a Hanging Goes Wrong by Mike Cox 2-4-16
Ranchhands Meet Judge Lynch by Mike Cox 9-25-13
In the late winter of 1896, two Waggoner Ranch cowboys took a notion
that robbing banks would be less work – and definitely more profitable
-- than wrangling cattle...
the Most Fun from "The Only Hanging for 50 Miles Around." by
Mike Cox 4-4-13
The tale of one Sam Walker, told in the Shiner Gazette on Jan. 12,
1898 and rediscovered by Austin history buff Sloan Rodgers, is likely
fiction disguised as news, but that surely didn’t lessen the pleasure
of reading it.
Mystery Murders by Mike Cox 11-21-12
Only a village with a few hundred residents in 1841, Austin experienced
at least a couple of homicides that year that by today’s standards
read more like big-city whodunits.
interview provides historical insight by Delbert Trew
Deadly Tower by Murray Montgomery 9-18-12
One of the saddest days in Texas history occurred August 1, 1966.
On that day a crazed man started firing from the observation deck
at the University of Texas tower picking random human targets
on the ground and hitting them with deadly accuracy...
Thornton: King of the oilfield firefighters and rainmaker
by Clay Coppedge 5-1-12
Hay and the Demise of the Lone Highwayman
by Mike Cox 2-9-12
Sometimes, no matter how good the story, a compelling tale gets
forgotten. That’s sure the case with the Texas outlaw known in his
day as “the lone highwayman.”
Ghost of Thurber by Bob Hopkins 9-28-11
and Skeleton by Mike Cox 9-22-11
Skeleton in Brackettville...
Murdered Sheriff by Bob Bowman 7-10-11
Angelina County Sheriff William Reed (Bill) McMullen was one of
the men who was killed during a feud between the Gilley and Windham
families at Homer, the county seat of Angelina County in the 1860s...
Hill by Bob Bowman 6-19-11
Sitting atop a scenic hilltop in southwestern Henderson County,
Science Hill lasted only a few decades, but its reputation as a
center of education is well-remembered by descendants of its founders
and builders. So is its violence in the early days of the Civil
Tinaja by Mike Cox 6-16-11
A geologic feature in Big Bend National Park called Ernst Tinaja,
a deep natural water hole dug out of the bedrock over the millenia
by erosiona place of beauty tainted by a history of death.
of the Hanging Era by Bob Bowman 4-17-11
From the inception of the Republic of Texas in 1836, the method
of punishing criminals was usually by hanging at the county level.
But in 1924, the State of Texas took the responsibility for capital
punishment and changed the method from hanging to electrocution.
Washington’s Execution by Bob Bowman 12-26-10
When the Texas prison system plugged in its electric chair in 1924,
would you believe that George Washington was one of the first four
men to be executed? Don’t laugh, it really happened...
Fire by Mike Cox 12-16-10
A raging winter prairie fire. an arsonist, and post Civil War justice
in Hunt County.
Legend of Campbell’s Branch by Murray Montgomery
If you leave Hallettsville traveling on FM 957 towards Breslau,
you will cross over a small creek named West Campbell Branch – known
as just plain “Campbell Branch” to most folks. Recently I came across
a fascinating story, from 1944, about the legend of Campbell’s Branch...
Murder of Dr. Sam Houston Adams; Slaton, Texas, 1930s by James
The murder of Dr. Sam Houston Adams is not a tragic tale. It’s not
necessarily a gloomy story. Nor is it a hopeful story about overcoming
hardships or tribulations. It’s not quite folklore either. No. For
lack of a better description, it is simply - a love story.
Tar and Feathering of Father Joseph M. Keller, Slaton, Texas, 1920's
by James Villanueva 10-1-10
On a Saturday night, March 4, 1922, in Slaton, what
may have begun as a whisper, an aside, a comment, or just mindless
chatter amongst neighbors, transformed the community...
Haunting of the Old Travis County Jail by Mike Cox
Harvey, 34, had the distinction of being the last of nine men legally
hanged in the castle-like stone jail...
Hanging in Austin by Mike Cox 8-19-10
Forty years ago, the late Edmunds Travis of Austin told me about
a hanging he reluctantly covered for the Austin daily he edited
a Dead Man by Bob Bowman
George Hughes of Sherman may have been the only man in East Texas
to be lynched while he was dead...
and order used to be so very different by Delbert Trew
Law and order came slowly in the West, because it required decent
citizens, fed up with crime and carousing, to finally stand up and
put up the money to hire a sheriff or marshal to maintain law and
by Rope” by Bob and Doris Bowman
The book explores 49 lynchings and legal hangings in East Texas
between 1862 and 1942.
Wild Bill Was No Hero by Murray Montgomery
The Legend of Bill Longley
Very Personal Ghost and the Hanging on Sawyer Oak by C. F. Eckhardt
I’ve come to the conclusion, over the years, that when it comes
to ghosts there are two sorts of people—those who realize ghosts
exist and those who don’t want to realize it. One of the sure ways
to become one of the first variety is to see a ghost. However, even
if you see a ghost, you may not realize at once what you’ve seen.
I know. It happened to me...
Roan Mystery by Mike Cox
On Dec. 13, 1879, the Atlanta Constitution published a brief story
that should have been big news in Texas, but somehow no editor in
the Lone Star state picked up on the Georgia daily’s report. The
story dealt with the purported solution of a 29-year-old mystery
in Central Texas, the disappearance of one John Roan...
in a Bale by Mike Cox
Though most of the ginning is done by brainless machinery, the industry’s
human element has developed a colorful folklore with a range of
subsets. But no ginning story can top the occasional tale of a body
in a bale.
gunfight in Hemphill by Bob Bowman
With deep roots in East Texas, John Wesley Hardin was our most famous
outlaw and gunfighter, but many of his raids and shootings in the
pineywoods have remained unchronicled. A little-known incident in
which he won a gunfight with a Sabine County deputy sheriff at Hemphill...
Indians by Mike Cox
Early one morning, Rebecca and her niece, Susan Jane Ayres, happened
to be on the porch of the Duncan cabin when startled by an Indian
woman who stuck her head up from a place of concealment in a nearby
Packing Mamma by Bob Bowman
One of the most popular songs in the U.S. during the mid-1940s was
“Pistol Packing Mama.” But few know that the song came from East
Texas... Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Brunt was killed in a shootout
with bootlegger Red Creel near Rusk in 1939...
Gruesome Prophecy Tattooed on a Soldier’s Breast
Raid by Mike Cox
When the bell atop the First Baptist Church started clanging about
9 o’clock that Sunday night, it was not a call to worship. It was
June 11, 1865. A full moon hung over Austin, a city of some 4,000
Good by Clay Coppedge
Good was involved in a fabled but implausible shootout with another
rambunctious pioneer of the day, Gabe Henson.
Murder by C. F. Eckhardt
One of the many unsolved mysteries of the West.
Buffalo by Mike Cox
"A group of buffalo hunters had gotten drunk and were working
on getting drunker. As the Webb boys got the story, the recently
departed fellow had killed in a man while arguing over cards..."
at a school by Bob Bowman
During the evening of March 12, 1926, as students and parents watched
a play at Center Point school in Trinity County...
Shotgun by Mike Cox
John Wesley Hardin's shotgun used by him to kill the Sheriff of
DeWitt County, the most notorious of the men who had served in the
State Police of the early 1870s...
Branded Murder 1889 by Murray Montgomery
To the cowboys who rode the range in West Texas during the [1890s]
there was one longhorn steer that was always an object of dread.
He was a big, white fellow with “Murder 1889” branded in huge letters
on his left side. His appearance among their herds brought a chill
of terror to the superstitious...
preceded death of a town by Delbert Trew
Chipita Rodriquez died on Friday, Nov. 13th, 1863. She is believed
to be the only woman ever legally hanged by the state of Texas.
Though guilty by circumstantial evidence only, her death seemed
to place a curse on the town of San Patricio, Texas, as it signaled
the beginning of the end of the small settlement...
Newman, part II by Mike Cox
About 11 p.m. on June 9, 1898 at a point called Coleman Switch about
four miles west of Santa Anna, Newman and three other masked men
descended on a Santa Fe passenger train...
Newman Gang by Mike Cox
Bud Newman didn’t amount to much as an outlaw, but not for lack
Pistol by Mike Cox
Whatever became of Ben Thompson’s six-shooter?
Thompson, a British-born former Texas Ranger and soldier of fortune
with a penchant for booze and gambling, made quite a reputation
as city marshal of Austin in the early 1880s. His life ended violently
in San Antonio on the night of March 11, 1884 when someone gunned
him down along with former outlaw-turned-lawman King Fisher of Uvalde...
Robber by Mike Cox
Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” stands as an enduring classic,
but truth being stranger than fiction, Texas can claim one of the
nation’s more bizarre real-life holiday tales – a story of a Santa
Claus gone bad...
Mystery of Lady Bountiful by Bob Bowman
November 22 will mark the 85th anniversary of an East Texas murder
that created a still-lingering mystery and put a timber baroness
in a pauper’s grave.
Bones in the Courthouse Crawlspace by Johnny Stucco
What the exterminator saw...
Gate” by Johnny Stucco
In Cold Blood: Clay County, Texas 1975
A needless killing for a fortune that wasn’t there.
in South Texas: Reading Black - Unionist, George Washington - Wall
Confederate by Linda Kirkpatrick
The northern end of South Texas is still considered by many as a
remote, desolate area that could only be home to rattlesnakes, horned
toads, scorpions and occasionally an outlaw...
Ex-Ranger W.S.J. Sullivan, and the hanging of condemned preacher
Morrison, the last man ever legally hanged in Wilbarger County.
Feud in Lampasas County by Clay Coppedge
Christmas by C. F. Eckhardt
The Murder of LaSalle County Sheriff Charles B. McKinney
for Hangings by Bob Bowman
Before the electric chair gave Texas an alternative way of punishing
murderers and the like, Texas counties had the local authority to
Ringo by Mike Cox
"It didn't play out quite like a scene from "Gunsmoke," but
two of the Old West's more notorious characters faced each other
in Austin's red light district in 1881..."
"No Gallows" by Bob Bowman
The names of some East Texas towns can be downright confusing. And
much of the confusion arises from mispronunciations which, during
the passage of time, have become actual names.
Starr The Bandit Queen by Maggie Van Ostrand
"I regard myself as a woman who has seen much of life," said Belle
Star to The Fort Smith Elevator in 1888, a year before she died...
Ranger Meets His End on New Years Day 1940
Story and photos courtesy of William G. Howell
Soda-Pop War by Murray Montgomery
It seems that people will often fight over some mighty ridiculous
things. I remember a while back seeing a story, in the Hallettsville
paper from well over 100 years ago, where a fellow shot and killed
his partner just for playing the wrong domino. People in the old
days took things pretty seriously, to say the least...
1862 Hangings at Gainesville Texas by W.T. Block
Certainly one of the worst atrocities of the Civil War occurred
in Gainesville, Texas in Oct. 1862, when 40 men, suspected of Union
sympathies, were hanged...
Night the Posse Chased Santa by Maggie Van Ostrand
December 23 will mark the 79th anniversary of the bloody melodrama
which was about to take place in the town of Cisco in West Central
Texas, on the day before Christmas Eve 1927. I know about it because
of an article written at the time by the great Texas columnist,
Boyce House. He should know. He was there...
Henry and the Shoal Creek Treasure by C. F. Eckhardt
"...While Santa Anna was trying to put down the Texas rebellion
of 1836, two high-ranking Mexican officers-one was, so the story
goes, the paymaster, the other a high-ranking general-decided to
steal the entire payroll for the Mexican Army in Texas. ...In the
meantime, two of the common soldiers hatched a plan of their own.
Why enrich the paymaster? Why not kill him-and the other five soldiers-and
have the fortune to themselves?..."
Worst Feud by Bob Bowman
The deadliest feud happened in East Texas between 1840 and 1844.
The Regulator and Moderators War was the first and largest American
feud in numbers of participants and fatalities.
Marsh Rice by Archie P. McDonald
Everyone loves a murder mystery, especially if the murder happened
a long time ago and did not involve someone they know. The story
of William Marsh Rice's demise is such a case...
Case of Beaumont's Missing Marble Corpse by W. T. Block, Jr.
It was July of 1901 in Beaumont, and the frenzy of oil excitement
rushed on unabated... In the midst of all the oil madness, there
emerged one of the strangest tales ever to unfold in the "sawdust
city," the case of Beaumont's missing corpse that had turned to
Gunfight that Killed Helena by C. F. Eckhardt
"The Colonel's son has been gunned down, in cold blood or so
the story implies..."
of Local Doctor During Reconstruction by Murray Montgomery
After the Civil War ended, folks in Texas and throughout the South
underwent a phase in time known as "Reconstruction." During this
period, the states that had previously been part of the Confederacy
were now subject to military rule as well as, occupation by Union
Carey's Escape from the Murderous Yocum Gang by W. T. Block
Just another fly caught up in Yocum's web of murder and intrigue,
Carey not only survived his slated assassination and dismemberment
in Yocum's alligator slough, but he lived instead to finger the
gang and account for its destruction.
criminal or a saint? You never know by Delbert Trew
"Route 66 certainly endured its share of crime in its heyday."
Inn: The Devil's Own Lodging by W T Block Jr.
"A gentleman's life...held no attraction for Squire Yocum,
a man who literally was nursed almost from the cradle on murder
and rapine, and for many years Yocum's Inn was actually a den of
robbers and killers..."
Tragedies by Bob Bowman
An intriguing family mystery spanning more than 135 years is told
by three tombstones lying behind a rusting iron fence in a small
East Texas cemetery.
Shootings at Albuquerque by Charley Eckhardt
Burning by Mike Cox
“'Where they have burned books,' German poet Johann Heinrich Heine
wrote in the 19th century, 'they will end in burning human beings.'
Indeed, Texans have done both...."
Hanging by Mike Cox
"... No matter White’s official status, most folks remembered
him as the sheriff who hanged a tenant farmer named George Freeny
for killing his son-in-law..."
Supper by Bob Bowman
A tragic, unthinkable incident in the spring of 1847, frequently
associated with the Regulator-Moderator War, remains after 157 years
one of East Texas’ worst mass murders -- if it was murder.
DELL, Tranquil setting belies past by Clay Coppedge
The principle set for the sequel to the movie "Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
Doc by Mike Cox
Herman Webster Mudgett, America’s first serial killer
Bonnie and Clyde Were Caught by Bob Bowman
A Panhandle Ghost Community by Delbert Trew
Two murders and a bank robbery
at Camp Swift 1942 - The Tragic Death of Little Lucy Maynard
by John Troesser
Bowie by Mike Cox
On the night of May 5, 1837, two officers of the Republic of Texas'
army lay asleep in their tent at Camp Bowie. Only one of them would
Hanging by Mike Cox
While not quite on the level of "A Christmas Carol," "The Miracle
on 42nd Street," or "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," the story
of the McDade Christmas clean up has become one of Texas' more frequently
told Yuletide tales.
Famous Murder by Bob Bowman
80th anniversary of one of East Texas' most famous mysteries
King by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales" column)
"It can't atone for his murder, or even the apparent contempt
of those who buried him, but at least James W. King lies in a beautiful
by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales" column)
Pearl was tried and convicted in Brown County. The jury's finding
in regard to his punishment was easily written on a single piece
of paper: Death by hanging.
for Old Murders by Bob Bowman
Between the 1860s and 1940s, East Texas produced some of the strangest
murders in Texas.
- by Mike Cox
For about the last quarter of the 19th century, and the first two
decades of the 20th century, being a "wet" or a "dry" defined a
Texan politically much more accurately than being Democrat or Republican.
Both sides of the issue passionately believed they were in the right.
Often, they were willing to fight over their belief, sometimes to
Barrymore Shooting by Bob Bowman
Someone asked John Barrymore, the patriarch of America's
famous family of thespians, what he thought about Texas. In his
deep, resonant voice, Barrymore replied: "Texas is a no man's land
where sudden death lurks in every bistro." He had good reason for
feeling that way.
Bank Robbery (Dalton Gang, 1894) by Bob Bowman
Longley Does Not Get Along Well With Others.
A Visit to the Giddings City Cemetery
Bill Longley, his hangings, and his grave.
Day Doc Newton Robbed Bonnie Parker's Bank - He could've been
charged with disturbing one hundred years of solitude
Double Murder in Granger, 1934
Tall Texan : The Story of Ben Kilpatrick by Arthur Soule
Last Full-sized Train Robbery in Texas by Brewster Hudspeth
Double Hanging at Bellville in 1896
Infamous East Texas Sewing Needle Jailbreak
Day Eastland Texas Hanged Santa Claus
"....And to think that it happened on Mulberry Street!"
Bessie: The Trial of the (19th) Century
Moorman, a central figure in the Regulator-Moderator War, was shot
to death by Bob Bowman
at the Lampasas Saloon - Historical Marker
Killing of General J. J. Byrne Historical
on Jones Street, Castro County, Dimmitt, Texas
- Historical Marker