True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 217
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 217
dress and found that some one had tied his shirt, coat and pants
in hard knots. He sat there, "chawed bacon" as the process of
untying the knots with the teeth was called, and swore he was
going to whip us individually and collectively, as soon as he got
dressed. As he was big and strong we thought discretion the
better part of valor so by the time he got his knots untied we
were dressed and gone and he was all alone in his glory.
The next great swimming hole was the "Arsenal," at the foot
of La Branch Street. It got its name from the fact that in early
days there was a fort and arsenal there, though both had disappeared
long before my time. The "Arsenal" was very wide
and very deep and only the best swimmers ever went in there.
It was strictly a big boys' place and they, knowing the danger,
took good care to drive all small boys and poor swimmers away.
The big boys vied with each other in diving, swimming and
other aquatic feats. One of the great diving feats was to crawl
into the water on one side, disappear, swim along the bottom
and come out on the other side of the bayou. I have seen this
attempted by hundreds of boys, but remember only one who could
accomplish it with ease. His name was John Hale. He was
an expert swimmer and while still a boy jumped off one of the
bayou steamboats and saved the life of a negro man who had
either fallen or been knocked off the boat.
When I think of those happy, care-free days I have a sincere
pity for the modern Houston boy who goes bathing in a concrete
tank, hunting and fishing in an automobile and what is
worse than all, has to put on a bathing suit when he goes swimming.
Times have degenerated awfully and Houston and Buffalo
Bayou have led in the degeneracy.
IN SAN ANGELO.
am afraid I got myself into serious business by telling those
Le Mott stories, for at least a dozen of my friends have
been doing the Oliver Twist act and asking for more. Even
two of my lady friends asked me to please tell those two stories
Mr. Le Mott spoke of, "Farmer Joe" and "Old Fish." Of course,
I can not tell the stories as Le Mott tells them. He is an artist
in that line and one of the greatest charms about his storytelling
is the fact that when he becomes interested he drops into the
habits of all old sports and speaks of everything in the present
tense. Le Mott has to he heard to be appreciated.
"Did I ever tell you about the Old Gray Front Saloon in San
Angelo?" he asked me one day. "San Angelo was the biggest
thing in the biggest county in the biggest State in the Union,
and the Gray Front was the biggest thing in San Angelo. It
was a single-story adobe building, but what it lacked in height
it made up in length, for it was fully 70 feet long. There were
three fellows running it. "Farmer Joe" deals monte for the Mexicans
up in front. "Frenchy" deals faro bank in the rear, while
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/m1/217/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .