TexasEscapes.comTexas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1800 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : TEXAS HOTELS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP : : SEARCH SITE
HOME
SEARCH SITE
ARCHIVES
RESERVATIONS
Texas Hotels
Hotels
Cars
Air
Cruises
 
 Texas : Features : Columns : Bob Bowman's East Texas

Joe Tonahill of Jasper
and The Jasper County Museum

by Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman

When Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy in 1963, an East Texas lawyer soon found himself thrust into history.

Joe Tonahill of Jasper, who by then was already a noted attorney, became the lawyer for Jack Ruby, who shot Oswald as he was being transferred while in police custody.

National news photographers caught Oswald’s shooting at the instant it happened.

Today, Tonahill’s life and his law practice has been preserved with a display of his old office at the Jasper County Museum in Jasper.

Museum Director Nina Smith had placed with care Tonahill’s eyeglasses, his papers, a magnifying glass, and other everyday objects Tonahill used when he was alive.

But Tonahill’s daughters Anne Tonahill Smith and Susie Tonahill Hile, piled the papers and scattered other objects. “Too neat,” they said, making the office look more like the one they remembered as children.

Tonahill’s old office had a photo mural of Jack Ruby’s slaying of Oswald, but the mural had to be put on the wrong wall in the museum replica because it was too large for the replica wall.

Framed sketches from the Ruby trial are originals from the legal proceedings in Dallas. And elsewhere are dozens of other sketches by courtroom artists since photographers were not permitted in the courtroom.

Some of the original sketches, however, were destroyed when the CBS offices in New York became debris as the twin towers went down on 9/11/2001.

Ruby’s trial made Tonahill famous, but he was already respected throughout Texas legal circles.

The Jasper County Museum is open on Fridays and Saturdays, but will soon expand to include Wednesday through Saturday.


Bob Bowman's East Texas
June 6, 2010 Column
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers
Copyright Bob Bowman

(Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of 43 books about East Texas. He can be reached at bob-bowman.com)
Bob Bowman's East Texas >
"All Things Historical" archive >

More: People

Related Topics:
East Texas Towns
Texas Towns
Texas Ghost Towns
Texas
Hotels

The Forgotten Towns of East Texas, Vol. I
By Bob and Doris Bowman
 
HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | TEXAS HOTELS
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES

Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | MAPS

TEXAS FEATURES
Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | HOTELS | USA | MEXICO

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
Website Content Copyright ©1998-2008. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: June 6, 2010