82 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
His title of "Honest Bob" was not given him in derision, as
is the case so often nowadays, but was the result of, and the
expression of, genuine admiration for him by his fellow citizens.
I have heard my grandfather tell the story often. 3Bob was
a member of the senate of the Republic of Texas. He believed
in publicity and was silly enough, measured by later day standards,
to think that the people had a right to know something
of everything their servants did. The members of the Texas
congress knew more about fighting than they did about parliamentary
Soon after congress assembled it became necessary to hold
an executive session and those who knew something about such
matters warned the members that nothing must be divulged
about any matter discussed. It was impressed on them that
the meeting was to be a secret one, and it was also impressed
on them that any member who broke the rule of silence would
be severely punished. "Honest Bob" listened to all that was
said but did not say anything.
It was in 1838 during the Lamar administration and Burnet,
being vice president, presided over the senate. Burnet had a
scheme by which the bonds of the new Republic of Texas were
to be exchanged for South Carolina state money, and he was
urging the adoption of a resolution by the senate that would
enable him to carry out his plan.
"Honest Bob" owned a line of sailng boats plying between
Harrisburg and New Orleans, and through his captains he had
heard that the South Carolina money was of little value. He
never had agreed with Burnett on any question, so he made a
most vicious attack on his plan.
It was during an executive session of the senate that the argument
and outbreak occurred. The-most unparliamentary language
was used, and almost a free fight occurred. When the
session closed "Honest Bob" went out on Main Street and told
everybody he met what had taken place and what the vice
president was trying to do.
When the senate heard what he was doing the sergeant-atarms
was sent after him. He was arrested, brought before the
senate and promptly expelled from that body.
A special election was ordered by the senate to fill ,the vacancy
caused by his expulsion. Three days later the election
was held and "Honest Bob" was re-elected to the senate by
practically a unanimous vote.
The people did not stop at merely electing him, but when the
result was known, they took him on their shoulders and bore him
back to the senate chamber and deposited him before the members
with instructions to leave him alone and not try to expell
him again. That is, briefly, how he obtained the name of "Honeat
He was a remarkable man and did much for the future great
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 March 3, 2015.