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 Texas : Features : Columns : "Texas Tales"
OLD NEWS
by Mike Cox

Here, from various 1851-1852 issues of the Western American, a weekly published in Keosauqua, Iowa, are some exchanges "late from Texas:"
Mike Cox
Tired of all the new news of war, politics and other forms of violence? For a change of pace, here's some old news of war, politics and other forms of violence.

First some background: Before telegraph wires linked all newspapers, editors got a fair amount of their news from other newspapers. Some newspapers even had a position known as the exchange editor, someone whose primary job was to make sure his newspaper sent copies to all other papers in the area in exchange for their product. He then clipped items of interest and had them set in type for his newspaper.

Here, from various 1851-1852 issues of the Western American, a weekly published in Keosauqua, Iowa, are some exchanges "late from Texas:"



Wonder how he did in New Hampshire?


"The Western Texan comes out with flying colors for Gen. Sam Houston for the Presidency. It says: 'We take time by the forelock and enter this well-tried courser upon the track for the great political race in 1852. He has run all sorts of races - both upon the political course and the battlefield, and he always won, and we think we will this time. He can beat any nag in the Union except Jenny Lind, and she is about to withdraw. We will be the printing office, the mill and all the grist upon it." (Sept. 27, 1851)




Great excitement on the Rio Grande...

"New Orleans, July 25. We have Texas dates [newspapers] to the 18th.-- The political contests are very exciting. There was a great excitement on the Rio Grande, in consequence of the Mexicans refusing to deliver up fugitive slaves." (Aug. 2, 1851)




Not-so-famous last words...

"An eminent devine, out west, in expatiating on the wickedness of a man who was killed by being thrown from a precipice by a runaway horse, concluded thus: 'Yes, my dear brethren, this wicked man, as he was launched into eternity, instead of saying, 'Lord have mercy on my soul,' said, 'G-d d-n the horse!" (Aug. 2, 1851)




Hot with a chance of Indians...

"The crops in Texas were suffering from drought. Three hundred Cuban Liberators are reported on Mustang Island, waiting a conveyance.

The Houston paper says that the Indian chief Wild-Cat has 1800 runaway [slaves] at his town, lately built above Eagle Pass. His Indian forces are augmenting daily." (Sept. 13, 1851)




Call the Texas Medical Association...

"Wherever he [a certain doctor] finds employment as a physician, there will be bread for an undertaker; and if he does not lose his patients, it will be because he can find none. As a surgeon, he would only do to call in case of a broken neck, or a musket shot through the heart; or as a physician, in the last stages of cholera or consumption, when 'it is too late.' But to do him justice, he was very good collector of his own fees, and would take the last shirt from any poor patient who, by accident or miracle, survived his treatment." (Sept. 20, 1851)




The Free State of West Texas...

"Western Texas, it is said, is preparing to ask admission into the Union as a separate State." (Feb. 28, 1852)




All on account of a buggy...

"A serious affray occurred this morning between Robert P. Peyton, brother of Hon. Bailey Peyton, and Mr. McElwrath, respecting their right to a buggy in McElwrath's yard. Peyton struck McElwrath with his walking cane, when the latter stabbed him to the heart, causing almost instant death. McElwrath gave himself up to the authorities, and will be tried before a committee court this afternoon or in the morning. The affair occurred at McElwrath's residence, two miles from town. McElwrath is 55 or 60 years of age. The affair is greatly deplored by all, they both being highly respectable citizens and near neighbors." (Oct. 18, 1851)

Mike Cox
February 26, 2004
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