Tag Archives: duels

The Last “This Week in Texas History” For 2013

The subject of my Texas history column for the week of Wednesday, December 25 through Tuesday, December 31 is “affairs of honor” in early Texas.

Dueling was a nasty business southerners brought with them, and any real or imagined insult could result in crack-of-dawn combat.  Sam Houston refused to take dueling seriously and on a written invitation once jotted a note to his secretary:  “This is number twenty-four.  The angry gentleman must wait his turn.”

Wild End to a Wild Life

On September 8, 1859, David Smith Terry resigned as chief justice of the California supreme court and at dawn the next day killed a U.S. Senator in a duel.

His political career ruined, Terry returned to Texas, fought in the Civil War and after a short exile in Mexico went back to California.  Then in a railroad station confrontation on August 14, 1889, he was shot to death by the bodyguard of a U.S. Supreme Court justice.