“We Will Show You How it is Done.”

May 31, 2017 § Leave a comment

The succulent aroma of Llano wafted through Guy Town this morning, which reminded me of the last time Llano infamously invaded Austin, back in 1876. The resulting altercation, just 4 blocks up Congress Avenue from our “Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que of Llano” outpost at the corner of Cypress (3rd Street) and Congress, was reported in every newspaper in America, in many different versions.

Llano exported rock heads as well as rocks back in the day.

This report appeared in the Austin Daily Statesman:

February 5, 1876

SHOOTING SCRAPE. — A shooting scrape occurred yesterday on the Avenue [mid-block between Bois d’ Arc and Hickory—Ed.] and in front of the Mitchell saloon, between a man named Hanna, of Llano, and Ben Thompson, of this city.

It is currently reported on the streets that three or four men, claiming to be from Llano, and on the rowdy order, had been hunting a fight during the day, and in the forenoon had pulled out their pistols in a saloon and bluffed around generally, saying that they wanted to show the Austin fighters the Llano style of fighting.

They especially wanted to encounter someone in Austin that had a reputation for fighting, and finally came up with Ben Thompson on the sidewalk of the saloon above named, and used offensive language and threw out a general invitation for a fight.

Thompson replied, it is stated, that he knew nothing of the Texas fighters; that he was down here from Boston for his health, but that he did not apprehend that the Llanoites could fight any better than anyone else.

Hanna thought they could, and said, “if you come up there we will show you how it is done.”

Thompson said, “if I should come up there I would serve the boys just so,” drawing his hand across Hanna’s face gently.

Instantly Hanna struck him with his fist, knocking off his hat, when the pistols were drawn and the firing commenced. It is said by some that Hanna fired first, and by others that he attempted to fire but that his pistol would not go off.

Thompson at this time was on the sidewalk and Hanna had stepped down into the gutter behind a post, and seemed to be trying to get his pistol to revolve, and while thus engaged, Thompson fired at him, the ball, perhaps, taking effect in his neck, and passing through one ear.

Hanna then started across the street, and while doing so, and after having reached the middle of the street, another shot, it is said, was fired by Thompson, which passed through Hanna’s side. Hanna then continued his retreat to the opposite sidewalk, and the fight was at an end.

Both parties were taken to the mayor’s office, and the wounds of Hanna, which were not considered dangerous, were dressed, and Thompson was put under bond for his appearance on trial. Shooting in the streets of a city is at all times entitled to the severest censure; but in this instance it fortunately happened that no one was hurt but the Llano man that was spoiling for a fight.

No doubt frontier “bad ones” will hereafter be a little shy of Boston invalids who are down in Texas to restore weak lungs.

Ben Thompson went on to become Austin City Marshal in 1880.



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