True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 195
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 195
Colonel Baylor says he is certain that he killed the last of the
tribe that was killed in Texas.
MAKING A BEGGAR.
EEING the street beggars the other day reminded me that
I have on my conscience the crime of having inflicted on
the community one of these gentry. My doing so made me
very unpopular with the public also. I have often thought how
very easy the people were to be taken in by the fraud I helped
to create. Instead of being allowed to impose on the public he
should have been arrested by the police, furnished with a wooden
leg and put to work.
He had absolutely no excuse for being a burden on the public,
but he was one and a very successful one, too. His history 1v
somewhat amusing as well as instructive, so I will give it here.
Soon after I had graduated in medicine and while I was eager
to show my skill as a surgeon there came to Houston a big
negro from somewhere up the state.
He was the most trifling specimen of humanity I ever saw,
though I must say he was smart, in a tricky kind of way. He
but he was one and a very successful one, too. His history is
being stiff he could not navigate well. He used crutches and
got about very well, except that his leg, which stuck out like a
rudder interfered wtih his movements somewhat.
About a month after he arrived in Houston he was taken sick
with fever and was sent to the hospital by the city authorities.
After he got well Dr. Connell and I persuaded him to let us
take his leg off. We had to use strong arguments with him,
but finally overcame his objections. The operation was "a beautiful
one" from our point of view and resulted in making his
We had told him that after his leg was off he could get a
wooden one and then could get all the work he wanted. That
was just exactly the thing he did not want. He had higher
finance in view than the paltry sums he could accumulate with
a wooden leg and work. So soon as we discharged him from the
hospital he took to a sunny side of the street and became a professional
beggar, just as hundreds have done since his day.
He had the most deceptive face I ever saw. He could put on
an expression of woe begoneness that would pull dimes out of
the pockets of skinflints. His voice was plaintive and many
gave to him feeling that they were doing a real charity, whereas
they yvere only helping to foster a fraud.
He always pulled off his hat and bowed low whenever Dr.
Connell or I passed him, though he never had the gall to ask
us for a donation. He looked on us as his benefactors, for he
knew we had set him up in a lucrative business.
Had he saved his money and invested it he might have become
a wealthy man. All great men have some pet weakness, however,
and our great one loved whiskey too well. For a year or
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/m1/195/: accessed December 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .