story is for those of you who walk out on the hot driveway every Wednesday
afternoon, pick up the local newspaper, peel away that pesky plastic
bag and turn straight to the police report. I know you're out there,
even if you won't admit it.
On April 17, 1916, at 5:15 in the afternoon, there was a disturbance
on Creek Street in Fredericksburg
causing a great deal of excitement in that part of town.
The disturbance began as a young stranger, just arrived a few days
earlier from Llano, was walking west on Main Street on his way to
the post office.
In those days there were no traffic lights or stop signs at intersections,
and the law was unclear as to which party had the right-of-way. A
pedestrian crossing the street looked for an opening in the traffic
and made a run for it, just like people do today.
The young stranger probably guessed that the automobile bearing down
on him like a duck on a June bug would slow down and let him pass.
He guessed wrong. Because of that miscalculation he became what may
have been the first pedestrian hit by a car at the intersection of
Main and Adams.
Now getting hit by a car was no cause for arrest, but that incident
was only the beginning of a wild, unfortunate afternoon.
As the young man lay in the street Deputy Sheriff Frank Morgan came
over to see how badly the guy was hurt. While checking the young man
for injuries, which were minor, the deputy found a Colt pistol in
the waistband of his britches.
As the stranger could give no account of himself being an officer
of the law with reason to carry a firearm, Deputy Sheriff Morgan took
his gun, helped him to his feet, placed him under arrest and escorted
him in the direction of the Gillespie
County Courthouse a short distance away.
But at the door of the courthouse the young man suddenly grabbed his
pistol from the deputy and bolted in the direction of the Nagel Bros.
Granite Yard on San Antonio Street. Deputy Sheriff Morgan and several
citizens took up the chase.
The stranger ran through Nagel Bros Yard, leaped over a couple of
granite headstones and made a beeline for a gate on the backside of
the property that opened onto Creek Street.
Arthur Nagel tried to block the opening, but the young man presented
his pistol and "got permission to pass." The fugitive hurried through
the gate, turned west on Creek Street and took off like a rifle shot.
In hot pursuit Deputy Sheriff Morgan stumbled and fell at Nagel's
gate, so he tossed his pistol to a citizen named Mr. Wuensch with
an order to stop the fleet-footed fugitive before he reached the brush.
Mr. Wuensch ran out in the middle of Creek Street, leveled the pistol
and fired 2 shots. Both shots missed, but the second shot kicked up
some dirt at the stranger's feet and brought him to a halt near John
Deputy Sheriff Morgan arrived on the scene and relieved the stranger
of his pistol a second time. Morgan then led the prisoner to the jail
on San Antonio Street amongst a host of curious people who had been
alarmed by the shots.
At an examining trial the following Tuesday the young man told a sad
story. He identified himself as A. Bonnar, and his home was nowhere.
He was traveling from the western part of the state to San
Antonio because he heard a man could find work there.
After arriving in Fredericksburg
he "put up" at Louis Klaerner's Saloon on Main Street. Knowing it
was illegal to carry a firearm in town he asked to leave the weapon
at the saloon, but was not satisfied with the terms for leaving it.
So he took it with him on a leisurely walk to the post office not
knowing he was about to be hit by an automobile, shot at and arrested.
After the hearing the officers felt the poor man had suffered enough
and turned him loose.
"Arrested For Carrying A Pistol Unlawfully," Fredericksburg Standard,
April 22, 1916.