HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 65
when he had blood in his eyes. Bell's dive deserved all it got,
but I did not want the Chronicle's readers to see such language
used in its columns as that drunken sporting editor put there.
But to my story.
Colonel Hamp Cook was city editor and, of course, he had a
local staff. The staff consisted of one man, a bright chap who
had one fatal defect, he could never get past a barroom if he
chanced to see any one he knew on the inside. However, as he
"toted" his liquor well, Hamp never had much trouble with
him, and as he never gave him anything but routine work to
do, he managed very well. Dud Bryan was the Houston representative
of the Galveston News at that time and covered the
local field most thoroughly. He kept Hamp and his "staff" on
the jump all the time.
One cold winter night, between 9 and 10 o'clock, a big fire
broke out in the Fifth ward. Hamp gave his "staff" some hurried
instructions and rushed to the fire. About an hour after
he left, a friendly policeman came in and reported that an
unknown dead man had been found in a deserted house away
out in the Third Ward. The body had no head, it having been
cut off and carried away. It was a fine story, but the best part
of it was that the fire in the Fifth ward was still blazing and
we knew Dud Bryan would be detained there too long to give
him a chance to get the murder story for the News the next
morning. It was the chance of a lifetime for a big scoop on
I sent the "staff" hot-footed after the murder story and sat
down at his desk to write up the local news from Hamp's notes.
Twelve o'clock struck. The fire had been put out, but Hamp
had not returned, nor had the staff, " either. I knew it would
take some time for Hamp to get back, for it was a long way
to the Fifth ward at that time, the only bridge across the bayou
being the old iron bridge at the foot of Milam Street. One
o'clock, no Hamp, no staff, but the foreman, importuning me for
"copy." I gave him a handful of reprint and quieted him momentarily.
Two o'clock! The foreman sending down every few
minutes for "copy." I fed him whole batches of newspaper
clippings to keep him quiet. Then, much to my relief, Hamp
Cook showed up, but I had to take a good look at him before I
recognized him. Re was one living, moving mass of mud from
the top of his head to the toes of his shoes. How he ever ma'aged
to get to the office with that load of mud on him was a
mystery. He told his story briefly. He had been waylaid and
robbed on the other side of the bayou. The highwayman had
knocked him down and then had rolled him over and over in
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 1, 2016.