The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 200
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
boys, animals, and even himself. He did not attack women for some
reason or other. Sweet's style is almost modern, and his hundred-year-
old articles still retain their freshness, while many of his contempo-
raries' writings are nearly unreadable. It is a shame that a humorist of
such great fame in the nineteenth century could be almost completely
forgotten in the twentieth.
Alex E. Sweet, as he was later known, was born in 1841 to a Nova
Scotian couple, James R. and Charlotte Sweet. In 1849 he moved with
his family to San Antonio, Texas. James became an immediate success
there through his mercantile business and mining speculations. In ad-
dition he had two powerful and helpful friends, immigrants from Nova
Scotia, Thomas J. Devine, a distinguished lawyer, and Thomas New-
comb, whose son James was soon to become publisher of the San An-
tonio Express. "Within three years after having moved to San Antonio,
James served as an alderman, then as the mayor, and was affluent
enough to buy twenty-four acres of prime land. . . . The property con-
tained the springs that fed the San Antonio River, also the city's water
Alex grew up at the family home, Sweet Homestead, and attended a
private school on Commerce Street. He was all boy, bombarding a fine
residence with his sling shot and trying to blow up a neighbor's home
with a tremendous firecracker. It is no wonder that in 1857, at the age
of sixteen, he was sent to prep school in Poughkeepsie, New York.
After graduating from College Hill Collegiate Institute in 1858, he
then attended the Polytechnic School at Karlsruhe, Baden, Germany,
where he earned a degree in 1862.
Alex married a German girl before returning home to join his
father's Confederate cavalry regiment. His service in the Civil War
seemed mainly to consist of picket duty around Indianola, a Texas
seaport occupied by the Yankees. After the war, he returned to San
Antonio, where he studied law in the office of the old family friend,
Thomas J. Devine. For a few years he practiced law, even serving as city
attorney, but his true career was in journalism. He joined the San An-
tonio Express in 1869, but in 1874, being in disagreement with the po-
litical policies of the paper, he moved to the San Antonio Herald, in
which his father, James, had an interest. In spite of his father's influ-
ence, he had little success. Fortunately for Alex, a fellow reporter,
Charles Merritt Barnes, got him a position as correspondent for the in-
fluential Galveston Dazly News. His column, eagerly read, was named
3Virginia Eisenhour (ed ), Alex Sweet's Texas: The Lghter Side of Lone Star History (Austin: Uni-
versity of Texas Press, 1986), xn.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/m1/240/: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.