True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 226
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226 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
"Why, you old murderer," said some one, jokingly, "it's a
wonder they did not hang you for wholesale murder. How came
you to shoot people like that?"
"Well, I done it on suspicion and I'm dead right, too, for the
one that died in the hospital comes across and makes a clean
breast that they were counterfeiters the government is trying to
catch. I didn't have anything but one of them 'pepper box'
pistols, but you see it done good work for me."
A young man named Gillespie was local editor on the Houston
Telegraph at that time and made quite a feature of the police
court. A great many negroes and loafers filled the court room
every morning, so Marshal Lord issued an order to old man
Laken to keep everybody out except lawyers and witnesses. The
next morning the old man took a stand at the foot of the stairs
and when Gillespie showed up he refused to let him in. Gillespie
tried to argue with him, but it was no use.
"You ain't a lawyer and you ain't a witness and you can't get
in. So don't try," he said.
Finally Gillespie got word up to the marshal who came down
and let him in. The next morning Gillespie had a humorous
story about the occurrence. He thought nothing of it and was
therefore greatly amazed when he arrived at court to have old
man Laken qome up and whack him over the head with the hickory
stick he used instead of a club. Of course, he was indignant
and demanded an explanation.
"You've done plenty," said the old man. "I won't let any man
call me a brute in the paper or anywhere else."
"I never called you a brute," said Gillespie.
"The hell you didn't," said Laken. "Here it is as plain as
printing, and it is printing, too," and he pointed to the heading
of the article which was: "Et tu Brute."
Gillespie explained that it was Latin and that he had used it
for the purpose of expressing his sorrow that so good a friend
as he considered Laken, had gone back on him even for a few
minutes as he had done the day before. That settled the matter
and they were as good friends as ever, though Gillespie was
careful to use only English when he referred, even remotely, to
old man Laken in his articles after that.
Marshal Lord, who is now ex-Mayor Lord, told me the other day
that old man Laken died several years ago. He said the only
change that ever took place in the old man was that his chin
and nose came a little closer together when he chewed and that
he used a little more tobacco, if that were possible, toward the
end. There was only one old man Laken and there can never
be another like him.
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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/m1/226/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .