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Capture and Death of Dimitt

Ferguson had been bribed to present Kinney's side of the case, the friends of Dimitt held a "public meeting" at San Patricio and petitioned the President to remove him from the position of chief justice of San Patricio County, alleging that he had been bribed.[58]

58. The petitioners for the removal of Ferguson, however, soon learned that the President was without authority to make such dismissals, as the removal of a chief justice could only be effected by impeachment and conviction. Simeon Newcomb and others believed that there were no ill-designs back of Kinneys "loan," as Ferguson attempted to explain the matter. Ferguson maintained that he had arrived upon the frontier at Corpus Christi shortly after Dimitt's abduction where he ascertained the facts concerning the case. He determined to repair to Austin to lay them before the Executive; but, being without money, and his horse unfit for the journey, he had borrowed, he said, twenty dollars from Kinney and purchased a horse for himself and another for one of the members of the San Patricio Company.

As Ferguson prepared to go to Austin, several of the men in the San Patricio ranging company gave him a power of attorney to draw for them the pay due for their services. At Austin he drew pay for twenty-five men for thirty-six days, and for one man for twenty-seven days; yet, only fourteen men had served as much as thirty-six days, one twenty-eight days, and three about twenty days each. (Those serving thirty-six days in the company of San Patricio Minute Men were: William Snodgrass, A. T. Miles, William J. Cairns, T. W. Murry, J. B. Parkes, H. D. Weeks, James McPherson, John Botham, J. M. Block, Patrick Quinn, John James, George Anderson, Lawson Mills, Charles Sherman; serving twenty-eight days: James Bennet; serving about twenty days each: Tipton Walker, _______ Sapp, and James Wilson. L. S. Hagler to Saml. A. Roberts, City of Houston, Oct. 5, 1841, in ibid., ms.). Charges were also made that Ferguson had drawn pay for men who had not authorized him to do so and that pay had been drawn for others who had not been on active duty. "He has violated his oath of office for the purpose of swindling the Govt. and has retained the money which he received and defrauded the members of the company," declared L. S. Hagler.

As chief justice, it was charged, he had failed to order elections held at Corpus Christi for Congress. Thus, when he was elected to the House, his seat was challenged by Lindsay S. Hagler, his opponent to represent San Patricio County in the House of Representatives. Whereupon, the House appointed a Select Committee on November 2 to investigate the charges against Ferguson, especially the one concerning his election to Congress. He had, upon his election to the House, resigned the office of chief justice. In obtaining the chief justiceship Ferguson had the support of Aubrey and Kinney, who, not knowing him at the time, later claimed that they had supported him because he had pledged to support the Lamar administration. (As a replacement for him, they later recommended W. B. Goodman, "a Gentleman of good reputation and well versed in the duties of the office." Aubrey & Kinney to M. B. Lamar, Ranche Corpus Christi, Sept. 18, 1841, in Lamar Papers, III, 568-569.)

Ferguson characterized the petition against him as a ruse de guerre of a few individuals at Victoria who wished to see the mercantile establishment at Kinney's

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