True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 185
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 185
JACK AND JIM MARTIN.
OUSTON has produced many men who have made names
for themselves in civil, military and naval life and
others still, who, while they never attained success in
financial, commercial, military or naval circles, still, by their
marked individuality so impressed themselves on the early history
of Houston that it is impossible to speak of youthful Houston
without recalling them.
Two of the latter kind were the Martin brothers, Jack and
Jim. They were of a type seldom seen now. They were gamblers
and absolutely honest men. I don't suppose either ever
took the shade of an unfair advantage over an opponent nor
would they have a man in their employ who was even suspected
of being crooked. As Jack used to explain, "Cheating don't
pay in the long run. If a gambler can't win out with the advantage
of having the percentage of the game in his favor and the
other advantage of making the other fellow do all the guessing,
he better quit."
Both Jack and Jim had the respect and confidence of the
business men of Houston and though they never pretended to
be anything more than what they were-professional gamblers,
their word was good without other security for any amount of
money within reason with such men as A. B. Sheppard, T. W.
House, Sr., Paul Bremond, Wm. J. Hutchins or any of the big
merchants or bankers of those days.
Jack was relatively taciturn. I say relatively, because had
it not been for Jim, Jack might have been considered an ordinarily
talkative man. However, Jim was such a conversationalist,
told such interesting and instructive stories, and had
had so broad an experience which gave an inexhaustible fund
from which to draw, that Jack always seemed to be something
of a clam when Jim was around. 0
They had a fine establishment on the second floor of a building
about two stores north of where Swegney's Jewelry store
now stands on Main Street, between Prairie Avenue and Preston
Avenue, and their rooms were always well filled by planters,
interior merchants and others who came to Houston to sell
their cotton and sugar and who were always willing to take
a whirl at faro to pass away the time and hear Jim' talk.
With all his good nature, his talkativeness and apparent indifference
to the serious affairs of life, there was one subject
which had for Jim the greatest interest and that was the future
life. It was a subject he considered too sacred for indiscriminate
discussion and he never talked about it in a crowd. When
alone with some one whom he thought could appreciate his views,
he would unbosom himself.
"You see," said he to me one evening, "it's this way. We
don't know anything about it. I don't believe in the preacher's
hell, where they burn you in brimstone, and I don't believe in
these men and women who tip tables and go off into trances
and tell you the future is the very reverse of what the preach-
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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/m1/185/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .