|Lamar Hotel, part of Jesse Jones' empire|
It would be more akin to a financial syndicate or even an unofficial lodge where men get together to talk about business (in Texas they say "bidness") opportunities--to share knowledge with "trusted" colleagues. Politics was viewed merely as another means of making their business dreams a reality.
However, most of them grew up in Texas only a decade or two removed from the post-war reconstruction era, an age which taught them to distrust "Yankees" who would use every political contrivance to despoil their land and take advantages of the resources located within Texas. They were committed to restoring what they saw as the glory of the Texas Empire. In that sense they would have been "right wing," as I understand the term. To me the term conservative means maintaining the economic status quo, while right-wing means going backward to a previous status.
The people who were hobnobbing in Herman's rooms had never had much status to speak of. Their only claim to fame was the fact that one or more of their ancestors had arrived in Texas somewhere around the initial days of the Republic in 1836, and they had either heard stories about that or had invented some significance from that fact. Like all groups favoring control by oligarchy, they wanted to set themselves apart from others into some sort of special elite, and they wanted to wrest political control out of the hands of those whom they felt were inclined to keep them down. I doubt they had any understanding of history, though it is important, I believe, for us who are looking back, to understand what actually happened.
Texas was born in the days of Andrew Jackson, a man from Virginia who moved to Tennessee (then called the western frontier) and found himself strapped economically by the Second Bank of the United States, the stock ownership of which was within the control of the second or third generation of family inheritance. Jackson had fallen in with others who had been called "anti-federalists" during the post-revolutionary era, a philosophy espoused by Aaron Burr. Burr's attempt to promote the building of a separate "empire" within lands to the south and west of Tennessee was rewarded with his unsuccessful prosecution for treason in 1807, only a few years before the War of 1812 resulted in an American blockade against trade with Great Britain, our enemy.
General Jackson won the battle in New Orleans during the War of 1812, and then returned to Tennessee, mentoring young Sam Houston, who went to Texas, then part of Spanish Mexico, and won the Battle of San Jacinto, the culmination of Texas' war of independence. Most of those who met in Herman's suite claimed some connection to "Texians" of that day and celebrated San Jacinto Day (April 21)--then a Texas state holiday--as Americans do the 4th of July.
As the civil war approached, however, Sam Houston--first as President of the independent nation of Texas, and later as governor of the annexed State of Texas--opposed secession. As a result, rabid secessionists forced him out of office. The "Order of the Knights of San Jacinto," created originally as a secret Masonic-type society following the principles of Sam Houston, began to resemble the views of those who advocated the Southern Confederacy and the Ku Klux Klan which rose to prominence again during the prohibition era.
Remember San Jacinto
|End of Battle of San Jacinto|
Rebekah's father, Joseph, studied law under James Webb Throckmorton, whose father had been "a Whig of the Tennessee school," one of Sam Houston's most loyal political supporters as secession loomed:
In the 1857 gubernatorial election he supported Sam Houston and unionist sentiment ... and became a political advisor to the governor and Houston's ally in attempting to restrain the forces within Texas who favored secession. Throckmorton's attempt to organize a state Union party attracted few supporters, and he watched helplessly as the events between 1859 and 1860 precipitated the crisis of 1861. He refused to concede, however, and was one of only seven delegates to the 1861 Secession Convention who voted against Texas withdrawal from the union.
|Burleson baptizing Sam|
Stomping Grounds in Bell County
|Baines' Salado home now a B and B|
|Joseph Wilson Baines|
Governor Ireland, who had served in both the House and Senate of the Texas Legislature, where he opposed granting lands and subsidies to railroads, in particular to the International-Great Northern Railroad consolidated by the Gould network, which consumed Throckmorton's client, the T and P. Gov. Ireland helped establish the University of Texas and during his term of office the construction of the Texas Capitol building began with pink Texas granite from Marble Falls.
After Ireland left office, the Baines family moved further west to Blanco, 100 miles west of where the granite for the Capitol had been cut. After financial setbacks in Blanco, Baines settled in nearby Fredericksburg, where he and his wife reared two daughters (Josefa and Rebekah) and son Huffman, named for Mrs. Baines' father. Joseph died there in 1906, shortly after Rebekah had spent four years studying literature at various colleges, including Baylor Female College in Belton. She taught elocution in Fredericksburg before her marriage in 1907 to Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr., and then worked as a stringer for newspapers in San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin. When Sam died in 1937, Rebekah Baines Johnson moved to Austin, where she died in 1958, having witnessed her son Lyndon's rise to the U.S. Senate.
|Map of Bell County, Texas|