A thumb-nail history of the city of Houston, Texas, from its founding in 1836 to the year 1912 Page: 171
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THE CITY OF HOUSTON, TEXAS 171
which was being constructed about that time. When
the war occurred the company had its line completed
to Orange in East Texas. As an item of interest
it may be stated here that when the Texas ports
were blockaded during the war it was almost impossible
to get sulpuric acid with which the batteries
of those days were operated, and that telegraphing
would have been impossible had not some genius
found that the acid water from Sour Lake made
an admirable substitute for sulphuric acid. The
telegraph batteries were charged with Sour Lake
water and all difficulty disappeared.
Soon after the close of the war, the Star State
Company was absorbed by the Southwestern Telegraph
Company which then covered most of the
Southern States. Mr. D. P. Shepherd, who is
possibly the oldest telegraph operator in this country,
and of whom it is said that he was the first operator
in the world to take a message by ear, was
placed in charge of the new telegraph company with
headquarters in Houston.
In 1867 the Southwestern was absorbed by the
Western Union Telegraph Company, the latter
company thus gaining control of all the telegraph
lines in the United States. The Western Union
remained master of the field until late in 1910,
when it, in turn, was absorbed by the Southwestern
Telegraph and Telephone Company, the largest
corporation of its kind in the world.
The first manager of the Western Union in
Houston was Mr. Merit Harris, who died during
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Young, Samuel Oliver. A thumb-nail history of the city of Houston, Texas, from its founding in 1836 to the year 1912, book, 1912; Houston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24649/m1/189/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .