An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-One

Above, Convict Labor Camp, J.W. Dunlop Photography Collection, UTA Libraries

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Forty

Former Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell, January 1913

“I’ve never felt this helpless, Fannie. Governor Colquitt’s going to be the ruin of Texas. Playing Santa Claus with the judicial system. He handed out twice as many pardons at the end of the year as I ever did. You can’t tell me all those men were innocent.”

“But at least your successor exposed the cruel use of the bat for whipping prisoners, Thomas.”

Governor Colquitt at Huntsville Prison, Texas State Library and Archives Commission

“I admit. Prison guards tend to employ brutal tactics to keep their charges in line, but what will happen within those walls with no discipline? The Governor worries more about the working hours of criminals than factory workers. If the state can no longer farm out this captive workforce, how is Texas going to afford to feed and house them?

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-One”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirty-Nine

cuero turkey trot 1912

Above, 1912 Cuero Turkey Trot, Francisco A. Chapa Family papers, UTSA Libraries Special Collections, The Top Shelf

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Thirty-Eight

Andrew Stevens, November 1912

“‘Personal antagonism,’” sputters John. “Bryan Callaghan must be rolling over in his grave. His reasons for renaming the park Waterworks were not petty.”

“Alderman Mauermann stuck to his ground, though,” adds the Colonel. “George Brackenridge’s gift to the city had more strings attached to it than a spider’s web. What good is a park with no way to access it?”

Mr. K’s grumpiness that this topic resurfaced at City Hall is obvious. “As big a proponent of parks as Alderman Lambert is, he sees the gift for what it was—a scheme to line George Brackenridge’s pockets. The city was hamstrung. Forced to buy property on River Avenue from him for an entrance to the parkland.”

John waves a hand dismissively. “A technicality. That’s a mere technicality according to Alderman Boynton. Says it’s poor grace to censure a benevolent donor simply because the city failed to notice the hitch at the time the gift of land was accepted.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirty-Nine”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirty-Four

oh you beautiful doll

Above, Historic Sheet Music Collection, Library of Congress

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Thirty-Three

Former Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell, August 1912

At Thomas’ invitation, Judge Ramsey loosens his tie and plops into the chair on the other side of the desk. His beard is stubbly and his eyes bloodshot.

“You were wise to steer clear of that steamroller in San Antonio, Tom. Toot-toot. Toot-toot. Toot-toot. That was the most intellectual sound Oscar Colquitt’s men in the convention hall could utter. The second Cullen Thomas requested recognition, pandemonium broke out. The band struck up ‘You Great Big, Beautiful Doll.’ Upset, Cullen tried shouting over the crowd, shaking his fist. ‘Is this a democratic convention or a mob drunk with power?’”

Thomas frowns. “Sounds more like drunks fueled by the brewers. Children with tin horns on Christmas morning probably demonstrate more maturity.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirty-Four”