Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography Page: xii
This book is part of the collection entitled: Rescuing Texas History, 2010 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries .
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could speak the language. He offered to buy them off with
$ r I,ooo for a quitclaim to their rights. The Mexicans, in a fine
passion, refused this compromise. Instead, they laid hands on
John Atkinson and stood him up against the wall of his adobe
hut to face a firing squad. His private Alamo had come.
Atkinson made a final plea. He asked that when the squad
fired it would be at his command, and the executioners would
aim at his heart. The Mexicans, who are close to death, under-
stood and complied.
My grandfather's brother now braced himself against the wall
and cried: "Fire!" Five bullets struck him in and about the
abdomen, but failed to bring him down. "Higher up, you sons
of b's!" he yelled. Two more shots were fired. He crumpled to
his knees, but still he was not dead. He motioned to his hanging
head. A Mexican by the name of Disidero Apodaco obliged by
blowing out his brains. Such is the story of John Atkinson, as
told by Juan Nup Garcia in his account of the Salt War of
El Paso County.
You will notice that my grandfather's brother went to the
Guadalupe Salt Lakes to make money. But this mercenary pre-
occupation fell away in crisis, and left what I would call the
Texas spirit untrammeled. At any rate, to the very end John
Atkinson showed a strong wish to manage his own affairs, and
did not beg for quarter.
These instances of Texas spirit and many other matters come
to mind when I sit at my office desk, sipping a restorative cup of
tea. I have been led to think about my own beginnings in a
totally different but equally strenuous environment, and to con-
sider the long shaping process which made me a surgeon and a
Texan. This is the story I should like to tell as honestly as I can
in the following pages.
DONALD T. ATKINSON, M.D.
San Antonio, Texas
Here’s what’s next.
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Atkinson, Donald Taylor. Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography, book, 1958; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143566/m1/12/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.