No Gambling in Comanche, Texas!

Quite a few years ago I was lucky enough to have two young ladies in my American Lit. class in Comanche, Texas. They were as beautiful as they were intelligent, and their GPA’s led their graduating class. I was given the following information some time back, and when I realized that Lauri and Susan had submitted it as a class project, I decided to pass it on to those of you who have never read it.

The following information is put together from Lauri Albin’s and Susan Thompson’s class project that they did for junior high history teacher, Stewart Caffey. It was originally told by Earl Albin about his parents, Clarence Albin and Malissie (Edwards) Albin. I wish I knew the month when the following took place.

The year was 1919, and it was a Saturday afternoon when Earl, his cousin Howell Edwards, and his mother, Malissie, decided to leave the Edwards’ home (about three miles west of Comanche) and go into town. After traveling about a mile, the group saw a “Ford roadster with a bed on the back, parked on the side of the road.” Earl and his mother recognized it as belonging to a prominent rancher who lived in the area.

Malissie (Edwards) Albin suddenly remembered that before she left home, she had seen some cars pull into the Bryson place which had an old vacant house on it. She also recalled that there was a time when Comanche County men would gather in an old seed house near their home. The men used the vacant building as their local casino, so to speak. Putting two and two together, Mrs. Edwards assumed that the men were playing cards once again, and she proceeded to turn her car into the Bryson lane, got out and walked up to the door, and entered it before anyone inside was any the wiser.

There were about eight or ten men playing in the house, and when Malissie Albin stepped over the threshold, they scattered, warning about the same number of men who were playing in the old shed at the back of the house. “They were all running around and hiding.”

The men were playing cards on top of a wagon sheet, and Malissie calmly gathered up the sheet with the evidence inside and placed it in the car. She also confiscated coats and any other evidence that the men in their hurry to escape had left behind. Taking everything with her into Comanche, Malissie located the city marshal and told him the names of the men whom she had recognized.

I assume that Earl and his cousin must have been left behind when Malissie headed for town with the evidence because the boys were able to find Earl’s father, Clarence Albin, hiding in the weeds at the Bryson place. “Daddy got to telling us what he would do for us if we didn’t tell ‘Lissie.’ He got on his horse he had tied behind the hay shed and rode into town the back way up through the reservoir. He turned into the wagon yard and tied his horse up before my mother even got to town.

“I’m not sure, but I don’t think me and Howell went to town with her. I don’t think we would go to town. There were about 12-16 men there, and my mother found out who most of them were. They were prominent businessmen in Comanche, and some came very close to being turned out of the Baptist Church. They fined most of them for gambling.”

Ironically enough, the wagon sheet that the men were gambling on belonged to the local sheriff. He didn’t happen to be there, but his brothers were, and I would assume that he looked a little sheepish when he claimed his sheet. Some of the other Comanche men who were caught red handed were a “prominent café man, one or two merchants, a tailor shop man,” and several others.

“A Boswell boy, who was working over at a house about a mile away, said it looked like a movie picture show over there when the men were trying to get away.”

My thank-you goes out to Lauri and Susan for preserving this wonderfully colored piece of local history!

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for and marketing small-town Texas.
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One Response to No Gambling in Comanche, Texas!

  1. missy jones says:

    Replying to Janella Hudson’s post. My Mother and Daddy married in 1912, and she said that before that, she, her mother and father, and two younger sisters would come to Comanche(they lived near the Creamer community) and would walk around town to shop. The girls wore long dresses, and my Mother said when they were ready to pass a saloon on the square her mother would tell them, “Girls, hold your skirts”. Girls didn’t show their ankles in public, and you certainly didn’t show them to men sitting in the saloons.

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