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-Seven

teddy roosevelt shot

“We are against his politics, but we like his grit.” W.A. Rogers for New York Herald, Cabinet of American Illustration, Library of Congress

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Thirty-Six

Andrew Stevens, October 1912

John trumpets, “Teddy Roosevelt’s as crazy as a bull moose in spring, that’s what he is.”

“His secretary tackled the shooter before he could get off a second shot,” says Mr. K before turning toward Andy. “No offense meant concerning your qualifications for this position, Andy, but it seems having a former football player for your secretary is not a bad investment. You could benefit from training with the Turnverein.”

“That crowd in Milwaukee,” adds the Colonel, “would have lynched that insane Bavarian on the spot if Roosevelt hadn’t assured them he was fine.”

John shakes his head in wonder. “A hole right through in his overcoat. His shirt soaked in blood. Yet the former President insisted, ‘I will give this speech or die.’ And he almost did. Talked for fifty minutes before his doctor dragged him off the stage.”

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

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”