True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 196
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196 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
two he never drank while on duty, but then, growing bold because
of his great prosperity, he kept a little flask in his pocket
and took sly sips from it.
That upset his judgment and he became saucy and irritable, so
much so that the public lost confidence in him and began to
look on him as a nuisance rather than as an object of charity.
All of which was fatal.
One day he took too many drinks, got drunk and abused some
white ladies who had refused to give him anything. They complained
to the police and he was arrested and locked up. Then
the unlooked for and unsuspected happened.
So soon as the news of his arrest spread among his friends,
negro women began to arrive at the city jail to find out why
their husband had been locked up. Wife after wife came and
before long there were six wives anxious to get him out of jail.
Each one asserted that she had "done been had dat man for
An investigation revealed the fact that he had old Brigham
Young "skinned to a finish." They were only negro marriages,
however, for no preacher or justice of the peace had officiated
at any of them. Several of the wives fought among themselves
and were locked up also. Then the recorder's court took a hand.
The man was fined and given a jail sentence. He promptly
paid his fine and left the city. He went to Galveston, but was
run out at once by the police there and I have never seen nor
heard of him since.
A HEARSE, A BOY AND A BUM.
ON CE or twice I have spoken of Old Man Pannell, the "old
man" being used as a term of affection, for everybody
loved him. He was one of the characters of the early
days; was the only undertaker, or as it was called then, "sexton,"
here, and no self-respecting citizen felt that he was properly
buried unless the old man had done the job.
Mr. Pannell was full of fun and enjoyed a joke as well as
the next man, but he concealed the fact as much as possible,
put on a woebegone expression to accord with his calling and,
before his death, had become the typical professional burger.
From time to time his love for fun would crop out, but he
never permitted such a breach of ethics while on duty. A pauper
was buried in Potters Field with as much solemnity as was the
merchant in the great cemetery. Of course the pauper did not
ride in the fine hearse.
Mr. Pannell had an old fashioned black hearse drawn by a
little gray mare, which was used for second and third class
funerals. He insisted, however, on having order and dignity
and the little gray mare walked as quietly to and from the cemetery
in front of the little black hearse with no carriages following,
as did the black steeds drawing the grand hearse at
the head of a procession of carriages and buggies.
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/m1/196/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .