Struggling with the Secession Question In Texas

A special thanks to the Round Rock Leader for letting
the museum post these wonderful articles.

The Time Capsules stories are prepared by Bob Brinkman

Texas Historical Commission


Struggling with the Secession Question

The winter of 1861 was a time for big decisions. The Southern states felt disenfranchised by the North, and one by one, they were leaving the Union. In Texas, a Secession Convention met in Austin to decide whether to hold a statewide secession vote. As the roll was called, the measure was not only passing but was receiving unanimous approval when Thomas P. Hughes of Georgetown gave a resounding "no" that shocked the group. Williamson County's other two delegates, Elisha Thomason and C.M. Leseur, also voted against the measure, but it carried 168 to 8. The statewide vote held soon after was 46,000 to 14,000 in favor of secession. In Williamson and other Central Texas counties, plus some in North and East Texas, citizens voted strongly in favor of remaining in the Union.

Sam Houston, twice President and now governor of Texas had spoken against secession. On election night, he was visiting friends in Georgetown when he received a telegram from President-elect Abraham Lincoln pledging 60,000 federal troops to help keep Texas in the Union.

Once the statewide vote was cast, Houston interpreted it to mean that Texas was once again an independent republic. In fact, the ordinance said nothing about joining the new Confederacy of Southern states. But the state legislature believed this was implied, and they insisted that elected officials take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. Houston refused and was removed from office.

Several of the Houston children lived in Williamson County in later years, including his daughter Nancy, who married Captain J.C.S. Morrow.

They had a general store in Round Rock after the railroad came in 1876 and then lived in Georgetown until their deaths in the 1920s. The passionate stances of people on both sides of the secession question underscored the difficulty of their decision and the seriousness of the consequences. The flag of the Confederacy became the fourth flag to fly over Texas in a span of 25 years.