Fear, Force, and Leather: The Texas Prison System&rsquot;s First Hundred Years 1848-1948

John S. Besser on his confrontation with Texas State Troops, December 8, 1863

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John S. Besser, December 1863

into the Ware-room[,] threatening to shoot the
first man who laid hands on the goods[.] [O]n
going into the ware room by a side door[,]
I was confronted by the man Parker and
a man they called Captain Brown—who I
understood had no command—but was
drill master[.] Each having their pistols
levelled [sic] at me—with a general outcry
from the men in the street to them
to kill him (me) shoot the damned rascal[.]
My wife hearing the voices came from
the upper range of rooms, where we
resided, also my son[,] into the ware
room—begging me to let them take the
goods—that they would kill me, etc.
[M]y wife in the meantime cursed by this
Brown “that if she did not get out of the
way he would shoot her.” My wife and
son having caught hold [of] me—and pulling
me round with my side to them[.] Three
shots were then fired by them, two
striking the wall near me about breast
high, the other striking the wall above
my head. One of my daughters about
this time—hearing it, stated —her father
was killed went to the back part of the
building, and on looking through a
window into the room—this Brown
fired his pistol breaking the pane of
glass adjoining the one she was
looking through[.] She and another

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John S. Besser on his confrontation with Texas State Troops, December 8, 1863. Correspondence Concerning the Penitentiary, Records Relating to the Penitentiary, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: February 9, 2016