BOUSTQN AND HOUSTONIANS 68
the impersonation of a young girl excellently. His flowing hair,
flashing jewels, heavenly smiles and telling glances led many
an impressionable young man to his undoing."
During the continuance of these balls there were many fine
characters taken and there were numerous splendid impersonations,
but none that ever came within speaking distance of
Henry House's "young lady from the country."
A CORNER IN TURKEYS.
ALL old citizens remember John Collins. He was one of
Houston's merchant princes. It would be more fitting
to describe him as a merchant king, for that was what
he was. He was the king of Houston retail grocers, made more
money, spent more money and gave away more money than
any other five grocerymen in the city combined.
He left a fair estate when he died, but had he been possessed
of less heart and a little legitimate greed he might have died
an unusually wealthy man.
Thanksgiving and Christmas, days when the turkey becomes
the national bird, and the Cuero turkey trot, made me think
of Mr. Collins, for at one time he and some turkeys caused a lot
of amusement among his intimate friends. He had a large twostory
brick store at Travis Street and Preston Avenue, the
corner now occupied by Sauter's place. It was the best corner
in the city, being on Preston Avenue, then the greatest business
thoroughfare in Texas, for all the business done with the interior
came over Long Bridge at the foot of Preston, and also facing
Market Square. 'Most any one located there would have done
a good business, but Mr. Collins, being something out of the
ordinary as a business man, did an immense one.
He had lots of what is now called the initiative and was always
doing the unexpected. On one occasion he got up a corner
on empty bottles, a trick nonu tried before nor since his day.
That was outside his regular business, but he was too active
to permit of his confining himself to his grocery trade.
Since his day ambitious men have tried to corner the oottn
and wheat markets. Some have done so and others have failed.
Those who succeeded risked millions and paid for
health and nerves. Before these 'ambitious ones appeared
Mr. Collins entered the field, created a corner, carried it throub
successfully and quit the game a double winner.
In the late fifties Mr. Collins, a few weeks before Christmas
conceived the idea of cornering the turkey' market. Next t
his store ws a vacant lot. HIe put up a rouh Voai feae
around it and put the turkey in the enloWsre,
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 July 25, 2014.