Dear Portal friends: Do you enjoy having history at your fingertips? We’ve appreciated your support over the years, and need your help to keep history alive. Here’s the deal: we’ve received a Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Now it’s time to keep our word and raise matching funds for the Cathy Nelson Hartman Portal to Texas History Endowment. If even half the people who use the Portal this month give $5, we’d meet our $1.5 million goal immediately! All donations are tax-deductible and support Texas history: yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Not Now

True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young.

truth. I know that if occasion had arisen, and I had not have
seen the negro's body after it had been cut down, I would have
willingly staked my life betting that the rope had cut his neck
exactly as I thought it had. Those two Johnsons were the
last men executed at Hangsman Grove, for after that, all executions
took place in the jail or jail yard. The general idea is
that many men were hanged out there, but as a matterzof fact
only three executions took place there. That of Hyde and the
two negroes.
I HAD a most interesting talk a few evenings ago with my
old friend, Dr. William Daniels. I know of no one who has
had a more intimate acquaintance with the thrilling days
of Texas and the men who furnished the thrills. The doctor,
having served as one of the surgeons of Sibley's Brigade on
the Rio Grande and in New Mexico and Arizona during the
civil war, had exceptional opportunities for knowing all the
real "bad men" of that day. It is pretty safe to say that from
the beginning to the end one or more of them was connected
with his command at some time. The doctor, while one of the
quietest and most peaceable gentlemen and one, too, had he
not practiced medicine for many years, one might safely say
had never killed a man, always took great interest in "bad men"
and made a study of them.
"One hears often of the gameness of 'bad men'," he said.
"They are game, of course, but so are you, so am I and so are
90 per cent of the gentlemen one knows. It takes more than
gameness to make a desperado or bad man, and that fact was
recognized by the people who first gave them the name of desperadoes.
Cold-blooded murderers who killed merely for the
pleasure of killing and who gave their victims no show at all,
should be classed as human fiends and not be dignified by calling
them 'bad men.' Billy the Kid belonged to that class. He
killed just as a wild animal kills-merely for the pleasure it
gave him to see his victims die. He was a fiend in human
shape and should have no place in the honorable (?) list of killers.
"The true 'bad man' differed from the ordinary man in many
ways, the main one being his absolute indifference to taking
human life. The only care he took about the matter was to
have the semblance of being in the right before he acted. Ben
Thompson, for instance, was noted for never firing the first
shot. He always allowed the other fellow to shoot at him before
he shot. It never required but one of his shots to get his

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. Accessed May 3, 2016.

Beta Preview