One of the vacancies to be filled was that of State Senator, created by the resignation of Senator Hiram Cassidy, Jr. Senator Cassidy, who was elected as a Democrat in 1873, and who had voted for Mr. Bruce, the Republican caucus nominee, for United States Senator, had in the mean time publicly identified himself with the Republican party, thus following in the footsteps of his able and illustrious father, Judge Hiram Cassidy, Sr., who had given his active support to the Republican candidate for Governor in 1873.
Governor Ames had appointed Senator Cassidy a Judge of the Chancery Court, to accept which office it was necessary for him to resign his seat as a member of the State Senate. A special election was held in November, 1874, to fill that vacancy. The Democrats nominated a strong and able man, Judge R.H. Thompson, of Brookhaven, Lincoln County. The Republicans nominated a still stronger and abler man, Hon. J.F. Sessions, of the same town and county,—a Democrat who had represented Franklin County for several terms, but who had that year identified himself with the Republican party. Sessions was Chancellor Cassidy’s law partner.
Since the counties comprising that senatorial district constituted a part of the district that I then represented in Congress, I took an active part in the support of the candidacy of Sessions. Although a Democrat, Hiram Cassidy, Jr., had been elected from that district in 1873, Sessions, a Republican, was elected by a handsome majority in 1874. A vacancy had also occurred in the Legislature from Franklin County, to fill which the Republicans nominated Hon. William P. Cassidy, brother of Chancellor Cassidy; but the Democratic majority in the county was too large for one even so popular as Wm. P. Cassidy to overcome; hence he was defeated by a small majority.
From a Republican point of view Mississippi, as was true of the other reconstructed States, up to 1875 was all that could be expected and desired and, no doubt, would have remained so for many years, but for the unexpected results of the State and Congressional elections of 1874. While it is true, as stated and explained in a previous chapter, that Grant carried nearly every state in the Union at the Presidential election in 1872, the State and Congressional elections throughout the country two years later went just the other way, and by majorities just as decisive as those given the Republicans two years before.
Notwithstanding the severe and crushing defeat sustained by the Republicans at that time, it was claimed by some, believed by others, and predicted by many that by the time the election for President in 1876 would roll around it would be found that the Republicans had regained substantially all they had lost in 1874; but these hopes, predictions, and expectations were not realized. The Presidential election of 1876 turned out to be so close and doubtful that neither party could claim a substantial victory. While