Anglos hijacked the Mexican American efforts at organizing a political party

The 1888 election was not the first controversial election in the county, and certainly not the last. It set out important markers for future politicians, and no doubt provided important lessons to an aspiring politician named Archie Parr who had recently arrived in the county.

Newspaper accounts and the public record are somewhat confusing as to what ultimately transpired with the legal challenges. Take, for example, the office of county judge. In the summer, when the Botas were first organized, newspapers reported that the new party had nominated J. W. Parkham for county judge. After the election, Juan Zardiente reported to the Laredo Daily Times that Bota candidate Julian Palacios was elected county judge. The commissioners court certified the incumbent Guarache James Luby as county judge. The Handbook of Texas says that J. W. Moses contested the election all the way to the Supreme Court and was named county judge. The election records at the state archives have corrected returns from the 1888 election that indeed show Moses as the winner for county judge.

A 1987 Dallas Morning News article says the Texas Supreme Court declared John Buckley sheriff in 1890. The Texas Archives collection on election returns shows that Moses was elected County Judge; William A. Tinney, County and District Clerk; Charles S. Gunter, County Surveyor; Buckley, Sheriff; Pedro Eznal, Assessor of Taxes; Vidal Garcia, Inspector of Hides and Animals; Pablo Cardono, Constable Precinct 1; G. D. Garcia, Commissioner Precinct 1; and F. K. Ridder, Commissioner Precinct 4. The original returns showed Ridder as Commissioner of Precinct 1 and Charles Stillman as Commissioner Precinct 3. In the amended returns, Stillman is Commissioner of Precinct 2. Zardiente, who newspapers reported being elected Commissioner of Precinct 2, does not appear on any official record.

Juan Puig, who newspapers reported was a candidate for County Treasurer, also does not appear on the official election records, although it could be he lost to George Bodet because Bodet appears on both the original and amended record. Zardiente, meanwhile, had reported to the Laredo newspaper that Alvino Tovar had won the treasurer’s post.

Clearly, the 1888 election was a mess. Surely, it was a sign of things to come. What is clear, however, is that the Anglos hijacked the Mexican American efforts at organizing a political party as Anglo candidates dominated both the Botas and Guaraches.

The first Mexican American County Judge did assume office, however, in 1892 when Moses suffered a stroke and resigned and F. Garcia Tovar was appointed to finish his term.

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