Seymore Trammell, Wallace associate, on Barbour County politics
Q:Barbour County is so little and it has produced so many successful politicians. Why?
A:People were totally involved with politics, whether they were the poorer people or whether they were the wealthier people. Somehow, it just seemed to be in the blood. We had had so many governors from there, and everybody seemed to have touched a governor. And the local politicians, whether they would be running for sheriff or for any local office -- state office, governor, or whatever -- the people would spend a lot of time working with it. There was a lot of graft in the political arena there. And they enjoyed buying and selling votes. And that was just a part of it. Was moonshine liquor and buying votes. You would have some of the greatest professionals there, like Dr. Houston, there on my side of the county. He and the big land owners in that area, they would be awfully interested in who would be sheriff or on the county commission. And they might be opposed to the other side of the county, and so it was just a vote buying thing. And they were very independent and very localized. And they just loved politics and that just seemed to be passed down from father to son. And it was primarily the men, of course, that was involved in the political arena. It was a little bit too rough for the ladies.
Q: What was it about Wallace that made him so successful?
A: He had that dynamic quickness about him. He was very alert. He could call them by their names. He could remember their names. He had the greatest memory of any person I have ever known -- to recall the names of people he hadn't seen for years and perhaps had met them for the first time. And that kind of word would scatter all throughout the community, all over the areas where he was interested in campaigning, and that caused the people to feel close to him, you know. "There's the man that can really identify with us. He knows our problems. He has the answers to our problems." And Wallace would appear very sincere to them, and when actually it was a facade. He was a political ham.