Part 7, Note 56

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Colorado County Election Register 1854-1866; Colorado County Police [Commissioners] Court Minutes, Book 1862-1876, pp. 56-57. Three candidates got a considerable number of votes in the runoff for county treasurer on July 14. The third candidate was William Crebbs, who had gotten many fewer votes than either German candidate, but who had had the highest total of the non-German candidates in the regular election. Crebbs, whose principal support was in Columbus, nearly took the post in the runoff, finishing six votes behind Schmidt and well ahead of Thulemeyer. Dewees, who had been appointed county treasurer in 1865, was one of the seven candidates for the post in 1866. Though he was the founder of Columbus and, we must suppose, was held in some veneration, he got only thirteen of the 932 votes that were cast. His low vote total reflected his performance in office. He had been county treasurer twice. In 1854, the state sued him for failing to transfer the full amount of taxes due to the state during his first tenure in office, which began in 1840. As we have seen, during his second term as treasurer he kept the county's funds in a safe inside a Columbus law office, which was robbed on March 24, 1866. When he left office shortly thereafter, he was unable to make restitution to the county, and, on October 15, 1866, the county sued him. The suit was not decided until March 12, 1869, when Dewees and his bondsmen were ordered to indemnify the county. They appealed all the way to the State Supreme Court, where they again lost the following year. In the interim, Dewees faced a criminal indictment, handed down on September 29, 1868, for embezzling $53 during his time as county treasurer. In this case, at least, he was quickly exonerated. One can only imagine the effect these events had on the aging Dewees, who had lost much of his own money in the same 1866 robbery (see Colorado County District Court Records, Civil Cause File No. 850: Elisha M. Pease v. William B. Dewees, Civil Cause File No. 2098: Colorado County v. William B. Dewees, Criminal Cause File No. 740: State of Texas v. William B. Dewees, Minute Book C, p. 1093, Minute Book D, pp. 215, 230; Reports of Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas [Texas Reports] vol. 32 (Galveston: Richardson, Belo, & Co., 1871), pp. 570-573).