The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899 Page: 171
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Early Experiences in Texas.
peace by President Lamar, when he reunited in marriage great
numbers of people who had been married under the Mexican gov-
ernment. By President Houston he was appointed chief justice of
Austin county, and had his office at San Felipe. There was consid-
erable legal business at this early time; and, while in the main
things were pretty quiet, yet when litigation began in earnest, quar-
rels and shooting- scrapes were of frequent occurrence. One farmer,
having been sued for marking his neighbor's pigs, killed his ac-
cuser. Everybody carried his rifle wherever he went, even if it was
only to hunt his horses. At elections every one was supplied with
My husband used to tell many amusing anecdotes of the time
when he was justice. The principal lawyers at this- time in San
Felipe were General Po.rtes, R. M. Williamson (Three-Legged
Willie), Rivers, and Col. Shepard, the father of Judge Seth Shep-
ard. At the house where they boarded they were much annoyed
by their landlady's partiality. It seemed to them that she reserved
all the delicacies for her own table, and fed them on but ordinary
fare. Williamson one day determined to put a stop to this. Keep-
ing on his big coat, and spreading it out as far as possible, he
placed himself in front of the ladies and entertained them in the
pleasantest way, while Rivers and Portes exchanged the dishes.
A trifling fellow was in the habit of coming to San Felipe, get-
ting on a spree for a week at a time, making himself a general
nuisance, and leaving his family, who lived at some distance in the
country, to shift as best they could. One day a "kangaroo" court
was organized. General Portes, acting as sheriff, arrested the fel-
low, while Williamson performed the duties of prosecuting attor-
ney. The latter made one of his characteristic orations while Gen-
eral Portes was engaged in whetting a big machete in the most
menacing manner. About this time the fellow's horse was brought
up, completely saddled; his counsel gave him a significant wink, and
the defendant jumped on him and never returned to San Felipe.
The main road from Houston to Austin passed right in front of
our house. There was constant travel, and immigrants passed
almost daily. Every one who had a team and had spare time did
some "teamstering," for this occupation brought the quickest ready
money. Oxen were used for this purpose almost exclusively, a
wagon sometimes having as many as five yokes. My husband also
engaged in raising tobacco and making cigars, which he sold in
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899, periodical, 1898/1899; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101011/m1/175/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.