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-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”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirty

a&m old main 1912 fire

Above, A&M’s Old Main burns, The Battalion

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Twenty-Nine

Former Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell, July 1912

“‘Tom Campbell’s Man Friday,’” sputters Judge Ramsey. “How dare that good-for-nothing Governor tag that label on me? He expresses wonderment that I claim to be a clean and Christian gentlemen. Then that crook brazenly declares that he has always lived by the golden rule.”

“The golden rule,” snaps Thomas. “Governor Colquitt is ruled by gold. Nothing else but gold flowing directly from brewers’ kegs into his pockets. Nothing will work right in this country until monopolies and trusts take their infernal hands out of the election process. That’s what this election is about. That and education, which the Governor refuses to fund. His veto of the appropriation for the State University leaves students meeting for class in wooden shacks that would require very little huffing and puffing to blow down. First norther should do it.”

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