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Rumors of Invasion

year Neill felt the district court would be required to go to San Patricio. He, too, recommended the appointment of Alanson Ferguson to be chief justice of San Patricio County, and the citizens of the county concerned also approved of that choice.[6]  As a result, Ferguson was appointed chief justice of the County of San Patricio on May 5, 1841, which position he held until he resigned on September 1, of the same year, following his election to the House of Representatives. In the meantime, various charges were made against him, and Lindsay S. Hagler, his opponent in the congressional race, challenged his election to Congress. This matter will be discussed later in connection with the Dimitt case.

For a brief period following the President's instructions, there was considerable flurry to get the militia organized and brought up to full compliment; but as time passed and the Mexicans did not make their move, the Texans came to regard it as just another of those countless rumors that had circulated through the country since the summer of 1836. The former Secretary of the Treasury, Attorney General, and Secretary of State, James Webb, then in Houston preparing to go to Mexico to reopen negotiations, found "the people . . . rather doubtful as to the truth of Dr. Booker's report -- they say the Mexicans are not coming," he informed Lamar, "but if they do come, they will give 'em h-----l."[7]  As the excitement over the "invasion" died down, it became increasingly difficult to perfect the organization of the militia and to get the men enrolled.

On the whole, the law providing for the organization of the "minute men" or ranging companies was believed to have met with general disapprobation, except in Milam, Robertson, and Béxar counties, where some good resulted from the exertions of brave and enterprising captains.[8]  In most parts of the country it was thought that the law had rather aided in encouraging land speculators to venture out to make locations of land at public expense than in protecting the frontier. "It is said in some counties," reported the editor of the Telegraph, "parties of men have frequently met for the purpose of going to survey land

6. "Petition of Citizens of the County of San Patricio, April 23, 1841," recommending A. Ferguson for the chief justiceship has not been found. See Joseph Waples to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nov. 6, 1841, Correspondence, State Department Letterbook, no. 1, ms., p. 249; Harriet Smither (ed.), Journals of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, II, 16.

7. James Webb to M. B. Lamar, Houston, April 9, 1841, in Lamar Papers, III, 506.

8. Telegraph and Texas Register (Houston), Dec. 15, 1841.

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AFTER SAN JACINTO: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1836-1841
Joseph Milton Nance, 1963