46 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
called "The Loyal Legion," a secret political party, composed
mainly of carpet bag white men and trifling negroes. The
white men always kept in the background but they shoved the
negroes forward, with the result that when any killing was necessary
a negro furnished the victim.
One morning in the early sixties, a negro preacher and fifty
or more negroes went to the city jail with the announced intention
of taking a negro out of jail and lynching him, because
he was a democratic negro and because he had shot another
negro who had tried to assassinate him the night before. Marshal
Lord attempted to argue with them, but the preacher put
an end to all talk by slipping up behind the marshal and trying
to blow his brains out. Fortunately, some one knocked the pistol
aside and the marshal escaped with no further damage than
the loss of his hair on one side of his head.
Alex Erichsen and Martin Ravell, two of the marshal's force,
were there and without hesitation opened fire on the negroes,
who attempted to rush the marshal. There was a quick volley
.and when the smoke cleared away there were several dead
negroes on the ground. The preacher escaped for a moment,
but was killed by Erichsen a few minutes after.
That incident is given here just to show what a strenuous
time the "force" had in those days.
In 1868 Governor Davis turned Marshal Lord out of office and
appointed Captain A. K; Taylor marshal. Captain Taylor, as
all old Houstonians know, was an elegant gentleman. He took
possession of the office, but within a few weeks he became so
disgusted with his surroundings that he sent in his resignation
and retired to private life. The situation was too tough for him.
The governor then appointed Captain M. S. Davis to the place.
He was a former army officer and a fair man, so he soon made
friends with the people and never had serious trouble during
his tenure of office.
The Democrats having secured control of the state in the
November election in 1873, the charter of Houston was amended
in January, 1874, by the terms of which the governor was given
the authority to appoint all city officials, an authority he used
at once by kicking out all the Republicans and appointing representative
men to the offices.
By a singular oversight, no provision was made in the new
charter for a city marshal. That complicated things for a while,
but the problem was solved by Major S. S. Ashe, who was sheriff
at that time. He made Henry Thompson nominally city marshal
and gave him twelve or more deputy sheriffs to act as
policemen until the defect in the charter could be remedied.
When everything was put in shape an election was held and
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 May 27, 2015.