Thursday, February 22, 2007


Baylor History, Part Eight

Once the commitment to move to Waco was made, there was great discontent among the student body, who to a man and woman were happy in the familiar surroundings of Baylor County. A preparatory trip to Waco was not reassuring, as the traveling party (Tiffany Baylor, student body president Wade Lloyd Wade and an Indian guide) found the University-Parks area to be particularly desolate. Not only was the land for the college infested with both fire ants and Africanized killer bees, but it was rife with hostile Indians from the Feifth Tribe. The Feifths were a particularly ferocious group, often armed not only with sword and shield, but with fragile eggshells filled with fire ants or bees and then hurled at an intruder.

As the small party camped on the banks of the Brazos, the Feifths attacked, striking at night from their village near present-day Fifth (nee: Feifth) Street and reaching the tent of Tiffany Baylor first. She fought valiantly but succumbed to the marauders, eventually being dragged back to their village where she lived out her life. Hearing the commotion, Wade Lloyd Wade fled. He ran headlong through the mesquite forest, cut, bruised and battered. He lost track of the weather, fell in a dry ravine, and lay there assuming death was to arrive on quiet feet at any moment. It was not death who found him, though. Rather, it was Waco pioneer Rapheon Sanger Memorial, a woodsman and nephew to Dwight Sanger Waco, the land speculator who had founded the town in much the same manner that Judge Baylor had founded his.

Memorial heard what he thought to be the sounds of a wounded animal in the ravine and responded on horseback. He found the young and wounded Wade instead, gasping on the gravel soil. Wade was delirious in the sun, and was trying to ask for “Baylor Wine.” Memorial took this to be a reference to the “Baylor Line,” a tracker’s trail from Fort Worth to Baylor County. Immediately, Memorial warmed to the stranger, with his reference to his familiar haunts, as Memorial was born near Baylor County himself and had ridden the Baylor Line many times. Memorial hoisted Wade onto his horse, brought him home, and fed and refreshed him. Later, Wade was able to return to Baylor and lie about the circumstances sufficiently enough that the planned move was completed. This account of the tale is drawn from the plaque which formerly stood in Memorial Hall on the Baylor campus.


Prof. Osler, I’m so confused. Where does the story of the Texas Rangers and the ALICO building fit in to all of this? Because here’s how I heard it:

Alice Franklin (of Franklin Ave. fame) and Will Washington (same for Washington Ave.) were something of a celebrity couple during their day. They in fact were known for engaging in a bit of public lewdness, and without much to do, the Feifth and Indian tribes used to watch them in amazement. Now keep in mind, though, that this was the nineteenth century, and so we’re talking about different degrees of lewdness than we might today, but every so often during their public acts one or both of their legs would become intertwined, setting off a riot among the tribes. This went on for months. Making the problem worse was that the suspension bridge had been built, and so there was a certain danger that Chisholm Trail folks might drive in to take a peek.

So that’s where the Rangers came in. Much of this took place prior to April, and so the Rangers took a break from spring training, met at this certain spot by the Brazos and the trail being developed by that Parks fellow, and traded their bats and gloves for the guns that were kept in this nice brick building. They established an elaborate warning system, so that when Alice or Will started interlocking their legs, the Rangers would break up the ensuing riots and inform the couple that their little act needed to end. At one point, the message became truncated to “Alice’s Leg Is Coming Over!” or “ALICO!”

Well, sounds of “ALICO!” were heard throughout the Waco settlement for years, but its meaning became lost. When the Greater Central Texas Enmity Insurance Group heard the old battle cry, the company took full advantage and changed its name to Amicable Life Insurance Company. The rest of that company's fraud is, of course, history, captured on a website:

Thanks for filling me in on that missing bit of history. There is so much that has been lost in the shrouds of time...

Not to worry, though, still to come is the exciting tales of Pat Nerf and his family, the old football stadium with the railroad as one sideline, and the gridiron heroics of "Stumpy Pete" Wilson and "Tailpipe" Laker.
Can't wait, Prof. Osler. And I do hope you tell the story of how Leon Jaworski-- Joe and Mira's boy-- fended off a gang of eighteen Republicans who attacked Jurisprudence Hall one afternoon in 1924 while the rest of campus was watching Baylor play at that stadium you mentioned. If I remember correctly, he did so armed only with a quill and an old set of brass knuckles. Although he saved the law school from being overrun, he unfortunately was unable to save Jurisprudence Hall itself, which is believed to have been made of painted cardboard and duct tape. Maybe you can fill in the blanks.
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