The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 21
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The Laredo City Election and Riot of 1886
Where is Salt River, that streamlet historic
Whereof we have often been told,
Which statesmen avoid who would keep their caloric,
And not be left out in the cold ?
The poetic muse seemed to be politically inclined in the cam-
paign. A soldier of fortune, John S. Clark of Brownsville, a
well educated man, produced a parody on Poe's celebrated
"Raven," entitled "Penn's Grullo," that stands as a classic in
political literature of that day and dealt with the leading poli-
ticians of the border country. It deserves to be preserved.
The references to politicians of the day are thinly veiled, but
require some explanation. "Grullo" is the Spanish word for
"crane," and of course refers to William Henry Crain of Cuero
on the Guadalupe River, then congressman, who wielded con-
siderable influence in making Federal political appointments
on the border. Major J. S. Penn was the editor of the Laredo
Times, a brother-in-law of Governor John Ireland, and a can-
didate for the Legislature from the old 83rd District. He was
defeated by W. Showalter at the November election. Thomas W.
Kennedy of Starr County, running with Major Penn, was a
successful candidate for the Legislature from the old 83rd
District. "Johnny" and "Old Alcalde" were pet names for
Governor John Ireland of Seguin, also on the Guadalupe. S. B.
Maxcy was then United States Senator from Texas. James B.
Wells was a prominent lawyer of Brownsville, later Chairman
of the Democratic Executive Committee of Texas, and a war
horse in political battles. He is referred to as "Jeems." This
early political analyst wrote:
The Penn is Mightier than the Sore-Head
Once, upon a campaign gory, as I panted after glory,
Writing many a quaint and curious lie with ready pen,
While I thought I'd caught them napping, suddenly there came
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my sanctum den.
" 'Tis some candidate," I muttered, "tapping at my sanctum den,
Can it be T. W. Ken.?"
Ah ! distinctly I remember, 't was the first day of November
And each separate lying sentence flowed from off my busy pen,
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
From my lies surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the lost Alcalde,
For the rare and radiant Johnny whom folks call the "Old
One of Nature's noblemen!
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942, periodical, 1942; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/m1/27/: accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.