The Same Old Game and a Brand New Game: Today in Austin History (December 5, 1882)

December 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

A farmer named C.L. Turner, from Bastrop county, was mourning the loss of $85, which he lost after the time-honored custom of reposing too much faith in new-found friends. He had sold some cotton and had a wad, and had intended to go to Belton. Turner encountered a slick individual, a crook from San Antonio, and mentioned that he was going on this journey. The new acquaintance, a merchant in Temple he said, was also going to that magical country.

As the Daily Statesman related the next day:

Would they go together? They would! They went to the depot to take a delayed train; of course the depot did not leave on schedule time, and they must wait. Should they take a walk? They should! They walked to the new Hancock building on Congress Avenue, and the stranger had an errand upstairs. Did he hold a parcel for his new friend? He did! And the friend came down in a moment with a book, which was placed on the other parcel. The stranger starts up the stairs; he comes back; could the Bastrop county man change a $100 bill for him? Of course he could, and out came the wad. The stranger held the bill temptingly in his hand while the willing cotton grower counted out $85 in bills in the hands of the slick one. He did not stop for more, he would be back in a minute, but forgot to give up the $100 bill. He also forgot to come back, and the farmer might still be waiting there, if he had not scented a juvenile rodent, whose tail has been largely apparent ever since. Mr. Turner does not know whether the man wore a jersey or an ulster and his description of the slick one is not such as to aid the police any in recovering the “Merchant from Temple” or the $85. “Tis ever thus! When will cotton growers and other sons of soil learn to take $100 bills before they count out the change to entire strangers? When Austin avenues are paved.

And, “Willie Whitis, colored, was caught at the doubtfully interesting game of shooting craps, and for this apparently harmless amusement he had to pay the city $8 the next day in Mayor’s Court.

“Some of our readers may not know what the game of craps is like, and for those who like new inventions, games included, we will explain. Craps is played with two dice, expelled from the player’s hand by a snap motion of the thumb and fingers, and the count of the dice makes up the game.”

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