True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 44
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44 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
HOUSTON'S POLICE FORCE.
VEN after Houston had received a charter and had a
j regularly elected city marshal (now called chief of
police), police matters were more or less in the hands of
the sheriff. There was never any jealousy, conflict of authority
or anything of that sort. The question was a simple one. If
the sheriff happened to be present he acted, and the same was
true of the marshal. No questions were asked by the absent
one or his friends, and everything moved along smoothly.
The office of city marshal and market master were combined
at first, and Captain Newt. Smith; a veteran of San Jacinto,
had the distinction of being the first city marshal of Houston.
He was a small man, but a very game and determined one, and
never had the least trouble in enforcing his authority, because
the evildoers knew to resist him meant disaster to themselves,
so they submitted gracefully. He served until 1844, when he
voluntarily retired to private life and was succeeded by a namesake,
Captain "Billy" Smith.
-The old records do not contain anything that gives evidence
of Captain "Billy" having had anything except an easy, quiet
time during the five years of his incumbency.
Captain "Billy" was succeeded by Captain Bob Boyce, who was
very much such a man as the first marshal, Captain Newt.
Smith. Captain Boyce was rather too aggressive, perhaps,
quick-tempered and willing to go rather more than half-way to
meet trouble. He was a regular gamecock, and after his true
character as a fighter became known he had little difficulty
in asserting his authority. Captain Boyce held office for about
twelve years, and though he had numerous chances he never
had to actually kill any one.
Either in 1860 dr 1861 I. C. Lord was elected city marshal
after a rather heated and exciting campaign. Had Mr. Lord
known what he had to encounter before he got through, it is
doubtful if he would not have quit the race before he started it.
His term of office extended through the four years of the war
and through three or four years after the war, during the beginning
of the reconstruction period. The latter part of his
incumbency was never dull nor unexciting for a moment. There
was always something doing night and day.
That is not to be wondered at when it is remembered that
Houston at that time had something of rather worse than a
mixed population. There were returned Confederate soldiers
out of employment, tough Federal soldiers, gamblers, cut-throats,
thugs and bad men of every description, while, worse than all
else combined, there were thousands of newly-freed, ignorant
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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/m1/44/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .