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PAGE  32

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By Jerry Adams

Copyright 1998, all rights reserved

BOARD OF TRADE / SALOON / 316 / MAIN ST. / G. P. JAMES, PROP.

GOOD FOR / 5 / IN TRADE

Aluminum-round-25mm (circa: 1899-1905, Fort Worth, Texas, estimated value: $65-$80)

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BOARD OF TRADE SALOON / 2 (cutout) / 316 MAIN ST.

GOOD FOR / 2 (cutout) / IN TRADE

Aluminum-triangular-29 mm ( circa: 1905-1911, Fort Worth, Texas, estimated value: $55-$75)

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George Preston James (Press) had been in the saloon business in Fort Worth since before 1883, and had operated The Parlor, The Tennessee and the Board of Trade Saloons. Other members of the James family in the saloon business in Ft. Worth included Rufus L. James(brother to G.P.), and Walter A. James(nephew of G.P.). Walter A. James appears to have been a bartender, while Thomas was sometimes shown as a bartender and sometimes an owner.

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G.P. James second from left with hat (photo from James family collection)

Walter A. James was no stranger to gunmen, he was bartending when he heard gunfighter Timothy I. Courtright’s statements about having "lived over his time" on February 7, 1887, a day before he was gunned down outside the White Elephant Saloon on Fort Worth’s Main Street. He knew Courtright, Luke Short, and other frontier shootists.

 

WILL YOU HAVE A DRINK WITH YOUR GUNPLAY?

Walker Hargrove, was a menacing hulk of a man. He knew how to use a gun, and proved it in Arlington, Texas in 1892, when he was the sole survivor of a gun battle that killed his father, brother and two other men. The four killings made him all the more feared by the local population. A few years later, he killed a man in Bowie, Texas, and barely escaped a vigilante mob. Minor crimes in addition to the five killings made him a well known menace to local law enforcement.

In 1908, the Board of Trade Saloon was under the ownership of Thomas B. James with Walter A. James tending bar. The saloon was located at 316 Main Street (north west corner of Third and Main Streets), where it had been since 1899. One day in 1908, Walker Hargrove walked into the Board of Trade, with a six gun, and began to make loud talk and trouble. W. A. James ordered Hargrove out of the saloon in no uncertain terms. Hargrove leaves with a threat on his lips. Two weeks later, Hargrove again comes into the Board of Trade, and orders a drink from Walter. As Walter set the glass up on the bar and turned to pour the drink, Hargrove pulled out a 45-caliber pistol and fired four shots into the back bar, shattering the glass.

At this point, most men would have panicked, dropped to the floor or ran. Not Walter, he calmly reached under the bar, retrieved his 38 caliber revolver and shot Hargrove four times neatly in the head. Walter was not charged in the death of Hargrove of course, and the town was rid of a troublemaker.

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G.P. James second from right, in entry to the Board of Trade Saloon at 316 Main St.

photo from the James family collection

QUIETER TIMES

Walter A. James continued to work as a bartender until prohibition put an end to the saloons. By 1923, he and his wife were listed as proprietors of a lunch counter at 225 W. 13th Street, and residing at 1119 Calhoun.

 

MARKET BAR / W. A. JAMES / PROP’R / FT. WORTH

GOOD FOR / 5 / IN TRADE

Aluminum-scalloped(8 lobes)- 29mm (circa: 1924-27, Ft. Worth, Tex., estimated value: $20-$25)

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In 1925 through 1927, W. A. James is listed as proprietor of the Market Bar at 1119 Calhoun. Even though prohibition was still in place until 1933, some of the domino parlors and soft drink stands called themselves "bars."

 

HORN PALACE / 1214 / CALHOUN

GOOD FOR / 2 / IN TRADE

Aluminum-scalloped (8 lobes)-23mm (circa: 1940-41, Ft. Worth, Texas, estimated value: $15-$20)

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By 1940, Walter James was listed as the proprietor of the Twelfth Street Liquor Store at 1214 Calhoun, and in 1940 and 1941 proprietor of the Horn Palace at 1214 Calhoun Street. Tokens are known from the Horn Palace, and Market Bar, but so far I have not found any from the Twelfth Street Liquor Store location. Walter A. James was still listed at the 1214 Calhoun Street address, with wife Ida as late as 1947.

 

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updated:  5 Oct 2000