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

of my daughters at my command were going
up the back stairs of the building to their rooms
when they were met by this Brown—who was
ascending the front stairway—who levelled [sic] his pistol
at them and swore “that if they did not get
down them stairs he would kill them both.”
The result was, they obtained possession of the
wareroom and took away 6 Bales [of] goods and
seven pieces. Since then a few hours aft[er]
wards the Col. Gid Smith had the goods
returned—with the exception of one piece
plain Osnaburgs containing 30 ½ yards. [S]o
far as this piece is concerned—the detention
of it was positive[.] [T]hey may have retained
more. The Colonel in a note to me,
disclaimed all knowledge of the transaction[.]
But B.W. Walker, one of the Directors, informed
me that a Lieutenant (whose name I did not
get) who remained in town on Sunday, having
some horses shod, stated to him, that [he]
heard some of the men tell the Colonel “they were
agoing [sic] to have the goods[.]” [H]is reply was “if you
are going to take them not to let him know
anything about it,” or something to that

John S. Besser

(Signed) John S. Besser
Financial Agt. Texas Penity

Huntsville, Dec. 8. 1863.


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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