HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 19
in his veins, and claims that he is the only black sheep in
the family. He also claims that he was a black sheep for a
time only, and he is perfectly correct in saying that, as for many
years past he has been as staid and circumspect as any Presbyterian
deacon could be.
When Colonel Abe Gentry was building the Texas and New
Orleans Railroad, he went to New York and met Frank, then
a mere boy. He liked him so well that he induced him to come
to Houston with him, took him to his home and made him one
of his family. It was not long after his arrival here when the
war broke out. Frank took the side of the South and when
Captain Ike Stafford raised his cavalry company to go down
on the Rio Grande, the first company raised in Houston, Frank
joined it. He served four years in the Confederate army, and
was with Baylor, Ford and all of the others in West Texas,
New Mexico and Arizona.
When the war closed Frank found himself without home or
employment and, what was worse, he had formed tastes that
made him a wanderer and largely an adventurer. His career
as a soldier had been just at that formative stage in his life
when it stamped itself on his character and he could not stand
the humdrum routine of everyday civil life.
He wanted excitement, and since he could not get that in war
he took the next best thing and became a gambler. I would
not refer to this at all were it not for the fact that he reformed
many years ago and is now and has been for half a generation
one of the most reputable and highly esteemed citizens of Galveston.
He is a superb raconteur, has had a wonderful experience,
and it is a great treat to hear him relate some of his adventures.
His stories are all good, but one is inclined to think the
last one he tells is the best of all. When he gets deeply interested
in what he is telling he is apt to lapse into the gambler's
habit of speaking of everything in the present tense. Here is
one of his best stories. He and I were talking about "sure
things" one day.
"Don't you fool yourself," said he; "there are no such things
as 'sure things.' I know, because I have had experience with
them. Why, once I had such a 'sure thing' it was too dead to
skin. The funny part about it is that it worked perfectly, too,
but I don't press my luck working it but that one time.
"I'm over in Gonzales, where there is a big horse race meeting
going on. There are lots of cowmen there, and they all have
big money and they bet it free, too. The first night I got there
I went against faro bank and dropped my roll. That didn't
bother me much, because I knew I could get a stake from some
Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young.. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/. Accessed April 21, 2015.