July 24, 2012:
Thomas D. Post as hotelier–another perspective
I’ve written a couple of posts about Thomas D. Post, who was the stepfather of Miguela Bottger. One was about a dead body found in his orchard in 1893; the other concerned my confusion about Miguela’s maiden name. Most of my information about Tom Post comes from newspaper notices in the social columns and his obituaries, which generally referred to him as a great guy and “much beloved.”
Recently, however, I acquired a 1966 copy of A Room for the Night: Hotels of the Old West by Richard A. Van Orman and found, to my amazement, a paragraph about Tom Post during his days as a hotelier, which was not exactly complimentary:
“The revolver played a prominent role in the West, and it was not healthy for a landlord to be curt with a guest…. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Exchange Hotel was run by an obnoxious fellow, Tom Post. When a guest found fault with the soiled linens, Post nonchalantly retorted that it was changed regularly once a year, whereupon the traveler muttered that an Indian tepee would have been more pleasant. As agent for a stage company, Post was in a position to make it bothersome to those staying at rival houses by refusing them a seat on the stage. Told this once too often, a salesman warned Post that if he did not find him a seat, the stage company would be minus an agent. The quick-tempered drummer was soon on his way.” (Citation from George T. Buffum, Smith of Bear City and other Frontier Sketches (New York, 1906), 140-141.
Even as recently as a few years ago, it might have been impossible for me to locate a copy of this book from 1906, but now I can read it without having a hard copy in my hands, thanks to www.openlibrary.org.
Perhaps later I’ll post the quote from Buffum’s book, which is even less complimentary than the above paragraph. Maybe this should serve as a reminder that you can’t always believe everything you read in the paper, or that a newspaper article might only tell a part of the story.