, and its judgment appears to be 
regular and valid. The writ of mandamus 
will be awarded as prayed for" (to Brooks as 
having right to make a requisition as Gov- 

To show the value of this decision, it is 
proper that it must be taken as a decision of 
that body on questions presented in the peti- 
tion. It is not of any consequence whether or 
not the General Assembly has in fact decided 
the contest, if the exclusive jurisdiction to do 
so is vested in that body by the Constitution 
and laws of the State. 

Doubtless the makers of the constitution 
considered it unsafe to lodge in the hands of 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


every Circuit Court, of the State the power to 
revolutionize the Executive at will, and their 
wisdom is forcibly illustrated by the case un- 
der consideration, in which a person who had 
been installed as Governor according to the 
Constitution and laws of the State, after an 
undisturbed incumbency of more than a year. 
is deposed by a Circuit Judge, and another 
person put in his place upon the unsupported 
statement of the latter that he had received a 
majority of votes at the election. 

Summing up the whole discussion, the Su- 
preme Court of Arkansas say in the case of the 
Attorney General against Baxter : 

" Under this Constitution the determination 
of the question as to whether the person exer- 
cising the office of Governor has been duly 
elected or not is vested exclusively in the Gen- 
eral Assembly of the State, and neither this 
nor any other State Court has jurisdiction to 
try a suit in relation to such contest, be the 
mode or form what it may, whether as the suit 
of the Attorney General, or on the relation of 
a claimant through him, or by an individual 
alone claiming a right to the office. Some 
effort has been made to distinguish this case 
from that of Brooks vs. Baxter, in the Circuit 
Court, by calling the opinion a dictum ; but 
the point presented to and decided by the 
Supreme Court was, that in a contest for the 
office of Governor the Jurisdiction of the 
General Assembly was exclusive, which of 
course deprived one court as much as another 
of the power to try such a contest. 

The case of Berry and Brooks are exactly 
alike. That the Circuit Court should have 
rendered a judgment for Brooks under these 
circumstances is surprising, and it is not too 
much to say that it presents a case of judicial 
insubordination which deserves the reproba- 
tion of every one who does not wish to see 
public confidence in the certainty and good 
faith of judicial proceedings wholly destroyed. 

Chief Justice McClure, in the Berry case. 

declared his opinion that "As to all matters of 
contested elections for the offices of Governor, 
Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Aud- 
itor, Treasurer, Attorney General and Super- 
intendent of Public Instruction, I am of opinion 
that it can only be had before the General 
Assembly. I think a writ of prohibition ought 
to go to prohibit the Circuit Court from enter- 
taining jurisdiction of that portion of Berry 
against \Yheeler that has for object a recovery 
of the office." * * * 

Take the provisions of the Constitution and 
the two decisions of the Spureme Court and 
the conclusion irresistibly follows that the 
judgement of the Circuit Court is void. A 
void judgment hurts nobody. 

I should make the following statement : On 
the 20th of April Brooks made formal appli- 
cation to the President for aid to suppress 
domestic violence, which was accompanied hy 
a paper signed by Chief Justice McClure and 
Justices Searle and Stephenson, stating that 
they recognized Brooks as Governor. To this 
paper is appended also the name of Page, the 
respondent in the above named proceeding 
for mandamus. Page, therefore, did not re- 
fuse to pay the warrant of the Auditor because 
he did not recognize Brooks as Governor, but 
the object of his refusal evidently was to create 
such facts as were necessary to make a case for 
the Supreme Court. Accordingly the plead- 
ings were made up by the parties, both of 
whom were on the same side in the contro- 
versy (had declared to the President that they 
recognized Brooks), and the issue so made 
was submitted to Judges virtually pledged to 
give the decision wanted, and there within the 
military encampment of Brooks they hurriedly 
but with delicacy, they say, decided that 
Brooks is Governor, a decision in plain con- 
travention of the Constitution and laws of the 
State, and in direct conflict with two other re- 
cent decisions of the same Court deliberately 
made. I refrain from comment. More than 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

once the Supreme Court of the United States 
has decided that it would not hear argument 
of a case made up in this way, and a decision 
obtained under such circumstances is not re- 
garded as authority in any respectable tribunal. 

He recommended to the Presi- 
dent immediate action. 

On the 14th of May the Senate 
met in the Ditter block at 10 
o'clock, and elected J, G. Frier- 
son, of Pocahontas, President over 
Askew. Mr. Askew gave notice 
that at an early day he would in- 
troduce a bill for the purpose of 
calling a Constitutional Conven- 
tion. The same day and hour the 
House met in the same building 
and elected James H. Berry 

On the 14th of May the Gov- 
ernor sent in to the House his 
message, stating that as Executive 
of the State he had called the 
Legislature to assemble in extraor- 
dinary session. He referred to 
the existing contest between 
claimants for the Executive office, 
and the successive steps taken in 
it. His call upon the people to 
suppress an armed insurrection 
had been responded to promptly, 
but in his efforts to re-possess the 
State House he had been thwarted 
by Federal troops intervening to 
prevent bloodshed, and had ap- 
pealed to the National authorities, 
in accordance with law to prevent 
domestic violence. That the 
President had responded, favoring 
the meeting of the Legislature and 
guaranteeing it protection. To 

it then is submitted the question, 
who is Governor of Arkansas, un- 
der the general election held Nov. 
5, 1872? He invited its attention 
to the absolute necessity of call- 
ing a State Constitutional Con- 

Since war is now over, and the 
misunderstanding between those 
who took sides in it is corrected 
and explained, it will throw much 
light upon a labyrinth of difficulty 
through which the President, his 
cabinet, and legislators had to 
grope for months, to publish in 
this work, for the first time, the 
letter of Col. John S. Duffie, who 
was an original Reformer, and 
high in the Reform councils, and 
a quartermaster, with the rank of 
colonel, in the Brooks army. He 
makes the whole matter as simple 
as any mysterious course of events 
can be made, by a principal actor, 
when theories have failed and 
logic has become useless for want 
of the true premise from which to 
make a deduction. The follow- 
ing is his letter : 

Washington, D. C, March 5, 1882. 
Dear Friend — I have been requested to 
furnish such facts as I am in possession of 
relative to inside history of the Brooks-Baxter 

It will be remembered that Brooks favored 
re- enfranchising the disfranchised white peo- 
ple of the State. That upon that platform he 
was nominated by the Liberal Republican 
party, and the Democratic party supported 
him. He was elected by about 15,000 majority. 
It was given out that the Democratic and Lib- 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


eral Republican parties would hold a mass 
meeting on the day of the inauguration. The 
Republicans, fearing that the intention was to 
put Mr. Brooks in by force, sent to Washing- 
ton, D. C, and got a regmient of Federal 
troops, and had soldiers stationed in and 
about the Capitol grounds on that day, conse- 
quently we could do nothing but submit. 

On the night after the inauguration a mass 
meeting was held in Little Rock, and a series 
of resolutions, carefully prepared by a few 
gentlemen, were introduced by myself. They 
were unanimously adopted. Among other 
things, they declared that Brooks was elected, 
etc., and provided for a central committee with 
three members from the Democratic party — 
Gen. James F. Fagan, Col. Lee Thompson and 
myself; and three from the Liberal Republican 
party — Hon. B. F. Rice (I have forgotten the 
names of the other two). Said committee was 
instructed to use all lawful means to oust Mr. 
Baxter from and install Mr. Brooks in the 
gubernatorial office. The committee, in con- 
ference with Mr. Brooks, decided to bring suit 
in the Pulaski Circuit Court for the office. 
Judge Whytock presiding. Matters went on 
so for about two years. Finally the stalwart 
Republicans became dissatisfied, and our com- 
mittee began to have frequent conferences with 
Mr. Brooks. 

The agreement between the committee and 
Mr. Brooks was that Mr. Brooks should call 
the Legislature together as soon as he was 
recognized as Governor and recommend a Con- 
stitutional Convention, and that, if possible, we 
should have such convention frame a new Con- 
stitution and have an entire new election of 
officers, and that Mr. Brooks was to run on 
the Liberal ticket for Governor. Mr. Brooks 
was entirely willing to this arrangement — in- 
deed, seemed anxious to go before the people 
in this way for vindication. He believed and 
the committee believed he would be trium- 
phantly elected, and I am still of the opinion 

that such would have been the case had the 
Democrats permitted us to carry out the pro- 

Qui meetings were in the upper story of the 
old kitchen of the Bebee building, just in front 
of the State House, and as we had no gas, we 
were sometimes nearly in the dark. It looked 
gloomy enough, but wc meant business. We 
were trying to perform the duty entrusted to 
us by the mass meeting heretofore spoken of 
The decision had not yet been rendered by 
Whytock. // was being held for other devel- 

When Mr. Brooks received absolute assur- 
ance from the United States Senators at Wash- 
ington that he would be sustained, Hon. B. F. 
Rice was charged with the duty of getting 
Judge Whytock to render a decision on a cer- 
tain day. Hodges was to swear out a warrant 
against Baxter for usurping office, and Bax- 
ter was to be arrested and confined in the 
Secretary of State's office for a few days, so 
t^hat the other side could have no nucleus 
around which to rally. McClure was to swear 
in Brooks, and I believe that Captain Cutter 
(I am not certain about that) was to seize the 
State armory. So, on the 14th day of April, 
1874, the revolution was inuagurated. Rice 
got the decision from Whytock, the armory 
was seized. Brooks was sworn in, but Hodges 
somehow failed to be on hand with his war- 
rant — so Baxter was permitted to go. This I 
looked upon as a great oversight, and a few 
days afterward I insisted that Mr. Baxter 
should be taken, and offered to do it. I could 
have easily done so with a little dash and pre- 
cipitation, but Mr. Brooks thought it not ad- 
visable to take the risk. He assured me he 
had absolute assurance from Washington that 
he would be recognized by the President, and 
that under the circumstances we could afford 
to wait. 

The matter of calling the Legislature to- 
gether was discussed in the Brooks camp, 


The Brooks and Baxter IVar: a History 

but it was generally agreed that as we were 
looked upon as a revolutionary party, it 
would be wiser to wait until Brooks was rec- 
ognized, but it was our full intention to have 
the Legislature called as soon as he was rec- 
ognized ; and had he been recognized, that 
programme would have been carried out. 

As you know, Lee Thompson was ap- 
pointed a General and was in command of the 
forces in the State-house grounds. I was 
Post Adjutant, and, of course, had a knowl- 
edge of everything that was going on in the 
Brooks camp, and for a considerable time on 
the outside.'because I continued to board at 
Mr. Lange's, on Main street, and most of the 
boarders there were Baxter men. I was aft- 
erwards appointed by Gen. Fagan Quarter- 
master, with the rank of Colonel. 

I will now go back to give a little account 
of Gen. Fagan's connection with this matter, 
as a great many unkind and unjust things 
have been said about him in connection 
therewith. Fagan was at nearly all the com- 
mittee meetings we had, and was always 
earnest and positive in that part of the pro- 
gramme that the Legislature was to be called 
soon after Mr. Brooks' accession to the 
throne, and that we were to have a new Con- 
stitution and a new election. Gen. Fagan 
did not take up his quarters in the State 
House immediately after the inauguration of 
the revolution, because it was thought he 
could do more good and perhaps prevent 
bloodshed by remaining outside. Fagan was 
very much opposed to any actual hostilities, 
because he knew that the Brooks camp was 
well organized, well armed and ammuni- 
tioned, and that an attack by the Baxter men 
would have been an absolute failure and cer- 
tain death to a good many of his friends. 
That the Baxter men misunderstood the situa- 
tion in this respect was evident from the fact 
that the Gazette constantly asserted that 
Brool*s did not have more than two or three 

hundred half-armed, ragged negroes to sup- 
port him. This was not at all true. He had 
several companies of the bravest and most 
desperate white men in the State, besides a 
regiment of negroes and an artillery com- 

Vou will remember that breastworks were 
thrown up in the State-house yard. This was 
done at the instance of Gen. Fagan, and be- 
fore he took command of the Brooks forces, 
because, he said: "The excitement at the 
Anthony House was so high that they were 
almost certain to make an assault on the State 
House unless something was done to prevent 
it." Gen. Catterson was in for a fight, and 
said: "Let them come; we can clean them 
out in fifteen minutes." But Fagan said: 
" No ; they are my friends, and everything 
must be done that is possible to prevent a 
collision, and by letting them see that the 
Brooks camp is thoroughly prepared, is the 
best way to prevent it." 

I have not the lime to detail all this confer- 
ence. It was sharp and angry, but Fagan 
carried his point. The breastworks were 
thrown up at the instance of Fagan, not for 
the protection of the Brooks men but for the 
protection of the Baxter men. 

This is inside history. Fagan never would 
have taken command of the Brooks forces 
had the Baxter men let him alone, but he was 
so abused by them that he was forced to take 
an active part either on one side or the other, 
and considering his previous connection with 
the matter, his duty was plain. 

It occurs to me that I have said all that is 
necessary to say. 

A review of this matter is simply this: 

We, Fagan, Thompson, Rice, Duffie and 
the other members of the committee were in- 
structed to put Mr. Baxter out and put Mr. 
Brooks in, and, when the pear was ready to 
be squeezed, we made a contract with Mr. 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


Brooks that he was to be put in the' guberna- 
torial chair on condition that we were to have 
a new Constitution and a new election. We 
did what the people had instructed us to do, 
and more. Mr. Brooks would certainly have 
carried out the programme had he been 
properly supported, but the men who in- 
structed us to do this thing went back on us 
at the critical moment. 

Your friend, • 


May 14th a company of White's 
cavalry made a reconnoisance into 
the southern part of the city, and 
returned about I p. m. Another 
company of the same command at 
9:15 was scouring the hills west of 
the city, and were watched by 
Gen. Newton and the officers of 
the Baxter army, with field glasses, 
from the roof of the Adams block. 
At 1:20 a company of Baxter in- 
fantry marched up Scott street and 
united with the cavalry. A com- 
pany of Baxter cavalry at the same 
time was scouting in Argenta, 
north of the river, and rode up to 
Baring Cross by way of the junc- 
tion. The Baxter Parrott guns, at 
foot of Scott street, were wreathed 
with roses by young girls. The 
usual afternoon street skirmish 
was omitted, and all was quiet at 

May 15th, about 9 a. m., the 
Brooks encampment was rein- 
forced by detachments from Fort 
Smith, under Gen. Sarber, and 
from Dardanelle, under Col. Gib- 
son. At 1 1 a. m. a squad of Bax- 
ter men ran a few Brooks men into 

their camp, firing a number of 
shots. At 12:30 two Baxter men 
at Baring Cross amused them- 
selves by firing rifle shots at the 
State House, which the Brooks 
men at the State House returned, 
At 2 p. M. Lieut. Noble, with a 
guard of Federal soldiers, crossed 
the river on the steamer Darda- 
nelle, at the foot of Louisiana 
street and meeting five Baxter 
men, were told by the Baxter 
squad that they were sent to arrest 
the men who fired on the State 

The great cheering and joyful 
demonstrations which pervaded 
the part of the city within the 
Baxter lines, about' 5 p. m., was 
heard throughout the city and at 
the State House. It excited the 
most intense curiosity. It was 
kept up for hours, and caused the 
presumption that intelligence of 
some important kind had been 

At 6 p. M. Gens. Poindexter 
Dunn and Ed. J. Brooks, with a 
flag of truce, carried a sealed com- 
munication to Governor Baxter's 
headquarters. The excitement at 
the Anthony House was so great 
and the cheering so vociferous 
that the Brooks Generals halted at 
the door and proposed to retire 
unless respected. Gen. Newton 
thereupon ordered Capt. Welch's 
company and a company of col- 
ored men on duty to preserve 
order. The Brooks messengers 
were assured that the demonstra- 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

tions were made by the citizens and 
not the soldiery. Gens. Churchill 
and Rottaken escorted the Brooks 
Generals out of their lines to the 
Federal barracks on the neutral 

These demonstrations, after a 
month of excitement and terror to 
citizens and exertions and sac- 
rifices of armed men on both sides, 
were caused by the first author- 
itative order looking to a suspen- 
sion of hostilities. It had been 
anticipated by telegrams received 
during the afternoon and the day 
before. Mr. Garland threw away 
his dress-coat in the excitement. 

At 3 p. M., on the 15th, on the 
reassembling of the Senate, in the 
Ditter block, after the roll was 
called, the Secretary read the fol- 
lowing dispatch from the President 
of the United States : 

Department of Justice, "(^ 
May 15, 1874. J 

To J. G. Frierson, President pro tern., and 
James H. Berry, Speaker pro ietn., Little 
Rock : 

The following proclamation is sent to you 
for publication. 


Attorney General. 


Whereas, Certain turbulent and disorderly 
persons pretending that Elisha Baxter, the 
present Executive of Arkansas, was not elected, 
have combined together with force and arms 
to resist his authority as such Executive and 
other authorities of said State; and, 

Whereas, said Elisha Baxter has been de- 
clared duly elected by the General Assembly 

of said State, as provided in the Constitution 
thereof, and has for a long period been exer- 
cising the functions of said office, into which 
he was inducted according to the Constitution 
and laws of said State and ought by its citi- 
zens to be considered as the lawful Executive 
thereof; and. 

Whereas, It is provided in the Constitution 
of the United States that the United States 
shall protect every State in the Union on ap- 
plication of the Legislature, or of the Executive 
when the Legislature cannot be convened, 
against domestic violence ; and, 

Whereas, The said Elisha Baxter, under 
Section 4 of Article IV. of the Constitution of 
the United States and the laws passed in pur- 
suance thereof, has heretofore made applica- 
tion to protect said State and the citizens 
thereof against domestic violence ; and, 

Whereas, The General Assembly of said 
State was convened in extra session on the 
nth instant, pursuant to a call made by the 
said Elisha Baxter, and both houses thereof 
have passed a joint resolution also applying 
to me to protect the State against domestic 
violence ; and. 

Whereas, It is provided in the laws of the 
United States that in all cases of insurrection 
in any State, or of the obstruction to the laws 
thereof, it shall be lawful for the President of 
the United States, on application of the Leg- 
islature of said State, or of the Executive 
when the Legislature cannot be convened, to 
employ such part of the land and naval forces 
as shall be judged necessary for the purpose of 
suppressing such insurrection or causing tha 
laws to be duly executed; and, 

Whereas, It is required, whenever it may 
be necessary in the judgment of the President 
to use the military forces for the purpose afore- 
said, he shall forthwith, by proclamation, 
command such insurgents to disperse and re- 
tire peaceably to their respective homes within 
a limited time ; 

of the Reconstruction Period in Arkansas. 


Now, therefore, I, Ulysses S. Grant, Presi- 
dent of the United States, do hereby make 
pioclamation and command all turbulent and 
disorderly persons to disperse and return 
peaceably to their respective abodes within 
ten days from this date, and hereafter to sub- 
mit themselves to the lawful authority of said 
Executive and the other constituted authorities 
of the State, and I invoke the aid and co- 
operation of all good citizens to uphold the 
law and preserve public peace. 

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my 
hand and caused the seal of the United States 
to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, 
this fifteenth day of May, in the year of our 
Lord eighteen hundred and seventy-four and 
of the Independence of the United States the 
ninety-eighth. U. S. GRANT. 

By the President. 


Secretary of State. 

Senator Brown moved that the 
Chaplain offer up a special prayer 
of thanksgiving at the next meet- 
ing of the Senate, in gratitude to 
God for this solution of the trou- 
bles, which was adopted. 

May 1 8th. Monday, the Repub- 
lican, in its first issue after the 
President's proclamation, in its 
leader, says, that the action of the 
President instead of being based 
upon the "hard rock of unques- 
tioned law," was exercised solely 
upon the opinion of the Attor- 
ney General George H. Williams, 
of Oregon, which it " did not hesi- 
tate to declare is such an opinion 
as would disgrace any fifth-class 
lawyer now practicing at the Little 
Rock bar," and devotes a column 
and over to a review of the opinion. 

Senators John M. Clayton, R. 
A. Dawson and Lovejoy, and C. 
E. Berry, Scott Thompson and 
Neal Brown (the last three col- 
ored) of the House, were con- 
spicuous actors in the army of the 
" insurgents " who came under the 
authority of the President's proc- 
lamation. Upon offering to pass 
through the Baxter guards on 
Markham street, they were stop- 
ped and referred to Gen. Newton. 
Thereupon they addressed the fol- 
lowing note : 

Little Rock, May 16, 1874. 
To Maj.r-Gen. R. C. Neivton : 

The undersigned members of the Legislat- 
ure this morning attempted to pass through 
your lines for the purpose of taking their seats 
in that body and were stopped by your guards 
and turned back. We desire to know if this 
was done by your orders. 

and others. 

They also dispatched the fact 
to Senators Clayton and Dorsey. 

Gen. Newton immediately sent 
back word that free passage was 
ordered to all members of the Leg- 
islature, and assigned Inspector 
General Rottaken to conduct them 
to the halls of the Legislature. 

And then. May the i6th, the 
commanding officers met to ar- 
range the cartel for the surrender 
of the Brooks forces. After the 
usual preliminaries, hospitalities 
were extended by the Baxter civic 
and military chiefs and accepted 
with the best grace by the Brooks 


The Brooks and' Baxter War: a History 

leaders, the following arrange- 
ment was agreed upon and signed 
by the respective general com- 
manders : 

[General Orders No. lo.] 
Headquarters Ark. State Militia,"! 
Little Rock, May i6, 1874. | 
I. The following arrangements between 
the Major General commanding and Gen. Fa- 
gan, commanding the opposing forces, will 
be respected by the officers and soldiers of 
this command. R. C. NEWTON, 

General Commanding. 
Little Rock, May 16, 1874. 
Agreement by and between Maj.-Gen. Rob- 
ert C. Newton, commanding Arkansas 
State forces, under Gov. Baxter, and 
Maj.-Gen. James F. Fagan, commanding 
forces under Hon. Joseph Brooks, arrang- 
ing terms for the transportation to their 
homes of the forces on both sides, by 
which it is mutually agreed : 

1. That in obedience to the proclamation 
of President U. S. Grant, of the 15th inst., the 
Brooks forces, under command of Maj.-Gen. 
J. F. Fagan, shall be dispersed as herein- 
after particularly agreed on, and 

2. That the State forces under command 
of Maj.-Gen. R. C. Newton, to such extent 
and as rapidly as the disposing of Gen. Fa- 
gan's forces quietly to their homes will jus- 
tify will be moved \.o their respective counties, 
and used in the military service for no other 
purpose than the preservation of the public 
peace, and the protection of all persons 
against violence, without regard to politics or 
color or any participation in the recent 
troubles in the State. 

3. That all men and officers under com- 
mand of Maj.-Gen. Fagan are to retain their 
private arms and their private property. 

4. That the command of Brig.-Gen. Ed. J. 
Brooks, from Fort Smith and the upper Ark- 

ansas River, shall be allowed to retain their 
private arms and twenty-four stands of State 
arms, the latter to be receipted for by Gen. 
Brooks, and delivered to him by an officer to 
be designated by Gen. Newton, the command 
to start to-day by Steamer Robert Semple, 
under a white flag. 

5. That all the men of Brooks' forces liv- 
ing eastward, on the line of the Memphis Sa 
Little Rock Railroad, shall be sent by train; 
shall start to-night, or as soon thereafter as 
possible, under charge of their officers, the 
train to be under a white ilag. 

6. That all the Brooks forces from Pine 
Bluff or down the Arkansas River shall be 
sent by boat as soon as transportation can be 

7. That the mounted men of the Brooks 
forces may be retained if desirable or neces- 
sary until the unmounted forces have dis- 

8. That the members of the Brooks forces 
living in Pulaski County shall be sent to their 
homes by companies under discreet officers as 
rapidly as possible. 

g. That all men of the Brooks forces in- 
cluded in this agreement, who have been act- 
ing as enlisted men, under command of their 
officers, are assured that full protection shall 
be given them, and that they will be per- 
mitted to return to their homes and vocations 
and shall not be molested for acts done un- 
der the orders of their officers, nor shall offi- 
cers going to their homes with or without 
troops be molested. 

10. That all public arms and munitions of 
war now in the hands of the Brooks forces, 
except those above mentioned as being al- 
lowed temporarily to Gen. E. J. Brooks, shall 
be deposited in the armory at the State House, 
unless Maj.-Gen. Newton shall allow other 
portions thereof to be used by either side 
pending the removal of the troops from the 
immediate scene of hostilities. 

of the Reconstruction Feriod. in Arkansas. 


II. Transportalion hereinbefore referred 
to shall be furnished by the State of Ark- 

Signed in duplicate the date above men- 

Major General Commanding. 

Major General Commanding. 

The Robert Semple left on the 
i6th of May with eighty-eight 
men of the Brooks army for Fort 
Smith and the upper river. The 
" Semple " floated a white flag. 

The Brooks followers from the 
east left that night on trains un- 
der white flags. Within a day or 
two all Brooks' men had departed 
the capital. Gov. Baxter again 
took possession of the Executive 
office, escorted by the military. 
The Legislature vacated the Bit- 
ter block, and met in their usual 
places in the State House, as soon 
as they could be prepared for 

And this was the end of the 
war. By it the people of Arkan- 
sas were relieved from the impo- 
sitions of a cancerous oligarchy of 
amateurs in political economy, if 
they were not merely criminal 
wreckers and plunderers by de- 
sign or instinct. The military or- 
ganization of the State was kept 
up for a period until the bill which 
was passed by the Legislature call- 
ing a Constitutional Convention 
went into effect. There were no 
more military conflicts of any mo- 
ment, only some slight clashings 

of the civil with the military au- 
thority, and some police duty for 
the military. Many of the leaders 
of those who were " dispersed " 
by the President as "insurgents," 
went away. Others acquiesced, 
good humoredly, and remained, 
cheerfully resuming their peaceful 
occupations with as much or 
greater success than when engag- 
ing in Statecraft. 

The Constitutional Convention 
was called, and with much learn- 
ing and labor devised the Consti- 
tution under which we now live. 
Under it the Hon. A. H. Garland, 
who by his services and continued 
attention contributed so much to 
the happy consummation, was 
elected Governor, and Democrats, 
generally, to fill the important 
places in all the departments of 
the State government. He was 
then chosen Senator of the United 
States, and J. H. Berry, the 
Speaker of the House of the extra 
session which called the Constitu- 
tional Convention succeeded him 
as Governor. 

The greatest military figure of 
the war was Gen. Robt. C. Newton. 
He was under 40 years of age, and 
a native of Little Rock. He had 
been educated at Bardstown, Ky. 
His father, Col. Thos. W. Newton, 
was a much beloved citizen of 
Little Rock — the only "whig" in 
politics ever elected to Congress 
from any Arkansas district. Gen. 
Newton was a lawyer — an able 
one — and had seen service during 


The Brooks and Baxter War: a History 

the civil war as Adjutant General 
of Maj. Gen, T. C, Hindman, when 
that brave officer was in command 
of the entire Trans-Mississippi dis- 
trict. The State troops were sub- 
sequently by Governor Flanigan 
placed under command of Gen. 

There was never in history an 
act of purer disinterestedness and 
patriotism than when Gen. Newton 
offered his services to Gov. Baxter. 
It was at once his indorsement, 
without compensation, promised 
or expected, and pledge for the 
faithful administration of the re- 
sponsible office held under adverse 
circumstances by that gentleman. 

Gen. Newton, by his knowledge 
of the people of the State and 
their needs, by his character for 
spotless integrity and sound judg- 
ment and courage, invited to Gov. 
Baxter's standard the support 
of many of the strongest and pur- 
est men in the State. By his vig- 
ilance and practical discernment, 
he selected the surest material for 
success in maintaining the Baxter 
government, and by his wisdom 
and temperate control, or guid- 
ance, he directed a most difficult 
and perilous movement to a glo- 
rious success. 

He might have been the nom- 
inee of his party for the office of 
Governor, as the successor of Gov. 
Baxter, if he had not thought that 
gentleman entitled to succeed him- 
self. Although Gov. Baxter de- 
clined the nomination, which the 

Democratic party would have 
given him. Gen. Newton would not 
consent to be mentioned in that 
connection. He firmly refused the 
nomination by his party conven- 
tion at Clarksville as a candidate 
for Representative in Congress of 
the Third District, which was ten- 
dered, but which he declined in 
favor of Gen, Wilshire, who, he 
said, had earned it by his splendid 
services in the Baxter cause, and 
being a Northern man and an ex- 
Union soldier, would be enabled 
when elected to render the party 
and the State still further benefits. 
Such was the magnanimous char- 
acter and unselfish action of the 
hero of the Brooks and Baxter war. 
No man was ever better loved. 

The Brooks leaders had the en- 
dorsement of the Democratic party 
originally; were sustained by the 
flower of the party, until their 
coalition with those who were re- 
garded as only schemers for the 
plunder and enslavement of the 

There were great abilities ex- 
erted and splendid work done by 
the leaders of the opposing fac- 
tions of the Republican party in 
that conflict. Their division among 
themselves produced the usual re- 
sult of such quarrels, which are the 
subject of illustrations in all times, 
of song and fable, by yEsop, La- 
fontaine, Boileau and Pope : 

There take (said Justice), take ye each a shell. 
We thrive at Westminster ox\ such fools as you. 
'Twas a fat oyster — live in peace — adieu. 



Before the Congressional Committee, July 28, 1874, Gen. Newton, in his usual lucid and 
frank manner, made the following statement of the cause of his resignation (Poland Report, 
p. 445)- 

By Mr. McClure : Q. What position did you hold in the State government prior to your 
appointment to civil office ? A. Immediately preceding that I did not hold any position. A 
few days before that I had resigned my position as Major General of the Arkansas State 

Q. What led to that resignation ? A. In the first place the war was over, and while I 
was disbanding the armies, two armies at once, and doing the best that I could not to cause any 
bloodshed, farther than had been shed, all the time assisted by and assisting Gen. Fagan in 
doing so; and while those troops were in that state in the midst of a town which had not been 
subject to the discipline of a camp; the Legislature of the State of Arkansas took upon itself 
to admit to their respective houses men who had been in open insurrection, as I considered it, 
against the legitimate government of the State, and (if there is anything in the term treason) 
who had been guilty of treason. I had learned once to know what that was, because I had tried 
it. And in the face of these armies those men were enabled, by the action of the Legislature, to 
walk right down through my lines and in the presence of the troops enter the legislative halls — 
some of them as Senators, and some as Representatives. My men complained of that. I was 
holding them in hand for purposes of peace, until not only the other side could get way, but 
until I could afford to send them away, too, and let the Legislature go into the State House and 
there sit as any other Legislature would do. But this was done in the presence of the troops. 
I issued an address to them, which on its face will show that it was principally for the purpose 
of discipline and maintaining peace among them. Without any knowledge on my part, Gov. 
Baxter, as I understand, sent a message to the Legislature on the subject. It turned out after- 
wards that he addressed it personally to the presiding officers of the respective houses of the 
General Assembly, disavowing any knowledge of my address before it was issued. As an order 
had been issued some time before that giving me control of military matters, I thought this 
action was interfering with my part of the government. So I wrote the Governor to that effect. 
He told me that he had disavowed any knowledge of my address, and that under the circum- 
stances he could not sustain it, for the reason that he had, so far as the Legislature was con- 
cerned, removed his proclamation of martial law, and because that address was, in his opinion, 
a violation of his removal of martial law. As I did not approve that view, and as he ought to 


262 Appendix. 

have notified me before taking his action, I tendered my resignation, the war being over and 
there being no use in my staying any longer, * * * 

By Mr. Wilshire: Q. Look at what purports to be an address to the soldiers made by 
you, printed on page 22 of the published testimony before this committee? A. A copy of this 
pamphlet was given to me to-day, and I read this address in it. It is substantially the address 
as issued by me. I suppose it is taken from a newspaper publication. There are some mis- 
takes in the newspaper publication, but the address is substantially the same. 

GEN. Newton's address. 

Headquarters Arkansas State Guard,") 
Little Rock, May 19, 1874. / 

Soldiers — You have been directly insulted by the two houses of the General Assembly, 
who have seen fit to reward your patriotism, your splendid discipline and valor by admitting to 
the halls of legislation those who, even before the dispersion of the insurgent forces, knocked 
for admittance, but who, the very day before thus applying to be recognized as Legislators, 
boasted through the public press of the glory of meeting you on the battle-field. 

While such men, your enemies in arms, are thus allowed in your very presence a voice and 
vote in making laws to govern you who have so admirably deported yourselves when assembled 
for the vindication of legitimate government in our State ; and when John M. Clayton, as a 
Senator, and Brig. Gen. L. L. Thompson, as a Representative, and lesser ones in position and 
influence, who have been known to be in arms against the Baxter government, are permitted to 
make laws governing the recognition of your services and the matter of your compensation, it is 
calculated, I know, to arouse indignation. I can but caution you to observe the same discipline, 
and conduct yourselves in the soldierly manner as heretofore. Hoping that as time makes all 
things right, those to whom is committed the gathering of the fruits of your triumph will not 
through sentimentality throw away all the results of your victory. 

Major General Commanding. 

On the 1 8th of May the Governor issued the following proclamation, revoking martial law: 

Executive Office, State of Arkansas,! 
Little Rock, May 18, 1874. / 

Whereas, On the l6th day of April, 1874, martial law was by me proclaimed in Pulaski 
County, in consequence of the existence of an armed insurrection, under the authority vested in 
me as Governor by the Constitution and laws of the State, and on the nth day of May, 1874, 
said proclamation was revoked in so far as not to interfere with the meeting and proceedings 
of the Legislature ; and. 

Whereas, The armed insurrectionists are now dispersing, and many person* are at large who 
are notoriously guilty of treason against the State of Arkansas, and it is not desirable to pro- 
ceed against them by military law ; 

Now, therefore, \, Elisha Baxter, Governor of Arkansas, do hereby further revoke said pro- 
clamation of martial law, so far as to permit the arrest and detention, by criminal process from 
the civil magistrates, of all persons charged with treason against the State in the late insurrec- 

Appendix. 263 

tion ; but nothing in this proclamation shall interfere with the carrying out of any and all mili- 
tary orders from the headquarters of the State of Arkansas, or any legitimate military authority. 
I testimony whereof, witness my hand and the seal of the State, etc. 

Attested by J. M. JOHNSON, Secretary of State. 

On the 19th instant Gov. Baxter took possession of the Executive office with appropriate 
ceremonies. He rode in a carriage with his private Secretary and other friends, under an 
escort of cavalry, infantry and artillery. He resumed his former chair to the firing of the sixty- 
four-pound gun called "Lady Baxter," stationed on the bank of the river, in rear of the Metro- 
politan Hotel. After which the two garlanded Parrott guns were fired 100 rounds, in the space 
east of the Slate House. The doors of the State House were then closed by Gen. Newton, and 
the keys turned over to Col. Rottaken, after the removal from their offices of Treasurer Page 
and Auditor Wheeler. Attorney General Yonley's resignation was tendered and accepted, and 
J. L. Witherspoon appointed in his stead. 

House resolutions of the Legislature, charging Senators Clayton and Dorsey with conspir- 
ing to overthrow the State government, and in pursuance of such conspiracy did use their official 
positions to corrupt the judiciary of the State — -to wit: M. L. Stephenson and others — and as 
unfit persons to represent the State in the Senate of the United States, and requesting them to 
resign, on the 23d of May were reported by Mr. Sumpter, of the Committee on Federal Rela- 
tions, recommending their passage. On the 28th instant they were adopted — 39 ayes, 4 noes. 
Noes — Chapline, Scott, L. L. Thompson and Williams. 

The same body, on the 26th instant, had presented articles of impeachment against John 
McClure, Chief Justice; J. E. Bennett, E. J. Searle and M. L. Stephenson, Associate Justices ; 
W. H. Gray, Commissioner of Immigration ; George A. Kingston and John Whytock, Circuit 
Judges ; W. S. Oliver and Benton Turner, Sheriffs of their respective counties, and sundry 
Clerks and Supervisors of counties, for treason, etc. 

The repeated accusations against W. G. Whipple and John Whytock of procuring and 
rendering the "snap judgment" of the Pulaski Circuit Court in favor of Brooks for the office of 
Governor, against Baxter, as a usurper, was denied by them in the following newspaper card, 
published in the 'Republican of the 26th of May : 


Our purpose in presenting this card to the public is to correct certain misrepresentations 
respecting the proceedings in the case of Brooks vs. Baxter, in the Circuit Court, which have 
been made and repeated in the Gazette, and the dispatches of one of its editors, as agent of the 
Associated Press, and re-echoed to some extent by the press of the country. To the following 
statement of the proceedings, as they occurred, we invite the perusal of the people, challenging 
the inventor or inventors of the false representations and their copyists to deny and disprove 
any portion of it. 

264 Appendix. 

The action was begun in June, 1873. The defendant, Baxter, appeared by counsel, Judge 
E. H. English and Messrs. Compton, Martin and Bishop, and filed demurrer in October, 1873, 
by which proceeding they raised the single question as to whether tlie Court had jurisdiction of 
the case. Brooks proceeded to take testimony by depositions, in the usual manner, upon due 
written notice served personally on Baxter in each case, which depositions have been returned, 
filed and belong to the papers in the case. These depositions show on their face a majority of 
several hundred votes for Brooks, over and above the majority upon which Baxter was (as is 
now admitted on all hands) counted in. 

At the commencement of the last term of the Circuit Court the Clerk, as required by law, 
in setting the pending cases for trial, set this case for the 2d of March last. We understand 
and believe that it was subject to be called up and submitted upon any day between that time 
and its actual submission on the 13th of April, just one month and eleven days atcer it was set 
for trial. 

On Monday, April 13th, and at a regular session of the Court, at which the usual business was 
for hearing and disposition (save only jury trials), the case was called up by Mr. Whipple, one 
of the plaintiff's attorneys, and submitted. The Court had previously announced that, as the 
United States Court was to sit during the week, no case requiring the empaneling of a jury 
would be called during the week, except by consent of both parties ; but that in every other 
respect the business would progress as usual. We understand that, according to the rules and 
practice of the courts of the State, the plaintiff was entitled to submit the case just when we did. 
Moreovei-, there was an understanding between the attorneys of both sides that the demurrer 
might be submitted at any time. 

The record of the submission was read in open court on the morning of Tuesday, the ensu- 
ing day. Each of the morning papers of Tuesday contained a notice of the submission under 
the usual head of proceedings of Courts. We are informed and believe that the attention of 
Gov. Baxter was called to the fact of this proceeding on Tuesday, in the Executive office, by J. 
N. Smithee, one of the editors of the Gazette. 

We are informed and believe that the attention of Baxter's counsel was drawn to the same 

The decision of the Court was delivered on Wednesday, the 15th day of April. The 
decision was reserved during the whole session of about two hours, to enable some one at least 
of Baxter's counsel to attend and take steps in the case. Just before the close of the sitting, 
the Court, in ruling upon the other cases, reached the case of Brooks vs. Baxter, and announced 
that he supposed the case would be taken to the Supreme Court in any event;, that it involved 
the question of salary, which had not been decided, and proceeded then in affirmance of his 
original decision made in the case of Berry vs. Wheeler, to sustain the jurisdiction of the Court 
by overruling the demurrer to the jurisdiction, at the same time announcing that the defendant 
could plead over, if he desired. 

Upon this Mr. Whipple moved for final judgment, stating as grounds therefor, that the 
case was then subject to the call of the plaintiff, as it had been for more than a month ; that it 
had been pending nearly a year; that the defendant had already had a reasonable time to 
determine whether to file a plea to the merits ; that the defendant and his friends had never 
seemed to court inquiry and investigation into the result of the election, and suggested that the 

Appendix. 265 

defendant would, of course, appeal to the Supreme Court. At this point, Col. S. W, Williams, 
a well-known friend of Baxter, remarked to the Court, as amicus curia, that the defendant 
could not appeal until there was a final judgment rendered. 

Besides, Judge Allen, of the law firm of Wilshire & Allen, who, as we are informed and 
believe, had been retained as attorneys for Baxter in the case, was present at this time and 
made no application for time to plead. In this State of the case, the Court announced that as 
an appeal would undoubtedly be taken, he would let judgment go with the privilege of a writ of 
supersedeas, if desired. 

On the following day Judges English and Compton appeared in court and filed a motion 
to set aside the judgment. But neither of them offered to plead over, nor filed nor offered any 
defense to the action, nor made any showing of merits. The motion lay over one day, under 
the rules, and afterwards went by default, the defendant's attorneys positively refusing to prose- 
cute it. And thus the proceedings were closed and perfected in the Circuit Court. 

We again solicit the careful attention of the public to this statement, and challenge and 
defy contradiction of the material portions of it 


Little Rock, May 23, 1874. 

So far as the foregoing statements relate to what occurred in the Circuit Court, they are 
correct. JOHN WHYTOCK. 


Col. Sam W. Williams, an old and eminent member of the bar of the Supreme Court, and 
who was often appointed Special Judge of that Court, upon substantial repetition of this 
statement years afterwards, thus replied to it : 

To the Editor of the Gazette: 

I read in this morning's paper a most singular letter from Col. W. G. Whipple. Well, it 
disclosed, if nothing more, exceedingly bad memory in Whipple. It contained two false state- 
ments to one truth. Perhaps, in charity, I should attribute it to Whipple's old age and failure 
of memoiy from great lapse of time. It is true that Brooks was generally voted for by the 
Democrats in 1872, on a ticket with Democrats; it is true that all the ticket headed by Brooks 
was elected. But it is true, also, which Whipple does not state, that the party with which he is 
now identified counted Brooks and all Democrats on his ticket out, and dismissed his contest 
from the Legislature, the only tribunal having jurisdiction. It is also true, but Whipple does 
not state it, that after Baxter's inauguration, he administered the government honestly, and Clay- 
ton's crew fell out with him; therefore. Brooks had a proceeding instituted against Baxter for 
usurpation of office under a statute which applied to inferior officers, made his peace with Clay- 
ton, and a scheme was concocted to give it effect — that was done by the snap judgment and 
ouster of Baxter. It was supposed that Clayton, then in the Senate of the United States, could 
induce President Grant to recognize Brooks, who was a bitter Republican, and the disfranchis- 
ing clause of the Constitution of 1868 would be enforced in all its rigors, notwithstanding the 
Democrats voted for Brooks on the pledge from him that the white people should be enfran- 


266 Appendix. 

chised. Had he gotten the office under election, instead of snap judgment, a Legislature of 
Democrats and Democratic State officers, in the main, would have gone in with him. But when 
he struck hands with Clayton and proposed to go in without the Democratic accompaniments, 
every well-informed Democrat in the State understood the situation; and as Minstrels (Clay- 
tonites) had made us take Baxter when he suited i^em, we proposed to hold him against revo- 
lution and rebellion when he suited us. Col. Whipple first says, untruly, that I was one of 
Baxter's counsel,* and yet, further on, seems to forget what he had just written, and writes that 
I " injected myself" into the case, and that the judgment was by default. Why, such talk is the 
merest drivel. Col. Whipple knows that I delivered the opinion of the Supreme Court in the 
case afterwards, which quashed the whole thing for want of jurisdiction in the Circuit Court, 
and that I could not have been of counsel. I never was, in any form, Baxter's counsel in the 
case. The opinion is found on page 173, 29th Ark. He says there was a default, yet the 
counsel neglected the case ; and yet says I, as one of the counsel of Baxter, was present and 
directed the Court how to render judgment by default against my own client. He does not say 
this in so many words, but that is the inevitable inference from his letter. He has a wonderful 
bad memory — if nothing worse ails him. I feel confident that he knew of this agreement, and 
I know Whytock did. Judge Whytock, the Clerk of the Court, and perhaps the Sheriff, and 
myself were absolutely all who were present. And yet Col. Whipple talks as though this snap 
judgment was taken in the presence of the whole bar. It was a fact that an agreement had 
been made the week before to the effect that the Court was to do nothing. Judge Whytock 
knew it, and I had every reason to believe that Whipple did, for this reason, to wit : The mem- 
bers of the bar, which Whipple calls partisan, drew up a statement of facts on the day (in the 
afternoon) that the snap judgment was taken, which set up the particulars of the agreement, and 
that Baxter should have had the right to answer over, which was denied by the snap judgment 
of that morning ; and that the snap judgment was taken in violation of the agreement and the 
the rules of practice. This was signed by E. H. English, A. H. Garland, U. M. Rose, Sol F. 
Clark, F. W. Compton and about thirty or forty others, and went into the Poland report to Con- 
gress afterwards. And during all that time, nearly a year, not a word or line did I ever see from 
Whipple denying its truth. And yet, after years of silence, when many of the actors are dead, 
Whipple proposes to push this protest aside with a waive like this : " The protest of a portion 
of the bar of Little Rock, signed during the excitement of the crisis by none but parasans, is 
of but little value to impartial history." 

A thing that Whipple did not dare to deny then before the world and Poland's Committee 
is to be waived aside, and his denial, after, the lapse of eighteen years of silence, is to be taken 
as impartial history, if we take Whipple's standard of judgment. But this much of it (notwith- 
standing his lapse of memory, fconscience or something else) he admits — that he took judgment 
in the absence of Baxter's counsel, and without giving him time to appeal to the Supreme Court. 
He does not deny my statement that in less than an hour after the snap judgment a civil war 
was begun, which he must have foreseen. 

What is the use of splitting hairs? Is there any reputable and fair-minded lawyer, un- 
blinded by prejudice and partisan rage, who would have done such a thing as Whipple admits 
he did, even where the value of a hog was involved, much less the peace and good order of the 
people of the State of Arkansas? It was not " a judgment by default," for Baxter had inter- 

«This, the Gazette explains, was from the compositor dropping the word "not," in Whipple's card. 

Appe?idix. 267 

posed a demurrer, which Whytock had overruled, and on that morning Whipple stated that it 
was his understanding that Baxter's counsel intended to rest on the demurrer and appeal to the 
Supreme Court. I was innocent enough to suppose that everything would proceed in decency 
and order. * * * 

On the 26th of May the Judiciary Committee of the House reported a substitute for a 
general amnesty bill, granting : 

Section i. A free and full pardon to all non-commissioned officers and privates duly 
enlisted in the armed forces of Joseph Brooks, for all acts done or committed against the 
criminal laws of the State, under orders of their superior officers. 

Sec. 2. Excepted Brooks and persons holding any legislative, executive or judicial office, 
who aided in his insurrection. 

An amendment to include Joseph Brooks in the general amnesty was adopted, and the 
bill passed by a vote of 59 ayes, 4 noes. The Senate concurred. 

May 27th, the House of Representatives, in Congress, passed a resolution by a vote of 129 
to 84 to appoint a committee of five to investigate affairs in Arkansas, of which Hon. Luke E. 
Poland was chairman. 

The Legislature having passed resolutions of thanks to the officers and soldiers who had 
sustained Gov. Baxter, and called a State Constitutional Convention, stood adjourned, in 
accordance with previous resolution, until December 7, 1874. 


House of Representatives, 430 Congress, 2d Session, \ Report 

February 19, 1875. ) No. 249. 

Recommitted to Select Committee on Arkansas Affairs and ordered to be printed. 

Mr. Poland, from the Select Committee, recommended to the House the following 
resolution : 

Resolved, That the report of the Select Committee on the condition of affairs in the State 
of Arkansas be accepted. And in the judgment of this House no interference with the existing 
government in that State [under the Constitution of 1874, A. H. Garland being then Governor] 
by any department of the United States is advisable. The resolution was adopted. 

The House Committee on Elections, of the same Congress, Report No. 264, part 2, 

Resolved, That Lucian C. Gause is not entitled to a seat as Representative in the Forty- 
third Congress, from the First Congressional District in the State of Arkansas. 

Resolved, That Asa Hodges is entitled to a seat as Representative in the Forty-third Con- 
gress from the First Congressional District in the State of Arkansas. 

The same committee reported in favor of Snyder against Bell, Report No. 1 1 ; and in favor 
of Gunter against Wilshire, Report No. 260. 

268 Appendix. 

Ex-Judge John McClure created a sensation in his party in 1888, by favoring the exclusion 
of negroes from the Lincoln Club, of the City of Little Rock. In a letter to the Pine Bluft 
Commercial, January, 1889, he explains his position on that subject by the following logical 
(and humorous) and able argimient: 

In the Lincoln Club address, I said: "My interest in the breaking of the 'solid South,' 
and the success of the Republican party is greater than my love for the negro or any other 
race. I want to see the party prosper. I want to see the negro have all the rights the law 
gives him, but I am not disposed to cling to him at the expense of party success." I take this 
opportunity to repeat what I then said. I do this not because I have any prejudice against the 
negro ; not because I do not feel friendly toward him ; not because I contemplate joining 
hands with the Democracy in the crusade they make against him, but because his conduct in 
the past has, as I conscientiously believe, prevented a disintegration of the white vote. If I 
believed, which I do not," that the Republican party could be restored to power in this State by 
yielding control of it to the negro, it is possible that he might furnish as good an administration 
as has the Democratic party, but I demand something better. He might equal the defalcations 
of Democratic Treasurers; he might equal the Democracy in stuffing and stealing ballot boxes; 
he might equal Gov. Hughes and his militia ; he might let crime run riot throughout the State ; 
he might allow the white men to be run out of the negro counties in the State and prevent their 
return, but I am not anxious for that species of government, nor am I in favor of the repeal of 
the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the Constitution of the United States. I am in 
favor of their enforcement 


The negro may well be accorded all the rights and privileges granted by the fourteenth and 
fifteenth amendments without the fear of " negro domination." The fault lies with the States, 
as well as the remedy. The fear of " negro domination " grows out of the fact that the negro 
may hold office, but this right does not grow out of anything contained in the Constitution of 
the United States. 

In the case of Cruikshanks vs. United States, 92 U. S. 542, it is said : " Under the four- 
teenth amendment each State had the power to refuse the right of voting at its elections to any 
class of persons ; the consequence being a reduction of its representation in Congress in the 
proportion which such excluded class should bear to the whole number of its male citizens 
over the age of twenty-one years. This was understood to mean and did mean that if one of 
the late slave-holding States should desire to exclude its colored population from the right of 
voting at the expense of reducing its representation in Congress it could do so." 

In the case of the United States vs. Reese, 92 U. S. 214, the Supreme Court of the United 
States said: "The fifteenth amendment does not confer the right of suffrage upon any one. 
It prevents the States of the United States from giving preferences in this particular to one 
citizen of the United States over another on account of race, color or previous condition of 

The first section of the fourteenth amendment declares that : " All persons born or natur- 
alized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United 
States and the State wherein they reside." 

Citizenship does not confer the privilege of voting. The Constitution does not say you 

Appendix. 269 

shall not disfranchise a negro, but it prevents his disfranchisement on account of race, color or 
previous condition of servitude. You may disfranchise him if he does not have property of a 
certain value. You may disfranchise him if he is not a believer in the Protestant religion. 
You may disfranchise him if he was born in France, Italy, England or any foreign country. 
You may disfranchise him because he cannot read Greek and Hebrew ; but if you disfranchise 
him for any of these reasons, you must at the same time disfranchise the white men who fall 
within the same provisions. 

A woman is a citizen of the United States, yet she cannot vote. A male foreigner, twenty- 
one years of age, who has declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States, but 
who has not, and may never take out his final papers, who shall have resided in the State for 
one year, the county six months and the township one month before an election, has a right to 
vote, yet he is not a citizen of the United States. 


Nor does citizenship or the right to vote carry with it the right to hold office, by reason of 
anything contained in the Constitution of the United States. The question whether the States 
should be inhibited from denying to persons the right to hold office "on account of race, color 
or previous condition of servitude," was before Congress, and it refused to take it away from 
the States. That power belongs to the States to-day. There may be some provision in the 
Constitution or laws of the State giving them the right to hold office, but there is nothing in 
the Constitution of the United States which inhibits the State from doing it. If there is a 
desire to do it, the State can do it. If the Democratic party of the South shall deem it prudent 
to do so, it can deprive the negro from holding office without antagonizing the Constitution of 
the United States. It can settle the "race problem" and get rid of the fear of "negro domi- 
nation," if it wants to. The question is not one of power, but one of policy. 

I have said the question was not one of power, but one of policy, and for the purpose of 
showing this, let me call your attention to the history of the enactment of the fifteenth amend- 
ment. On the nth of January, 1869, the House Committee reported a proposed amendment, 
to be known as No. 15, to that body for adoption. On the 15th of the same month a Senate 
Committee introduced another. I place them in parallel columns so you can see at a glance 
the difference between them : 


The right of any citizen to vote shall not be The right of citizens of the United States 

denied or abridged by the United States, or to vote and hold office shsW not be denied or 

any State, by reason of race, color, or previous abridged by the United States, or any State, 

condition of slavery of any citizen, or class of on account of race, color or previous condition 

citizens, of the United States. of servitude. 

Right at the threshold you will see that the respective houses started out with different 
propositions — the House proposition only inhibiting the States from denying the rig/it to vote, 
while the Senate proposition wanted to inhibit them from denying not only the right to vote but 
the rig/it to hold office. 

The House proposition was passed on the 30th of January,' 1869, and sent to the Senate on 
the 3d of February, 1869. The Senate amended the House proposition by striking out the whole 
of it and inserting in lieu thereof the Senate proposition. This action on the part of the Senate 
indicates that the Senate desired to protect the negro in the right to hold office. 

270 Appendix. 

On the 17th of February, 1869, the Senate passed its own proposition and sent it to the 
House. Mr. Logan moved to amend the Senate proposition by striking out the words " and 
hold office." This amendment was rejected. Mr. Bingham, of Ohio, moved to amend it by 
inserting after the word "color" the words " nativity, property, creed." 

These amendments were adopted, and as thus amended the Senate proposition passed the 
House. As then amended and passed by the House it read as follows: "The right of citizens 
of the United States to vote and hold office shall not be denied or abridged on account of race, 
color, nativity, property, creed or previous condition of servitude." 

The Senate refused to concur with the House amendments, and a committee of conference 
was appointed by both houses. The House appointed Boutwell, Bingham and Logan, and the 
Senate appointed Conkling, Edmunds and Stewart. Five of the committee signed the following 
report: "That the House recede from their amendments and agree to the resolution of the 
Senate, with an amendment as follows — strike out the words 'and hold office,' and that the 
Senate agree to the same." Both houses adopted the report of the Conference Committee, and 
passed the proposed amendment, and as passed it read as follows : " The rights of citizens of 
the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, or by any State, 
on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." 

From the amendments proposed, it appears that both houses of Congress were of opinion 
that the right to vote did not carry with it the right to hold office. Now, it appears that the 
House did not desire to place any limitations upon the States which would deprive them of the 
right and power of determining what class or character of persons should hold office. It equally 
appears that the Senate, ffom the beginning, wanted to secure both the right to vote and hold 
office to the negro. Another thing appears, from the rejection of the Bingham amendment to 
the Senate proposition, and that is that the States should continue to possess the right to exclude 
persons from the right to vote upon the ground of "nativity, property or creed." Under the 
House amendment of the Senate proposition the States were free to prescribe an educational^ 
quaUfication, but were inhibited from withholding the right to vote or hold office on account of 
'nativity, property or creed." In some of the States a property qualification was required, in 
others nativity was a ground of disqualification, and in others the elector must be of the Pro- 
testant faith. Bingham's amendment reached this class, but it was stricken out by the Confer- 
ence Committee, so that now the only persons affected or protected by the Fifteenth Amendment 
are negroes and persons of Africati blood. 

We are now confronted with this proposition : First, the proposed amendment to the Con- 
stitution, as originally introduced and passed by each House, related to negroes, and negroes 
alone. Second, as amended in the House, an attempt was made to make it extend to and pro- 
tect a class of white men who were denied the right to vote because of their nativity, property 
or creed. This class were mostly found in the New England States and the State of New York. 
This was the question presented to the Conference Committee. If the Senate agreed to the 
House amendments, then the negroes and the white class of whom I have spoken were entitled 
to vote and hold office, if the States adopted the amendment. 


That Logan was opposed to the negro holding office in the condition he then was is 
evidenced by his motion to strike out the words "and hold office" from the Senate proposition, 

Appendix. 271 

for this was done before Bingham offered his amendment. An examination of the record 
shows that Bingham voted for the Logan amendment. Thus it appears that two members of 
the House Conference Committee were opposed to giving the negro the right to hold office in 
his then condition. Boutwell, the other member of the House Committee, voted against the 
Bingham amendment. When the Conference Committee met, the differences which the House 
members had to settle between themselves was the striking out the words "and hold office" 
and "nativity, property, creed." They agreed, Boutwell agreeing to strike out the words "and 
hold office" if Logan and Bingham would strike out "nativity, property, creed." In this 
Stewart of Nevada and Conkling of New York, of the Senate Committee, agreed, but Edmunds 
of Vermont would not sign the report of the committee. 

Something had to be done for the protection of the negro, as there remained but three or 
four days of the session. With the ballot he had a voice in who should make the laws and 
who should execute them, even if he did not have the right to choose one of his own race to 
perform those functions. This is a power before which all politicians bow. The Senate, 
rather than allow the session to expire, yielded the right to hold office and passed the proposed 
amendment. It cared nothing about the Bingham amendment, because it had voted down an 
amendment of that character before its proposition was sent to the House. 


In opposing the report of the Conference Committee, Mr. Edmunds said: "You are say- 
ing to him (the negro), 'You have the rights of manhood, you have the rights of equality, but 
you shall exercise these rights in choosing some one of us to rule over you instead of some one 
of your fellow-citizens whom you prefer.' I suppose some vague fear fills the mind of some 
trembling convert to liberty that this people will not be satisfied to give the negro the right to 
run against themselves for some office, but are willing to confer on him the boon of voting for 
them." This language would not have been used if Senator Edmunds had' thought the right 
to vote had carried with it the right to hold office. He would not have used it if he thought 
the language of the fifteenth amendment or any other constitutional provision inhibited the 
States from denying the negro the right to hold office " on account of race, color or previous 
condition of servitude." 

Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, said: " Do not tell me, sir, that the right to vote carries 
with it the right to hold office. It does no such thing, No man in the world has a right to hold 
an office. The people have a right to vote, and they have a right to put terms and conditions 
to the offices they make. I believe, however, that if the black men have the right to vote, they 
and their friends, in the struggle of the future, will achieve the rest. Therefore, I am willing 
now to give them the right to vote, if I cannot get for them the right to be voted for." 

Senator Morton said : " We are liable to this charge, which will now be made, and the 
force of which we can hardly avoid — that we are willing the negro shall vote, provided they 
vote for white men, but the officer must be reserved for white men." 

Senator Stewart, who was a member of the Senate Conference Committee, said : " I have 
labored to have the right to hold office inserted in the amendment, because I was willing to do 
the whole right, but that was impossible, and now I want to secure to all men the right to pro- 
tect themselves by the ballot. It will place in the hands of the black man a rod of power before 
which all politicians quail." 

272 Appendix. 

Senator Morrill, of Vermont, said : " I would much prefer some different amendment from 
this, and yet I am not prepared to say that this does not go as far as would be acceptable to a 
majority of the people." 

The last person who addressed the Senate before the report of the Conference Committee 
was adopted was Fowler, of Tennessee, who said : " I suppose this report will be concurred 
in. I simply wish to say, before the vote is taken, that my understanding of the proposition as 
it now stands is that it decides by an amendment to the Constitution that the Constitution does 
not guarantee to all citizens of the United States the right to hold office." 

I have gone into this matter at some length, but with one purpose in view, and that was to 
ascertain whether Congress by the Fifteenth Amendment intended to inhibit the States from 
denying to persons the right to hold office "on account of race, color or previous condition of 
servitude." If it has not, then the way is open to get rid of what the South calls the "race 

There is little or no objection to the negro voting. Fault is found not from the fact that 
he can use the ballot, but the manner in which he uses it. 


Take from him the power to elevate the ignorant and vicious of his race, and the fear of 
negro domination disappears. Take from him that power, and you have furnished him an in- 
centive to select between men who are candidates for office, and in which he will not be con- 
trolled by race sympathy. Under such surroundings negro doi?tination and the fear of it will 
be a thing of the past. He would then become a powerful factor, and one which the whites 
would seek, and which they cannot now seek and will not seek, because of the existence of this 
fear. The white vote will divide itself under such surroundings, and he who can convince the 
negro he is his best friend will get his support. He will thus create allies among those who are 
now opposed to him, who will have more influence for his protection than one of his own race. 
Under such conditions men would champion his cause, not because they love him, but to further 
their political ambition. Under such conditions, the people who are now indifferent as to 
whether his vote is counted or not would have an interest in seeing it was counted. Under such 
conditions they would have a voice in choosing the men who make and administer the laws, 
whereas they now have no such voice. Under such conditions the voice of their representative 
could be heard in the halls of Congress, whereas it is not now heard. 

I am aware of the fact that this sounds like a cold-blooded proposition, but, in my 
opinion, it would bring peace. I am not saying it is proper or that it is just. I am dealing 
with a condition and not a theory. I am not responsible for the fact that tlie great bulk of the 
white people of the South are in one party. It is a misfortune that they are, and I am only 
speaking of a method which might remedy the evil. I am treating of two evils which exist, 
and one of which the Democratic party is responsible for. If it would forget the loss of 
the "Lost Cause;" if it would present any other issue to the country than the negro; if it 
would turn the attention of the members of its party to Statecraft and developing a higher 
civilization ; if it would abandon that policy which existed in China when the Chinese wall 
was built; if it would make a fight for progress; if it would do anything but live upon the 
memories of the dead past, I think the race problem would adjust itself; but it will not. The 
'• race problem" is the only thing now which furnishes that party with cohesion. The cohesion 

Appendix. 273 

of public plunder is as nothing in comparison to it. Hence, the "race problem" will continue 
until it is settled. The negro is not strong enough to settle it in his own favor ; the white men 
of the Democratic party are. Will they do it? 

By allowing the negro the ballot you retain representation for him ; by prohibittng him 
from holding office you get rid of the fear of "negro domination" and settle a perplexing 
question. You establish that for which the Democratic party contends, this country should be 
controlled by the " Caucasian race." You have either to give up representation in the electoral 
college and Congress based upon inhabitants, or concede to the negro the ballot, and protect 
him in its exercise. The Democratic party must elect which of the two propositions it will 
accept. As I am not of counsel for that party, I have no advice to give it. 

For years the people of this country have been trying to discover a passage to the North 
Pole. For years the people of this country have been attempting to solve a "race problem." 
The Arctic explorers have been looking for a "Northwest passage;" the whole people of the 
South have been looking for something of that kind. I do not say I have discovered it, or that 
it will lead to a settlement of the controversy. It is an untried proposition. It may lead to a 
settlement if the mariners of the Democratic party will, while cruising around the headwaters 
of Salt River, see if the route is practicable. I am, sir, respectfully, etc., 


[Negro domination could be just as well established through agencies of white men, if not 
better, than through incompetent blacks.] 


Paper I. Page^ 

Return of Confederates to Little Rock; they are disfranchised by the Constitution 
of 1864; Gov. Murphy denounces them as "rebels;" boasts his loyalty; suppres- 
sion of a newspaper by the Federal military for questioning it ; the paper released 
and told to " pitch into him," at will 3-19 

Paper II. 

Movement of citizens for relief from political disfranchisement — Gen. William 
Tecumseh Sherman addresses a "People's Convention" — Chief Justice Yonley, of 
the State Supreme Court, reads decision declaring disfranchising acts unconstitu- 
tional — The Legislature following is largely Democratic ; it is declared illegal by 
the Reconstruction Acts of Congress, passed over President's veto 19-35 

Paper III. 

Military orders enforcing the Reconstruction Acts ; Negroes enfranchised under 
them — Republican party organized, composed principally of negroes — Constitu- 
tional Convention elected and adopts a Constitution sent out from Washington — 
Democrats refuse to take the oath and vote in the election of a Constitutional 
Convention — Veto message of Andrew Johnson 35~5^ 

Paper IV. 

Reconstruction Constitution adopted — Powell Clayton elected Governor, Rice and 
McDonald United States Senators — Measures of Clayton's administration — Elec- 
tion and Assessment laws by the Republican Legislature — Democrats resolve to 
take the oath accepting negro suffrage and vote ; discuss the subject among them- 
selves — Early differences between Brooks and Hinds and the Clayton "ring" — 
Appearance of the Ku-Kluxes — Clayton prepares to declare martial law 50-67 

Paper V. 

Movements of militia under Clayton's appointees — Invasion of Fulton County by 
Missouri raiders, under Monks, who are sworn in as Arkansas State Militia by 
Sheriff Spears — They kill Bunch — Are driven out of the State by rumors of armed 
rising of the people and writ of habeas corpus, issued by Judge Elisha Baxter — 
Correspondence and order of Gov. Clayton approving action of Spears and direct- 
ing militia movements — Horrors of militia raids — Brooks lauds militia perform- 
ances — Legislature honors Monks — Opposition to martial law in the Legislature — 
The Governor and Lieutenant-Governor fall out with each other — Impeachment 
of Lieutenant-Governor for swearing Brooks as Senator — Impeachment of Gov. 
Clayton and Chief Justice McClure — Lieutenant-Governor appointed Secretary of 
State and difficulties adjusted — Clayton elected United States Senator — Hadley 
made Acting Governor — War on Gov. Hadley's administration by Brooks, Rice 

and others 67-107 


Table of Contents. 275 

Paper VI. Page. 

Presidential campaign of 1872 — Horace Greeley and rise of the Liberal Republi- 
can party — Brooks' and John A. Williams' campaign against the Clayton admin- 
istration — Party calls for opposition conventions of Republicans — Horace Greeley 
nominated for President at Cincinnati — Brooks and followers indorse Greeley and 
Platform — Liberal Republican ticket nominated with Brooks their candidate for 
Governor — Republican party renominates President Grant — The Clayton wing 
indorses Grant, and nominates a ticket with Elisha Baxter for Governor — Clayton 
and Brooks meet in fierce debate at Lewisburg, Van Buren, Greenwood, Oliver 
Springs and Fayetteville' — Baxter proclaimed elected by one wing, Brooks by the 
other — Election frauds — Pope County War — Gov. Hadley's order for military to 
guard the State House 107-162 

Paper VH. 

Organization of the Republican Legislature under protection of the military — 
" Convention " of the Reformers (Brooks men) at the Capital, intending to form a 
separate State government — Pass resolutions denouncing members of Legislature 
elected on Reform ticket for entering Clayton's (Republican) Legislature — Baxter 
declared elected Governor in joint session of the Legislature — Reorganizes the 
militia by appointing Gen. Newton (Democrat) to command Second Division, 
Wilshire (Republican) to command the First — His course dissatisfies Republican 
leaders — They and the Reformers combine against him — He guards himself with 
company of militia — Yonley, Attorney General, goes before the Supreme Court 
with application for a writ of quo zvarranto against Baxter on the relation of 
Brooks — Court orally declares against its jurisdiction in such contest, but monkeys 
with its written decision — Suit in Pulaski Circuit Court brought against Baxter as 
usurper — Renders snap judgment, and under it Brooks is sworn in by Chief Jus- 
tice McClure, and accompanied by armed adherents, fires Baxter from the Execu- 
tive office — Brooks takes possession of State House and proclaims himself Gov- 
ernor 163-203 

Paper VHL 

Baxter surrounds himself with militaiy at St. John's College — Issues proclamation 
and declares martial law in Pulaski County — Senators Clayton and Dorsey tele- 
graph Brooks sympathy — Both sides call for " troops," which respond promptly — 
United States military ordered by Grant to prevent bloodshed — D^ily skirmishes 
and alarms — Col. King White, with band of negroes from Pine Bluff, arrives — He 
parades the city — Shots are fired and Maj. Shall killed — Hallie steams up the 
river to intercept arms for Brooks coming down the river — She is fired into by 
Col. Brooker's men and Capt. Houston and Frank Timms killed — The Supreme 
Judges kidnapped by Baxter men — Baxter calls the Legislature — President Grant 
approves the call — Opinion of Attorney General George Williams — Proclamation 
of Grant dispersing the Reformers 203-260 


Table of Co7itents. 

Appendix. Page. 
Resignation of Gen. Newton and appointment of Gen. Churchill in his stead as 
Commander of State Guard — Gen. Newton's statement of the cause of his resigna- 
tion — His address to the soldiers — Gov. Baxter's proclamation of amnesty to 
non-commissioned officers and privates of Brooks' forces — Amnesty act of Gen- 
eral Assembly, including Joseph Brooks— Newspaper card of Messrs. Whipple, 
Benjamin and Whytock, explaining "snap judgment" — Statement of Col. S. W. 
"Williams as to the same— Letter of ex-Judge McClure as to true status of the 
negro under the Fifteenth Amendment — Poland report accepted by Congress- 
Congressional contests settled by Congress ' 261-273 

33 O 


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