True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 238
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238 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
were greatly surprised one night when he came out of Mitchell's
.room about 8 o'clock and told us that he had been "fired." He
took his hat and left and we thought nothing more of the matter.
We were somewhat surprised about midnight to see Sherman
come in with a big roll of manuscript in his hand and go into
Mitchell's office. He stayed in there for half an hour and when
he came out, instead of leaving he went over to his old desk and
seated himself. Then Mitchell came out and lit into the local
staff and city editor. He said all kinds of things to them. I
have forgotten just what he did say, but I remember his telling
them that Sherman was the only genuine newspaper man in the
crowd and that he was the only one who could tell a piece of
news from last year's almanac. Then the facts came out. Sherman
had gotten hold of a big news item, had worked it up all
alone and had not only "scooped" the News, but had scooped the
local staff of the Post as well. Sherman, after he had been
fired that evening had gone over in the Fifth Ward for some
purpose. On his return about 10 o'clock he had crossed the
bayou at Milam Street bridge and had come up Milam Street.
There was an Irish boarding house and barroom on Milam
Street near Congress run by a man named Flyn. Sherman
stopped there to get a drink and while there learned that there
was a man upstairs in one of the rooms who had taken poison
and that a doctor was working on him then. Sherman at once
went up to investigate and what he found was plenty, for the
man proved to be no other than Major Robinett, an engineer in
the United States army, who for some unknown cause had sought
this out of the way place and had poisoned himself. As a matter
of fact Sherman did not know what a big news item he had unearthed.
The mere fact that a distinguished army officer had
attempted to kill himself in a low Irish boarding house was gocd
enough for him and he worked it up for all it was worth. But
when the fact became known in the office Sherman found that
he was a regular hero as a news gatherer, for he had unearthed
a big item of great local interest and value. This Major Robinett
was the same engineer who had constructed Fort Robinett,
near Corinth, Miss., which bore his name, and it was against the
fort that the Second Texas Infantry Regiment under command
of the gallant Rogers, had been hurled when instead of a regiment
a half dozen brigades should have been sent. A great
blunder had been made, the Second Texas had been nearly annihilated
and Balaclava had been surpassed when that fatal charge
had ended and that was all. The Second Texas was made up
largely from Houston and nearby points, so the local interest in
the item is apparent. The pressman on the Post was Captain
Birtwhistle, a Federal veteran, who had served with Major Robinett
in the Mississippi campaign and remembered the major
well, Captain Birtwhistle was in Fort Robinet when the fatal
charge of the Second Texas was made. The captain came to
the editorial room and he and I, the only two who knew anything
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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/m1/238/: accessed August 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .