'Ol "Peg" Tells a Great Story about Events in San Antonio
A great story from a book published in 1910:
"All old time printers and telegraphers of the 1880s remember 'Peg,' for he was a remarkable character, never to be forgotten. He had lost one of his legs in a railroad accident, having gone to sleep and fallen off the brakebeam, or something like that. The leg was really a fine one and "Peg" could, and did, get from $10 to $15 on it in any pawnshop. He was a great talker, and when only half-loaded, was very amusing. He told some good stories, too. I remember one in particular....
'Gentlemen,' said he, 'you can talk about your hot towns as much as you want to, but Santone takes the cake. I was out there last winter and I had the time of my life. There was a big variety show going on down on one of the plazas and, of course, I went to see it.
The show was nearly over when a drunken cowboy came in. He had two big guns strapped round his waist and a Bowie knife that looked like a young sword. He swaggered about and the show had to stop for a few minutes and then catching sight of the boxes on the edge of the stage, he made for one. Everybody seemed to be afraid of him and tried to quiet and pacify him.
A fellow on the stage began to sing. The cowboy promptly ordered him to stop. The fellow paid no attention, but went on singing. The cowboy kept making a fuss. Finally the singer got mad and, advancing to the front of the stage, asked if there was not an officer in the house to take the drunken nuisance out and lock him up. There was no response so the singer advanced to the side of the stage and began climbing to the box.
The cowboy reached out and dragged him into the box. They dropped to the floor in a clinch, but as they fell I saw the cowboy had his knife in his hand. Then I saw them rise, the cowboy holding the singer by the back of the neck. He rammed him face foremost against the wall and rammed that big knife through him twice and then, slamming it plumb through him between the shoulders, he left it sticking in his body and, picking him up, hurled him out of the box to the stage below. "It was all over in a minute and there was the biggest stampede you ever saw. The whole audience made for the door in one solid mass, and I was working well in the lead, in spite of having only one good leg to work with.
When I struck the sidewalk I saw a policeman and rushed to him: I said, 'You had better go down yonder, a cowboy just murdered a man in the theater down there.' He looked at me and just grinned. 'That's all right,' said he. 'They been killing that same man for two nights now. It's part of the show.' "Next night I went back to enjoy the fun of seeing the stampede, now that I knew it was part of the show. I got a seat near the end of a row and there is where I was a fool.
The cowboy came in and went through the same performance. There was the same stampede, too. and a big Dutchman near me stampeded at the first flash of the knife and took the whole tier of seats with him. In the rush they got my leg, the broomstick one, jammed in the seat and broke it square off. Then they walked all over me and I never saw a thing. When the dust settled they found me all spraddled out on the floor. The proprietor acted pretty square. He set 'em up two or three times, sent me home in a hack and next morning early they had a carpenter come 'round and fix my stem, and that night I left for El Paso. Santone was too strenuous for me.'
----- Samuel Oliver Young, True Stories of Old Houston and Houstonians, 1910
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.