Monday, June 20, 2005

A Cannibalistic Gravesite

I'm neither an archaeologist nor an anthropologist, so I don't know what the modern consensus is on whether the Tonkawa Indians were cannibals or not. There was no mention of cannibalism in two well-respected sources: The Handbook of Texas Online and However, other online sources do mention that the Tonkawas were supposedly cannibals, including this site and this site. The following news article is a reflection of at least one scientific view from 1935.

Cannibal Tonkawas Set Up Mystery for Archeologist

Trunkless Heads Buried in Moody Cave Puzzle Indian Experts Who Dig Them Up

Waco Times-Herald
December 22, 1935

Did the cannibalistic Tonkawa Indians, who ate their Comanche enemies to imbibe the fierce spirit of those brave warriors, bury the heads of their enemies in a Tonkawa burial ground near Moody? Or do the decapitation burials in that ground indicate some other custom of the primitive inhabitants of these parts 200 or more years ago? These questions may be solved by archaeologists who have already dug up the remains of 22 Indians from a cave in Bell county, and who hope to find more. The skeletons are being carefully preserved for intense study.

Skulls Only Found

Three heads without body bones have been found and another, which may prove to have been buried by itself, but which, on the contrary, may later be found to have had other bones with it.

The Tonkawas unquestionably were cannibals, according to Frank Watt of Waco, who is conducting the research. This is proved by finding, at their camps, human bones broken for the removal of marrow, other human bones burned for cooking, and “bundle burials,” where the bones of the devoured enemy were tied up together and placed in the ground. The bones were carefully buried to prevent the Comanches from finding out that their fellows had been eaten. Tonkawas feared the terrible vengence of the scourges of the prairie.

Maybe the heads are those of Comanches; maybe they are those of Tonkawas decapitated in battle, the body buried elsewhere or abandoned on the field. The students are not yet sure; but somehow, by working carefully with whisk broom and dust-blower among the graves, they may get at the secret.

Watt thinks that probably the burial ground he has found is a Tonkawa cemetery, because it is in Tonkawa territory, but so far has no other proof. To date he has found no evidence in the bones themselves.

All but one of the bodies were buried flexed; that is, the burial party, following the usual custom, doubled them up. One, however, was buried extended; why, Watt does not know, unless for lack of space. This is one of the fascinating puzzles the archaeologists hope to work out.

The burial cave, recognized by Watt as a probable place where bones might be found, is about 25 feet deep, 100 feet long, with a ceiling ranging from six feet in front to 18 inches in the rear. A soil ranging in depth from 2 to 40 inches covers it.

Watercolor of Tonkawa Indians by Lino Sánchez y Tapia
Jean Louis Berlandier, The Indians of Texas in 1830 (1969).
Texas Collection Library, University of Texas

Covered With Rocks

The bones, however, were first covered with rocks, to prevent wild animals digging them up. Soil settled on these rocks, and droppings of limestone have covered them to the depth of sometimes two inches, indicating the long time the bones have lain undisturbed.

The remains are being carefully preserved by Watt in Waco, for study later by Dr. K.H. Aynesworth, and an exhaustive report on the findings. No other burial ground in this territory has yielded so many bodies. Included are the bodies of several children, one in which the milk teeth are still evident, as well as the bodies of women, and one of a warrior who had an arrowhead rattling in his ribs.

Watt doesn’t like to be too definite about the location of his find, because he says laymen, curious about such things, show an inclination to dig around and spoil the evidence. Some boys found the burial cave in question, after some digging had been done, and by careless digging ruined several of the skeletons. The archaeologists do their work carefully and minutely in order to save all particles, and Watt asks that laymen refrain from disturbing places where Indian relics might be found, and instead notify some expert who knows how to preserve them.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Quezon, We Hardly Knew Ye

Philippine President Manuel Quezon (1878-1944)

You could hardly call the 1937 appearance of Philippine President Manuel Quezon in Waco a visit -- more like a flyover with a Santa Fe train substituting for a plane. The Quezons, however, did emerge briefly during their stop in Waco and spoke to onlookers. General Douglas MacArthur, meanwhile, couldn't even be bothered to come out of his berth for a quick photo opportunity.

Waco Times-Herald, April 7, 1937



Philippine President and His Family Pose for Photographer on Platform at the Katy Depot


Says He Expected to Have Texas Senator's Birthplace Pointed Out to Him From Train

President Manuel Quezon of the Philippine Islands, passing through Waco just before noon on his way to Mexico, almost spent the whole of his visit sitting in a drawing room in his shirtsleeves talking to two men. But when he was notified that Mrs. Quezon, walking on the platform with members of their party, had been cornered by a photographer, and that he was wanted, he began to show signs of interest.

Afraid of Being Left

He looked out the window and exclaimed, "But you don't want my picture now. The train is moving!"

Assured that the southbound Texas special, on which he was riding, would not pull out of the station until his party were fully assembled, he put on his coat and descended to the platform, only to find that Mrs. Quezon had hurriedly boarded the train when the train began its first move. She was discovered with a group in the sitting room of Katy President Matthew Sloan's private car, which was at the rear of the train, and she and her small son, Manuel Jr., joined her husband on the platform for a picture taken by Ray Kirkland, Katy photographer.

Quezon's remarks were brief: "Needless to say we are happy to be in Texas and see your wonderful state."

Knows Tom Connally

He commented that he had come to know Tom Connally, “one of the most influential members of the Senate,” and expected to have the Texas senator’s birthplace pointed out to him as he passed Eddy. “It is remarkable how many Texans born on the farm have come up to commanding positions in the business world and especially the political world at Washington.”

Traveling with him were his family, but the daughters Aurora and Leneida were still asleep, and could not be persuaded to get up, according to Miss Ollie Floyd of Washington, D.C., secretary to Judge W.E. McMahon. The judge, one-time member of the Philippine court of first instance, now legal adviser to an oil firm in Mexico City, is with the party, as is his niece, Miss Jeannette Birdsong of Greenville. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, military adviser to the Philipine government, was also on the train, but could not be found and resisted messages sent to him to appear in the picture with the Quezons. Camp MacArthur, which existed in Waco during wartime, was named for his father, according to Capt. T.J. Davis, who was traveling with him.

Sloan Making Trip

President Sloan of the Katy is making the trip into Mexico with the party, and has his private car at their disposal, although they have reservations in a car ahead. Big bowls of Texas wildflowers, blue bonnets and Indian paintbrush, decorated the dining room of his car, where the table was set for lunch.

Quezon, of medium height, trim, and with black eyebrows in direct contrast to his graying hair, has the alert, stern face that would be expected of this man who has served as Philippine delegate in congress and the senate, and who has skillfully fought that small country’s battles many a year. His wife is small, with black hair and eyes, a pleasant face. She wore a dark traveling suit and walked hatless up and down the platform.

Gen. Basilio Valdes, deputy chief of staff, who spent a few minutes on the platform, said he knew well J. Weldon Jones, former Baylor boy who is now acting high commissioner of the Philippines until ex-Gov. Paul V. McNutt of Indiana, recently appointed by President Roosevelt, arrives to take the place vacated when Commissioner Frank Murphy came home and was successful in his campaign for governorship of Michigan. Murphy’s activities for amicable settlement have been outstanding in recent strike negotiations in automobile plants in Michigan.

In Texas in 1928

President Quezon was in Texas in 1928, to attend the Democratic national convention at Houston. This is his first visit since then. He passed straight through the state Wednesday to Mexico, on a trip which he says is not at all political in nature, but prompted because of “the common historical background Texas and Mexico have with the Philippines as ancient colonial possessions of Spain.” On his return he will spend a day in San Antonio, where he will be entertained, and a day in Dallas where a luncheon is being planned for him April 15. The party expects to be back in Washington April 17.

Besides those named, Dr. Carlos F. Romulo, legal adviser, and Major Manuel Nielo, aide to General Valdes, were in the party.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Vicious Dogs Attack

These two stories from 1898 describe efforts to defend against wild dogs which attacked animals in populated parts of Waco. The newspapers of this time are full of accounts of a variety of wild animals, including bobcats and wolves, coming to town to do the same thing, especially during winter months when food was scarce.


Dallas Morning News
December 11, 1898

Great Battle with Dogs

Waco, Tex., Dec. 10 -- John Barr, an Englishman, had a battle with vagrant dogs that entered the premises on which the young Briton is employed and attacked the poultry. The curs were in a famishing condition. They crossed the snow-covered fields, coming from the timber and on the Brazos river, and made straight for the poultry pens. The place belongs to Mr. Bardon, a cotton exporter, who is absent at Houston, leaving Barr in charge.

A heavy revolver was on the place, but it would not go off and Mr. Barr made fight with a club, but was compelled to retreat. The wild dogs killed two pet poodles, tearing one to pieces and eating a portion of its flesh. Mr. Barr, by using sticks and stones as missles, drove the savage curs off, the only loss being the poodles. The curs withstood heavy pelting before they withdrew. The poultry flew into the trees and, finding their prey had escaped, the brutes went off growling fiercely as the stones and sticks came hurling against their bodies.


Dallas Morning News
December 12, 1898

Wild Dog Slain

Waco, Tex., Dec. 11 -- The wild dog mentioned in to-day’s Dallas News reappeared to-day and was hunted down and slain. He was a hound of unusual size and gaunt as if poorly fed for a long time.

After the raid on Mrs. Bardon’s place, where he killed and partly ate a beautiful pet poodle, he attacked a turkey roost and tore up half a dozen fine bronze gobblers and hens. Next he entered Mr. Pardoe’s irrigated garden and there he was surrounded by gunners and shot to death.

The savage brute was recognized as an English hound brought here by a show company two years ago. After escaping he entered upon a vagabond life and has several times destroyed fowls, pigs and calves. There is much rejoicing in South Waco, where women and children were kept in terror by the fierce wild dog.

Lovers Leap Wedding

A young couple chose to be married at this spot in Waco's Cameron Park

Waco Times-Herald
December 15, 1935

Romantic Young Couple Marry at Lovers Leap

Ceremony is Performed Saturday Afternoon at One of the Beauty Spots of Cameron Park

Roy King of Sanger and Miss Mabel Odom of Coleman chose a romantic spot for their wedding Saturday afternoon [Dec. 14]. The ceremony took place at Lovers Leap, where legend has it, an Indian maiden and her boy friend jumped over the bluff and were killed when the girl's family chased them with arrows and tomahawks to prevent their elopement.

The couple married Saturday had intended to be married Sunday in a regular church service, but it was such a bright, fine day and Lovers Leap was such a fine windy place in the sunshine that they called on Rev. Alva King, 20, senior at Baylor and brother of the bridegroom, to perform the ceremony in the park.

They stood with their backs to the stone wall edging the bluff, while Floy Ezell and Miss Clara King, both of Sanger, "stood up" with them.

Witnesses were Mr. and Mrs. R.A. King of Sanger, the bridegroom's parents, their son Billy Joe, their dauhter Clyde, Ezell Flatt of Wichita Falls, Eugene Brand of Cleburne. Flatt, Brand and Ezell are all Baylor students.

The young couple drove back to Sanger Saturday afternoon with the elder Kings.

Christmas Divorces OK

Waco Times-Herald
December 22, 1935

Divorce Moratorium For Christmas Week is ‘No Go’ for Waco

It is thumbs down on the Christmas divorce moratorium for McLennan county. Judge D.W. Bartlett, asked if he wanted to join judges in several other cities in refusing to grant divorces during Christmas, said he didn’t.

“Somebody,” he said, “who has been trying to get a divorce for a long time, and is planning to get married again, might come in and want the final papers. And,” he went on, “I wouldn’t want to stand in the way of progress.”

So that apparently ends the matter.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Elm Street Building Art

Take a drive down historic Elm Street, the main street in East Waco, and you'll find a number of imaginative and brightly colored murals and paintings adorning buildings, some created by local school children, others painted by unknown artists. Here's what photographer Randy Fiedler found when he visited Elm Street today.

When you turn onto Elm Street from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, one of the first buildings you see is the old Waco Marble and Granite Works building at 105 Elm:

The building features four music-themed artworks:

Just up Elm a block or two is this unoccupied building:

It features three paintings that pay tribute to black cowboys, who passed through Waco on the Chisholm Trail:

Other themes are worked out in paintings further north up Elm Street.

A nice view of some big cats.

One of the murals painted by students from J.H. Hines Elementary, on the old Brazos Furniture Rental store, Elm Street.

Another painting by J.H. Hines Elementary students, old Brazos Furniture Rental store, Elm Street.

Painting on the side of an old, closed theater at the intersection of Dallas Street and Elm. The wheelbarrow says "Cast Thy Burden Upon the Lord, Psalm 55:22." To the right of the figure is a somewhat faded "Deep Elm," possibly a play on the "Deep Ellum" entertainment district in Dallas.

Painting of Jesus on the side of the Waco Community Baptist Church Learning Center at 701 Elm.

Mural on the side of an old nightclub at the corner of Turner Street and Elm Avenue.

Full side view of 914 Elm Street.

A painting sharing the wall with two pictures of doves at 914 Elm.

Close-up of one of the doves at 914 Elm.

Large mural on the side of Marilyn's Gift Gallery at 818 Elm.

A mural, possibly unfinished, on the wall next to Just 4 You Clothing at 808 Elm.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

What Wacoans Bought in 1851

Waco Times-Herald
October 19, 1924


S.P. Ross bought a hunting shirt for Sullivan for $15, and Neil McLennan has just purchased 12 yards of goods for "jeans." The day book kept in 1851 by George Barnard at his store in Waco village, and preserved by his daughter, Mrs. M.H. Lane of Waco, has been secured by Dr. Kenneth Aynesworth, to be added to the Texas history collection given by him to Baylor university.

Those who have made "heroes in homespun" of the first settlers will be interested that they dressed in calico, merino, and such like, and that they drove into the village for molasses and sardines, for nails, drills, sheeting and axes, and paid their bills sometimes.

The book is beautifully ruled and kept, the entries being made of course with home-made ink. The first item for 1851 is a cross cut saw, six and a half feet long, sold for $6.50; a lock to Richard Coke for his gun; a box of candles for Walker and Tool's store; goods to B.D. Arnold and P.F. Blocker; molasses in a big jug to N.W. Battle; to Layton Puckett a pair of pants for $5, a coat for $10, and a frock coat for $18; and to L.F. Puckett's store large consignments of brandy, gin, and madeira wine.

The account to the Barnard trading house at Fort Graham totals for the year 1851, $1,100.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Views of Oakwood Cemetery

Waco's Oakwood Cemetery contains some beautiful and haunting statuary. Photos by Randy Fiedler

The grave of Iconoclast editor William Cowper Brann.

Closeup of the portrait of Brann on his headstone. The temple of Brann's head bears the mark of a bullet fired by an unknown vandal.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Historic Ranch Saloon Goes Down

A tale of early Waco, when even fighting drunks and card cheats had hearts of gold.

Waco Times-Herald
March 24, 1909


An ancient landmark, the old Ranch saloon, a one-story structure on the south side of the plaza, is being demolished to make room for a two-story building. The property is now owned by Bruce Ainsworth of Riesel.

City Engineer George B. Gurley, while viewing the work of demolition this morning, grew reminiscent. It is, he says, one of the oldest buildings in Waco, having been constructed many years ago. The rafters in the building are of cedar, secured on the banks of the Bosque and brought to Waco by ox teams.

It was during the early days, when desperadoes flourished in this locality, that stirring times were witnessed in this place. The practice of shooting out lights and mirrors was very much in vogue at that time among the cowboys who, after receiving their pay, would imbibe fighting booze and proceed to have a time. It was always customary among these knights of the plains, though, to seek out the proprietor next morning, ascertain the amount of the damage, and settle up before leaving town.

Mr. Gurley today recalled a little incident which took place in the Ranch saloon during the pioneer days. Gambling was very much in evidence then and some parties, who believed in courting the god of chance, decided to break the bank. They secured loaded dice and succeeded in their efforts. The then proprietor of the place was invited to take a drink with the fortunate ones, and over the glasses the scheme was explained and the money handed back to him. The latter refused to accept the winnings, remarking that if he didn't have sense enough to keep from losing with loaded dice he deserved to lose his money, and no amount of argument or inducement could force him to receive the money he had lost.

Society Cotton Picking Party

These two articles describe a somewhat unique society event -- the upper crust of Waco picking cotton at Glen Katherine, the Padgitt family home, located about six miles west of Waco on the McLelland Crossing road.

Waco Times-Herald
September 25, 1898


Waco's Upper Tendom in Dishabille -- Picking Cotton for Prizes -- The Winners and a Good Time

The most unique society event of the year was the cotton picking party yesterday at Glen [Katherine]. The swells were there arrayed in overalls, jumpers and straw hats, the belles gowned in calico dresses and poke bonnets. The object of the event was to have a high-old country time, and pick cotton for prizes.

Like everything else done under the supervision of Miss Padgitt, this affair was successful if not recherche. It would have done your eyes good to see the toniest of Waco's young bloods hauling a sack of cotton across a forty-acre lot, and picking sand burrs out of his socks at resting spells.

R.W. Beaumont was the official weighmaster, and he decided that Bayless Earle had gathered a greater weight of the staple than any other young man, and therefore he was awarded the gentleman's prize of a silk umbrella.

Miss Ione Johnston developed the deftest fingers among the ladies, and to her was given therefore a cut-glass perfume bottle, and a mermaid's mirror.

Ned Marshall and Miss Lula Carroll gathered in the booby prizes, along with their small sacks of cotton, and are the proud possessors of a silver handled dust brush and a pickaninny picture in a gilt frame, respectively. Ned will understand from this that if he expects to lead the procession he must hereafter "git up an' dust."

After the awarding of the prizes the weary toilers were regaled with buttermilk and hoe cake, and the day's frolic ended with a dance, the music for which began with the Arkansaw Traveller, and wound up with Sugar in the Gourd. Souvenirs of the occasion were miniature cotton bales.

The society editor will descibe the affair de rigueur, next Sunday.


As promised, the Society section of the Times-Herald carried a complete account of the cotton picking party in its Sunday edition

Waco Times-Herald
October 2, 1898


Glen Katherine, famed for a series of charming affairs this summer, never appeared more attractive than on the Saturday evening of the "cotton picking." The grounds were hung with lights revealing the flowers in the parterres, the hammocks swung between trees and all of the picturesque details that have been added to this well-kept summer home.

To the west of the house the observatory, recently erected to command a view of the surrounding valley, arose from a grove so thickly swung with Japanese lanterns as to resemble a swarm of fire flies gathered at its base. The frame work, Moorish in design, was outlined with lights that shone brightly visible from the valley below. An orchestra was stationed at the top.

The house was filled with the same air of cordial hospitality, and the airy rooms showed every detail of the same dainty interior as on the evening when they were first thrown open, and the social world in regulation evening dress glided over the polished floors through the mazy evolutions of a german.

The style of decoration was somewhat altered, however, cut flowers being replaced by cotton plants, while the stylish young hostess moved about the rooms in a red calico “veiled” in a long checked gingham. Little Miss Lottie Padgitt was a quaint old fashioned figure in a sweeping calico dress and long gingham apron.

About 7 o’clock strains of the orchestra were drowned by the rumble of wagon wheels and by the whoops and yells of the coming guests who were greeted by the assembled Padgitt family with a “hey Rube” and a “ho Rube” and a cordial handshake.

Some of the guests, while conforming to the terms of the invitation, the girls coming in “gaudy gowns” and the men in “hickory shirts,” still made the incongruous error of arriving in rubber tired buggies, but no parties carried out the idea completely.

Messrs. Cameron and Thorpe in blue overalls and checked jumpers and Misses Alexander and Yates gowned in gingham and coiffed in bandanna handkerchiefs appeared in a wagon canopied o’er with not the freshest of wagon sheets.

The last to arrive, in an old wagon drawn by a jaded team, was a regular “40 cents a hundred” crowd, the men in blue overalls, jumpers and big straw hats, the girls in paroda waist dresses, high necked plaid aprons and sun-bonnets. Closer inspection revealed the identity of Mr. Cross with Misses Killough and Orand, Messrs. Charles and Tom Padgitt of Dallas, with “the Johnsing girls.”

Cotton sacks were immediately distributed and partners found by means of original verses or puns on the various names. The signal to begin work was a blast blown by Mr. Padgitt on a cow horn. The cotton field, white in the moonlight, was soon busy with pickers until another blast, a half hour later, finished the contest.

Messrs. Beaumont and Eikel weighed the sacks on a pair of cotton scales and declared Miss Ione Johnston the winner of the ladies first prize, an elegant cut glass perfume bottle on a cut mirror; the gentlemen’s first prize was a handsome silk umbrella, won by Mr. Newt Williams. Miss Lula Carroll carried off the booby prize, a picture of a picaninny in a gilt frame, and Mr. Ned Marshall as a booby winner owns a silver handled dust brush. The prize for best pickers among the married ladies and gentlemen were won by Mrs. W.R. Clifton and Dr. Black, being a handsome needle book for Mrs. Clifton and a soap sachet for Dr. Black. The prizes were presented by Miss Padgitt in happy little speeches.

The evening finished with square dances. A menu was served from long tables: Hot gingerbread, pumpkin pie, sandwiches, fried pies, buns, hard boiled eggs, potato custard, fried chicken, buttermilk, sweet milk, watermelons, coffee and cider, in which the “Ruebens” drank in sentiment at least to the “Rachels;”

Here’s to the maid in the cotton gown;
What e’er may be the style in town,
To the mind of man in jumper and jeans
She’s the girl of girls and the queen of queens

Those who took part in this original affair were:


Ione Johnston
Aileen Gardner
Alma Baker
Stella Sheperd
Ruth Smith
Minnie Smith
McKenzie of Bryan
Henderson of Bryan


Charley Padgitt of Dallas
Tom Padgitt of Dallas
Chas. Smith
Daffin of Ennis
Bayliss Earle
Lee Davis
Dr. Frank Ross
Foster Fort
Mr. and Mrs. Will Seley
Dr. and Mrs. Black

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

J.W. Weaver in the Klondike: Part 3

This is the final entry in a three-part series of letters and news articles detailing the trip made to the Klondike region in 1898-99 by J.W. Weaver of Waco.

By July 1899, Weaver had left the Klondike and was back home in Waco. This
Times-Herald news account printed the day after his return helps round out the tale of the intrepid prospector.

Waco Times-Herald
July 27, 1899




Says He is Satisfied With His Trip and May Return to the Gold Fields.

Many Friends Call.

J.W. Weaver returned from a two-years trip to the gold fields of the Klondyke country yesterday morning at 1 o'clock. Mr. Weaver left Waco February 15, 189(8), for the new El Dorado and he had been there ever since.

The gentleman was very much worried over his long trip, but as soon as some of his friends heard of his return home they could not help driving out to his beautiful cottage on College Heights and welcoming him home. To all such the gold hunter gave a most hearty reception, and simply charmed all with his marvelous experiences while in the gold fields. He is a man of very modest nature and relates his adventures with such a charm that all delight to hear them.

Mr. Weaver, after leaving Waco, went direct to the gold fields, locating about fifty-five miles from Dawson City on one of the tributaries of the Yukon river. He tells of the most unenduring hardships while in the country, and says that most of the time his finger and toe nails were worn off, caused from the constant wear in the digging and the working in the mines. As to the result of his two years' work in the Klondyke, he says he is satisfied and will probably return after spending a few months in the city.

The gold hunter says that he left the mining regions June 10, coming down on the steamboat St. Michael on the Yukon river, to where it empties its waters. During the trip he states that the ice bergs often threatened the ship and it was in the most imminent peril once or twice.

At the mouth of the Yukon the crew took passage on the steamship Roanoke and finally reached Seattle, Washington. He says that on the vessel there was every nationality almost and that there was about two million dollars of money in the crew. On the voyage Mr. Weaver states that a miner, Ben Mattock, from Missouri, sickened and died, and as is the custom when deaths occur on a ship was cast into the ocean. One of the crew wrote the following epitaph and cast it into the sea:

'Tis midnight -- Across the dark ocean
The boom of the ship's bell is heard.
And out of the darkness in answer
Comes the cry of a wild sea bird.

In a gangway a form once so stalwart
Lies wrapped in a dark winding sheet,
While a pall -- 'tis the flag of his country,
Hides the heavy round shot at his feet.

No more he'll stampede o'er the snow and the ice,
For poor Ben's reached the end of life's trail;
He has crossed the dark threshold whence no man returns,
And his funeral dirge is a gale.

A sob and a tear from his comrade,
A low prayer, then a splash and it's o'er,
While in far off Missouri his children
Mourn a father they'll never see more.

No stone marks the brave miner's resting place;
On his grave no sweet flowers ever bloom,
But God knows the spot where numbers the dead,
In the cold northern ocean's deep gloom.

Mr. Weaver left Waco a robust man and comes back showing little loss of weight or health. He is an old miner by trade and stands the work wonderfully well.

On his return home, Mr. Weaver bought at Seattle a number of skins of polar bear and white foxes, and will make good use of them as rugs. He also brought with him a number of small nuggets of gold which he obtained while in the gold field.

He is the son-in-law of Judge J.R. Gerald and his well known in Waco. His many friends will learn of his return with the greatest pleasure and he will be kept busy for some time receiving callers.

No one is more delighted than his wife, who says that when he returns to the gold country she intends to go also.


Another account printed the same day, this time by a reporter from the Dallas Morning News, seems to indicate that Mrs. Weaver was not as open to a future trip to the Yukon as she appeared to be in the previous article.

Dallas Morning News
July 27, 1899

Home from Klondike

Waco, Tex., July 26 –– At an early hour this morning Mr. J.W. Weaver, one of the argonauts who went from Waco to the Klondike, reached his cottage on [College] Hill and was greeted by his wife and little children, whom he left Feb. 15 last year to go in quest of gold, to the arctic circle.

Mr. Weaver lost his finger and toe nails while engaged in hewing holes in the masses of ice and frozen earth in a climate in which sixty degrees below zero is not regarded as particularly low temperature. His nails are growing out again and he is ruddy with good health, having escaped all the climatic disorders of the high latitude he has dwelt in so long.

The News reporter called at the cottage this morning and found the child rolling over and over on rugs made of skins of Polar bears and white foxes. Mr. Weaver explained that he did not kill the animals himself, but bought them from a party of men who penetrated one degree further than he did toward the north pole. In a mooseskin pouch he brought a neat collection of golden nuggets which the claim he worked yielded him by a dint of labor too hard to think about now it is all over and his wife and babes are around him.

Besides a teacup full of gold dust Mr. Weaver brought a roll of notes paid him for his gold by buyers at Seattle.

He left Dawson June 10, reached Seattle on the 18th instant and was home this morning just before the butcher got to the gate with the beefsteak. Mr. and Mrs. Weaver and the children constitute a very happy household. Mr. Weaver is writing the story of his adventurres, a task for which he is well equipped. When he started out as a miner he gave up a good position of court reporting, to which he will return as Mrs. Weaver says she will not let him start off on another gold expedeition toward the polar regions.

Mr. Weaver sailed from Portland in February, 1898, on the steamship Elder and went up the Skagway river and through White Pass, locating on the Yukon, fifty miles from Dawson, at which point along with his companions, he built a cabin of birch logs and arctic moss.

At Grand Forks James A. Smart, a deputy for the British minister of the interior, collected $10 from every American and licensed them as “free miners” for one year, but they found that they were not entirely free, for another British deputy held them up for $15 more, which is the annual tax levied for placer mining. After paying $10 to be a free miner and $15 for placer mining privileges the miners found that a large share of their earnings goes to the government to satisfy another duty charged for taking out gold in the frozen possessions of her majesty, the queen.

In spite of the heavy duties imposed some of the men made lots of money. When the river thawed out there was a rush for the United States. Mr. Weaver took the steamboat Sovereign and in rounding the great bends of the Yukon he saw, when nearest the north pole, the midnight sun appear and disappear. When he reached St. Michaels he found steamboats by the dozens for sale. They were said to be the property of unsuccessful prospectors who had been up the river without meeting any luck.

Mr. Weaver took passage on the Roanoke along with 500 miners of all nations. The amount of gold on the Roanoke was estimated to be worth $2,000,000. It was in the hands of less than half the passengers, the others having made nothing and a few were returning with their passage paid by the United States government.

One miner, Ben W. Matlock, a Missourian, died and was buried at sea, a victim of the dreadful climate he had braved, hoping to win a fortune for his wife and children. Mr. Weaver gave a vivid description of the midnight funeral and the committing of the body to the deep.

In his cottage in Waco, where he can sit in the dining room and eat peaches from boughs in reach of his arm, with his charming wife and bright, happy boys to comfort him, Mr. Weaver found it easy to talk over the horrors of an arctic winter. He says there is plenty of gold in the Klondike, but he does not advise any but the stoutest of heart and body to attempt to get it except by grub-staking some other fellow who possesses an irresistible bent toward such ventures and one likely to win out.


In our final news story, written about three weeks after his return home, we find that Weaver has received a large package that is the cause of much interest and admiration in Waco.

Waco Times-Herald
August 15, 1899


Yesterday J.W. Weaver, who recently returned from the Klondike country, received a polar bear hide that he got while he was in the great northwest. The hide came by way of the Pacific Express company and was on exhibition there for some time. It measures six and one half feet from head to tail, and 8 feet from one foot to the other. The hide is a thing of beauty, and will be used by Mrs. Weaver as a rug.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

J.W. Weaver in the Klondike: Part 2

The next letter from J.W. Weaver printed in the newspaper was written almost a month after his previous one. By this time, he has beaten the odds by arriving in the gold fields alive and in good health. He recounts the incredible effort it took just to make it to Dawson City.

Waco Times-Herald
August 22, 1898





Told in the Communication of Weaver to His Wife -- True to Fact, Exciting As a Novel

J.W. Weaver of this city, who left Waco February 15 last, with Ed Blocker, for the Klondike country, has at last reached Dawson City, and is now in the mines seeking the treasure which is said to be in the frozen ground of that cold country. He has been heard from on several occasions, but the most interesting letter he has yet written has been received from him since he reached Dawson City. It has required less than thirty days for this letter to reach Waco although his experience shows that it required him thirty days to make a fifty mile trip in the land of glaciers and ice.

A careful reading of the letter will discourage one who has an idea of trying his fortunes in the far northwest. Mr. Weaver is well known, and those who have his acquaintance know that he speaks the truth in every line he utters. He gives a fine description of his journey. The letter, which was to his wife, Mrs. Kate Gerald Weaver, in this city, is as follows:

"Dawson City, July 20, 1898 -- After a long, arduous, toilsome, weary and trying journey of four months and ten days, we have at last reached the metropolis of this northern country. I will say this for the benefit of those who may desire to come after, to this forbidding land, that had I known of the terrible dangers I would have never undertaken the trip.

The hardships are extreme to be sure, but are as nothing compared with the actual dangers which require the greatest caution and alertness on the part of the most experienced boatmen, while it must be increased ten-fold to the inexperienced.

However, I have had the utomost faith and confidence in my own good judgement and ability and my success thus far has proved conclusively (to myself at least) that I am more than ordinarily cautious and alert in places of dangerous and rapid, rocky waters, besides being possessed of considerable nerve under the most trying circumstances.

I will now give you a few personal experiences, after reading which you will doubtless reach somewhat the same conclusion as myself as to what it takes to make a successful trip to this land of snow slides, ice gorges, rapids and whirlpools. I will leave the boat at Skagway and start out on the trail and take you through the whole trip, with as few breaks as possible, from start to finish.

We left Skagway on March 19 and went fifteen miles up Skaguay river to the foot of what is known as Porcupine hill, the name being given on account of the steep succession of short bluffs or perpendicular hills, which bristle on every side and which it is necessary to wind around in order to reach the summit with even a small load of say fifty pounds. We there made camp for the night, and after cooking our supper, prepared our beds, which we did by cutting the tops of pine limbs and making a pile on the snow, and laid our sleeping bags on top of them. At this time there was some six feet of snow on the ground which continued to move under pressure of the draft up the can(y)on, making it extremely unpleasant for us.

After leaving this camp the next morning we proceeded to move up the trail for some four or five miles, packing our goods on our backs, sometimes fifty pounds, forty-five and then one hundred pounds at a time, going backwards and forwards making five or six trips a day until the whole of the goods were moved up to the summit, which by the way is only fifty miles from the seaboard, but it took a month to make it, even with the assistance of the most powerful ox on the trail.

We were moving alongside of a precipice covered with ice and snow made slippery by the constant travel of oxen, horses and mules, when our traveling sleds swerved out of the narrow trail, which was only thirty inches wide, and although there were four men to watch it, the whole thing, the ox and all, went over the bluff and rolled into the water below, a distance of twenty-eight feet.

Although badly scared at our narrow escape, and while working in cold ice water, full of ice and snow, the boys were as jolly as though sitting around a camp fire, talking over the experiences of the day or planning for the future. It was, however, a very narrow escape, as had one of the sleds struck us or the ox rolled over us, there would have been no one to tell the tale, but thanks to our ever-watchfulness, we came out without a scratch, and with only wet feet and legs, the latter being anything but comfortable.

At the same time we did not suffer from cold except Ed Blocker, who suffered from back trouble considerably on the whole trail and he now says that it is a wonder he did not succumb to the extremely hazardous undertaking.

Of course, we had numerous hair breadth escapes of various and sundry kinds, all the way up to the White Pass, and had to do an enormous amount of heavy lifting to prevent sleds from turning over, and when once over to right them again, which in itself is very hard and heavy work, and which but few men are equal to, yet I stood it better than any one of the four in our crowd.

Our next experience was in climbing the White Pass. Up this trail for about two miles, the ox, which could pull on the level 3,500 pounds with ease, could pull but 350 pounds, and while ascending with this one day, he became unmanagable and decided that he preferred going down the side of the snow-covered precipice, a distance of some quarter of a mile, and he rolled over and over, mixing up sleds and snow and flour and bacon and beans and other things of precious value until he reached the bottom unhurt, but considerable wiser for his unpleasant experience, as he never attempted to repeat the experiment.

Of course we had to go to the bottom of the hill, reload our goods and wend our way through an unbroken trail for about three-quarters of a mile, and then ascend the same old trail, each doing everything in his power to assist the poor ox, who was straining every nerve to keep the narrow, slippery and precipitous trail with the load he had behind him, which we finally succeeded in doing, and reached the summit.

Now we have reached the summit of White Pass, which is considered the FIRST DANGER, and although not so dangerous possibly as Chilcoot, it is, with its terrific blinding blizzards by no means a pleasant undertaking, especially at the season of the year we crossed it. Still we lost nothing whatever, nor did we suffer any particular hardship from cold, although this was extreme at times, the coldest being about 20 degrees below zero.

It is not so much the cold as it is the driving, whistling winds that are so hard to contend with, and the only clothing that will thoroughly protect a man against these are furs or leather outside and wool or silk next the body.

The next danger of any moment which the Klondiker experiences (if he stays and builds his boat at Bennett or Linderman) is the can(y)on and rapids between these points. Here a large number lost their outfits and boats quite a number, probably fifteen or twenty, lost their lives in going down with their boats or scows. This can(y)on is known as the 'Second Danger.'

'The Third Danger' is Lake Tagish of Windy Arm of Tagish, where a number of boats were lost in the ice gorge or in the swirls which are very treacherous and come up without a moment's warning and dash the unwary sailor against the rocks and boulders which line this shore. Several lost their lives here by not making close calculations of the weather and daring to go out too far from shore and were caught in the swells.

The Fourth and Fifth Dangers are Miles canyon and White Horse rapids. While some people consider these very dangerous, I do not think there is anything serious about them, that is so far as we were personally concerned.

There was only myself and a man named Clark to go through in our boat, while almost every other boat great and small had at least three and sometimes four and five men, the object being to get as much oar power possible to enable them to throw the boat around at a moment's notice and avoid the rocks, but we (Mr. Clark and myself) shot the canyon and White Horse rapids, and never touched a rock or shipped a drop of water, while over one hundred and fifty boats were wrecked, with all goods lost, and forty-two persons have lost their lives this season up to and including June 15.

Now I do not intend to boast of being at all smart, brave or nervy, but there is a good deal in the use of common sense and judgement, and to never lose one's head.

The Sixth Danger is Lake La Barge, a beautiful sheet of water, twenty-five miles long and about an average of four miles wide, very deep and what is said of Tagish is also true of La Barge, a large number having ventured too far from shore in their efforts to get through quickly and catch a little wind in their sails, lost their lives, among them being an English Episcopalian minister, a woman and a little boy of seven years.

We built our own scow, sawed our own lumber, and brought our boat through all dangers of every kind and description. I, personally, never left her at all except to go ashore to cook. I have stayed with her through thick and thin, and she has done us faithful service, never leaked one drop or spoiled one ounce of goods. I named her Kate of Waco.

The other boys have from time to time gone for miles on other boats, but Kate never travelled a mile without me, and now I hate to part with her, but I must as soon as I finish this letter, to prepare for more arduous toil and danger.

We leave here for the mines, a distance of twenty-five or thirty miles, on foot, with sixty-five pounds of provisions on our backs, besides our beds and cooking utensils.

I forgot to mention that on Lake La Barge we had several quite interesting experiences, the first being with ice moving about the lake, which came near being disastrous to the boat. Twenty-five of us tried our best to make from one point of land to another, between the ice floes, but our leader (an old river man also a Yukoneer) miscalculated the rate ice was traveling and we were all caught and held in the ice for thirteen hours, in fact from 6:30 in the evening until 7:45 the next morning, but while the others left and went ashore, I stood by 'Kate' and never gave up my efforts all night long to keep the ice down, which was piling up on all sides and into the boat.

I worked with all my might and main, with shovel and pole, to keep the ice out and the boat afloat, and I succeeded, thanks to my Welsh determination and sleepless energy. Otherwise I would have been without grub for the winter, and would have had to come back home.

My next experience was somewhat different. Three of us were out hunting grouse with our rifles, and came across an old she cinnamon bear. As soon as she saw us she made off, but a load from one of the rifles caused her to halt and right about face, and for us she came. She was about seventy-five or one hundred yards away, and was spitting like a cat and evidently about as mad as a hornet.

Seeing she was coming towards us, the old hunter, a Californian, told us to have our rifles in readiness and wait until he told us to fire. When she was within fifty yards of us, the order came and the three Winchesters cracked together, all striking Mrs. Bear broadside. Still she came on at the same old pace. We threw our shells, reloaded, and fired again. Still on she came, spitting and snorting, all of us firing directly back of the front leg. This apparently had no effect whatsoever.

We had but little time to argue, so without saying anything to the old hunter I changed my tactics and aimed a well-directed bullet at her forehead, which brought her to the earth with a thud and a grunt, and when we skinned her she was so tough as to be almost useless, except for making soup and to sell. An examination showed we had sent thirteen bullets in her, making a total of twenty-one pellets of lead before she dropped. I also killed a large water fowl called a 'loon.'

Our next danger was Thirty Mile river, which is the most dangerous piece of water it has been my experience to have anything to do with. It is more than the canyon, rapids, lakes or anything else. It is very swift and full of rocks and sand bars. In fact it was like Scylla and Charybdis.

We rowed off one on the other, and this was the case for thirty long miles under a broiling sun with boats wrecked and people calling for help on all sides, and we helpless ourselves to do anything for them, except to pass them like a flash, without even giving them a passing look of pity.

When we at last got through, I found myself nearly blind by long gazing on the sunny water looking out for rocks ahead, my face all blistered, and so tired that I could scarcely stand.

Goods such as sacks of flour, beans, bacon, sugar, and boxes of every conceivable shape and size floated by us on their way to destruction or the sea, while sheep, dogs, horses and mules were lined along the steep banks of the river, all having swam ashore except the poor sheep, which were weighted down by their coats of wool, and were drowned. I presume, and it is the general estimate, that over $100,000 worth of goods was lost in this river alone this season, while it will never be known how many lives have been lost, as the bodies drift into the deep Lewis river and are rarely found.

Several lives have also been lost on Teslin lake and Hootalinqua river, among them a woman and a little girl. I am of the opinion that the catastrophe of the Chilcoot Pass was but a drop in the bucket compared to the loss along the rivers and lakes.

The next danger is Five Finger rapids, which is something like the Miles canyon, but possibly a little more dangerous on account of the extremely small opening through which we had to pass, it being not over thirty feet, while the canyon is more than fifty feet.

The Tenth Danger is nothing more than a rough piece of water, and is known as Rink rapids. I went with "Kate" through them all, and she stood all strains like a charm and brought us to destination without a flaw or break.

The only anoyance I have suffered was from mosquitoes. They are very plentiful, large and avaricious, and never fail to leave their mark. This has been the only mar to my fishing experience.

After leaving Five Finger rapids, we stopped for a rest of a few days at a small stream called Tasshun river, where we had the most remarkable fishing experience I ever had. I made some artificial flies, and caught 300 pounds in half a day, in fact supplied the whole camp with fresh Alaska grayling, one of the finest fishes in the whole world. How we enjoyed them, as we had eaten but very little besides pork, grouse and bear. I am afraid that we have eaten so much bacon, that it will be a shameful task to meet a live hog when we return to civilization.

It is a great pity to see so many who came in here with the expectation of finding gold along the shores of the rivers and on the trees, but who are now actively disgusted, and several thousand have sold out and returned home, and others are selling their outfits and going back every day. Had I know what I know now, I would have brought nothing in here at all, but enough delicacies to carry me through, and could have bought here all I wanted at less than cost in the states. I can now buy goods here at cost, twenty cents per pound, without counting for the people's time, which has consumed over four and a half months, besides the risk to their property and lives in bringing it in.

I got up yesterday morning and saw what I thought to be a great big mule swimming to the mainland. After rubbing my eyes I saw that it was neither a mule or horse, but a moose. I fired a shot, which missed the mark. The moose turned around and brought her broadside to me. I took good aim, and sent a bullet through her spine. She sank. We got a small boat and with the aid of a block and tackle landed a two year old heifer moose weighing 800 pounds. The rug I will use for winter in front of my cabin fire. The meat is the tenderest I have ever eaten. It is delicious after so much salt pork.

Since April it has never been dark enough for me to see the stars in this country. In fact it has never been dark enough to prevent us reading the smallest print at midnight. I shot a loon at 3 o'clock in the morning, while he was about one hundred yards away from me, and put out both eyes.

While fishing I sat on a log and pulled out twenty-eight fish without moving, and they weighed two and a half pounds each. I used to go out sometimes with my rubber boots on to the middle of the river. I caught them so fast that I dropped my hook in the creek, and while I was putting the fish in my rubber boots, the fish in the creek would fight for the fly, and would be hooked before I could get to the line again.

Ambold, a brother of H.E. Ambold of Waco, is here. He is worth between $175,000 and $200,000 and increasing in wealth daily.



Weaver's next letter, dated July 24, 1898, was printed in the same issue of the newspaper.

Waco Times-Herald
August 22, 1898

"As the boat with the mail was delayed, I have decided to end on this letter with a Mr. Blevins of Dallas county, Texas, who is disheartened and is leaving the country. He has promised to mail it at the first post office after he gets out of here.

We had a horse and ox belonging to our party, and we of course had to build a raft, to raft them down the river, which we did at the confluence of the Hootalinqua and Lewis rivers, and blocker and several others brought the raft with our stock to Fort Selkirk, and thence to Dawson, but we had some pretty severe experiences with the raft.

For instance, opposite the Stuart river, seven miles from Dawson, we were in water up to our waists for thirteen hours, trying to get the raft off a gravel bar. Still we did not suffer at all, neither from the hard labor attached to the position, nor have we had the slightest cold, although the water is principally melted snow and ice. Of course it was very unpleasant while in the water, but succeeded in getting the raft off and into Dawson, and sold it for cord wood at the rate of $20 per cord, netting us $236, to be divided among three of us.

We see nuggets here of all sizes, and gold dust is the currency of the country. Everywhere you see them weigh out gold dust, and rarely see anything else. Whenever a man buys anything from another, the purchaser invariably turns over his leather bag of gold dust, and never notices what the seller weighs out of it. In fact it seems to be a loose way of doing business, but custom controls and this is one of the peculiar customs of a mining camp and this is undoubtedly the greatest mining camp the world has ever seen.


J.W. Weaver in the Klondike: Part 1

Historians tell us that soon after the Klondike gold rush began in July 1897, approximately 100,000 gold seekers set off for the Yukon, although only 30,000 of them would complete the hazardous trip. A number of adventurous Wacoans followed the lure of riches to the Klondike, one of those being a man named J.W. Weaver, who left town in mid-February 1898. The following three letters from Weaver, coupled with three news accounts following his return home, describe both the hardships and the rewards of his journey.

The first of Weaver's letters in the
Times-Herald was printed in August 1898. In it, he describes some of the challenges he is facing in Canada's Northwest Territory while trying to get to the gold fields.

Waco Times-Herald
August 7, 1898




Others Seeing Their Sustenance Torn From Them Submit to the Elements and Give Up Their Lives

The following interesting letter from Mr. J.W. Weaver, who is a gold hunter in the Klondike country, will be read by his friends here with a great deal of pleasure. Those who know Mr. Weaver will have a better idea of the great and frigid region than is given them by the newspaper reports, as they know he does not embellish to make an interesting item, nor does he mis-state facts. He says:

"Fort Selkirk, Northwest Territory, June 26, 1898 -- It is a long time since I have had an opportunity to write and mail a letter, but now that we have passed all of the dangers without accident, I feel that I can write more explicitly and tell of the many advertures I have had.

I have passed through many dangers, have seen boats and men wrecked and drowned before my eyes, have had the sad experience of attending a number of funerals under distressing circumstances, and yet I have not had a day's inconvenience from sickness, in fact not even a cold since I left Texas. I am now about twenty pounds heavier than when I left home, and am still gaining. We have been prospecting all of the way down, and will probably reach Dawson early in July, where I hope to find mail from home.

This is a magnificent country, full of wild flowers and small fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries, and various others of that variety. The streams abound in fish, and game is quite plentiful, considering of course the large number of people going in. I ran every rapid with our scow, asking no assistance from anyone, and was highly complimented for my judgement and common sense in the matter.

Not a day passed that we did not come upon parties in distress, on rocks, on sandbars or other dangerous places. Sometimes their boats would go to places, and the occupants would escape with only their lives, while in many instances their lives were lost as well. I suppose that as many as 500 or 600 boats have gone to pieces, and went down with all supplies, to the bottom of a raging torrent.

Some become discouraged and commit suicide, while others seeing their sustenance for the future torn from them, give up their lives by submitting to the elements without any apparent effort to save themselves. After going through the whole matter I do not consider it at all serious, or any of the dangers unavoidable, as long as a man keeps cool.

For instance, while in the middle of 'Five Finger' rapids, my partner at the steering oar became excited and was driving the boat on a rock. He saw it in time, reversed and went hard astern, and turned the craft off the rock and averted a fatal accident. During the time he was perfectly cool, but as soon as danger was passed he collapsed completely.

I feel thankful that we have passed through all sfely without any inconvenience or annoyance, other than a mosquito bite or two. There is no doubt that there is gold here, and in large quantities, and I hope to bring some of it home with me, if I ever return.


It will be remembered that Mr. Weaver left Waco in February last with Ed Blocker, formerly a Wacoite, but who at that time was living in the Indian Territory.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Caught Red-Handed in the Red Light District

The temptations of Waco's red light district -- years before prostitution was temporarily legalized in the city -- proved too much to resist for one out-of-town lawman.

Waco Daily Examiner
November 30, 1881

On The ‘Mash’

Mention was made yesterday morning of the arrest of one Ben Hooker, wanted in Hill County on a charge of seduction. Learning that his man was in the McLennan County jail, Sheriff Cox, of Hill county, dispatched one of his deputies, W.M. Autrey, to get Hooker.

Yesterday afternoon the prisoner was turned over to Autrey, and the matter was aparently settled. About 5 o’clock yesterday evening, however, Stella Hartridge, mistress of a house on North Fourth street, notified the officers that an officer having a prisoner in charge was kicking up a rumpus in her house, and she desired his arrest.

Marshal Moore, Officer Bell and Constable Stovall proceeded to the house, and found Hooker, the prisoner, enjoying himself as he pleased, and comfortably intoxicated, and Autrey in Belle Talley’s room. A young man named Cobbles was also in the house and carrying two revolvers. He claimed to be under bond himself and to be a guard over Hooker. The trio of gay lotharios, seducers and mashers of female hearts were promptly taken in and taken to the calaboose.

While Marshal Moore was unlocking the door Autrey pulled off his coat and handed it to some one standing near and made a wild break for liberty and the nearest alley. Officer Bell wound up his running apparatus and gave chase, the fugitive running out Third street and turning into the alley just across the bridge. The officer’s wind gave out and he whistled for a fresh runner. The marshal soon found what was up and gave chase on horseback. Autrey, just a trifle under the influence of liquor, ran up a blind alley and fell headlong and was again secured and lodged in the jail. Two pistols were taken from him.

Stella and Belle Talley came down to the recorder’s office and filed information against Autrey, charging him with drawing a pistol on Belle and smashing a dressing case mirror, and he will be arraigned on trial this morning. The party remained at Stella’s some two hours and were very boisterous. Autrey was locked in a room with Belle most of the time, and, so she says, they began grumbling, when the deputy pulled out two pistols and threatened to kill her, but compromised by smashing the mirror. He made no bones of letting them know who and what he was, and seemed bent on making a ‘mash’ of some sort, which it is very evident he has succeeded in doing.

Autrey is the same party who was arrested by Officer George Wiliams, on Bridge street last December, for wearing two over-grown pistols for which offense he was fined, and this circumstance may have induced him to avoid the calaboose a econd time. Hooker, his prisoner, who is taking perfectly cool, remained in the calaboose last night, but Cobbles was released.

Autrey certainly deserves punishment and discharge from official service, for he certainly has been guilty of gross carelessness while in discharge of official duty, or, at least supposed to be, though the moment he entered Stella’s house for the purpose of debauchery he ceased to be an officer and became...a private citizen. An officer should have a sufficient amount of self-respect to guard him against the loss of respect of others.


Justice was swift in 1881, and the next day Autrey received his punishment.

Waco Daily Examiner
December 1, 1881

W.M. Autrey was arraigned before Recorder Brinkerhoff yesterday. He was acquitted on a charge of carrying weapons illegally since there was some doubt since he was an officer, but was found guilty on the charge of obstreperous conduct and fined $15 and costs, which he paid.

After being released, he was re-arrested by Constable Stovall on information charging him with aggravated assault and battery on Belle Talley and was placed under $200 bond. Sheriff Van Hall yesterday took Ben Hooker and put him in the county jail, refusing to turn him over to Autrey a second time. [Hill County] Sheriff Cox must send a reliable deputy or come himself if he desires Hooker.

In a brief article in the December 3 Daily Examiner, it was reported that Hill County Sheriff Cox wished it understood that the lascivious W.M. Autrey was not a regular deputy in his office, but was merely a "beat constable." Meanwhile, one of Cox's deputies came to Waco on December 2 and returned Hooker to Hill County.