THE DECLARATIONS OF MARTIAL LAW
ON THREE OCCASIONS IN 1871 Governor Davis declared martial law. Evidence shows that in two instances -- in Walker County in February1 and in Freestone and Limestone counties in October2 -- such a step was unnecessary. There was a question too of whether martial law was necessary in Hill County in January. But in Walker County and in Freestone and Limestone counties residents were forced to pay for the maintenance. In the other instance the offenders themselves were taxed.3
Events leading to a declaration of martial law in Hill County, as related by Adjutant General Davidson in his report to the Governor, began with the murder of a freedman and his wife near Clifton, in Bosque County, on December 26, 1870. At an inquest on the following day two Hill County residents, Sollola Nicholson and James J. Gathings, Jr., were blamed for the slayings.
Present at the inquest was State Police Lieutenant W. T. Pritchett. With a portion of his command he hurried to the Hill County home of Colonel James J. Gathings, where the alleged murderers were said to be hiding.5 Pritchett had no search warrant,5 and Colonel Gathings refused to admit him, declaring, "You cannot search my house with____________________