76 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
Federal army of occupation and left on court house square, to
be shipped North. These guns were all dismounted and were
lying on the ground.
The two conspirators selected one of the cleanest, found that
the vent was open and that it was in good firing condition. Bill
Glass had a quantity of gunpowder and they stood the gun on
end while he poured about a hatful of it into the gun and then
rammed a newspaper down on it with a long stick. It was a
crude loading, but it was enough to make a noise. Having loaded
the cannon, they got some heavy sticks, or rather poles, and
half a dozen fellows vied with each other for the honor of.acting
as pallbearers. The weather was outrageous and the mud was
knee-deep everywhere, but that made no difference.
They marched down to the conductor's residence, opened his
front gate and proceeded to plant their gun on the sidewalk.
They got the proper elevation by propping up the muzzle of the
gun with pickets, bricks and anything they could find, and when
they got through the piece was well placed, aiming exactly at
the doorknob of the front door.
It was a very cold night and all the doors were closed tight.
The gang could hear the music and the revelry going on inside
and chuckled to think what a surprise they were going to give
the revellers. Having planted their gun properly, they inserted
a friction primer, attached a long rope to it, hitched the rope
to the front doorknob, so that simply opening the door would
fire the cannon, and then they hid out to await developments.
They waited and waited, but no one came to the door. Finally
Sinclair determined to wait no longer, so he slipped up to
the door, intending to knock on it and get out of the way before
anyone answered the knock. His idea was all right, but it miscarried.
Just as he reached the door and extended his hand to
knock some one jerked the door open.
The surprise was a success in more ways than the boys had
calculated. The cannon went off with a roar that woke up all
the old people in Houston who had gone to sleep, and when it
did so it shot Sinclair clean into the hall and half way through
the back door. It came near wrecking the house itself. Every
pane of glass and every dish in the house was smashed to
pieces. The worst part was that Sinclair had been shot right
into the enemy's hands and had no earthly excuse for being there.
The conductor was so frightened that he did not know what
to do. In the confusion Sinclair managed to escape. When
he got outside he found that every one of his conspirators had
deserted him. They all thought that Sinclair and everybody in
the house had been blown to pieces, so they took to their heels.
Sinclair trudged through the mud to town.
His hair was singed off and his clothes torn into bits. In fact,
he was as much of a wreck as the house was. About 2 o'clock
in the morning the conductor showed up at police headquarters
and reported the outrage to Deputy Chief Bill Glass, who listened
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 4, 2015.