True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 152
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152 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
and with arched back and bristling tail, let out another bloodcurdling
cry. Then, without warning the single lamp in the
room went out, leaving them in darkness. Neither Dick nor
Fish could ever tell how they got out of the place, but when
the neighbors arrived and went in to find out what had happened,
they found the dead man on the floor, the coffin overturned and
most of the furniture that stood between the window and door
totally wrecked. Nothing could pursuade those two boys to
go back in the house, so substitute watchers had to be found.
The boys worked themselves up to the highest point of nervousness
and excitement, talking about ghosts and dead men and
that cat managed to put in an appearance Just at the psychological
moment. I don't blame the boys for not going back, neither
do I blame them for coming out.
I don't care whether people believe in ghosts or not, I know
everybody is afraid of them just as I am.
FOUGHT WITH FIREWORKS.
I HAVE never seen it mentioned in any history of Texas,
though I remember that a long account of it was published
in the Houston Telegraph of December 25, 1871; nor is it
generally known today that one of the most remarkable battles
of modern times was fought on Preston Avenue and on Main
Street for several blocks on Christmas Eve, 1871.
The great combat was the result of a joke. It started in a
small way, but soon grew to great proportions, involving prominent
railroad men, professional men, staid bankers, merchants
and a good sprinkling of every day kind of people. An account
of that great battle is worth giving, and as I witnessed the firing
of the first shot and actually dodged the first ball I feel that I
am competent to give it.
Dr. Louis A. Bryan and I came out of Conlief's drug store, on
Preston Avenue, about 9 o'clock that night. As we stepped on
the sidewalk, Captain J. Waldo, who was on the opposite side
of the street, shooting off a big roman candle, lowered it and
sent a great, green ball directly at us, following it with others
in rapid succession. We dodged into a nearby store, which
happened to have a good supply of fireworks on hand and each
of us got the largest roman candle we could find. Out we went
and opened fire on Waldo. Andrew Hutcherson came to Waldo's
assistance, then Sandy Ewing Joined Dr. Bryan and me. Mr.
Fred Stanley joined Waldo and Andrew. It kept up that way
until within 15 minutes there were full 100 men shooting at
each other with roman candles. At first they kept apart and
fired from across the street, but getting excited they closed up,
made charges and almost reduced it to a hand to hand conflict.
By common consent Dr. Bryan was chosen as leader of one
party and Captain Waldo was chosen as leader of the other.
They kept boys busy bringing up ammunition and it was not long
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/m1/152/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .