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And Now You Know: Orange starts 1923 with a knife fight, a fake doctor, and a Leader reader complaint

Mike Louviere
And Now You Know

The Orange Daily Leader’s first edition of 1923 was a potpourri of news. The Leader reported that Orange was being considered “a Sportsmen’s Paradise” for the nice catches of redfish, white perch, and “deep river catfish” in spite of it being the winter season.

The first serious news was a report of a knife fight between John Caldwell, an oilfield worker, and “Jimmie”, the Chinese owner of the China Cafe.

The fight started at the corner of Fourth and Front Streets and carried on for about a block. Caldwell fared well with only a knife slash in one shoe. “Jimmie” had cuts on his face that required the care of a local doctor.

Caldwell was taken into custody by Orange city patrolman named Cochran and charged with fighting. “Jimmie” was not taken into custody, but it was expected that charges would be filed at a later date.

Cochran interrupted Caldwell’s attempt to run away from “Jimmie’s” knife after Caldwell hit him in the nose.

The fight grew out of a request Caldwell made for a drink of water at the China Café a month before when words were exchanged between Caldwell and “Jimmie”, the café owner.

Charles Johnson was being held in the county jail after being charged with administering Jamaica Ginger under the guise of

being a physician. He was awaiting trial before a judge. A woman had been the complaining witness in the case.

The Gulf Production Company had begun work preparing to drill five new locations in the Orange oil field, They were also working over two abandoned wells.

J.Douglas Morgan was in Orange with his large tent theater. He was presenting his comedy drama, “The Days of Auld Lang Syne”. Admission for all was only ten cents. Reserved seats were available, tickets for them could be purchased at the ticket office in the tent theater.

The county court was busy with 100 persons being charged with speeding. Twenty five cases were from persons living in Beaumont. One day had been called “Beaumont Day.”

R.E. Lee was charged with exceeding the speed limit of 25 miles per hour. He was heard by the court without a jury. Judge McCarver took the case under advisement.

R.W. Cook was charged with excessive speeding and running without headlights. Cook elected to go to trial before a jury.

The majority of those accused pled guilty, paid a fine, and did not go to court.

The week of January 21 to 27 had been declared Texas Highway Week. The Orange Chamber of Commerce had asked all civic organizations and clubs to devote, if possible, all programs and discussions in their meetings that week to highway matters.

A reader of the Leader who chose to identify himself or herself only as “M D E” wrote to complain about the concrete road being called the “Orange-Beaumont Highway”. The person voiced objection to the road being called the “Orange-Beaumont Highway” and said the road was “Orange’s road, bought and paid for by Orange money.”

The editor of the Leader replied and said that in the future the Leader would refer to the new concrete road as “Orange County Highway No._______”.

“But we will have to get the official designation from the highway department,” wrote the editor.

“And now you know.”