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EARLY DAY CHANCES
IN DALLAS RELATED

_______

M. W. SAMUELS REFUSED OP-
PORTUNITIES TO GET IN "ON
THE GROUND FLOOR."

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NIGHT WITH SAM BASS
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Outlaw Band Unwelcome Guests
of Dallas Business Men n
Denton County.

BY W. S. ADAIR

    "To me, it seems only yesterday that all the Western country was full of Indians in paint," said M. W. Samuels, 102 South Jefferson street.  "I was born at Columbus, Ind., in 1852, and going to Kansas with my father, Joseph Samuels, in 1858, settled at Marysville, Marshall County, 110 miles west of St. Joseph, where father was proprietor of the only mercantile establishment between St. Joseph and Denver.  The country was almost a moving mass of buffaloes, and the Indians were on the warpath all around us.  Settlers were in constant dread of massacre.  Little children did not have to be told twice to stick close to the house.
    "While I spent my boyhood days on the frontier, all that was very tame in comparison with what I saw when I made a trip to the Black Hills in 1869.  In early days, people flocked to newly-discovered gold fields, as they now flock to a new oil field.  Most of them did not know gold from any other shiny substance, but that did not hold them back.  I hurried to Deadwood with thousands of others from all parts of the world.  I took a stage at Sidney, Neb.  The Black Hills were in the Sioux reservation, and when white men began to pour into that region, the Indians protested, and, that doing no good, went on the warpath.  The stage, which charged a fare of ten cents a mile, was guarded every step of the way by Federal soldiers.
    "Deadwood, a collection of tents and huts in the mountains, was a den of vice.  Criminals and abandoned characters from all the ends of the earth had assembled there, thinking to profit by the absence of law and order.  Men killed one another at the gaming tables, or killed themselves when they lost their all.  A man considered himself lucky when he was merely hijacked, for robbers, as a rule, killed their victim to start with, and then went through his pockets at their leisure.  No man felt safe.  The Indians attacked the first train the Union Pacific attempted to run into Deadwood, and, among others, killed the engineer.  To tell the plain truth, I was afraid to stay at Deadwood, and I soon found myself running the gauntlet back to Sidney, and feeling infinitely more safe on the way, than I had felt in Deadwood.

Up Against It Once More.
    "The Southwest began to attract attention when railroad building was started here, early in the 70s.  From what I could hear, Shreveport was the very place for a rising young man.  I arrived there in August, 1873.  I was, at once, arrested and put in a quarantine camp, where I learned that there was a yellow fever epidemic on.  All the fears and alarms I had experienced at Deadwood, once more came over me.  Early that night, I managed to escape from the camp.  I footed it to Marshall, hiding in the woods when I saw anybody coming.  On reaching Marshall, I made for the railroad yards, where I found a freight train starting west.  The friendly engineer and the fireman agreed to bring me to Dallas for $5 each, which I was glad to pay.  With a blanket rolled around me, I rode in the coal tender.  The engineer stopped the train several miles east of Dallas and put me off, but told me how to find my way into town.  He was afraid to let me come in on the train.

Early Morning Killing.
    "Covered with coal dust and half famished, I strode into the Crutchfield House at night.  The town was quarantined against the world, and a stranger had to give a circumstantial account of whence he came and how he got into town.  To questions at the Crutchfield House, I replied that I had been at work for some time in the Texas & Pacific yards, and, strange to say, got by with that fabrication.  When I emerged from the hotel next morning, I had scarcely time to note that the courthouse was a small frame structure with trees around it, and inclosed by a chain which served, at once, as fence and hitching rack, when my attention was arrested by some shots on the east side of the square.  I saw a man fall on the sidewalk in front of the Four-Clover saloon, at what is now 102 South Jefferson street, and another man mount a horse, and, whooping and yelling like a Comanche, ride for the river, firing a pistol with each hand as he went.  He clattered across the bridge without saying turkey about the toll, and was lost to view.  The shacks on the east side of the courthouse were occupied as saloons or gambling halls, or a combination of the two.  Such games as faro and keno were played within the houses, and monte, chuck-a-luck and the wheel and paddle games, on the sidewalk in front.   There was a 'barker' for each game, who in eloquent slang, urged the boys to come forward and try their luck. The shooting affair did not interfere with the business of the gamblers.  Word went down the line that a man had been killed, and that was all there was to it.  So little was said about the tragedy, in fact, that I never heard the name of either of the parties to it.  So far as I know, no attempt was made by the officers to arrest the killer.

Took it Out for Trade.
    "I went to work for Adam Craft, on the northeast corner of Main and Jefferson streets.  Mr. Craft had the most extensive general mercantile establishment in Dallas, and was the largest cotton buyer in North Texas.  He was succeeded in business by his son, Levi Craft, who occupied the old stand, until along in the '80s.  Dallas was the terminus of the Houston & Texas Central and of the Texas & Pacific Railroads, and was the market for the cotton produced in Dallas and adjoining counties.  Merchants paid 4
1/2¢ to 5¢ for cotton, not in money, but in dry goods and groceries.  The cotton, some of it grown 150 miles away, was brought in four and five bales on a wagon, drawn by six yoke of oxen, the whole family perched on top of the cotton.  The farmer would exchange his cotton for jeans, linsey-woolsey, cowhide shoes, tobacco and whisky, and then beat it back home without having seen a cent of money, and, to all appearance, well satisfied.  Every cotton grower had to have whisky and navy tobacco.  Many times, a farmer, after completing his purchases, would take a hasty inventory and conclude that he had invested too much in dry goods and groceries and not enough in whisky, and would ask the merchant to take back part of the groceries and wearing apparel and give him more whisky and tobacco.  In spite of the fact that farmers got next to nothing for their cotton, and had to take that in trade, there was considerable money in circulation, mostly gold, for the people of the South were afraid of greenbacks.  For several years after the close of the war, the country was flooded with counterfeit bills, and the people refused to take chances on any kind of paper money.

Town Lot Auction.
    "The only two-story building on the courthouse square in 1873 was the Wagner Building, southeast corner of Main and Jefferson streets.  But, there were several two-story buildings on Main and Elm streets.  Dallas was, no doubt, a flourishing town, but, it was generally believed that when the railroads were extended, the trade would go elsewhere.  Waco was spoken of as the coming town, and Fort Worth was already on something of a boom.  The real estate men advertised a town lot sale at Fort Worth in 1873.  Philip Sanger, who knew that I had about $2,000, came to me and advised me to invest it in town lots at Fort Worth.  I hired a buggy and drove to Fort Worth to attend the auction sale of lots.  Lots sold from $50 to $150 each, in what is now the business district of the town, the best corner lots going for the latter figure.  I listened to the auctioneer, but was never once moved to make a bid.  Mr. Sanger was out of patience with me when I told him that I had not invested.  I also looked Waco over.  It was a larger town than Dallas, had more capital, and had an immense trade.  But, I did not take hold.  When I returned to Dallas, a blacksmith who was illuminated with the name of Bois d'Arc, from the circumstance that he made wagons of bois d'arc timber, offered me a tract of thirty acres lying along the river, west of Houston street, and extending from Commerce street to the brewery plant.  He wanted $300 for it.  It did not seem to me that it would even be worth as much as $3, and so, we made no deal.  When I review the past, it appears to me that I obstinately refused to be shoved or shouldered in on the ground floor in this part of the country.

Merely a Little to Drink.
    "In 1876, Isadore Casper of Casper Bros., Denison, and I went west with three wagons loaded with merchandise, which we meant to sell at auction in the various settlements.  I was the auctioneer.  With us, were Perry Saums and a Mexican in charge of the teams.  A few miles east of Denton, we met late in the afternoon, a body of twenty-five or thirty heavily-armed mounted men.  After halting and questioning us, they ordered us to about face and conducted us into a deep ravine, where they said we would go into camp for the night.  The leader introduced himself as Sam Bass, and presented his next friend, Mr. Underwood.  These formalities over, Bass wanted to know if we had any whisky.  We told him that we had only about five gallons.  'We do not want to swim in it, but merely a little drink,' was his reply.  The outlaws took a drink all around, invited themselves to be our guests at supper and then played cards, having first put out guards.

Send Word to the Rangers.
    "After breakfast next morning, Bass and Underwood, acting for the whole band, shook hands with us, thanked us for our hospitality, praised our fare and whisky, and requested, that if we met any rangers, we tell them a straight tale about having spent the night with Sam Bass and his men.  Then, we resumed our journey and our guests went in the opposite direction.  Between our camping place and Denton, we met a squad of rangers, to whom we gave a circumstantial account of our night with the outlaws.  The rangers went in hot pursuit, but I never heard that they caught up with the fugitives.  That was two or three years before Bass was killed at Round Rock."

- May 24, 1925, The Dallas Morning News, Sec. 9, p. 5.
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