HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 47
Henry Thompson was elected city marshal and made one of the
best the city has ever had.
It must not be supposed that the Democrats getting in power
settled the negro question, and that Marshal Thompson and his
officers had an easy time. On the contrary, their defeat appeared
to make the negroes worse than ever, though they
worked more secretly and acted more under cover.
After Marshal Thompson retired Alex Erichsen was elected
and held office for a year or two. Erichsen was one of the
coolest and bravest men that ever lived. He was absolutely
fearless, but he had one fatal defect. He had too much personality
to make a perfect officer. By that is meant that he
could never realize that he was an officer first and Alex Erichsen
next. If a drunken prisoner swore at him he took the thing
as a personal insult and resented it as such. This defect in
his character led to a bloody encounter between him and a
prominent gambler, in which both came near losing their lives.
He kept perfect discipline and was absolutely honest, so that
on the whole he made a good officer, far above the average,
if not a perfect one.
After Erichsen retired there were rapid and frequent changes
in the office of city marshal. Among those who filled the office
were John Morris, who was killed some years ago. He was a
regular bulldog kind of a fellow. He carried things with a strong.
hand, would stand no interference and did just what he pleased.
He was game all the way through, and would go out of his way
to get into a difficulty rather than try to avoid one. He was a
good officer, though, and made a fine marshal. He was succeeded
by Gus Railey, who in turn was succeeded by Charley
Over in the police office on Preston and Caroline is a book,
yellow with age and dingy with dirt and dust. This old book
is marked on its cover, "Time Book." Its first entry is dated
1882 and is made up of a record of the police department of
that time. Charles Wichman was "chief of police," for the title
had been changed from "marshal;" W. Glass was deputy chief.
W. H. Smith and F. W. McCutchin were the day force, while'
B. F. Archer, Jack White, James Daily and Nat Davis were the
night force. It is believed that not one of the men named in
the foregoing is alive today.
It is to be regretted that the keepers of this old book have
seen fit to abbreviate all the entries instead of filling out the
items, have been content to make only the briefest mention of
facts that had about them material for most interesting stornie
On November 1, 1885, an entry chronicles the appointment of
the first mounted officers. They were J. E. Jemison and George
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 24, 2013.