The Antonia Teixera vs H. Steen Morris Rape Case (Oxsan)
In 1894 a young, very energetic and very vitriolic man named William Cowper Brann moved from Austin, Texas to Waco. Texas and started a weekly newspaper there called The Iconoclast. The newspaper was primarily composed of Brann’s editorials and a goodly number of those were addressed to chastisement of Baylor University, the Baptist school which was the bulwark of the town’s society.. It is difficult to firmly fix Brann’s religious inclinations. There are times when he
seems to be agnostic and others when he seems to call upon God in the same tone as the institution which he so despised in the Baptist church. In order to understand the editorial printed below which Brann printed in The Iconoclast in 1895 it is necessary to give you a dramatis personae then I’ll let Brann tell the story of Antonia Teixera and H. Morris Steen:
W. C. Brann---owner, publisher and editor of the paper.
Antonia Teixera—A Brazilian girl brought to Waco at age 11 to be instructed at Baylor.
Rev. Zachariah C. Taylor---A missionary to Brazil who brought Antonia to Waco.
Dr. Rufus C. Burleson—President of Baylor University
H. Steen Morris---Son-In-Law of Dr. Burleson and resident with his wife in that house.
The Apostle of the Devil---a title Brann frequently used to describe himself
It was as a result of this editorial that W. C. Brann was shot dead on the street in Waco as he emerged from a barbershop in late 1895.
Editorial by W. C. Brann
H. Steen Morris, a young man who parts his name on the side, was tried in this city a few days ago on the charge of raping Antonia Teixera, the “ward of the Baptist church”, while she was being “educated” at Baylor University for missionary work among the “heathen” Catholics of Brazil. All the influence of Baylor was brought to bear in favor of the man accused of invading its supposed sacred precincts to feed his unholy lust by the debauchment of a babe. As the Baptists are all-powerful in this county, and can easily make or break any man engaged in a purely local business, his acquittal seemed a foregone conclusion. No wonder the President of Baylor gleefully rubbed his hands together and predicted that the alleged rape-fiend “would have easy rolling”. For to oppose the wishes of the Baptist bosses were to court a social, political and business boycott by those who hold that their cult holds a copyright on freedom of conscience.
Dr. Burleson was going to sue The iconoclast for damages---in the sum of ‘steen million dollars I suppose….. Just how much of the Apostle’s wealth Baylor University wants---how many golden guineas it will require to heal the hurt his honor feels I do not know; but I am convinced that when he is jumped up by Baylor before a jury of his peers to demonstrate his right as an American sovereign, to denounce a damnable crime against the innocence of childhood by super-sanctified hypocrites, tumblebugs will give milk and frogs will grow feathers. “Conscience doth make cowards of us all”. Baylor will carefully lock the closet in which it keeps its interesting collection of skeletons, and refrain from blowing in the Apostle to see if he is loaded. That is what I said…. When the case was submitted to the jury it developed that the defendant did not have such easy rolling as the eminent divine had predicted, while the other five could not quite make up their mind that it was proper to put Dr. Burleson’s pious son-in-law in the penitentiary. The Reverend Zachariah C. Taylor, who brought Antonia to Texas …is protesting at this time that he knew then that she was a foul prostitute and is back in Brazil writing letters imploring her to return to her kith and kin in that faraway country. Why? He declared while in this country that her mother was a courtesan and all her relatives a very bad lot. Why should the poor girl return to such immoral surroundings---after enjoying three years of the elevating influence of Baylor University. Does he consider that her education is complete---that illegitimate birth constitutes Baylor’s graduating exercises—and that she should enter at once on the work of converting the Brazilian Catholics?… I do not quite understand this good man Taylor. When he brought her here he gave her a certificate of good character. When her downfall cast a shadow over the great Baptist University he declared that she had been bad from babyhood…
About four years ago Rev. Zachariah C. Taylor returned from Brazil, where he had been trying to convert the “heathen” , alias the Catholics. While in Brazil he resided in the house with a widow whom he now declares was a bawd…. He persuaded her to allow her little daughter to accompany him to Texas. The Baptists here made a big hullabaloo over her as a brand snatched from the burning---representing the cumulative result of the long and arduous labors of their missionary in a “heathen” land. She was a frail little thing, about eleven years old, but small for her age and possessed of average intelligence. She was committed to the care of President Burleson of Baylor with the understanding that after five years of careful schooling, she should return to Brazil and explain the heavenly water-route to her benighted Catholic brethren. Instead of being sent to the classroom she was relegated to the Burleson kitchen, where she served in the capacity of under-servant. About three years later it was discovered that her clothes didn’t fit her. That was not considered very remarkable, for such things happen at Baylor…so the Burlesons and the Morrises began casting around for a kind of private lying-in hospital where the babe could be born without attracting the attention of the public and frightening away good paying patrons for Baylor. A poor Catholic woman was induced to give the embryo missionary to the popish heathen a home and minister to her in her misfortune. Antonia stated, albeit with great reluctance that H. Steen Morris, a young man that seemed to have the run of the Baylor preserves solicited her favors and being refused ravished her person. She said that she made frequent complaints to the Burleson’s but “that nothing was done about it”…. It was then that the reverend president of Baylor University rushed into print with a screed branding as little better than a public bawd a child in short dresses, who to this day refers to him as “gran’pa”! It was then that all of the power of Baylor University was exerted, not to ferret out the criminal and bring him to the bar, but to forever blacken the character of the little orphan and to shield the alleged author of her shame.
And it was then—by the eternal gods!—that The Iconoclast---aligned its guns!
Antonia’s baby was born — three pounds — white. It lived just long enough to develop a striking resemblance to H. Steen Morris; but of course this may have been a remarkable coincidence. It died and was buried at the cost of the poor people who had cared for its mother when deserted by her contemptible alma mater. Its mother might have died in the throes of maternity had they relied upon the Burlesons and Morisses to pay for the medical expenses.
The men about town---Catholics, Atheists and Jews---paid the doctor’s bill, while the sainted Baylorians closed their purses and sighed for the wickedness of the world. The Catholic woman who played the mother’s part to the poor victim assured me that all the aid sent by the sanctified was six bits in cash and an old chemise.
Antonia is toiling today in an humble but honest occupation and enjoys the respect of all manly men and noble women. Not one word has ever been breathed against her good name except by the holy bigots and legal hirelings who are trying to help Baylor out of the hole. She is “faithful and honest”.
That is the naked truth in nunce anent Antonia Teixera’s debauchment---though told by the “Apostle of the Devil”
End of editorial
On April 1. 1898 Brann was walking with a friend past a barber shop in downtown Waco when a man stepped out of the door of the barber shop and shot him in the back from a distance of about ten feet. Brann drew his own revolver and fired six shots, all of which hit and killed his assailant, Tom Davis. Brann was arrested by a policeman, who did not notice that Davis’ shot had hit Brann in the back. Brann walked a few blocks to the police station with the policeman where it was noticed that he was bleeding and he was then carried home where he was treated by a doctor. He died two days later at his home, “The Oaks”.
Re: The Antonia Teixera vs H. Steen Morris Rape Case (Oxsan)
quote:Originally posted by Mugtoe ...Antonia stated, albeit with great reluctance that H. Steen Morris, a young man that seemed to have the run of the Baylor preserves solicited her favors and being refused ravished her person. She said that she made frequent complaints to the Burleson’s but “that nothing was done about it”…. ...
Maybe she should have told the Burlesons that he tried to get her to dance with him.
I didn't mean to infer that the pen was mightier than a pistol weilded by a backshooter.
I assume you didn't mean who is reading Burleson but rather Brann. Perhaps he isn't well read but *I* certainly find his way with words to be delightful.
Raz, one of these days when things are dull I'll post Brann'sm editorialo called "The Meanest Man In the World" which Brann wrote about a man who was an orphan and was taken in and raised by a man and wife and sent to unjiversity. Both of them then died and this guy refused to contribute to their burial expense despite the fact that he had grown rich----so Bran noiminated him as the meanest man in the woirld.
As to the basketball player it is now hypothesized that a fellow teammate shot him in the head. Competition for places on the Baylor team was stiff.
The police have a witness to the killing but no body nor do they have the alledged killer.