TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
Custom Search
New   |   Texas Towns   |   Ghost Towns   |   Counties   |   Trips   |   Features   |   Columns   |   Architecture   |   Images   |   Archives   |   Site Map

Columns
History/Opinion


Texas Towns
A - Z

New Book by
MIKE COX
Texas | Columns | "Texas Tales"

Just an Old Nag Con

by Mike Cox
Mike Cox
Who doesn't like hearing about a clever scam pulled by some con artist? The answer is no one except the victim, a gullible sort known to grifters as pigeons or suckers.

Of course, most of us are quick to denounce unscrupulous people, but the truth is, deep down we sort of admire someone smart enough to benefit himself at the expense of others.

A self-published collection of late 19th century and early 20th century rural Texas stories preserves a story attributed to one W.S. Lawrence, a Comanche, Texas old-timer. The teller offered no specifics as to when it happened or who was involved, but that does not detract much from the tale itself.

One day, the story goes, a couple and their children rolled into town - presumably Comanche - in their wagon. The first thing that caught the eyes of the locals was that they were strangers. The second thing people noticed was how the man holding the reins seemed to be something of a doofus.

For one thing, the newcomer ingeniously told everyone his business. No sooner than he'd meet someone, he'd tell them that he'd recently sold their old homeplace for quite a lot of money. Now, he would continue, he was looking for some good farmland in Comanche County. Once he had that explained, the man asked out of curiosity if anyone in town ever did any horseracing.

Before long, the goofy granger learned that two local men had joint interest in a horse that could gallop faster than any steed in that part of Texas. And they were happy to bet on that.

"You figure it could beat that horse?" the man asked as he pointed to one of the horses hitched to his wagon. The critter looked like a glue factory runaway, not an animal that would win anyone any money.

No one who saw the horse figured it had a chance against the well-known local thoroughbred and someone proposed a race with a hefty purse for the winner.

That's when the farmer's wife broke into tears.

"Don't bet our money on that old horse," she sobbed to her husband. "We came here to buy a farm. If you wager on that horse, we'll be leaving flat broke."

Ignoring her pleading, the reckless farmer said he'd be willing to put his entire stake on his horse. Locals couldn't believe their good fortune. Easy money was to be made. Bets that the local horse could easily outdistance the farmer's nag mounted quickly.

When race day came, the farmer showed up with his poorly looking horse, its collar and harness replaced with saddle and bridle. More and more money went down on the local favorite.

Turned out the farmer's worried wife had been right. The race was a financial catastrophe - for those who had bet against the farmer's horse. To the astonishment, then horror, of the local bettors, the sorry looking steed easily carried the day. And no sooner had the farmer collected his money that he made it known that he hadn't been able to find just the right piece of land in Comanche County and would be moving on.

Somehow, he got out of town alive with his money.


Another con, though with far less at stake financially, involved chickens.

Two young men, itinerant cotton pickers, had camped near a farmer's house while hiring out in the area. Cotton picking is hard work that left a hand mighty hungry at the end of the day.

Noting that the farmer had a plentitude of frying size yard birds, the cotton pickers came up with a plan to avail themselves of some finger-licking good chicken. All they need was a little red yarn, something inexpensively available at the local general store.

Having made their modest purchase, that night the pair snuck up on the chicken roost and managed to get inside without causing a ruckus with the feathery occupants. Quickly they tied a length of the red yarn to the legs of a couple of the birds.

The next morning the farmer was up with the chickens, collecting eggs. That's when the two cotton pickers showed up to ask him if by chance, he might have seen any chicken's with red strings tied to their legs.

As a matter of fact, the farmer said, he had. Two had shown up that morning in his chicken coop. He had wondered whose birds they were and cheerfully allowed the pair to reclaim their lost property.

Shoot, the farmer declared, he had more chickens than he needed anyhow.
Mike Cox
"Texas Tales" April 2 , 2020 column

Mike Cox's "Texas Tales" :

  • The 1893 Pedestrian Journey from Galveston to Chicago 3-25-20
  • Early Burial Pre-Planning 3-12-20
  • The Clever Fisherman 3-6-20
  • Political Humor from Dudley Dobie 2-26-20
  • Lady Cowhand 2-20-20

    See more »

  • Related Topics:

    Texas Animal Tales


    Columns

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



    Texas Escapes Online Magazine »   Archive Issues » Home »
    TEXAS TOWNS & COUNTIES TEXAS LANDMARKS & IMAGES TEXAS HISTORY & CULTURE TEXAS OUTDOORS MORE
    Texas Counties
    Texas Towns A-Z
    Texas Ghost Towns

    TEXAS REGIONS:
    Central Texas North
    Central Texas South
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Texas Panhandle
    Texas Hill Country
    East Texas
    South Texas
    West Texas

    Courthouses
    Jails
    Churches
    Schoolhouses
    Bridges
    Theaters
    Depots
    Rooms with a Past
    Monuments
    Statues

    Gas Stations
    Post Offices
    Museums
    Water Towers
    Grain Elevators
    Cotton Gins
    Lodges
    Stores
    Banks

    Vintage Photos
    Historic Trees
    Cemeteries
    Old Neon
    Ghost Signs
    Signs
    Murals
    Gargoyles
    Pitted Dates
    Cornerstones
    Then & Now

    Columns: History/Opinion
    Texas History
    Small Town Sagas
    Black History
    WWII
    Texas Centennial
    Ghosts
    People
    Animals
    Food
    Music
    Art

    Books
    Cotton
    Texas Railroads

    Texas Trips
    Texas Drives
    Texas State Parks
    Texas Rivers
    Texas Lakes
    Texas Forts
    Texas Trails
    Texas Maps
    USA
    MEXICO
    HOTELS

    Site Map
    About Us
    Privacy Statement
    Disclaimer
    Contributors
    Staff
    Contact Us

     
    Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved