Williamson County
Historical Commission

 

Williamson County casts its lot
with the nation
Texas became the 29th state in the Union in 1845.


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The Time Capsules stories are prepared by Bob Brinkman
Texas Historical Commission


TIME CAPSULE - NOV 1848
Williamson County casts its lot with the nation

            Texas became the 29th state in the Union in 1845. As settlement moved westward, people coalesced into villages and towns, and once there were enough families, the state would create and organize new counties. Williamson County was created and organized early in 1848, in time to cast votes in the upcoming presidential election. The county went along with the state, giving a 41-17 margin to the Democrat Lewis Cass. Cass counted Texas' four electoral votes in his total of 127, short of the 163 that Zachary Taylor, the Mexican War hero and Whig candidate, earned to become our 12th President.

In 1856 Round Rock bucked the trend, giving its precinct to Millard Fillmore, who succeeded Taylor in 1850 but this time ran on the Know-Nothing (or American) ticket. The county, state, and nation overall elected James Buchanan the 15th President. Texas missed the 1864 and 1868 national elections due to the Civil War and reconstruction. From 1872, the Democratic candidate carried Texas in every succeeding election until 1928, when Herbert Hoover broke the stranglehold on the Solid South by counting Texas, Florida, Tennessee and North Carolina among his 444-87 electoral college win over Al Smith. Dwight Eisenhower captured Texas twice, the first Republican to do so. Texas then became a pivotal state with several close calls, including John Kennedy over Richard Nixon, 50.5 - 48.5 percent in 1960; Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford 51.1 - 48.0 in 1976; and George Bush over Bill Clinton 40.6 - 37.1 in 1992.

That 1992 election stopped the trend of declining turnout in presidential elections, and Williamson County had the second-best turnout in the state, better than 85%. Texas has now voted Republican in every Presidential election since 1980. The county has even been visited by its national leaders, including President-elect Warren Harding in 1920, and the whistle-stop re-election campaign of Harry Truman in 1948. When Texas became a state, its electoral vote was second from last. It has grown to the second-biggest prize, raising the stakes for candidates and making our votes count that much more.


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