66 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
the mud, searching for money. Finally they found 35 cents,
which they took and departed.
We stood Hamp up by the stove, and the printers' devil, who
had come down after "copy" and who had remained to hear
Hamp's story, took the coal shovel and began to spade the mud
off of him. Just then the door burst open and in come the
foreman, with blood in his eyes. The "devil" thought he was
after him and hastened to explain.
"Oh, Mr. Cook was knocked down and robbed," he exclaimed.
"Damn Mr. Cook," shouted the foreman. "I am looking for
who put a bag of paste in my chair. Look
at me. I sat down on it."
We took the foreman down in the pressroom to wash him off
with a hose and we found the "staff" lying on a pile of newspapers,
dead to the world. He had never gotten further than
the Rice Hotel bar, where he met some of his friends, who
treated so liberally that evening his good "toting" qualities
were taxed beyond their capacity and he had fallen.
Cook was game, though. He sat down and wrote a fine account
of the fire and then wrote up the robbery. He spread
himself on this and made an interesting and exciting story of
it, too. But he made a fatal blunder. In closing the article,
he stated that while the robbers got 35 cents, they overlooked a
$5 bill he had in the watch pocket of his pants. That ruined
him. The next evening Uncle Dan McGary of the Age reproduced
his story under the heading, "The Champion Liar of the
Season," and went on to say that Hamp, being false in one
thing, must be false in all, and that the whole story was a fake,
because everybody knew that he never had as much as $5 at
one time in his whole life. He accused Hamp of trying to put
on style in trying to speak of a watch pocket and then of lying
about having a $5 bill in it. The state papers copied Uncle
Dan's version of the affair and within a week one could not
tell from their comments whether Hamp robbed the robbers
or they had robbed him. The whole thing got dreadfully mixed,
all because Hamp made the mistake of putting that last line
at the end of the story. No doubt he referred to'that $5 bill
for the purpose of making the robbers feel bad because they
overlooked it, but it proved a ,boomerang and came back on
Of course the Chronicle did not scoop the News with the murder
story, but we all had a strenuous time trying to do so.
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 10, 2014.