True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 227
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 227
TWO FAMOUS CHARACTERS.
HERE were two characters in Houston in the early days
about whom I would like some information and I hope
that if this is seen by any old-timer he will supply the
missing links. I remember them both and remember the name
of one, but can't recall the name of the other. One was named
Egerly and he was a man-about-town kind of fellow. If he had
any profession or calling no one knew it and to come right down
cases, if he had lived in modern Houston instead of primitive
Houston he would have been classed as a "bum." He was no
bum, though, but was a man of education and some refinement,
and evidently had means which enabled him to loaf, which he
did in a lordly manner. He boarded at the old Hogan House,
which occupied the half block opposite the north side of market
square, and his favorite loafing place was at the ten-pin alley
adjoining a saloon that stood on the corner of Main and Franklin
Avenue, opposite the present First National Bank. Egerly
was very dignified and spoke with great deliberation as if weighing
every word he uttered. No matter how drunk he got he
never relaxed his dignity nor his deliberation of speech. All
this earned for him a nickname and he was known to everybody
as "Exact Egerly." If the stories told on him were.true he well
deserved the name, for it was said that even in taking his
drinks he would always pour out just the right quantity he
wanted. If by chance he poured out too much, he would pour
it back in the bottle and never drink until he had the exact
amount. Then, too, he would generally have the exact change
to pay for the drinks when he drank alone or set 'em up for
others. Of course, some of' the stories told on him were exaggerations
or entire fabrications, but many were true, and I
think it is safe to say that he well deserved his name. I don't
know anything about his bar-room manners, for I never saw him
take a drink, but I recall one instance of his exaction of speech
which came near ending in a fight.
At that time there was a lawyer here named Tompkins. He
was a brilliant man and in spite of his rather wild habits stood
pretty near the head of the bar. After the termination of some
hard-fought case in court he would seek relaxation at the faro
table. He had some disease which had made his bones chalky
and consequently very brittle. One night he attempted to pick
up a piece of money from the faro table and in doing so he
broke two of his fingers. The next morning Egerly and some
others were standing on Main Street when Captain Bob Boyce
"Did you hear about Tompkins breaking two of his fingers
last night trying to pick up a silver dollar?" he asked.
"Captain," said Egerly, with his usual deliberation, "you are
entirely mistaken, it was not a silver dollar."
"Well, what in hell was it?" asked the captain, who was high
tempered and quick to take offense. "What was it?' Did he
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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/m1/227/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .