The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935 Page: 16
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
received the sum of $600" from the Panhandle Stock Association
as a bonus above the fees of office. Houston, who had remained
aloof from the Willis fight much to the chagrin of the Panhandle
cowmen, took umbrage at this statement because he claimed "that
chastity of honor which feels a stain like a wound," and asserted
that this was an independent fee.
"I will not stand upon this floor [he said to the assembled Sena-
tors] and in this high presence, and bend my privileges to the
abuse of any man, but I say, sir, that anything contrary to what I
have said, is utterly, unspeakably and abominably false
and he who feels himself wronged may right himself how and
where he chooses. I hold myself personally responsible wherever
I may be, either in or on the outside of this hall. Less than this I
should not speak; more than this I could not say."25
Temple Houston was supposed to be a fire-eater, as this eloquent
challenge might indicate, and Colonel B. B. Groom, one of the
Panhandle cowmen present, rushed to Nelson in a heavy sweat and
"0. I-I., you had better run up to Fort Worth for a day or two."
Nelson inquired as to the trouble, and Groom told him of Houston's
statement. Later, cowman and senator met in the lobby of the
Driskill, and, according to report, Nelson asked:
"I hear we're going to have to fight it out." Houston asked
him to explain, Nelson did, and the genial orator replied:
"Hell, I had to say something. Let's go get a drink."26
The findings of fact and charges were brought to the Senate
upon the first of March, and should be examined in some detail.
The House found that Frank Willis had been judge of the Thirty-
first district for six years; that 6,156,549 acres of the public
domain were in his jurisdiction; that about 1,300,000 of these
were "unlawfully enclosed and occupied" by cowmen; that these
occupants now owe the State "at 4 cents per acre" the sum of
$123,353; that the Panhandle Stock Association, "composed mostly
of men" unlawfully occupying these lands, had "employed the
sheriff of Donley county and the district attorney, W. H. Wood-
man . . . paying the former $1000, and the latter $1500 per
annum as a bonus over and above their legal fees of office"; and
?"Austin Statesman, February 19, 1887.
26Nelson to J. E. H., May 23, 1929; Houston's statement and explana-
tion of the "fee" is found in the Senate Journal, 1887, p. 256.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935, periodical, 1935; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117143/m1/24/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.