True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 189
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 189
the river banks and indulge in their favorite pastime. The
policeman would mark them down and concealing himself, wait
until the game became exciting. Then, at a critical moment,
when the negroes had their money all spread out on the ground,
he would suddenly show himself, fire his pistol in the air and the
next moment he would be left absolutely alone in possession of
the field. He told me he had frequently picked up fourteen or
fifteen dollars in dimes, quarters and larger coins abandoned
by the negroes when they fled. Of course he made no effort to
stop any of them, for the sooner they got out of sight the better
pleased he was.
It really seems that it needs the."rattle of the bones" to bring
out the queer side of the negro's nature. They will do the
most absurd and senseless things imaginable when under the
exciting influence of gambling. Not long ago I was talking
with Horace Baker, the big deputy sheriff who has had long experience
with negroes, as everybody knows, and he told me an
"I was coming up town," he said, "and when I got to a point
below Harrisburg, not far from the bayou, a black negro who
knew me came out in the road and told me a tale of woe. You
know we catch the negro crap shooters nine times out of ten
through some negro squealing. This was one of the times, for
the negro told me that a gang of negroes was down on the bank
of the bayou playing craps and that they had got him in the
game and robbed him of all his wife's money. I saw through
the thing at once. He had lost his money and wanted me to
pinch the crowd and get it back for him.
"That's the game. So long as they win the game is fair and
the money belongs to them, but when they lose the game is
crooked and the money, they say, was their wives.' I got down
off my horse and followed him. When we got near enough, I
hid behind a clump of bushes and watched them for a while.
There were six playing and one little, black, bullet-headed fellow
was looking on. He was taking no part in the game, and the
negro who had stopped me told me the little fellow had not
played at all. After watching them for a little while I stood up
add started toward them. Then the fun commenced. Two of
them had their backs to me, but one of the others saw me and
gave the alarm. The two on my side did not even look around
but made a dive forward, knocking over everything and everybody
in front of them and broke down the bayou bank like
quarter horses. The three that were knocked down gbt up and
scattered, but the fourth one, a big negro with an old-fashioned
wooden leg like a broomstick, jumped off the high bank and
landed on a pile of clay the dredgeboat had scooped out of the
bayou. When he came down, instead of landing on his good
leg, he landed on his peg. That went into the clay and anchored
him as firmly as a piledriver could have anchored a post.
I knew I had him, so paid no further attention to him.
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/m1/189/: accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .