And a story stopped me dead. What drew my attention first is that it was signed by four of the most prominent Rockdale officials of a century ago.
It doesn’t need setting up. Here it is, in its entirety:
“Some thoughtless person has circulated the report that Dr. C. W. Reagin was recently intoxicated and confined in the calaboose.
“We desire to say that this is an error as nothing of the sort could be further from the truth.
“We desire to state that Dr. Reagin has never been known by either of the undersigned to take a drink and we never saw him the least bit under the influence of stimulants.
“We do not believe he ever takes a drink of intoxicants.
“This rumour doubtless has its foundation from the fact that an itinerant horse doctor visited Rockdale one day last week and, by the immoderate use of spiritous, vinuous and malt liquors, got drunk and was found in a state of intoxication sufficiently so that he was incarcerated in the city bastille.
“But Dr. Reagin is a veterinary surgeon and was not the horse doctor who was the guest of the city for a few hours.
“As stated above, we know Dr. Reagin to be one of the most temperate men in town and the next time a fellow tells you he was full, just tell him he is talking about somebody else.
“This article is written voluntarily and without the knowledge of Dr. Reagin and we publish it to correct a wrong impression.”
R. W. H. Kennon, Justice of the Peace
N. J. Alford, constable
J. H. Bonds, city marshall
E. A. Camp, assistant city attorney.
• You couldn’t make this stuff up.
• Wonder what Dr. Reagin said when he read this?
• “Spiritous, vinuous and malt liquors.” Has to be whiskey, wine and beer.
• This was probably the first, and last, time Rockdale’s jail was ever referred to as a “bastille,” a Paris fortress of French Revolution fame.
You’ve also got to remember the era and think about what being a “horse doctor” meant in 1910.
It was a pretty vital part of the way of life.
Only the very well off drove automobiles. Horse-drawn wagons were still an important part of transportation.
Horses pulled the plows that tilled the ground that produced the food.
So if you were a “horse doctor” 100 years ago you needed to look after your reputation.
Or, at least, your friends in high places looked after it for you!