History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families Page: 466
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466 HISTORY OF TEXAS.
apprehended or was then in search of had the
missing trappings; that those coveted articles
were at that moment in his (Holtzclaw's)
possession, where they had been since lie had
taken them from the staff a day or so before.
The officer asked Mr. Holtzclaw what he
meant by such conduct, and in the same
breath desired to know if he was fully aware
of the natnre of the offence he had committed.
Mr. H. replied that he had just
come out of the army where he had given up
four years of valuable time, and that if he
did not bring home with him some knowledge
of the rules of war, his four years' service
might be considered as lost, for he certainly
had not brought anything else. Then, looking
the officer steadily in the eye, he said:
"Colonel, when a flag is left unprotected
isn't it the property of the enemy, provided
the enemy can get it?" The officer winced a
little, but replied that it was not supposed
that there was an enemy in that vicinity.
Mr. Holtzclaw answered that if there was not,
then there would not stem to be much need
for any soldiers around. The officer then
asked him what he had intended to do with
the things he had taken. Mr. H. said that
his intention was to make the finest bridle in
Texas out of the rape, and to decorate it becomingly
with the silver spearhead. After
some other remarks of a desultory but respectful
nature on the part of each, Mr. Holtzclaw
took his departure without being afterward
threatened or molested. The spearhead
and cord was turned over to a soldier
who was sent after them, and no more was
heard of the matter.
P. BRANCH.-The warp and woof
1'IA/0 of historical narrative is mad of
*,E Jfacts and no retiring dislike for the
world's plaudits, therefore, should be allowed
to shade one's virtues of character. Yet
when these veil themselves in a sensitive
shrinking from the glare of public gaze it is
sometimes very difficult to do one justice in
a personal notice like the present, especially
when the biographer is compelled in some
degree to depend on the man himself for
much of his personal history. William P.
Branch, who for nearly twenty years has been
a resident of Rockdale and whose business
career, and. in fact, the greater part of whose
life has been identified with the history of
the place, is one to whom the foregoing observations
apply with some force.
Mr. Branch is a native of Virginia, having
been born near Petersburg in 1851 and is a
son of Robert H. and Martha Branch, both
of whom were natives also of the Old Dominion.
The boyhood and youth of the subject
of this sketch were passed on his lather's
farm, where, in the intervals of his labor as
an assistant in the duties about home, he received
the elements of a common English
education. The late Civil war, which
wrought such havoc in the fortunes of so
many of Virginia's best people, brought to
the family of the subject of this notice its
relative proportion of sorrow and disappointment,
and changed in many essentials the
plans of the father with respect to the future
of his sons. William P. early decided on a
career for himself, and at the age of seventeen,
in 1868, left homee and went to New
York city, where he entered a boot and shoe
house, in which he became cashier and bookkeeper,
a position which at once ushered him
into the world of business and brought him
much valuable experience. He remained in
New York four years, when, in 1872, he
turned his attention to the "New Southwest,"
then just entering on the era of development
which has since marked its prog
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Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families, book, 1893; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/m1/501/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .