Studebaker Wagon in Fannin County, Texas


As to the political standing of the county; how the freeman of Fannin regard the right to vote, and in what esteem they hold the liberty of all men, rich or poor, the following, an incident of the campaign of 1884, will serve as a sample.

The managers of the Studebaker wagon factory threatened to discharge and otherwise mistreat their employees if they did not vote the republican ticket. This dastardly act coming to .the ears of the banner county's freemen, a portion of them paid for one of the factory's wagons, and with suitable demonstrations kindled a fire beneath it and reduced it to ashes. They then wrote and had published in nearly all the journals of the state the following letter:

Dodd City, Tex.
Nov. 4th, 1884
Messrs. Studebaker Bros.
South Bend, Indiana
Since the information that you threatened to disfranchise your employees, who failed to vote as you directed, we have this day made arrangements to purchase one of your wagons, "coal oil" the same and burn it in the presence of the voters of this precinct. (Blaine's letters will not be included in this burn.) The event will be duly advertised and published, with a request that the press of the state copy the same. We burn the "Studebaker," without knowing who will be president; we burn it in the same spirit that the tea was thrown overboard in Boston harbor in 1776; we burn it to commemorate the infamy you have heaped upon the workmen in your factory; we burn it that it may be emblazoned to Texas that you have placed a bulldozing bulletin on the walls of your factory, addressed to your workmen, after you have condemned "Copiah County, Mississippi" and '"Danville, Virginia," that we may condemn your lying cant and anathematize your hypocrisy, and that we may make your vile names odious for all time to come, where liberty is known and freemen exist; we burn it to indicate the full measure of our belief, that we consider you as the embodiment of all vileness, of low, dirty and abominable villainy and of being guilty of a sin that threatens the institutions of this country, by trying to rob freemen of their birth rights and stultifying decency by bulldozing those who are under you ; we burn it to let our fellow countrymen of Texas know that we never desire to touch or handle any of your creation or make and that we consider the despicable coercion as treason ; we burn it to consume the spokes, hubs, axles, etc., that have been made by the blood and sweat of victims, whom you have reduced below the standard of manhood.

This letter has two hundred names signed to it. In the Democratic Party of the county, the recognized authority is the Executive Committee, of which Dr. B. Dabney is chairman.

This committee shapes the local campaigns, and its advisory councils are participated in by such men as Dunn, McClellan, Lipscomb, Dabney, Chenoweth, and other prominent men all over the county. The Independents are led by Col. R. W. Campbell, Judge H. W. Lyday, James Monks and many other good men in different parts of the county. Col. Robt. Taylor is the representative man of the Republican party, not only in the county, but of all this portion of the state.

The following vote, polled at the general election of 1884, for the three candidates for governor, is probably a fair test of party strength in the county at present:

Ireland, Democrat, 3724.
Jones, Independent, 911.
Norton, Republican, 99.
Ireland's majority over all, was 2714.

The Independents and Republicans had no local ticket in the race, nor were either of them thoroughly organized.


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