Bledsoe, Albert A. (unknown–1882)

By: Brian Hart

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: November 1, 1994

Albert A. Bledsoe, pioneer settler, state comptroller, and county judge, moved to Dallas County, Texas, from Kentucky in 1847. He purchased the headright of Roderick Rawlins, who later became his son-in-law. Bledsoe subdivided the tract and surveyed a townsite that he called Lancaster. He was elected chief justice of Dallas County in 1865 but lost a reelection bid the following year. He also failed in an attempt to represent the county at the Constitutional Convention of 1866. During Reconstruction he was appointed county judge, a position he held until 1869. He was elected to represent Dallas County at the Constitutional Convention of 1868–69, where his political views aligned him with the Radical Republican faction. He was nicknamed "Iron-clad" after he publicly took the "Iron-clad" oath of loyalty to the United States. He served on the committee that recommended the establishment of the controversial and unpopular State Police to curb lawlessness and violence.

Bledsoe returned to Dallas after the convention and remained county judge until he was appointed comptroller of public accounts. He gained notoriety in this position for his refusal to allow the transfer of $500,000 worth of state bonds to the International Railroad Company and for filing fraud charges–of which the rail line was found innocent–against the company in state district court in Austin in February 1873. Bledsoe contended that the rail company had arranged to pay a number of state legislators in return for their votes in favor of 1870 legislation authorizing the transfer of $10,000 in bonds for each mile of track constructed by the railroad. Upon the completion of fifty miles of track, the company had demanded $500,000 in bonds, which Governor E. J. Davis signed but which Bledsoe, as state comptroller, refused to sign. The company filed a writ of mandamus in state district court to force Bledsoe to sign and deliver the bonds. The matter eventually reached the state Supreme Court, which, by a three-to-two vote, voided the writ, thereby siding with Bledsoe. The end of Reconstruction in Texas hastened the end of Bledsoe's public career. He died at his home in Dallas on October 8, 1882.

Ann Patton Baenziger, "The Texas State Police during Reconstruction: A Reexamination," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 72 (April 1969). James R. Norvell, "The Railroad Commission of Texas: Its Origin and History," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 68 (April 1965). Semi-Weekly Farm News (Dallas), June 1, 1934.

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges
Time Periods:
  • Reconstruction
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Brian Hart, “Bledsoe, Albert A.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 15, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994

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