Life in the Lone Star State

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The Alton Guards embarked on the Brig "T Street" for "Port Lavaca," Madagordia Bay...

Military Plaza and Main Plaza, San Antonio (Bexar Exchange on left)
One evening I with Scotty sauntered in to the "Bexar Exchange," a noted drinking and gamblin[g] Saloon, the Barroom was crowded with volunteers, regulars, rangers, Texians with a few Delaware Indians and Mexicans. Tables and benches were arranged around the room for Monte Banks. These were well patronized by the motley crowd of desperate characters that filled the place. The Texan Rangers present were a portion of Ben McCulloch's Company and a more reckless, devil-may-care-looking set it would be impossible to find this side of the Infernal regions. Some wore Buckskin Shirts black with grease and blood, some wore red shirts, their trousers thrust in to their high Boots. All were armed with Revolvers and huge Bowie Knives. Take them altogether, with their uncouth costumes, bearded faces, lean and brawny forms, fierce wild eyes, and swaggering manners, they were fit representatives of the outlaws which made up the inhabitants of the Lone Star State. Scotty joined in a four hand game of Poker and I sauntered from table to table, watching with interest the different characters as shown by the savage gamblers. Oaths and cigar smoke filled the air, knives were drawn but no bloood was spilt as friends would interfere before the desputants came to blows.

 At a small table sat two men playing Eukre for the drinks. One of these was the rascal John Glanton, by beau-Ideal of the Stage Villain. He was quietly playing his hand in a mild timid way utterly at varience with the hardened desperate he presented. Short, thick set, face bronzed by exposure to the hue of an Indian with eyes deeply sunken and blood shot, coarse black hair hanging in snake-like locks down his back, his costume was that of a Mexican heardman, made of leather, with a Mexican blanket thrown over his shoulder. His opponent in the game was a tall, reckless, good looking young Ranger, dressed with a red shirt and buckskin leggins.

John Glanton Settles a Controversy

A dispute attracted the attention of all in the room to the two, when the short ruffian threw a glass of liquor in the tall ones face, who sprang to his feet drew his revolver and placing the muzzle against the breast of the thrower, swore with fearful oathes "that if he did not apologize he would blow a hole through him a rabbit would jump through!" The threatend man did not move from his seat, but replied, "Shoot and be d-d, but if you miss, John Glanton wont miss you." When the ruffian mentioned his name, a look of fear and horror passed over the tall Ranger's face leaving him deadly pale. I expected to see him back out, but with a quivering lip he pulled the trigger, but only the cap exploded! when quick as a flash, Glanton sprang up, a huge Bowie Knife flashed in the candle light, and the tall powerful young Ranger fell with a sickening thud to the floor a corpse! his neck cut half through. Glanton, with eyes glaring like a wild beast, jumped over the table and placing one foot on his victim and said, "Strangers! do you wish to take up this fight? if so step out, if not we'll drink." ...No one seemed disposed to accept the desperado's challenge...

A few days after I purchased my Knife I had trouble with my roommate Scotty about the division of some money we had won at a three-handed game of Poker with a commissary Clerk, in which to keep up appearances, I had lost all my money to Scotty, as well as the clerk. When I asked for a settlement with Scotty he denied all partnership and swore he had won not only the clerk's, but my money in a fair game, and this when I had "rung in the cold deck" that fleeced both! There was only one way in Texas in '46 to settle misunderstandings of this nature. We went for each other, and he very foolishly run on to the point of my Arkansas toothpick and was badly cut for his want of judgement. Scotty was in a bad condition and because he rented his house from the Alcalda, long slumbering justice awoke! I was seized by the guard, and old Spanish irons placed on me and thrust in to the "Callaboose" in a room about twenty feet square, inhabated by a very select society of Negros, Indians and Texans, Horsethieves, Murderers and the vilest characters of the lawless frontiermen. My entrance was accompanied with shouts of fiendish welcome such as might hail some fallen soul by the damned ones in Hades. And when they found it was for using my Knife, strange devilish compliments in various lingoes were tendered me.

The horrors of the Old Spanish Jail in San Antonio were more terrible than any scene in the Inferno of Dante. How long I remained here I never knew. It seemed years, though it could not have been but a few days. I was covered with vermin. The heavy rusty irons wore the flesh of my ankles in which the lice burrowed; my jacket was stolen and my shirt I tore in to strips to bind around the irons to keep them from chafing! The place was outrageously filthy, the air hot and pestiferous! food scant and poor, with water unfit even for washing. Then the awful blasphemy of the wretches incarcerated with me, their horrid bestial orgies too revolting for belief, drove me in my weak state insane. I thought, and with reason, that I was with Deamons and I nearly brained one disgusting Negro with my irons. This fortuneatly for me happened as the Guard came to bring me before the Alcalde, or undoubtly I would have been murdered. Scotty was out of danger, and declined appearing against me, so I was turnd loose, with nothing on but my pants and wild with my sufferings.

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