True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 137
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 137
more pleasure than annoyance. Jim Baker, "Shorty" Parigh and
one or two others among the printers and "Peg" among the
telegraph operators were characters whose acquaintance at times
was rather embarrassing, but on the whole rather beneficial.
All of the even moderately old printers remember the first two
I have named, while I am sure all the telegraphers of the 80's
remember the last, for he was a character never to be forgotten.
"Peg" was not his proper name, of course. He had a Christian
and a surname, too, but he also had a wooden leg, and that took
precedence over everything else, and he became "Peg" and
He was one of the most expert operators that ever struck
Texas. He was what was called an Associated Press operator
and could take and send more copy during a night than anybody.
He was high-toned and swore he would never work for
less than $35 per week, and as such jobs were scarce and, even
when he got one, hard to hold, because he would celebrate his
success at the end of the first week when he was paid off, he
was generally idle. He had lost one of his legs in a railroad accident,
having gone to sleep and fallen off the brakebeam, or
something of that kind. The railroad patched him up in one of
the hospitals and gave him a fine wooddh leg to say nothing
more about the matter. The leg was really a fine one, and
"Peg" could, and did, get from $10 to $15 on it at any pawnshop.
During his periods of temporary pecuniary embarrassment he
had another leg for everyday use. This was simply an old-fashioned
broomstick looking affair, which while not ornamental was
quite useful. It got so that one could tell the financial standing
of "Peg" by the style of leg he wore. He had been all over the
country, knew all the newspaper men from Chicago to San
Francisco and in every city and big town in Texas. He was
a great talker, and when only halfloaded was very amusing.
He told some good stories, too. I remember one in particular
that will bear retelling, though, of course, I can't tell it as he
did. It was in the News office one night after "30" had been
sent to the composing room and we were all indulging in a talk.
"Peg" held the floor.
"Gent-teel-men," said he, "you can talk about your 'hot towns'
as much as you want to, but Santone takes the cake. I was out
there last winter and I had the time of my life. There was a
big variety show going on down on one of the plazas and, of
course, I went to see it. The place was crowded and I got a
seat away back near the door, and I was glad afterward that I
did. The show was nearly over when a drunken cowboy came
in. He had two big guns strapped round his waist and a bowie
knife that looked like a young sword. He refused to take his
hat off and made a terrible row about it when a man asked
him to remove his hat and sit down. He swaggered about and
the show had to stop for a minute or two. He ordered a bottle
of champagne and then, catching sight of the boxes on the edge
9f the stage, he made for one. Everybody seemed to be afraid
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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/m1/137/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .