True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 133
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 133
banks. These were fished out and saved as relics, but no doubt
hundreds of others lie deeply buried in the mud or in such deep
water that they are never exposed.
In 1866 a severe norther blew the water out of the bayou, revealing
a number of these shells near the bank. Two young men,
who were machinists in McGowan's foundry, fished one of the
shells out of the mud and placed it on the bank to dry. When
dinner time came they took their hammers and tools and tried
to get the fuse out of the shell. They had worked but a few
moments when there was a terrible explosion and both young
men were instantly killed, being horribly mangled.
A negro living out near the lardcastle place in the Fourth
Ward got two or three of these old shells out of the bayou. He
left them lying around his yard for a long time, not knowing
they were dangerous. One day while cleaning up his yard he
raked the trash up over one of the bombs and set fire to it. The
explosion that followed alarmed the whole neighborhood, but
fortunately did no damage to any one. It is safe to say that
the other shells belonging to the negro's collection now rest at
the bottom of the bayou which runs near his place.
DON'T blame outsiders very much for laughing at Houston's
ship channel when they receive their only impression of
what the channel is from the end of it that lies within the
city limits. If I did not know that a short street car ride would
land me on the banks of the real channel, very wide and very
deep-a waterway that by easy engineering can be made a second
Manchester Canal-I would be tempted to laugh too. The
bayou at the foot of Main Street is not of proportions to suggest
great confidence, nor is its greasy, dirty and sluggish water
such as to inspire much respect.
As the city has grown the bayou has shrunk. The bed has
gradually filled up with debris, washed from the streets, and
the bayou has become much smaller. In former years Buffalo
Bayou was really an attractive stream. Its water was clear,
its banks were grassy and full of wild flowers, and on the whole
it was a beautiful stream. I can remember when all that part
of the Fifth Ward that comes down to the point where White
Oak and Buffalo Bayou meet was a dense forest and a great
picnic ground. A steamboat or barge would be swung across
the bayou and the picknickers wduld cross on it as a bridge.
The baou was very deep, too, having a natural depth at the foot
of Main Street of from fifteen to eighteen feet. I don't know
how deep it is now, but it can not be very deep anywhere along
there, owing to the sand and mud that has filled it up.
Some miles below Houston there used to be a big bend in
the bayou called "Constitution Bend." At this point the bayou
is very deep and wide. I can remember when I was a child
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/m1/133/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .