Harriel (Hal) Geiger, county political leader and state legislator, was born in South Carolina around 1840. He was a former slave of mixed racial heritage and worked as a blacksmith. He was living in Hearne, Texas, in 1878, when the Greenback party endorsed him and some other Republican party candidates for the legislature and he won the election; he lost a reelection bid in 1880 but won a special election to complete the term of an officeholder who resigned in 1881. Geiger was reportedly convicted of bribery and lost another bid for reelection in 1882. While in the legislature, he served on the Roads, Bridges, and Ferries Committee, criticized the convict lease system, and opposed the poll tax. Geiger ran for sheriff in Robertson County in 1884 but lost the election. The 1880 federal census described him as aged forty and divorced. Geiger practiced law after leaving the legislature and was allegedly killed around 1886 by a White judge for insolent remarks he made in court.
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J. W. Baker, History of Robertson County, Texas (Franklin, Texas: Robertson County Historical Survey Committee, 1970). J. Mason Brewer, Negro Legislators of Texas and Their Descendants (Dallas: Mathis, 1935; 2d ed., Austin: Jenkins, 1970). Merline Pitre, Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868–1900 (Austin: Eakin, 1985). Lawrence D. Rice, The Negro in Texas, 1874–1900 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1971).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Paul M. Lucko,
“Geiger, Harriel G.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 18, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
January 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
October 22, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: