The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 32
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
on, the journey was pleasant, the country becoming more and
more beautiful as they approached LaGrange. After a night on a
hard bed at LaGrange, they were glad to leave early in the morn-
ing and drive eighteen miles to breakfast. The breakfast house
was a good one, but the neighbors disliked the landlord. He knew
too much, they thought, about a certain murder. They did not
think he actually committed the crime, but they warned him
that if any more murders were committed in the neighborhood
they would hang him.
On the way to Austin, Ham White pointed out a grave cov-
ered with rails, at the foot of a tree. A man had been hanged
there. Farther on, he pointed out the place where the ill-fated
fellow had committed a murder. Here, Ham said, the criminal
was captured just as he had appropriated his victim's gun and
was ready for flight. The captors tied him in a little house hard
by until they could organize a court. Lawyers were brought from
the nearest court seat, witnesses were heard, the case argued by
lawyers, one lawyer acting as counsel for the prisoner. When the
verdict of "guilty" was brought in, all the men present drew up
in line to hear the reading. "All who are in favor of carrying
this verdict into effect will move forward one step," charged the
judge. Every man moved forward. Ham White, foreman of the
jury, told the prisoner that he was to hang in one hour. "The
hell I am," was the murderer's pert response. He would not
believe that he was to be hanged, until he was placed on a horse
and taken to that tree with that long limb projecting over an
This was the way Texas got rid of her "rowdies and villains,"
White said. If a murder had been overlooked, what would new-
comers have thought of Texans, Ham wanted to know. Texas
had no jails capable of restraining a prisoner. Justice had to be
The travelers reached Austin at night on February 16. They
found lodging at the Metropolitan, kept by a Captain Cleveland.
John thought Austin beautifully situated, having around it the
finest residential sites he had seen in Texas. The fine white stone
that was so abundant and near at hand could be cut into form
with a common crosscut saw; the stone hardened on exposure to
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/44/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.