It Was Hard Times In Texas
I get “up in arms” every time I listen to pundits expound on basically doing away with anything that even hints of the Civil War because it is obvious that they simply do not know their history. Of course, we all hang our heads, completely sick in our stomachs that there ever could have been an institution in this country called slavery. I think we all can agree on that. But…there is more, so much more to be learned from that period of time, especially in Texas.
The Civil War did much more than divide families over political issues. The war itself and Reconstruction which followed bred a type of man who was bitter and often willing to become the vilest type of human…a thief, a murderer, and more…the type of man who was willing to profit by any means, including illegal trade with the Indians, even when it was known that this would put his own people in danger.
By the Early 1870s, Comanche, Brown, Erath, and Hamilton counties, frontier counties of Texas, were reaping the results of these men turned outlaws in Texas. Men who had committed crimes elsewhere often came to the frontier to hide from their deeds and these counties were often where they located. It wasn’t hard when you think about it. The town of Comanche did not get the railroad until 1891, insuring that it would remain an out of the way frontier town for decades.
Comanche was still a fairly rough frontier town in the 1870s, but many of its citizens realized their need to be able to protect themselves from the outlaw elements.** Believe it or not, the concealed weapon idea is not new to the 21st century!
On July 2, 1872, they petitioned the governor of Texas:
“Your petitioners, citizens of Comanche County, most respectfully represent to your Excellency that in order to prevent disturbances of the peace, to afford additional security to life, and to vindicate the majesty of the law, they are anxious to have removed the exception in our county in the law prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons, and most earnestly desire to see the said law strictly enforced.
“In our and other Frontier Counties there is ever to be found a floating population, composed chiefly of a reckless class without homes, without responsibilities, and without reputations, who always go armed, and ever mounted and ready for escape, have no respect for life, and are a terror to all good and law-abiding citizens. We therefore most respectfully and earnestly entreat your Excellency to remove the said exception in favor of Comanche County.” Petition #166, Comanche County Petitions, Texas State Library*Photo from Google Images **Never be tempted to believe that John Wesley Hardin was the only bad guy in Comanche!