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: 529
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HISTORY OF TEXAS.
nexation and wound up the unfinished business
pertaining to the collection of taxes.
Then, having married, in 1846 I settled in
Washington county, where I resided engaged
in farming until 1851, in which year I came
again to what was then Bnrles,,n county,
now Lee, and settled-in which general lo.
cality I have since made my home. I have
been engaged more or less in farming all
these years, and have served my fellow-citizens
in whatever capacities they have seen fit
to call me, having passed forty of the fiftythree
years of my residence in Texas in one
office or another.' "
Asked if he could not give some reminiscences
pertaining to the more distinguished
Texans with whom he was brought in contact,
Mr. Flanniken said, "I suppose you
mean those whom I met about the courthouse
during my official career. Yes, I knew
some men of note forty to fifty years in this
locality, and some who though not so well
known to fame were of the highest types of
manhood, and whose worth and personal services
have in a measure passed into the com*mon
fund of our possessions as a people,
where they will exert a lasting good for ages
to come, albeit their names have in a degree
already and must in time entirely disappear
from our annals. When I was Sheriff, the
system of traveling around the circuit was
much more in vogue among the lawyers than
now, and 1 met at Cald, ell, which was the
seat of justice for my bailiwick, most of the
eminent legal lights in this part of the State.
There was Judge Jewett, John Taylor, Barry
Gillespie and R. M. Williamson among the
lawyers, and John T. Mills and R. E. B. Baylor,
who were at different times our presiding
judges. Judge Jewett was an able lawyer
and a man of considerable reputation: so also
was Barry Gillespie. John Taylor was an odd -
ity. There was probably never such an
other combination of brains, flesh anld slotl
in the world. Nobody could ever understand
him, and it is doubtful if lie ever understood
himself. He had talent-an abundance of itand
was a fluent talker, but lacked pride and
self-respect, and more especially good, hard
sense. If he had been supplied by nature
more generously with this article, lie would
have made a more shining mark on the history
of his State. Judge Baylor was a good
man-an excellent citizen and a good judge.
I never heard but one criticism made on hli
as a judge, and that was that he was too
lenient. lie allowed his feelings as a manl
to influence his actions as an officer. But
greater than any of those here mentioned
and greater than any whom I knew in those
days was Robert M1. Williamson, known as
'Three-legged Willie.' A man learned in the
law, of spotless integrity, unselfish in his devotion
to the interests of his country, true to
his friends, able, eloquent and earnest, he
wielded a powerful influence in his day, and
enjoyed an immense amount of popularity.
He had but one fault, and but for that fault
there is no telling what he might have accomplished.
He was given to over-indulgence
in strong drink."
"I might go on," said Mr. Flanniken,
"and tell you of some of our early court proceedings,
some of the unique and interesting
trials, the wars of words between opposing
counsel, the witty thrusts and apt replies,
flights of eloquence and all of the exhibitions
of genius and eccentricity that marked the
doings of the men of those days. I might
describe in my humble way our first temple
of justice, a rude affair made of cedar lumber,
whipsawed by hand, and the first jail
built of logs, hewed square and fitted snugly
one on the other; and the first mercantile
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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/m1/571/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .