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    [Texas Rangers]. J. B. "Buck" Barry Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages, 8" x 10.5". Austin, Texas; February 11, 1883. Written on Texas House of Representatives letterhead, a letter from Barry to his son concerning the recent death and funeral of former governor E. J. Davis and his attempt to get a bill passed through the Texas State Legislature to outlaw fence cutting.

    Dear Son I hardly know what to write you unless I knew what would please you most. I first tell you of ex-governor Davis death he died [on] 7th Feb of something like Pneumonia called pluresy [sic] yesterday the 9th he was buried in the state cemetary [sic]. The weather was bad and there was not a great many that turned out maby [sic] five hundred with the colored folks his coffin containing the Corps [sic] was brought in this the representatives Hall and kept here four hours what is called laying in State as is practice with all great Statesmen when they die during their term of office. his face was left bare that all who wanted to could see him he looked very natural though his beard was much whiter than when I last saw him. he was a man that all rebels hated very much but the Legeslature [sic] bothe [sic] the House and Senate were all rebels except four [sic] two of them. negroes paid a great tribute of respect to him when he died, as his History of his life will constitute a part of the great state of Texas History, and consequently the tribute of respect paid to him after his death by his political enemies will also be a matter of History....I am trying now to get a law passed to indict your pa and all others who do not put pole or rail on their wire fence so that we will not have so many horses to doctor for worms. I find it very hard to get the law made as the stock men on the Rio Grande and the panhandle country oppose me. they have 20 to 40 miles wire fence without pole and do all they can against me as they dont [sic] want to pay money for plank and they have no poles out there. when you read this...file it way with your old papers as rellicks. JB Barry"

    Edmund Jackson Davis was opposed to secession from the Union, and fled the state in 1862. He received a commission from President Lincoln in October 1862 and formed the First Texas Cavalry. Davis served for one term as governor during Reconstruction; his tenure was riddled with controversy, and he faced opposition from both Democrats and Republicans. His taking up arms with Union forces against his own state was not forgotten, as is evidenced by Barry's comments on the turnout for his funeral.

    Barry was unsuccessful in getting his legislation passed through the Texas State Legislature. Two days before writing this letter, Barry submitted a bill to provide for the protection of stock by making it unlawful for any person to construct a barbed wire fence unless such a fence be constructed of posts along with barbed wires and boards. The bill eventually died in committee.

    James Buckner (Buck) Barry (1821-1906) was born in North Carolina and immigrated to Texas in 1841. He joined the Texas Rangers soon after his arrival. In 1846 Barry was elected second sergeant of Company K, First Regiment, Texas Mounted Riflemen, for service in the Mexican War. Wounded during the U.S. attack on Monterrey on September 21, 1846, he mustered out of service the following October.

    After the Mexican War Barry spent several years in fighting Indian tribes on the Texas frontier; he was a strong advocate for the removal of the Comanche and Caddo tribes from their reservations on the upper Brazos River. In 1849 he was elected sheriff of Navarro County and in 1852 was elected county treasurer. After secession Barry reenrolled the company he had raised to defend the Texas frontier into Confederate service in Colonel Henry E. McCulloch's regiment. His troops assisted in the removal of federal garrisons from Texas frontier forts. During the Civil War he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and participated in the Battle of Dove Creek. In 1883 Barry was elected to Texas' Twelfth Legislature, where he supported the interest of stock raisers, unsuccessfully seeking legislation to outlaw fence-cutting.

    The letter is accompanied by provenance information supplied by Barry's grandson (and namesake) written on an envelope that once contained the letter. From the Robert E. Davis Collection.

    Condition: With the usual mail folds exhibiting heavy wear and partial separations. There are four sets of punch holes running the length of the left hand vertical fold, with minor loss of text. Paper loss at top right corner not affecting any text.


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    March, 2017
    24th Friday
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