Recently we wrote a column on the "bad guys" who inhabited Denison for short periods of time. But not all of the colorful characters around town were bad. Some of them were just plain "colorful." Some of these characters were still around entertaining the citizens with their antics well into the 1960s.

Recently we wrote a column on the "bad guys" who inhabited Denison for short periods of time. But not all of the colorful characters around town were bad. Some of them were just plain "colorful." Some of these characters were still around entertaining the citizens with their antics well into the 1960s.


At the top of the list in my explanation is one I remember. He was Justice of the Peace Judge M.M. Scholl, who was better known as The Snake Editor for his articles written in the Denison Dispatch. It was said that Scholl never let the facts interfere with a good story.


He wore a top hat most of the time, had long, flowing sideburns and always had a flower in his lapel. An undated story in my file tells of a gun duel that spiced up a monotonous day in Denison with the early Denison Editor in the lead.


The story goes, "The sound of gunfire re-echoed up and down Main Street. Pedestrians scurried for cover. As abruptly as it started, all was quiet.


"But this time, the corner of Main Street and Austin Avenue did not claim another victim.


"He hid behind a lot of iron pipe and the bullets just bounced off," complained Mort M. Scholl, editor of the Denison Dispatch, limping slightly from a flesh wound he received in the gun battle.


"The intended victim was Editor Lane of the rival Morning Herald. As Snake Editor of the Dispatch, Mort Scholl had taken exception to the city officials and Lane’s defense of them. He had written in its afternoon edition that he was coming out on Main Street gunning for Lane. He was halted from continuing the battle by a trio of friends who induced him to continue the battle with his pen, rather than his gun.


"It was incidents such as this that made Mortimer Maughs Scholl one of the Southwest’s colorful newspaper editors."


All I can say is "thank goodness that tradition for editors didn’t carry forward into the 1980s."


A dentist, Dr. H.T. Walker, whose office was at 210-1/2 West Main, may not be remembered by many, but his daughter, Miss Mildred Walker, will be. She taught Spanish at Denison High School for many years and will be remembered by all those who struggled through Spanish class and now wish they had studied a little harder and retained more of the language.


Dr. Walker became deaf in his later years. He worked out west as a young man and the late Claud Easterly, long-time editor of The Denison Herald, said Walker probably had some very colorful experiences and interesting stories to tell if he had picked his arrivals at a more opportune time.


However, at that time The Denison Herald’s newsroom was upstairs in the corner building at 331 West Woodard. Dr. Walker would come up the steps shouting at the top of his "bugle voice", "Fifty years ago I was…" followed by some entertaining story.


Unfortunately this usually was at press time when Claud didn’t have time to sit and listen to his tales. However, no matter how loudly Claud tried to tell Dr. Walker that he was busy, Dr. Walker still couldn’t hear him and kept right on telling his story. "You couldn’t ignore him," Claud said, but he was rarely able to hear the full tale.


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A solicitor for the interurban company made his mark on a meeting of the Denison Lions Club in the 1920s or 1930s in the banquet room of the Hotel Denison. He had been invited to speak to the Denison club as a commercial agent for the electric line. He either lived in Sherman or Dallas and was known far and wide for his ability to imitate a drunk.


The Lions Club luncheon convened when an "obviously" inebriated man stumbled in and sat down next to Claud. Fortunately, Claud had heard about the speaker’s ability and his popularity at appearing at club meetings. Besides, Claud couldn’t smell any liquor on him and the whiskey bottle he held in his hand looked like it contained water.


When he sat down after the invocation, a quiet fell over the room as the gentleman began acting strangely. "He even had a glint in his eye," Claud said. The man continued to act so strange that W.E. "Bill" Cox got up to escort him to the door. About halfway there, the man explained that it was a joke.


Bill said he had gone so far then that he threw him out anyway. Then they came back in together and the speaker gave his program.


Another service club story involved the Denison Rotary Club. Dick Gray, a reporter for The Denison Herald, did something that today wouldn’t be ethical. He planted a false story in the newspaper.


The story said that Hal Collins, Denison Ford dealer, who also was a Rotarian, had been bitten by a dog and that it was feared he might have rabies. Hal had not been bitten, but had cooked the joke up with Gray.


When the Rotary luncheon time rolled around, Hal was there. Somehow he filled his mouth with toothpaste and in the middle of the meeting he stood up and started slobbering, foaming at the mouth and acting crazy.


Rotarians seated next to him ran over each other getting out of the way.


Don’t know what time of the year either of the service club incidents occurred, but they sure would have made good April Fools jokes. Beware everyone, that fools day is just around the corner.


Donna Hunt is former editor of The Denison Herald. She lives in Denison and can be contacted at d.hunt_903@yahoo.com.