True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 132
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132 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
wherever found, and of these powder and lead were more sought
after than all else. At that time there was a large two-story
brick house on the corner of Travis and Congress Avenue, north
aide of market square, owned by Jack Kennedy, the father of
the late John Kennedy and father-in-law of Wm. Foley. The
building extended back on Travis 'Street where Foley's store
now is. This building was occupied by the Confederates and
was used as a factory for making percussion caps and cartridges.
Where Foley's store now stands was used as a warehouse and
in it were stored boxes of cartridges, caissons filled with ammunition
for field guns, rifles and any kind of ammunition except
that for heavy guns. There was a large quantity of cannon
powder, hand grenades and large bombs stored over in the old
powder house near the city cemetery, northwest of the Central
Railway depot. The powder house was broken open by the
soldiers and its contents, proving undesirable, were scattered
over the ground or rolled down the hill into White Oak Bayou.
The next move was on the Kennedy building and here they
reaped a rich harvest. Boxes of cartridges were broken-open
and their contents appropriated. Sacks of powder were ripped
open and when found to be cannon powder, they were thrown on
the floor. Soon the floor was covered with powder, loose percussion
caps, and an indescribable assortment and litter of
dangerous things. There were hundreds of
rough shod men
trampling and stamping over this and the wonder is that the
whole place and everybody for blocks around were not blown
The remarkable thing is that no one seemed to realize that
there was the least danger and it was a good natured, jolly
crowd that went on with the work of looting. One shining example
of an opposite opinion was the owner of the building,
Mr. Kennedy. He realized the danger to the fullest extent and
did all in his power to check such recklessness. He begged
and implored the crowd to get out and let him lock the doors
and pointed out the almost certain explosion and consequent
destruction if a halt were not made. All his talk fell on deaf
ears and finally in desperation he took matters in his own hands.
He hired a lot of men and giving them buckets full of water
he flooded the place. There were no hydrants or water works
at that time so the water was drawn from a cistern and the
buckets passed from hand to hand until the place was flooded.
Late in the evening everything worth saving had been carried
off by the soldiers, but the shells and hand granades with a lot
of fuses remained. These were all dangerous, of course, so Mr.
Kennedy concluded to get rid of them. He hired some drays
and teams, loaded the shells on them and, carting them down to
the Milam Street bridge, known then as "the iron bridge," he
had them cast in the bayou.
There must be hundreds of them there yet. From time to
time during the prevalence of a norther. the water in the bayou
falls so as to reveal those which were dumped off near the
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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/m1/132/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .