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Retired and enjoying life.
The people of Van Zandt were sick of being overrun by federal troops and people from northern states who moved in to profit from the South's Reconstruction era, often known as carpetbaggers. A small convention of residents in Van Zandt County declared it to be a free and independent state. It went so far as to declare itself independent from the State of Texas, the Southern Confederacy and the United States of America, according to The News' archives.
Gen. Phil Sheridan, who led Texas during Reconstruction, heard the news and sent a troop of cavalry from New Orleans to East Texas to stop the uprising, but they instead became lost in a wooded part of the county.
When an army of Van Zandt residents discovered Sheridan’s troops, the group from New Orleans had no choice but to retreat. The army of residents, thinking they had won, began to drink in celebration. While making their way back to Canton — many of them quite drunk — U.S. troops surrounded and captured the group from Van Zandt. Federal troops then quickly took back control of the unruly county.