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Another bad day for A. J. Dorn


On this day in 1884, Andrew Jackson Dorn lost his bid to become a congressional assistant doorkeeper. Dorn had served in a volunteer company in the Mexican War and afterward in the regular army. Although he claimed to have achieved the rank of colonel and to have remained in the U.S. Army until the outbreak of the Civil War, he was in fact mustered out of federal service in 1848. He did serve with the Confederate military, and after the war moved to Bonham, Texas. In 1873, he was nominated as the Democratic candidate for Texas state treasurer. Dorn was elected on Richard Coke's ticket, but when he appointed his son as chief clerk of the treasury, the Herald attacked him for nepotism, "one of the most odious of all political abuses." Dorn was reelected in 1876 and remained in office until 1879. In 1883, unemployed, he went to Washington, D.C., seeking Samuel Bell Maxey's aid in finding a government job. "He is the most helpless man I know," wrote Maxey of Dorn, "an honorable, good man but a fearfully and wonderfully made hanger-on for office." Dorn became one of seven applicants for one of the two assistant-doorkeeper appointments to which the Texas delegation was entitled, but when the appointments were decided by lot on January 3, 1884, he was not chosen. In 1885, the destitute Dorn, with Maxey's influence, was elected as doorkeeper of the state Senate. After his tenure as doorkeeper, Dorn remained in Austin "filling some minor positions in the state departments" until his death in 1889. He was buried in the State Cemetery.

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