MEMORIES OF A TEXAS LAND COMMIS-
SIONER, W. C. WALSH
Contributed by CHARLES W. RAMSDELL, JR.
With a Foreword by J. F. CLARK
Captain W. C. Walsh was born in Dayton, Ohio, September 23,
1836. His parents came to Austin on New Year's day, 1840.
Young Walsh was educated in the Austin schools and the
University of Georgetown, District of Columbia. He was just
twenty-one years old when he first entered the State service
as a clerk in the General Land Office in September, 1857. He
died on August 30, 1924. Had he lived three weeks longer he
would have been eighty-eight years old.
From the lips of two of his contemporaries, Mr. Charles E.
Anderson, Sr., and Mr. Frank M. Maddox, I first heard of the
many stirring episodes in the life of Captain Walsh, and of
his value to Texas as its Land Commissioner during one of the
most corrupt and crucial periods in the history of the Land
Office. One story these men told me was about a land specu-
lator who was bragging to another one about a big deal he
was going to put over which involved the acquiescence of the
Land Commissioner. The second man said to the first: "You're
wasting your time--you can't bluff Walsh and you can't buy
him." Other stories were about his personal courage and indif-
ference to danger. Many times the Captain's life was threatened
by those involved in frauds. But if any man got blatant about
his intentions to shoot Walsh on sight, the Captain would put
on his old six-shooter, which he carried in a shoulder holster
under his left armpit, and would stalk down Congress Avenue,
in and out of the saloons, until he found his man. And then
he would confront him and say in stern tones: "I understand
you are looking for me." Invariably the would-be killer denied
that he was looking for the Captain or that he had made
For some years before his death it was my privilege to be
( 481 ]
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/. Accessed August 29, 2015.