lot of men-and a few women-came to Texas for reasons that had nothing
to do with a simple desire to see some new country.
Some found that while they might escape bad debt, a bad marriage,
or bad trouble in the form of an arrest warrant, they could not
out-ride their own character. But splashing across the Sabine or
Red River made them a Texan, for better or worse.
One man who rode into Texas with little more than a pair of saddlebags
and a reputation was Junius Henry.
His story's back trail led all the way east to Florida. During the
Seminole Indian Wars in the 1830s, an officer named Graham (either
Capt. William M. Graham or Lt. Lawrence Graham, an account of what
would happen did not offer a given name) commanded a noted unit
taking part in the conflict. At some point during the campaign,
Graham received a letter from his wife in Augusta, Ga. that she
was about to have their baby. In the polite parlance of the day,
she was "on the eve of confinement."
The Army officer left Florida immediately to be at her bedside.
The next day, his outfit engaged in a particularly hard fight with
the Indians. Not long after that, Graham's hometown newspaper carried
an article suggesting that his hasty departure from the field had
more to do with his regard for his scalp than concern for his wife.
One of Graham's staff officers, a Captain Henry, traveled to Augusta
to find who was behind the attack on his commander. The newspaper
editor, doubtless under pressure and possibly at pistol point, said
the authority for the article was one of the general officers participating
in the campaign. That man also was from Augusta.
Unknown to Henry, another of Graham's loyal subordinates also had
ridden to Augusta to seek satisfaction-the gentlemanly term for
a duel-with the offending general. The general responded to Capt.
Henry's demand by saying that as soon has he took care of the other
challenger, identified only as a Captain Williams, he would be happy
to take up the matter with Henry as well.
In short order, somewhere in the vicinity of Augusta, the general
mortally wounded the first Graham partisan in a Bowie knife duel.
Pistols were agreed on as the weapon for the second duel, a contest
the general also won.
With two men-the first duelist and now Captain Henry-already dead
on account of a newspaper article and a foolhardy sense of honor,
the Captain Henry's brother Junius came to Augusta from Louisiana
to avenge the death of his sibling.
Not bothering with the formality of a duel, he opened fire on the
general in an Augusta hotel. The melee left the general seriously
wounded and Junius Henry lacking a third finger, the digit removed
by one of several bullets sent his way during the gunfight with
the senior officer. Out of bullets, the avenging brother lit into
the general with a Bowie knife. Bystanders finally separated the
two, but Henry vowed he would kill the general next time he saw
Three months later, with the general recovered, Henry went looking
for him with a double-barreled shotgun. The buckshot in one of the
barrels included a slug that had been cut from his dead brother's
body. This time, the general's luck ran out. The first blast removed
his shoulder. The second sent lead through his heart and he dropped
After the encounter, Henry left Georgia for Texas. Not long after
his arrival in the young republic, he ran into a man who made some
disparaging remarks concerning Henry's role in the Augusta vendetta.
The result was another dead man. Not long after, however, some of
the man's friends cornered Henry and fatally perforated him with
An account of this feud, and its final act in Texas, was published
in a long-extinct Atlanta newspaper in 1875, the Herald and picked
up in numerous other newspapers. The article does not say where
in Texas Junius Henry died for having taken up for his slain brother,
who himself had died in defense of someone's honor.
"This feud, involving the death of so many superb men and bankrupting
two powerful families," the newspaper said, "is but one of a thousand
that might be traced through the system of Southern society."
And somewhere in Texas are two graves filled in the name of honor.