Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

Unionist paper closes down

January 12th, 1861

On this day in 1861, Unionist editor John W. Barrett published the Marshall Harrison Flag for the last time. Barret moved to Texas from Indiana in 1838. He bought the Star State Patriot in 1848 and in 1856 renamed it the Harrison Flag. The Flag supported Sam Houston, the American (Know-Nothing) party, and the Constitutional Union party of 1860. Robert W. Loughery, owner and editor of the Marshall Texas Republican and an ardent secessionist, classed Barrett and the Flag as oppositionist and submissionist during the secession crisis. In editorial after editorial during November and December 1860, Barrett opposed secession; he declared on December 15, 1860, that breaking up the United States would be "the most momentous political decision that has ever demanded the attention of mankind." The same winter, ill and confined to his room, he suspended publication of the Flag with the issue of January 12, 1861. Five days later, Loughery called off their long political feud and wrote of Barrett: "He has been sick nine months with little chance of improvement . . . . He has a large family depending on him, with children to educate. He needs every dollar coming to him. Those owing him should not be insensible to his condition." Barrett died of tuberculosis on May 12, 1862.

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