True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 237
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 237
denbrook being graduated from the New York newspapers, while
Mitchell had been for years one of McCullough's assistants on
the Globe-Democrat of St. Louis. Judge J. W.' Johnson, having
spent a lot of money and wrecked the Post, which he owned, in
a futile attempt to beat John Ireland, the Democratic nominee
for governor, with Wash. Jones, who ran as an independent, concluded
that running a newspaper was not his forte, so he sold
the paper to a number of Houston capitalists, headed by Mr. W.
R. Baker. These gentlemen knew absolutely nothing about
newspapers, but they knew that Houston and Texas needed a
first class Democratic paper, so they determined to risk their
money in trying to establish that paper. The Galveston News
had secured a strong foothold in Houston, so it was recognized
that the Post must be made superior to the News in every way
if it hoped to gain ground and drive out the News.
Hardenbrook was given all the money he asked for to look
after business matters, while Tobe Mitchell was allowed to spend
money freely in gathering news. Both knew how to spend money
and the result was that the Post soon took first place among
the papers of the South and compared favorably with those published
Tobe Mitchell had a splendid staff; one that it would be hard
to beat anywhere. He paid large salaries and was enabled to
get the very best newspaper talent, not only in Texas, but from
other states. Tobe was an enthusiastic and untiring worker himself
and had the happy faculty of creating enthusiasm in others,
and he could get more hard work out of the men without having
them feel that he was doing so, than any other managing editor
I have ever met. He was quick to appreciate good work and
equally quick to condemn anything that was careless or slipshod.
At that time there was no literary syndicate that furnished columns
or pages of ready made articles for Sunday editions. We
had to make our own Sunday editions and every man on the
paper that had talent in that direction became a space writer
for the Sunday paper. There were short stories, special articles,
poetry and sketches of various kinds and on the whole the Sunday
edition was quite a creditable affair.
The Post was noted for one thing-the rapid changes that
took place on the staff. It was strictly the "survival of the
fittest," for Mitchell would fire at a moment's notice any man
on the paper who showed that he could not keep step with the
others. I remember an occasion when he came very near firing
every man on the local staff, including the city editor himself.
There was a young man on the staff named Sherman who came
from no one knew where. He was quiet, unobstrusive and a
At times Sherman was dreamy and appeared to be under the
influence of some drug, and he was supposed by the other members
of the staff to "hit the pipe," which was a new thing in
Houston at that time. He did his work well, however, and we
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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/m1/237/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .