True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 177
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 177
LL the old-time printers and newspaper men remember
little Billy Toole. There was never but one Billy and
there will never be another. The time and place were
just right and Billy fitted in just as a setting does in a ring. In
the strict business of commercial life today Billy would be an
impossibility, but in the late 70's and early 80's things were the
reverse of what they are today and Billy was enabled to flourish
in all his glory.
Now, as a matter of fact, Billy was a real and genuine Bohemian.
He was the real article in every sense of the word.
He was a skilled printer in the days when type was set by hand
and skill counted for something. He had a brilliant imagination
and was fond of writing blood and thunder stories, some of
which would have done credit to Ned Buntline. The only defect
about Billy's stories was that he never completed any of them.
He would leave the hero or heroine in the most blood-curdling
situation, and without taking the trouble to get him or her out,
would lay aside his manuscript and start in on another story,
the scene of which would perhaps be on the other side of the
world. Billy almost completed one story, which had such merit
that Professor Girardeau urged him to complete and publish it,
but he never did so.
Billy was "little but he was loud." No Spanish gamecock
was ever more eager for battle than he on any pretext or excuse.
It is a remarkable statement to make, nevertheless it is true,
Billy rarely went to war and met with defeat. In some way he
always managed to come out winner. The only time he suffered
absolute defeat was when he bucked against John Barleycorn.
He would try that game, too, being a genuine Bohemian, but he
met the fate of all those brave but unwise people who enter
the unequal fight.
Billy figured as the star actor in one of the most laughable
shooting affairs that ever occurred on Main Street, and by way
of parenthesis it may be said here that he had the sympathy and
backing of every man in town, when all the facts were learned.
Billy, after "looking on the wine that was red" went wandering
into the "Ironclad" gambling house on Main and Congress.
He did not like something that was said or done and expressed
his opinion of the whole crowd of gamblers from the proprietor
down. For this offense he was promptly handed over to the
official "bouncer," who was a great, big, strapping fellow, The
man was a brute and, though he could have taken Billy up with
one hand and carried him down stairs like a baby, he proceeded
to handle him in the most brutal and outrageous manner. He
slugged and beat him and then, grabbing him by the lapels of
his coat, he butted him in the face. Then he carried him down
and deposited him on the sidewalk.
Billy was pretty nearly dead, but he was so angry it put life
and energy enough in him to enable him to go off and borrow
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/m1/177/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .