“Mexicans” had rough time in district court

Results of the district court session in July 1887 did not prove well for “Mexicans,” as the Corpus Christi Caller called citizens of Mexican descent. Not surprisingly, these poor “Mexicans” were also criminals so the Caller saw no need to use their names.

There were 11 convictions for felony and one for aggravated assault. One “Mexican” was convicted of murder and received a 30-year sentence in the “pen.” Another one received 15 years for horse theft and forgery; one got two years for bigamy; another was sentenced to two years for cattle theft; and yet another received a two-year sentence for assault with intent to commit murder. The district attorney lost one case; have to assume it was one lucky Mexican.

The Honorable John C. Russell presided over district court on July 11, 1887. Other court officers included district attorney D. McNeil Turner, sheriff L. L. Wright, county attorney C. L. Coyner and district clerk R. B. Glover. Not a “Mexican” among the lot. The empaneled grand jury included C. K. Gravis, foreman, F. K. Ridder, Julian Palacios, R. R. Savage, J. W. Shaw, William Hebbron, Placido Benavides, G. I. Reynolds, Archie Parr, James Bryden, Fred Frank, and William Hubbard. The grand jury returned six true bills and all parties were quickly jailed. Three of the indictments were for horse theft, one for assault with intent to commit murder, and two for forgery.

Attorneys attending district court were J. O. Luby, J. W. Moses, Frank Feuille, Pat O’Dougherty from San Patricio County, J. S. McCampbell and Stanley Welch from Corpus Christi and C. C. Pierce of Laredo. Four murder cases were set for the following Tuesday.

Most of the town’s population was in attendance in court.

Rev. A. H. Sutherland of San Antonio gave several prohibition speeches, one in Spanish to a good-sized crowd. The Caller correspondent thought it was “interesting in the extreme.” Duval County was believed to be anti-prohibitionist, but people were willing to listen to opposing views. Rev. Sutherland and attorney Welch also debated prohibition to a crowded house. The Caller correspondent–Jeffreys–noted, “Mr. Welch proved himself worthy of grit of a true Democrat.”

Prohibition did not seem to excite people much. The Rev. S. Trefonio, a Mexican minister, spoke in Spanish on the plaza in favor of prohibition to a small crowd. He was not enthusiastically receive. The general impression, said the Caller, was that he did his cause more harm than good.

In other news, the Caller reported the church fair was a success and made $100. It did not mention which church. Performers included the vocal duet of Hays Dix and his sister, Mrs. Sutherland; a vocal comic duet by Dix and Coyner; a piano duet by Misses Croft and Garcia; a vocal solo by Mrs. Jarvis of Canada; and an instrumental solo by Lillie Ridder. After the church fair, young people hired music and went to another house and danced until early hours of the morning.

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