My mom’s maternal grandfather, Zone Harrison Johnston (pictured at left of this construction site photo), was a lothario and a carpenter, and according to family lore, a self-described communist and avid reader of Marx.
A few years ago I found this article in the Dallas Morning News archives reporting that Zone (as Z.H. Johston) and other members of the “Dallas Socialists Local” signed a petition for a recall election, citing the failure of the mayor and city commissioners of Dallas to “defend the people’s rights with diligence and good faith.” My favorite parts of the resolution:
2. Their persistent and flagrant refusal to comply or even to attempt, in good faith, to comply with the people’s will as expressed in the initiative ordinances whose large affirmative majorities have never been questioned.
3. Their distrust of the people of the city of Dallas as manifested in their seeking to have the charter amended by a ‘select committee’ of their own selection, when they could have allowed the people themselves to take part directly in the work of charter amending.
4. Their notorious and undenied friendship and partiality for the Stone & Webster interests which control the electric light and the street car companies of Dallas..
I can’t find my notes on the date it appeared, but I’m pretty sure it was 1909 or 1910. I’ll have to dig around in the archives again. Also planning to read Patricia Hill’s Dallas: The Making of a Modern City,
which seems to discuss the city’s history of socialism.