My Recollections of O. Henry (W. S. Porter)

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I first mknew him along about '81 or 2, when he worked
in the Land Office. I saw him every day; very retiring kind of
man -- timid as a girl. He just reminded me of a young boy.
He was what you would call a butter ball kind of a fellow, kind
of plump. He was a blond, about five feet, six inches tall;
carried himself very erect and was always neat in his dress.
Had kind of a florid complexion; in my recollection, he had
gray eyes. He was a lovable character; you had to know him to
find it out. He was very retiring; had a very keen sense of the
ridiculous. When he laughed, looked like it hurt him; never would
lau~ out loud but just grin.
I met him in the Land Office. He came there with Dick
Hall ( R. M. Hall), former Land Commissioner. Porter was on the
sheep ranch Hall owned, down in La Salle County, and herded sheep
for Hall about a year of two. He first came to Austin from
Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Hall knew him back there and
knew his father, Dr. Porter, before him. The boy cane out here
and naturally came to Mr. Hall. He had general letters of intro-
duction, recommendation or commendation to the people out here.
One of therm, I think, was written by the Secretary of State of
North Carolina; the others by other prominent people. I saw that
letter from the Secretary of State in print; Somebody back there
in North Carolina wrote a short history of him,I think is where I
saw it. 11Mr. Hall moved to his ranch shortly after Poirter came here
and he went with him and stayed there a year or two.
There were three or four of the Hall boys here, Lee, Dick,
Frank,and Lee was a captain in the Ranger force.
Will Porter said, "Sheep herding was the most onerous,
humdrum, monotonous life a white man could live. Nobody could make
a good sheep herder but a Mexican." He told me that on two or three
different occasions, after he was working for me.
*He was about twenty two or twenty three, I reckon;
just a mere boy,when he first came to Texas. He came out here
on account of Hall being here and had a natural desire, like all
boys had in those days especially, to come to Texas -- just a love
of adventure, I reckon.


Frank Maddox. My Recollections of O. Henry (W. S. Porter). Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 29, 2016.

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