Hoosegow Holiday

December 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

My musings of the last two days have dealt with the darker sides of Christmas, Texas-style. Christmas in Texas is indeed more than bloody butchery, necktie parties, and shotgunnings in the street. To wit:

About the worst place to pass Christmas, I imagine, is at a funeral parlor with the mortal remains of a loved one. The second worst place, I would posit, is in jail. The jails of today are not the hell-holes of centuries past, but I daresay that at least on Christmas day, jail in Austin in 1883 was a jollier place of good cheer than it is today, in 2012, as the Austin Statesman reported the morning after.

A Magnanimous Citizen.

The prisoners in the county jail yesterday were in receipt of a Christmas treat of such a nature as to make their hearts grower warmer towards the world they are prone to think is hardened towards them in their cold, cheerless cells. It was such a remembrance as serves to keep alive in the minds of humanity the name of John Howard in his prison house philanthropy, and that other name, Charles Dickens, which has served in the great work of prison reformation, to make the name of Howard greater, as it made men regard their erring fellow beings as human, notwithstanding their fallen condition. Mr. Lundberg, the Austin baker, was the one who visited the prisoners yesterday. He gave each of them, about 50 in number, a supply of cake, smoking and chewing tobacco, cigarettes, turkey, bread, etc. This service has been a suggestion of Mr. Lundberg for years. Sheriff Malcom Hornsby furnished the prisoners with a round deal of whisky. To show their appreciation, the prisoners all gave a lusty three cheers for Mr. Lundberg, which made the walls of the jail resound again and the corridors reverberate their vociferous gratitude. It was a kind act on the part of Mr. Lundberg, and one that was very commendable, indeed.

Recorder Johns, as an incident to the holidays, has had rather a larger bunch of drunkards than usual to dispose of, which he did by fining them generally small amounts each to replenish the city exchequer.

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