True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 78
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78 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
made up my mind to spring it on the public the first chance I
Now, speaking of alligators reminds me that there used to be
quantities of them in Buffalo Bayou. I don't know how many Mr.
Erickson, the, father of Otto, killed in his day, but I know of
several, and one of the largest I ever saw was killed by him
about where the Louisiana bridge now stands. It was so large
that it attracted public attention, just as that whale did a year
or two ago. He cut the head off, had it prepared and shipped it
to a museum in Germany. I remember seeing the head. It was
in a large wash-tub and stuck up two or three feet above the top
of the tub. The old man was a dead-shot with a rifle, and it
took a dead-shot to kill an alligator with the guns of that day,
for the only way to kill them was by shooting them in the eye.
He could do that and he rarely failed to get them on the first
I heard stories of men being eaten by alligators when I was a
boy, and I believe there are one or two well authenticated cases
reported. We boys paid no attention to the stories, however,
and went in swimming just as though there were no such thing
in the world as an alligator. The very evening Mr. Erichson
killed that big one the bayou was full of boys not a hundred feet
from where he had killed it. But boys are hardly responsible
for their fool capers.
On one occasion I witnessed a funny scene in which a 10-foot
alligator was one of the principal actors. I was living out in the
country with Louis Hillendahl. There was, and is yet, I believe,
a large German settlement out there. One of the great summer
sports was getting up a big fish fry. We had a great big seine
and caught our fish that way. A week or two ahead a lot of the
boys would select a nice stretch in Buffalo Bayou, and would
strip off, get in and remove every snag. That was to give the
seine fair play. The work was done some time before the seining
so as to allow the frightened fish to return to their accustomed
haunts. When everything was ready, on some bright
Sunday morning, the whole neighborhood would turn out and
meet at the bayou. There were men, women and children and
everybody. The ladies would make fires and prepare for a big
dinner while half a dozen young fellows would retire to the
woods and don old clothes. These were the seiners. When
everything was ready a whoop would announce that the seining
was about to begin, and a rush would be made for the bank
of the bayou, to watch the fun.
Usually a space of a hundred yards or more would be cleared
of snags, so as to catch as many fish as possible.
One Sunday morning the seining was going on finely. Two or
three hauls had been made, and quite a number of fish had been
caught. Finally, just at a bend in the bayou, the seine became
entangled in a deep hole. There was a big discussion, and the
boys who had done the cleaning were roundly abused for having
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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/m1/78/: accessed June 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .