The Jaybird-Woodpecker War

The Courthouse where the feud took place between the Jaybirds and Woodpeckers - Courtesy Fort Bend County Museum -
The Courthouse where the feud took place between the Jaybirds and Woodpeckers
– Courtesy Fort Bend County Museum –

The Jaybird-Woodpecker War has the most colorful name in Texas feuds. It supposedly came from a black man who sang songs about those birds.

The conflict was a fight between Fort Bend County Democrats who wanted to keep blacks from voting and holding office—the Jaybirds—and a group of Reconstruction office holders who favored black rights (the Woodpeckers).

The fight turned deadly in 1889, and before it ended seven men died and several others were wounded.

After Governor Ross used Texas Rangers to intervene, the Woodpeckers left office and the Jaybirds took power for the next 70 years.

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