True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 86
~86 T R UE__TRUE STORIES OF OLD
but he did have the honor of being the first man condemned to
death by a court-martial and executed on this side of the river
during our great war. But we will come to that later.
Buck was a "throw-back" if ever there was one. His father
died when he was quite young and he was raised by his mother,
a God-fearing, praying, Christian woman. His home life and
surroundings were such as should have produced a preacher or
at least a Sunday school superintendent, but they produced, if
they had anything at all to do with it, something exactly the
opposite. He was a magnificent looking young man. Nearly six
feet high, hair and mustache as black as the raven's wing, while
his eyes were those of the typical desperado, steel blue and as
clear as crystal. He was a handsome fellow every inch of him,
and yet, strange to say, he was no lady killer and avoided female
Buck's first appearance on the stage as a shooting man was a
surprise to everybody, for he made his debut suddenly and unannounced.
Mr. T. T. Thompson, the great jeweler, who afterward
moved to Galveston, had a large jewelry store on the northeast
corner of Main and Congress Avenue. He brought a young
fellow from New York to clerk for him. This young man was
one of the "flip" kind and had more impudence than sense. One
day Buck's mother went to the store to make a purchase and
could not find exactly what she wanted. The young clerk grew
impatient and finally got so impertinent that she left the store,
intending to complain to Mr. Thompson when she met him. At
dinner she mentioned the incident, not dreaming that Buck
would act in the matter. Buck ate his dinner, took his hat and
strolled down to Thompson's. He walked in and so soon as he
caught sight of the young fellow he opened fire on him. Buck
had only two derringers. His first shot missed and the young
fellow, screaming like a scared Indian, attempted to get upstairs
behind a large jewel case. Buck saw his victim was about to
escape, so he shot at him through the case, wrecking watches,
brooches and everything else in the line of fire. He missed
again, but he had scared the young man so badly that he rushed
upstairs, escaped through a window, slid down a post and made
good his escape. It was said that he ran all the way to Harrisburg.
Whatever he did, he never showed up in the store again.
Buck's mother paid all the damage that had been done and the
matter was dropped. I doubt very much if the courts would
have noticed the case if she had not paid anything, for in the
early days it was hard to convict a man for resenting impertinence
to his mother or to any other lady. That affair died out,
but Buck had had a taste of "high life" and he liked it, so he
went from bad to worse, became a professional gambler and
was a "bad man." His greatest failing was his quick and ungovernable
temper. That was a bad asset for a desperado and
would have led to his undoing in the end had he been permitted
to run his course. Coolness and quiet decision were the main.
stays of all the desperadoes I have ever known, and I have known
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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/m1/86/ocr/: accessed August 27, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .