Verbatim: Once Upon a Monocle–Tea for Texas, Tea for Traumatized

A number of Europeans came to Fort Worth in the early days, curious about the town’s wild and woolly reputation. Sometimes the town was curious right back.

Tom J. Snow was seventy-four and living at 1704 May Street when he was interviewed by the Federal Writers’ Project in 1938. As a Fort Worth policeman in about 1910 he had investigated an unusual case of rustling:

“The chief, Johnny Connelly,” Snow recalled to the interviewer, “had a complaint laid before him by an English dude who claimed he was deprived of his liberty and that great mental suffering was inflicted on him while at Lewis Hunter’s ranch [west of town]. The chief called me in and said:

“‘You know all of Hunter’s cowhands because you have worked at the place. Go out there and investigate this complaint.’

“I called at the ranch, and the boys readily told me what had happened. The Englishman called at the ranch while on a trip looking over the territory. The Englishman was dressed in a stiff front white shirt, claw-hammer coat, patent-leather shoes, and a high silk hat. He also wore a monocle. Well, to the cowhands, the party was a curiosity worth a thorough examination. To make certain their curiosity would not get away before all hands had an opportunity to scrutinize it properly, the boys put the fellow in the snubbing pen, which was built from upright poles set close in the ground and was about seven feet high.

“The boys guarded their wonder of wonders until all hands had looked the object over several times. Finally, the Englishman was turned loose, and he came straight to town, lodging his complaint.

“I made my report to Connelly, and he took the matter up with the dude. He convinced the fellow that the matter had better be dropped. Of course, the chief knew it was one of the cowboys’ jokes and that they did not intend any harm.”

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