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BOGART, SAMUEL

BOGART, SAMUEL (1797–1861). Samuel Bogart, soldier and state legislator, son of Cornelius Bogart and Elizabeth (Moffat) Bogart, was born in Carter County, Tennessee, on April 2, 1797. At the age of twelve, young Samuel found himself an orphan when, in October 1809, his parents passed away from unknown causes. His father had moved the family from Carter County to Blount County, Tennessee, and, according to a eulogy offered in the Texas House of Representatives after Bogart’s death, he was left “without means and among strangers.” The outbreak of the War of 1812 allowed Bogart the opportunity to trade his life as a simple laborer for the life of a soldier. He enlisted in 1813 at the age of sixteen and was assigned to the Seventh Infantry Regiment under Col. William Russell. The Seventh served with distinction at the battle of New Orleans under Gen. Andrew Jackson. Bogart served faithfully under Jackson; however, his lack of maturity caught up to him as he was court martialed for stealing and was docked one month’s pay.  

Discharged in June 1815 for “inability,” he returned to Tennessee where he met Rachel Hammer. The two were married on May 19, 1818, in Washington County, Tennessee, and moved to Illinois shortly thereafter. Bogart’s service in the War of 1812 had earned him 160 acres of land, and he drew a lot in the township of Rushville, Schuyler County, Illinois. Durinig the next dozen years the couple’s family grew with the addition of four children, and Bogart worked his way into politics and served as Schuyler county commissioner. 

In 1832, when the Black Hawk War erupted between the Sauk Indians and white settlers in Illinois, Bogart joined Capt. Moses Wilson’s Company of Gen. Samuel Whitesides’s Brigade, Fourth Regiment, Illinois Militia. Also serving in the Fourth but leading his own company was a tall young aspiring politician named Abraham Lincoln. Bogart left no record regarding any personal interaction with Lincoln, but he probably knew of Lincoln as he was one of three captains in the Fourth Regiment. The conclusion of the Black Hawk War was also the conclusion of Bogart’s stay in Illinois. In 1833 he moved his family to Ray County, Missouri, and opened a general store. His fifth and final child was born there in 1835.  

In 1838 when tensions flared between the local Mormon population and the non-Mormon Christian population, Bogart joined the Missouri Mounted Militia of Ray County and became captain of a company under Gen. Hiram G. Parks in the Mormon War of 1838. Mormons had slowly migrated from Daviess County to Caldwell and Carroll counties; the latter two counties bordered Ray County. When fighting erupted between the two groups in Daviess County, the citizens of Ray County became nervous. Volunteering to patrol the boundary between Ray and Caldwell counties, Bogart gained a reputation as a “disreputable and nefarious character” among the Mormon settlers. According to Alexander Baugh, a professor at Brigham Young University, “No one was more actively engaged against the Latter-day Saints during the Mormon War than he [Bogart]….” His ruthlessness was so well-known that even Joseph Smith commented that, “Captain Bogart[’s] . . . zeal in the cause of oppression and injustice was unequaled. . . . [His] delight has been to rob, murder, and spread devastation among the Saints.” Bogart and his men made every effort to expel the Mormons from the surrounding counties and in effect exacted total war on the Mormons and burned houses and crops to the ground and killed livestock. Ultimately, the Mormons were driven from Missouri and forced to move farther west.  

For his part in the expulsion, Bogart won great popularity, and in 1839 he decided to enter the race for a judgeship that had recently been vacated in Caldwell County. He won in a heated election against his opponent, a man named Wesley Hines. Apparently the mudslinging between the two candidates became so personal that Hines’s nephew, Andrew Beatty, confronted Bogart.  The argument ended violently when Bogart shot Beatty dead. Fearing for his life, Bogart quickly ran home, grabbed his fastest horse, and rode south until he reached that “haven of refuge for fugitive criminals...the new Republic of Texas.” He settled in Washington County and soon sent for his wife and children.

In 1842, as in Illinois and Missouri, Bogart joined the local military when the safety of the Republic’s citizens was threatened by Mexican invaders under Gen. Adrian Woll (see MEXICAN INVASIONS OF 1842). Recruiting and leading a company of Texas Rangers, Bogart set out for San Antonio where his company reconnoitered for Alexander Somervell’s disastrous expedition into the Rio Grande Valley (see SOMERVELL EXPEDITION). The expedition was marred by Somervell’s poor leadership and a clash of egos between Bogart and fellow Ranger, Jack Hays. Hays and his company of Rangers had been highly recommended by Sam Houston. This was of no consequence to Bogart, and the two companies routinely attempted to outdo each other which, in some cases, resulted in the disobedience of orders.  

In 1844, seeking to revive his political career, Bogart moved his family to North Texas and soon after purchased a headright of 376 acres from Manning Clement. Bogart won election to the Texas House of Representatives in 1847. He served in the Second Texas Legislature and represented the counties of Fannin, Collin, Denton, Grayson, and Hunt. During that time he was instrumental in choosing the location for McKinney, the county seat of Collin County. He easily won reelection in 1849 and served in the Third Texas Legislature. During his second term Bogart began to look toward the Senate. He diligently campaigned to dethrone incumbent senator and political rival John H. Reagan. His hard work paid off and earned him the senatorial seat for the Third District, which included the counties of Collin, Cooke, Grayson, Denton, and Dallas. However, life as a senator was detrimental to Bogart.

In 1841 the Republic of Texas granted William S. Peters and his associates an empresario contract for land in North Texas. The Peters Colony spanned thousands of acres that included, among others, the counties of Collin, Denton, and Dallas. Peters’s Texas Emigration and Land Company attempted to lure colonists to North Texas by offering large tracts complete with cabin, a gun, and ammunition. Problems immediately arose as the goods and services the company had promised did not materialize, and confusion reigned as land titles did not match their surveys. To make matters worse, the company hired London-born Henry Hedgcoxe to manage the colony. Texans had always been distrustful of foreigners, and Hedgcoxe was no exception. Feeling cheated, the colonists turned to the state government for assistance. Bogart and his fellow congressmen passed what they thought would be a resolution to the conflict. The resolution highly favored the colonists, and the Texas Emigration and Land Company threatened legal action if the act was not repealed. A new act was then passed in February 1852 that set North Texans ablaze. To the citizens of North Texas, this new act heavily favored the Texas Emigration and Land Company. To make matters worse, their own senator, Bogart, had spearheaded the act and their representative James Throckmorton supported the bill. To the colonists and people of the Third District this was a traitorous act. 

In the early hours of July 16, 1852, a throng of angry colonists travelled from Dallas to Hedgcoxe’s home in McKinney and planned to forcibly remove him from Texas and if possible to kill him. Hedgcoxe had been warned by Throckmorton and was able to escape before the mob arrived, but they were still able to ransack and loot the manager’s home (see HEDGCOXE WAR). Flush with victory, they returned to Dallas where they paraded Bogart through the square in effigy. They then proceeded to hang and burn the likeness. The people of District 3 demanded Bogart’s resignation. Amazingly, peace was settled without Bogart’s resignation when a special committee was able to create a new bill that made the Texas Emigration and Land Company as well as the colonists happy. Still the fiasco cost Bogart his seat in the Senate, and he retreated from politics for six years.

His time in retreat seems to have been spent enriching his farm as well as his land holdings.  In 1849 he owned 960 acres of land valued at $1,134. By the time he reentered politics in 1859, he owned more than 1,500 acres valued at $4,000 dollars. In 1855 his net worth was approximately $4,700. Four years later, he was able to improve his worth to $6,400. Within that time period he had married off two of his daughters and given significant acreage to their husbands. In 1859 Bogart was elected once again to the Texas House as a representative of District 6.  

After the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and the ensuing secession of South Carolina and the Deep South, Texans called for a convention to decide on the issue of secession. Bogart was chosen, along with James Throckmorton, to represent Collin County at the Secession Convention in January 1861. Bogart did not favor secession. In a letter dated January 5, 1861, and addressed to his children, he spoke of his opposition to “leaving the Union till an effort to have our rights respected is made in the union.” According to the Journal of the Secession Convention of Texas, on January 29, 1861, a resolution was offered by John H. Wharton that the purpose of the convention was to dissolve Texas’s ties to the Union. The motion was seconded and brought to a vote. Bogart was one of only six delegates to vote “Nay.” Bogart’s name disappears from the journals after this date. It is probable that he became too ill to continue, because ten days later he resigned his position in the House “on account of ill health” and returned to his home in McKinney where he remained until his death on March 11, 1861.  

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Roy Franklin Hall and Helen Gibbard Hall, Collin County: Pioneering in North Texas (Quanah, Texas: Nortex, 1975). Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Samuel Bogart (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=5015&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=bogart~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed February 1, 2016.

Nicholas A. Ballesteros

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Handbook of Texas Online, Nicholas A. Ballesteros, "Bogart, Samuel ," accessed October 18, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbog2.

Uploaded on June 30, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.