Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Misadventures of Mike Brannigan (Part Seventeen)

An El Paso train station in the 1890s (Detail of photo at the DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University).
(Read Part Sixteen: Mike Brannigan, Triumphant)

From the El Paso Herald, August 6, 1898:


Today as the Texas & Pacific was about to pull out a city hack drove up to the station in a great hurry and on the box of the hack beside the driver was Officer Pat Dwyer.

As soon as the hack stopped the policeman and the driver alighted and the driver pointed out a young man as the one he had a complaint against, for having run off without paying his bill for hack hire. The policeman went up to the young fellow and told him the hackman’s trouble and told him he would have to either dig up three dollars, which was the amount of the bill, or go with him to the police station. The young man looked thunder struck and asked what he meant. He didn’t owe the hack driver any thing, he said, as he was an invited guest, using the carriage in seeing the sights of El Paso and Juarez this morning, and he knew nothing of the hack driver’s bill, and he wasn’t going to dig up any three dollars.

After some argument between the men Dwyer went to the telephone and rung up the police station and asked if the chief was there. He was informed that he was not, so he came out and told the fellow he would have to stay here another day and settle the matter.

The young man asked the officer if he had a warrant for his arrest and the officer didn’t have one. So the young fellow told the officer that he had orders to take a squad of men out on today’s train and he was going to take them.

The Herald reporter was on the scene during the debate and after the heated part of the conversation was over he asked Sergeant McMurry, for that was who the young man was, what was the matter and he said: “When I was coming out here with Major Jadwin I met an old man on the train who said he lived in El Paso. His name was Col. Mike Brannigan, and when I got to El Paso he would take pleasure in showing me around. From his talk I thought that he was a wealthy man and owned a livery stable or something of the kind and so when I arrived in El Paso the other day I met the colonel and yesterday he asked me if I didn’t want to go around in a carriage and see the city. Of course I did, but was too busy yesterday afternoon, so this morning, about ten o’clock I guess, the proffered carriage came around to the Hotel Pierson and this man was driving it. The colonel was not in the carriage, but I thought that he was too busy and had just sent a carriage for my disposal, so of course, I took the ride and there you have the whole story.”

El Paso's Pierson Hotel in the 1890s. (Photo courtesy of the DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University)
The hack driver said, “Mike Brannigan came to me and told me that there was a load for me at the Pierson to ride over town so I went up there and this young fellow got in the carriage and used it all the morning.”

A man who was going off on the train told the policeman if he didn’t have a warrant for the arrest of that man he had better not take him off the train as it might give him trouble. At one point in the conversation the hack driver offered to compromise the bill and take two dollars, but the young man said, “No, I don’t owe you a cent.”

(Next time: Gone To His Reward)

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