True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 67
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 67
NO SECOND FORTUNE WANTED.
HE other night at the Press Club a crowd was collected
about the reading table discussing every imaginable
subject under the sun. Finally one of the gentlemen
asked me what I would do if I had a million dollars.
I told him the truth-that I would get a shotgun and shoot
every real estate man or promoter who came within 50 yards
of me with any scheme for me to invest in, and that after I
got them all scared off I would proceed to gratify the greatest
wish of my life, namely, to spend the money just as I pleased.
Since my tastes are not expensive ones, a million would last
me the remainder of my life, which remainder I placed at not
more than 30 years.
The subject of gratifying one's wishes in the way of spending
money brought to my mind a famous character who formerly
lived here, but who has long ago been gathered to his fathers.
His name was ,Fitzgerald and he was a full-blooded Irishman,
and a typical one, too. He had a little oyster stand down on
Travis Street and while his trade was not great nor very remunerative,
!he managed to make a fair living and was outwardly
content and happy. He loved the flowing bowl, but was
forced to play the game on a small limit because of his narrow
He was content and happy, as I say, and doubtless would
have passed through life in a very humdrum, prosy way had
'not an unforeseen incident bobbed up. His father, uncle or
some one of his immediate relatives had preceded him and
settled in Houston while the town was still in its infancy.
Fitz, for such his intimates called him, knew nothing of this
relative beyond the fact that there had been such a person,
therefore he was greatly surprised one day when a lawyer came
to his oyster place and told him that he was a wealthy man.
"If you are the heir of old Blank Fitzgerald," the lawyer told
him, "you own the whole of the Third Ward of this city, and I
can get it for you if you will sign these papers."
Fitz, having everything to gain and nothing to lose, promptly
signed the papers and the next day or two saw the beginning
of a real estate volcano. There were suits and counter suits and,
as the new Bible says, there was underworld to pay. The old
Fitzgerald claim appeared to be all right and there was scarcely
a lot holder in the Third Ward who felt safe.
In a week or two offers to compromise began to pour in
from these frightened people, and Fitz's lawyer literally did a
land office business. In those days real estate was not selling
for $4500 the front foot. That amount of money would have
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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/m1/67/?rotate=90: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .