seems that people will often fight over some mighty ridiculous things.
I remember a while back seeing a story, in the Hallettsville
paper from well over 100 years ago, where a fellow shot and killed
his partner just for playing the wrong domino. People in the old days
took things pretty seriously, to say the least.
Not long ago, while researching some old issues of the Halletsville
Herald (they spelled Hallettsville with one "t" back then), I
came across several articles about two men in Yoakum who were competitors
in the manufacture and sale of soft drinks. They both kept cutting
prices until it got to the point where neither of them could make
a profit and each one blamed the other for the problem.
It was only a matter of time before the competitors, J.N. Fagg and
C.A. Pelzer, would have a physical confrontation. Both of the men
published their views in the Yoakum Times newspaper and as
was bound to happen, they came face-to-face on a city street one day
and the fight was on.
The newspaper article described it this way: "The two met on Grand
Avenue in front of E. Grieder's Saloon. No sooner did they get in
speaking distance till one spoke to the other in a harsh manner, the
other responded with his good right arm and a fight was on. Fagg being
the heaviest and strongest punished Pelzer severely, striking him
The newspaper reported that Pelzer put up a good fight but Fagg was
just too overpowering for him to handle. Like something out of a John
Wayne movie, the soda-pop competitors slugged it out all the way down
the dusty street until they were in front of John McCarty's Saloon.
It was at this point in the scrap that Pelzer found his wagon and
the gun which was concealed under the seat. Fagg, who had anticipated
Pelzer going for a weapon, stood in the doorway of McCarty's Saloon
and drew his own .45 six-shooter firing twice at his adversary. Both
bullets struck Pelzer's wagon but missed him completely. At this point
police officers W.P. Davis and Holly Ray placed the two men under
This ruckus was reported in the August 10, 1899, issue of the Hallettsville
paper and after placing the aged article in my files I thought that
was the end of the story. But lo and behold, the next paper I researched
was the August 17, 1899, edition and there I spotted the headline
With that kind of emphatic headline, I had to read on and it didn't
take but one paragraph for me to realize that the soda-water boys
were at it again. According to the paper: "Yoakum was the scene of
an assassination last night. J.N. Fagg, who has been doing a soda
water business in Yoakum, is the victim and the assassin, at the time
of this writing is unknown."
Fagg was leader of the Yoakum band and was instructing one of his
students upstairs over a steam laundry when he decided to go downstairs.
Witnesses said that he hardly had time to get downstairs when they
heard the bark of a .45 six shooter and someone utter the words, "there
now." Again, the story was picked up by the Halletsville Herald from
the Yoakum Times. The Yoakum paper ran the piece on August 12.
Although the paper said the assassin was "unknown," it really doesn't
take a rocket scientist to figure out the killer's identity. And later
in the paper I found the obvious; "Deputy Ike Griffith's blood hounds
were secured from Shiner
and runners were sent to Halletsville,"
reported the Yoakum Times. "Deputy Smothers reached Yoakum early Saturday
They even brought in bloodhounds from Gonzales.
The article stated: "The Shiner dogs took a round-a-bout trail and
after taking a circuitous route halted in front of Adam Pelzer's home.
This was done twice. The Gonzales dogs did likewise, but lost the
track a few steps from Pelzer's home. Pelzer was arrested on suspicion
and is in jail here."
So far, I haven't found any information about any trial being held
or just what became of Mr. Pelzer but one thing is clear; it didn't
take much for a fellow to kill another in the old days, and they would
fight for some mighty peculiar reasons.