True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 113
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 113
stand, for he has rolled a great deal during the 30 years I have
known him. He has rolled from Houston to Dallas, from Dallas
to Galveston, from Galveston to St. Louis and then back to Texas
and begun his endless chain of rolling all over again. He .is
here in Houston now and says he is going to buy a home and
settle down for good. I think he believes he is going to do so,
too, but I do not.
"Sin," as the boys love to call him, is well qualified to lead
any life he chooses and to see as much of the world as he cares
to see, and that too, on the easiest terms, for there is no better
newspaper man in the country than he. One great advantage
he has over most newspaper men is the fact that he is as fine a
printer as newspaper writer. If there is no opening in the
"brainery," he turns to the mechanical department, for he is as
much at home in one as in the other.
Twenty-five years ago Sinclair was considered to be the best
telegraph editor in Texas. At that time the positon of telegraph
editor was one of the most difficult and responsible on a newspaper.
It is hard to realize that today when "copy" comes in
typewritten on a clean white paper, with no abbreviations ahd
all that has to be done is to read it, put on a suitable head, and
send it to the composing room. In that day it was different.
The copy was on flimsy tissue paper and was in skeleton form.
Every word, not absolutely necessary to make sense, was left
out and a dispatch of, say a column, frequently came in half
that space and the telegraph editor had to fill in, straighten out
and make it read sense. Sometimes the abbreviation was carried
to such an extreme that it was difficult to make any sense
out of the dispatch at all. Here is where Sinclair shone, for
he could take a condensed story, rewrite it and turn out better
copy than the original writer had produced.
Sinclair was also a good reporter and all-'round man in the
editorial room, and as he was always on deck and could be relied
on, he was very useful. You notice that I speak of him in
the past tense. I do that in deference to his announcement that
he is going to quit and settle down, which, as I have said, I do
In 18S4 Sinclair and I were running the Houston Morning
Chronicle. He wats foreman of the composing room. He was
then and is now an intense Democrat. When the dispatch came
saying that Cleveland was elected president, it was about 2
o'clock in the morning. Sinclair had come down after something
and was in the editorial room. I showed him the dispatch. He
seized my hat and broke for the market house, where the fire bell
was located. Climbing the ladder that led to the tower where
the bell was, he seized the rope and in a few moments had the
whole town aroused. Captain Jack White, who was chief of
Police, could see no fire and concluded that a drunken or crazy
man had gotten hold of the bell, and went up to investigate.
When he got up there he found Sinclair.
Here’s what’s next.
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Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young., book, 1913; Galveston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/m1/113/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .