MONTAGUE COUNTY ******
MARVIN F. LONDON
Reviewed & Transcribed by Eveline Marie Crocker
for The A. L. H. N. Texas Montague County Resource Web
". . . .
should be remember that when most of the events reported
herein occurred, MONTAGUE COUNTY was a struggling young
county. Law and order was new to this region and was
extremely difficult to establish.
is respectfully dedicated to the OLD PIONEERS, both men
and women, who gave so much to establish our present day
system of law and order, ..., and whose memory and deeds
I am happy to help perpetuate.
Marvin F. London:
May 11, 1974.
The Brumley Family Murders
The Hanging of Charles Harris
The Hanging of Nancy Hill
The Burning of the Court House
The Murder of E. O.
Killings on Smokey Row of Bowie
"THE BRUMLEY FAMILY MURDERS
"In the early
1860's, during the Civil War, one of the earliest mass
killings of white settlers to be committed by other white
settlers was committed in Montague County. This was the
killing of John Brumley and his two sons."
Brumley and his wife, Mary Brumley, lived one mile North
of Montague, on Salt Creek. on John Brumley's 160 acre
preemption survey. This is the place that PAUL VERTTO
acquired some time in the early 1900's and lived on for a
number of years. It is on the West side of the
Montague to Nocona road. The BRUMLEYS had a double log
house which stood down in the valley near the creek. The
house were separated by a gallery or veranda
[This is example of a dog -
run house is east of Texas 36 highway between
Gatesville and Temple Texas, photo taken 1996; it is
also, similar to The Natt Long house which was burned in
the 1960's in Montague County along the old
Red river road between Bulcher and Illinos Bend where my
Great Uncle Bailey and Great Aunt Lou Ella Coker
Dennis lived from 1948 until about 1970 when they moved
into Saint Jo The run (open breeze - way) was where
the small animals stay out of the weather and to seperate
the sleeping quarters from the hot, noisy
living quarters ]
BRUMLEYS had six sons. Two of their sons, BILL and DAN,
lived at the Head of the Elm (now Saint Jo) and operated
a trading post. They sold supplies to early settlers,
cattle drovers and wagon caravans. Another of their sons
was named LUKE. The names of the other three sons has not
been learned. Some of their sons were in the Confederate
Army. They also had a daughter, who lived with them
at the time of the killings."
BRUMLEY and his sons had been engaged in a feud , and had
previously had a bad falling out with a group of men who
lived in the county. Their names were DOCTOR ARMSTRONG,
JOE BOILTON, JACK PATTON, BILL MUSICK, AND DAVE
awakened early one morning, as was his custom, got up,
lit his pipe and walked out on the gallery or veranda
(dog-run). MARY BRUMLEY and the daughter
heard Mr. BRUMLEY get up, but did not themselves get up
at the time, because they had a Negro couple who
did the house work and helped with the field work.
Mr. BRUMLEY was an early riser, and always enjoyed a
smoke while waiting for his breakfast."
after Mr. BRUMLEY had walked out onto the veranda, the
BRUMLEY women heard a gun shot. They thought the old man
had seen a snake, or an animal of some kind, and had
killed it, so they did not get up immediately. Soon after
they did get up they found the old man lying in the yard
dead, and his partially smoked pip laying by his
couple of days later, these men who had killed Mr.
BRUMLEY went to Head of Elm to finish off the two
BRUMLEY boys who lived there. When the men were
approaching the trading post, BILL and DAN saw them and
took refuse in some trees behind their building.
The men pursued them, and in the gun battle that followed
succeeded in killing both of the BRUMLEY boys."
" J. H. COX was Postmaster at Montague at the time
of the killings. He had known the BRUMLEY family for
sometime, and had always liked and been friendly with
them . He had never had any trouble with the other men,
or even any hard feelings, but had just been good friends
with the BRUMLEYS. He must have been openly expressing
his sympathy for the BRUMLEYS, for one day soon after the
killings these men showed up at the post office. They
were heavily armed, as most men were at the time and in
those days. They dismounted and went into the post
office. Mr. COX said later that by their actions,
he thought they had come to killed him. They talked to
him for a few minutes, went outside and talked among
themselves, then got on their horses and rode away.
Apparently Mr. COX had been able to satisfy the men that
he had not been taking the BRUMLEY'S side in their
quarrel, but was only expressing his sympathy for the
Brumleys who had been his friends for some time."
" Two of the BRUMLEY boys who were in the
Confederate Army came back to Montague soon after the
killings, together with some other men who were in their
company to hunt down and kill the men who had killed
their father and brothers. They camped out in the woods
in the Northwest corner of a 169 acre tract of land that
joined the townsite. This is the land that was later
owned by H. C. MASTERSON.
night they tracked down, shot and killed DAVE COOLEY. His
body was found the next morning. COOLEY had been shot
with a shot-gun loaded with buck-shot. He was
bought into town and laid out in a building on the South
side of the square, where the Ulbig Cafe later stood. He
was pretty badly shot up."
" How many, if any, of the other
men who killed their father and brothers were ever killed
by the BRUMLEY boys is not known."
"No court trail ever
resulted from any of these killings. The people at the
tie were engaged in a three front war. Most of the men
were in the army or the rangers. They were fighting a
civil war, an Indian war, and a war against cattle
rustlers, thieves and renegades who had drifted into the
county to plunder, steal and kill. Many of these
renegades were Northern sympathizers, and were all too
eager to cooperate with the Federal soldiers and the
Indians. There did not seem to be the time, or
civil authority enough, to set courts. Everyone was
well armed, and each man had to look out for himself and
his own. Killings were a fairly common thing ion those
"Montague County was at that time attached to COOK
COUNTY for judicial purposes. Cook county was in the 16th
Judicial District which included also Wise, Collin,
Denton, Tarrant, Johnson, Ellis, Parker, and Dallas
Counties. There was only one District Judge, and one
District Attorney for this entire district. We did
not even have a County Attorney. The District Judge and
District Attorney spent two periods, of only one week
each, in this county per year."
"THE HANGING OF CHARLES HARRIS"
This record discloses the
trial, conviction and punishment for the rare crime
of fratricide instigated, so it
appears, by the father of the assassin and his victim.
Harris was hanged in Montague on August 29, 1879, for
the murder of his brother, John Harris, on January 17,
1878. He is the only person ever to be legally
hanged in Montague County for murders committed
in Montague County. And there have been other hangings in
Montague County in which the law was not invited to
Charles Harris was
born in Missouri in 1857. He lived with his family until
his mother died. He came to Texas in 1871. On December
20, 1877 he was married to Miss Josie Simms about
15 miles from Pilot Point in Denton County. He was six
feet in height, well proportioned, but not corpulent. He
had blue eyes and light brown hair. Nothing in his
physiological expression or general appearance stamped
him as a murderer.
Between the hour of daylight and
sunrise on the morning of January 17, 1878, Charles
Harris killed his brother, John Harris, in the
home in which they both lived with their father, Charles
Harris Sr., on Framers Creek about 13 miles North by
East from the Town of Montague, by shooting him with a
shot-gun. Death came instantly.
On June 3, 1878,
the June Term of the District Court, 10th Judicial
District, composed of Denton, Cooke and Montague
Counties, opened in Montague. It opened in the two story
frame court house, which was later burned on March 31,
1884. The following officials were present: Judge J. A.
Carroll, who lived in Denton County: M. D. Herbert,
District Clerk; A. L. Matlock, County Attorney; Lee N.
On June 4, 1878,
the Grand Jury, which was composed of W. A. (Bud)
Morris, who was its Foreman, W. R. Willingham, K.
G. Heard, T. J. Williams, Jas. Davenport, John Orr,
Jasper Fields, Jas. Cheek, Wm. Dixon, Jas. McDaniel, Dean
McDonald and C. F. Wilson, returned an indictment for
First Degree Murder against Charles Harris for the Murder
of his brother John. The case was set for
trial on June 11, 1878, but was continued until Monday,
November 11, 1878. On October 28th 60 jurors' names were
drawn as a Special Venire, and the Sheriff was directed
to summon them to report on November 11. On November 11th
only 35 of those summoned reported . The Judge then
directed the Sheriff to go beyond the court house yards
and summoned 25 other persons to complete the Special
Venire. Court then recessed until the following
day. On November 14th a motion to quash and
set aside the indictment was overruled and the case
proceeded to trail.
B. V. Shockley for the State testified . . . . P.
H. Tompkins for the State testified . . . ., A. L.
Shoemaker, for the State, testified that he had
often seen the defendant's handwriting, and was well
acquainted with his handwriting. Being shown the paper
identified by Tompkins, Shoemaker testified
that the writing upon it was that of the defendant. The
writing on the paper was then read in evidence, as
follows: "To the Officers
of this God dam County:
when you come up with us, bring all of Texas,
or you won't get what you started
but get a good whipping.
D & Company" L. N. Perkins, for the
State, testified that he is Sheriff of Montague County,
and had charge of the defendant ever since he was put in
jail. Attorney Matlock showed to Sheriff Perkins
documents marked " Exhibits B and C,
and asked if he had ever seen them before; to which
inquery Perkins replied that he had. At this juncture the
jury were removed, at the instance of the defense
counsel, and the prosecution proceeded, before the Court,
to lay the predicate for the introduction of the
documents as evidence to the jury.......Perkins then
explained how he came by Charley Harris's written
confession . .. .
H.N. Richards, for the State, being
shown a memorandum book; recognized it as one which he
got out of the post office at the Town of Montague. It
was directed to the Sheriff of Montague County, and
Richards was a Deputy Sheriff, and took the book out of
the post office and delivered it to the County
Attorney. It was post-marked Denison,
Texas, February 5, 1878, and was sent to the Sheriff by
one Spence, a Constable at Denison: but Richards did not
know how Spence obtained possession of it.
L. Shoemaker, for the State, again testified to
his knowledge of the defendant's handwriting; and being
shown the entries on certain pages of a memorandum book,
stated that they were in the handwriting of the
the State then proposed to read the
entries to the jury; to which the defense objected,
because there was no proof that the book had ever been in
the defendant's possession, or had ever had been
delivered by him to Spence or anyone else.... The
objections were overrule and the State introduced the
entries. . . .
R. Cook, for the State,
testified that the defendant, after his arrest upon the
charge of the murder of John Harris, was brought to him,
who was Justice of the Peace. Defendant
waived examination, and COOK
committed him to jail. . . . .
Several witnesses for the State
Testified to the movements of the defendant in the
neighborhood . . . .
J. Johnson, one of these witnesses,
testified that the defendant was at his house the evening
before the killing, and tried to borrow a shot-gun, but
did not get it. . . . .
The defense introduced JOHN EVANS, who
testified that he lived within sight of the residence of
the deceased and his father and brother. Between Daylight
and Sunrise on the morning of the killing , Evans
heard . . . .
The above was the only evidence
adduced by the defense. Charles Harris had denied his
first statements, those upon which his conviction was
principally obtained. He said that he did not remember
ever to have made them.....
Harris did not take the stand to testify
in his own behalf.
On Friday, November 15, 1878, the jury,
through its Foreman, D. F. Speer, returned its verdict
into open court. The jury found Charles Harris guilty of
First Degree Murder and assessed the death penalty. Upon
that verdict, the Court entered the following judgment:
"It is, therefore, deemed by the
Court that the verdict (guilty) of the jury be approved,
and that Charles Harris be condemned to the hanged by the
neck until dead."
further ordered by the Court that the defendant be
remanded to the custody of the Sheriff of Montague County
to be safely kept by him to await the further sentence of
this Court and Defendant is ordered to pay all costs of
this prosecution, for which let execution
November 18th, the defense filed a Motion For New Trial.
This motion was overruled by the Court on November
19th. The defendant gave notice of appeal to the
Court of Appeals of Texas. In June 1879 the Court of
Appeals affirmed the case by its opinion recorded in Vol.
6, beginning on page 97, Court of Appeals Reports.
On June 30, 1879, the
Court sentenced Charles Harris as follows:
"On this day the defendant Charles Harris being
brought before the Court in his proper person in custody
of the Sheriff of this County, and having been asked by
the Court whether he has anything to say why judgment
should not be rendered and sentence pronounced against
him in accordance with the judgment of this Court
rendered at its last term convicting him of the offense
of murder of the first degree, and the judgment of the
Court of Appeals affirming the judgment of this Court,
and the mandate of the Said Court now being on file in
It is therefore,
considered and decreed by the Court. . . ., AND THAT
SAID CHARLES HARRIS ON THE 29TH DAY OF AUGUST, A. D.
1879, AFTER ELEVEN O'CLOCK a. m. AND BEFORE SUNSET OF
SAID DAY, TO BE HUNG BY THE NECK TILL HE IS DEAD, AS
PRESCRIBED BY LAW, AND THAT THE CLERK OF THE COURT ISSUE
A WARRANT DIRECTED TO THE SHERIFF OF THIS COUNTY, AS
PRESCRIBED BY LAW, AND COMMANDING SAID SHERIFF TO EXECUTE
THIS JUDGMENT AND SENTENCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE
Many citizens and Christian ministers visited
with Charles Harris during the two weeks previous to his
execution. Between the hours of 10 and 12 o'clock A. M.,
on the day of his execution, Mr. TURNER AND HIS WIFE,
F. H. JONES, MISS SLOAN, COUNTY ATTORNEY A. L. MATLOCK,
MISS HYATT, DISTRICT CLERK R. E. BROWN, COUNTY JUDGE R.
D. RUGELEY AND REV. S. CRUTHFIELD were permitted to enter
the jail and spend a short time in signing. Harris
was clam and resigned. After the signing they all shook
hands with the doomed man and bade him farewell.
Harris manifested feelings at the parting. Rev.
Crutchfield expressed himself as being satisfied that
Harris was prepared to die, and said the condemned man
told him he would soon be in heaven with his mother.
Sheriff Levi Perryman, with a
carefully chosen group of 40 armed guards were at the
jail. The best of order prevailed, although the crowd of
people was very large and constantly increasing.
The gallows was located some
three-quarters of a mile Northeast from Montague, just
under the hill East of the cemetery, in a small grassy
opening between gently sloping timbered hills.
Early in the morning people begin arriving at the site to
witness the execution.
At precisely 12 o'clock noon the
Sheriff took the prisoner from the jail and had him
placed in a wagon, in which he was then taken to the
gallows. Arriving there, they found an immense
crowd of people assembled to witness the execution.
reaching the scaffold the Sheriff and HArris ascended it,
together with Rev. Crutchfield. Harris looked pale,
but walked up the scaffold with a firm, even step.
Deputy Sheriff W. A. Morris then read the sentence of the
court, and the warrant commanding the Sheriff to carry
out the execution. This being done, Rev.
Crutchfield stated to the vast assemblage of people that
Mr. Harris had requested him to sing, "Shall We Know
Each Other There," and that after the song Mr.
Harris would address the people. The song being
sung, Mr. Harris arose and said:
"Ladies and Gentlemen: I am here to pay the penalty
of the law. I am sorry this crowd had to be called
together to witness my execution. I do not believe
they could be called around a better heart. I had a
good mother, who taught me to be good, and I had no idea
of coming to this. My aged father has been accused
of being guilty of this crime. He is as innocent as the
angels in heaven. He is an old man; I hope I shall meet
him in heaven. I hope to meet you all in
heaven. I pray God that you will never be called
again to witness such a scene as this. I am the
first one ever executed in Montague County according to
law, and I pray God there may never be another, and I
pray God I may be the only one executed according to law
in the whole world. There is not a man in the whole
world around whose memory there clusters one particle of
hate. I hope my fate will be a warning to all young
men of this County. I ascend upon the scaffold high
that others may take warning of me. My time has
come, I must go, though it seems hard. I have been,
and am now a friend of Montague County. I love everyone
in the whole county. I love the prisoners in the
jail: and here is the Sheriff, as good an officer as
there is in the whole world. I hope to meet him in
heaven. I love you all. I hate to go this way, but
I must. May God watch over you all. Remember,
you all must die. I am young: in the prime of life. I
hate to go this way, but I must. May God watch over
you all. Think of the dying man's words. I hope you
may all think I am prepared. I hope to meet
you all in heaven in a better world than this."
At the close of Harris's speech
Rev. Crutchfield said that the condemned man had
requested him, and as many of the people who were
willing, to sing the song, "Sweet Bye and Bye".
Whereupon, several hundred united in singing that
beautiful Christian song, Harris singing with them. After
the song Rev. Crutchfield knelt and made a solemn,
feeling prayer, in which thousands of spectators knelt
After the prayer, a few
of Harris's old acquaintances, who had known something
about his parentage and childhood life, while weeping and
sobbing, called to the Sheriff, saying, " Levi, may
I ascend the scaffold and bid Charlie fare well?"
The Sheriff answered that a few could do so, but
there must be no disorderly conduct or
confusion. These old gray headed and
Christian men ascended the scaffold and bid Charlie
farewell in a most affecting manner. While this was
being done the order that prevailed showed how perfectly
they were controlled by the principles of law and
A few moments were
spent by those who were on the scaffold, including the
Sheriff and his Deputies in shaking hands and bidding
each other farewell.
At 1:00 o'clock P. M. Harris took
his place on the trap door. He seemed calm and self
possessed. He looked
neat, dressed in a suit of navy blue coat
and pants and a white vest. He looked around at the
vast throng of people and bade them farwell . When
Deputy Sheriff R. A. (Bob) Nix placed the rope on the
right side. Harris requested that it be shifted to
the left side, which was done. The cap, with its
veil was placed on his head and over his face.
Some time before his execution
Sheriff Perryman asked Harris to select some friend to
cut the fall. But each time the Sheriff mentioned it,
Harris would always reply by saying that he thought the
Sheriff was his friend . . . .he requested Deputy Nix
to cut the rope .
. At 1:20 the drop fell.
Following is the report of
Drs. F JOHNSON, WOLVERTON, McDOUGAL, and LOVE, who were
present to make such examination as would enable them to
report to the Sheriff that life was extinct.
As stated, the drop fell at 1:20; 1:24
pulsations distinct; 1:30 pulsation slight; 1:40 Dr.
Johnson, and the other physicians present, pronounced
Harris dead. Cut down 30 minutes after the drop fell.
reflect that Charles Harris subpoenaed Henry Hawkins,
Lucy Hawkins, David Simms, Josephine Harris and Charles
Harris, Sr., as witnesses to testify in his
behalf. The record does not reflect that any
of these witnesses appeared The records do reflect
that none of them took the stand to testify in his
behalf. Charles Harris, Sr. sold his belongings and
left the county within a few days after the killing of
John Harris. As far as can be determined, he never
returned to Montague County, nor was he ever heard from
again. What a sad ending for a man's
life! To cause one of his sons to kill the other,
and then to know that the assassin son was himself
no one seemed to have remembered Charles Harris during
his hour of trouble, he remembered others. For he
requested in writing that Sheriff Perryman bury his body
by the side of his brother John Harris on Framer's
Creek. His request was granted. He further
requested that the newspaper publishing the details of
his execution be sent to D. W. Colvert, Colvert's
Station, Indian Territory; Franklin
Pemberton, Fayette, Howard County, Missouri; Mrs.
Lucy Hawkins, Gainesville, Cooke County, Texas:
Also that Mrs. Hawkins will please read the paper and
forward it to her sister, who has always refused to write
"THE TEXAS NORTHWEST"
Editor Roark, of
"THE TEXAS NORTHWEST ", covered the
execution for his paper. It is from his paper
that some of the details for this article is taken.
dateline of August 30, 1879, he
published an Extra, which was headlined: CHAR. HARRIS
EXECUTED ! 5000 PEOPLE PRESENT. His story went on to read
in part as follows:
"We have deemed it best to issue an extra sheet
containing an account of the execution of Chas. Harris
for the murder of his brother John, on the 17th day
of January, 1878, together with such written and oral
statments concerning the matter as Mr. Harris has himself
voluntarily made from time to time. While
we deeply regret the existence of the cause that made the
infliction of the death penalty upon Mr. Harris a
necessity, we feel a pride in mentioning the admirable
conduct and management of Mr. Perryman and his Deputies
while passing through this trying ordeal. The
affair, in all details, was most admirably arranged and
conducted. While the dignity and authority of the
law was duly honored and sustained, Mr. Harris had
extended to him all the Christian sympathy and feeling
compatible with his situation.
"We were more than pleased to notice
the good order and Christian decorum of the vast
multitude present. It was truly
wonderful to see how perfectly that vast ocean of
human feeling and passion, whose swelling tides throbbed
and surged in five thousand anxious aching bosoms, was
controlled. We doubt whether so large and orderly a
company of people could be assembled, under similar
circumstances, in any other county in the State.
That the Sheriff and his Deputies , who conducted the
execution, and the multitude who witnessed it, were
preeminently governed by the laws of the State and the
principles of the CHRISTIAN civilization, was especially
manifested when, just before Mr. Harris's execution, a
few old acquaintances, who had known something about his
parentage and childhood life, while weeping and sobbing,
called to the Sheriff, saying:" Levi, may I ascend
the scaffold and bid CHARLEY farewell?"
The Sheriff answered that a few could do so, but that
there may be no disorderly conduct or confusion.
"At an early hour in the morning the
people began assembling. The expression on their
faces, and their general appearance, furnished an
interesting field of study for the philosopher and
"Thinking men (no gender, emc) could
not well suppress the inquiry: What particular
principle of CHRISTIAN religion, as taught by JESUS
CHRIST and contained in the NEW TESTAMENT, sanctions or
demands the INFLICTION of a DEATH PENALTY?
[The Jews inflicted
the Death penalty when they told Pilate to
"Kill Him, Kill Him, referring to JESUS the CHRIST.
REFERENCE ALL FOUR OF THE GOSPELS, MATTHEW., MARK,
LUKE AND JOHN, upon which my faith as a BELIEVER
STANDS. evelinemarie crocker]
Was it the Spirit of
CHRIST, as revealed in the gospel of LOVE, that brought
together this vast concourse of people? Will
the execution of CHARLEY HARRIS develop and strengthen in
the human HEART the SPIRIT and PRINCIPALS of the
CHRISTIAN religion? Or was it a SPIRIT of IDLE CURIOSITY,
or, what is worse, THE SPIRIT of VINDICTIVE WRATH and
REVENGE, and will it not WEAKEN in the HUMAN HEART the
POWER and RULERSHIP of the CHRISTIAN
religion?" (At this point a portion of the newspaper
is torn off and lost, so that the EDITOR's argument
is partially lost.) The narrative ends with the following
"We have not made these remarks nor asked
these questions in a CAPTIOUS SPIRIT, or with the
DESIGN of influencing the people to operate the execution
of the LAW. Our aim has been to elicit inquery and
thought upon the subject, and see if there can
not be some better method devised for the treatment of
criminals than KILLING them. The subject is a broad
one -- one of vital importance. Its full discussion will
involve the discussion of every essential principle of
the CHRISTIAN religion."
The end of the
Hanging of Charles HARRIS.
THE HANGING OF NANCY HILL
"Since this work is
entitled, "FAMOUS COURT TRIALS OF MONTAGUE
This report probably should not
be included. This, because the hanging of Nancy HILL was
not preceded by a court trial: no court of law sanctioned
her hanging; and the authorities were not invited to
participate in her hanging. Nevertheless, in
August, 1873, Nancy HILL was hanged in MONTAGUE
The hanging of
NANCY HILL was long remembered, and long talked by the
early settlers of this county. She may well have
been the first white person ever hanged in Montague
County. In any event, she is the only
woman known to ever have been hanged in this county.
Nancy HILL was a notorious
horse thief of the 1860's and early 1870's She operated
along the frontier counties, where police protection was
hard to come by for the settlers. Civilization was
moving westward. Already counties like Denton, Cooke,
Wise, Parker and Montague were being settled.
She operated along this line of countries. She
seemed to have headquarters in SPRINGTOWN in PARKER
county. She was usually accompanied by two or three
men, who constituted her gang.
She is known to have stopped
occasionally at rural homes in Montague County in quest
for food. She would always make her identity known.
. . . .
She was friendly, pleasant and always
very generous in her payment of food. . .
She was in her early or middle 30's
when she was hanged. . . . .
On the day she was hanged,
NANCY HILL was jumped by a group of men near SPRINGTOWN,
where she had been appropriating other people's horses to
her own use and benefit. Whether her men escaped, or
whether she was cut off from them, is not known.
In either event, she was pursued by
these men, who kept in hot pursuit, until they caught up
with her on Denton Creek, between Montague and where the
city of BOWIE is now located. Having caught
up with her, the men took the law in their own hands and
meted out punishment by hanging.
afternoon of the hanging, W. A. (Bud) Morris
was out looking for his cows when he found the body
hanging from the limb of a tree. NANCY HILL had
paid the supreme price for her stealing activities.
On December 12, 1873, the POLICE
COURT, which performed the Duties now performed by the
Commissioners Court met in called a session. The
Police Court was composed of five Justices of the Peace,
one of whom served as Chief Justice, a position
comparable to the present day County Judge. The
Court on that occasion was compound of james M. GRIGSBY,
Precinct No. 1, who was Chief Justice; A. B. P. Mayfield,
Precinct No. 2, William Fanning, Precinct No. 3; R. A.
Green, Precinct No. 4; Chesley Marlett, Precinct No. 5;
W. A. Morris, District & County Clerk; W. T.
On that date the Court approved for payment a statement
of Wm. H. Slack, Constable, Precinct No. 1, in the amount
of 18.60 for his services in summoning a jury and
in the Coroner's Inquest over the body
of NANCY HILL. The inquest was presided over by
JUSTICE JAMES M. GRIGSBY, sitting as a
CORONER. The jury found that NANCY HILL died by
hanging at the hands of a person or persons unknown. The
names of the men who constituted the posse were never
NANCY HILL'S EARLY LIFE
For years Mr. London had wondered why a
woman, like NANCY HALL, would turn to a life of
crime, culminating as her's did, by hanging at the hands
of enraged vigilantes. To answer this question, Mr.
London had spent years searching for the answer to other
questions, which would help answer the main
question, such as: Who was NANCY HILL? Where
did she come from? What of her family? Did
anything happen in her life that would have forced her,
so to speak, into a life of crime? Was she led into
a life of crime by a man she loved? To find the
answer to these questions, old court records have been
checked, county histories, old newspapers, old stories
have been checked out, and numerous people have been
interviewed. The facts, so far developed, are set
During the CIVIL WAR, many people,
in both te UNION STATES and the CONFEDERATE STATES, were
caught up in the war and suffered because they lived in
an area that was fighting on the side that was contrary
to their beliefs. Many people now believe that they
suffered the most. Many people living in the SOUTH
thought that secession was wrong, but once the war was
declared they joined with the majority and tried to help
win the war. Others refused to help in the war
effort, and refused to go to the North, preferring to
remain here and suffer the hardships. In the harsh
years of the war anger mounted against the
"Yankee Sympathizers," and vigilante
groups sought to drive them from the South or destroy
them. Many people were murdered: their homes were burned;
their crops burned; their livestock were stolen.
These angers, and these crimes , died down to the point
where a "Yankee Sympathizer" was
tolerated in the South.
One family, who were said to have
been Union Sympatherizers, and who refused to aid in the
war effort, and who refused to go North, was the Allen
C. Hill family. Allen C. Hill lived
wIth his wife, Dusky Hill, and his
children, Jack Hill, Nancy, (sometimes called
Nance), Katherine, Martha, Adeline, Eliza, Belle and
Allen, Jr., on a farm just out of Springtown,
Allen C. Hill was
killed in 1863, during one of the worst parts of the
Civil War, over what was said to be prejudices against
him as a "Yankee Sympatheizer."
He is said to have been killed by vigilantes.
Jack Hill, the elder
of the only two sons, was killed in Montague County in
January 1873. He is said to have been killed by a
man named Aaron Bloomer, as a result of
some difficulties between them. The records that
would reflect whether Aaron Bloomer was
ever prosecuted or not were destroyed in the courthouse
fire of MARCH 31, 1884. If he was prosecuted,
and if he was convicted, he did not appeal. There is no
record of an appeal in Austin.
IN January 1873, Chief
Justice James M. Grigsby, sitting as a Coroner,
conducted an inquest over the body of Jack Hill .
He is the same Coroner who was later, in August 1873,
conduct an inquest over the body of Nancy Hill,
Jack's sister. Both inquests lasted two
days. On September 29, 1873, the Police Court voted
to pay Justice Grigsby $6.00 for conducting
the inquest over the body of Nancy Hill.
It is interesting to note that the same order authorized
the payment of $2.50 to James W Morrow, for
serving two days as a juror in the Jack Hill
inquest. The same juror served in both
inquests. The names of the other jurors have not
A few days after the death of
Nancy (Nance) Hill, a mob took the two daughters,
Katherine and Martha, who were next in age,
respectively to Nancy, from their home to a
place about three miles Southwest of Springtown and
A few days later after Katherine
and Martha were hanged, not being satisfied with
their vengeance, the mob returned to the Hill farm
home and burned it. As the remaining members of the
family fled from their home the mob pursued and overtook
them. The mother, Dusky Hill, and daughters
Adeline and Eliza, were taken to a point near the
present site of Agnes, Parkers County, and
were all shot and killed.
The Two youngest children, Belle
and Allen Jr., who were about 12 and 11 years of
age, respectively, were not killed. It is probable
that the mob felt that these children were too small to
have a part of the family policy making, and too young to
understand why the mob was angry with their family.
The Children were turn over to charitable people in
Springtown , then later by Sheriff Wes Hedrick of Parker
County. What finally became of the children has not been
After these terrible events , the
God fearing, compassionate and charitable people of the
Springtown Community were actually afraid to bury the
bodies of the Hill women, whose bodies were left lying
where they were hung and where they were shot.
Finally, Al Thompson, a former Texas Ranger Captain,
and Dock Maupin, a former Texas Ranger, who served under
Captain Thompson, boldly challenged the vigilantes by
taking the decaying bodies of the Hill women and burying
them in dry goods boxes in the cemetery at Springtown.
It has not been learned where
the bodies of Jack and Nancy Hill were buried. It
is probable that their bodies were never claimed by the
family, and that they were given pauper's funerals in the
cemetery at Montague.
What a tragic ending of
a family, for the father and mother, and six of their
eight children, to have all been murdered? And as far as
can be learned no prosecution ever grew out of the murder
of any of them.
The question is still, what
caused it all. (Marvin London)"
BURNING of THE MONTAGUE COUNTY COURTHOUSE"
" In the early morning hours of March 31,
1884, the courthouse in Montague was
burned by three men. They were William M.
Clark and Frank Clark, brothers, and Landy Howell.
This was the two story frame courthouse, with rock
basement, which was constructed in 1873. It was located
in the center of the public square, where the present
courthouse now stands.
The fire was discovered
by local citizens about 1:00 o'clock in the
morning. Those who penetrated the burning building
before its demolition discovered that the floors and
walls at points where the fire was raging, and where the
furniture in the court room, and in some of the office
apartments, had been thoroughly saturated with coal oil,
and that the ordor of that liquid
pervaded the entire building. On the
morning after the fire, some battered and disfigured coal
oil cans of two merchants of the town, who, for
prudential reasons, had long kept their coal oil supply
stored on the sidewalk, outside of their stores, were
found to correspond exactly. The merchants themselves
desposed that they each missed cans from their coal oil
supply on the morning after the fire.
No effort was made to apprehend the
perpetrators of the crime, until after the building was
so far consumed as to remove all danger on involving
contiguous property, when the Constable of the precinct, J.
P. Kern, summoned a posse, including John
R. Clark, another of the Clark brothers, to
examine the surrounding country for indications of
persons either having come to or gone from the Town of
This expedition, however, was
postpone until the next morning by a severe rainfall, the
posse summoned dispursing to meet a dawn. The
parties, except John Clark, met according to
agreement, and, upon the eve of starting, met John
Clark coming into town, horseback, from a North
direction, who reported that he had been on Slat Creek,
without making any discovery. The party followed John
Clark's horse tracks, going and coming, to the place
where William M. Clark lived, about four miles
distant, having en route been joined by Sheriff L. L.
McLain. John Clark's horse tracks, both ways, had
been made since the rain. . . .
It was proved during the trail that
there was one or more indictments pending in the District
Court of Montague County against William M. Clark and
Floyd Jessee for felonious theft, but that had been
pending through several terms of court, and that Clark
had always been present when his cases were called
and continued, and had never expressed or manifested any
disinclination to meet them. . . .
Bin Catlett, who lived with William
Clark, testified that William Clark, Frank Clark
and Landy Howell went from William Clark's house
to church early the night of the fire. . . . Catlett said
that some one, Landy Howell, he thought, said one
night some time after the fire, when they were all in William
Clark's home, that all present were in danger of
speedy arrest for burning the courthouse. Catlett
replied that, as he had nothing to do with it, he was not
afraid of arrest....
Landy Howell, who upon
County Attorney J. M. Chambers agreement to
dismiss the case against him, had turned State's
evidence, was the most important witness for the
prosecution. . . .
Several witnesses who left
church with William and Frank Clark and Landy
Howell, located them near, and going toward William's
home, between 9 and 10 o'clock on the night of the
The State introduced
evidence, being records of the District Court,
showing that Ben Peveler and John R. Clark then
stood indicted for breaking open the jail of Montague
County in the Fall of 1884. Sheriff L. L. McLain testified
that he arrested William M. Clark and Frank Clark in
October of 1884, and had placed them in jail. This
Testimony would have had them in jail at the time
Peveler and John Clark, broke open the jail.
On March 23, 1885 the March Term of
Court begin. Presiding were F. E. Piner, District
Judge; J. M. Chambers, County Attorney; L. L. McLain,
Sheriff: and D. C. Hart, District Clerk.
On March 24, 1885
indictments were returned against William M. Clark and
Frank Clark for Arson. The Grand Jury was
composed of W. A. Davis, Foreman; John W. Crain,
Taylor Puryear, B. L. Mitchell, James Wylie, F. H. Jones,
Clark McDonald, Nelson Keck, Peter Coe, David Jordan, W.
S. Thurston and W. A. White.
On April 14, 1885, William M.
Clark was tried before a jury, and was found guilty and a
10 years term in the peitentiary assessed as his
punishment. He appealed and his case was reversed
and remanded for a new trial. J. D. French was
Foreman of the Jury.
On October 5, 1885, during
October Term, new indictments for Arson were returned
against both William M. Clark and Frank Clark. An
indictment was returned also against Landy Howell. The
Grand Jury was composed of W. D. Allen, Foreman; G. W.
Williams, Isaac Wainscott, R. A. McGrady, J. P. Stone, E.
W. Giles, G. W. Campbell, J. M. Strong, Hiram Wainscoot,
Bascomb Akins C. L. Ray and Henry Crouch.
October 12, 1885 the old indictments were dismissed
against both of the Clark Brothers.
On October 26, 1885 the case
against William M. Clark was transferred to Cook County
on a change of venue. The case was set for trial on
November 23, 1885.
The District Clerk of Cooke County
states that she is unable to locate the file concerning
that trial. They have either been misplaced or
The case against Landy Howell was
dismissed on July 30, 1890.
The writer has always understood
that both Williams and Frank Clark were tried in Cooke
County, that each was found guilty, and that each was
sentenced to ten years in the penitentiary, which was the
maximum punishment for arson."
THE KILLING OF E. O. DRISKILL
On the morning of March 15, 1879, John W.
McLaughlin shot and killed
E. O. Driskell in the Town
of Burlington, which is now named Spanish
On June 23, 1879 the June Term
of court began, with Judge J. A. Carroll, County
Attorney B. E. Green, District Clerk R. E. Brown and
Sheriff Levi Perryman presiding.
The Grand Jury was composed of
W. C. Turner, Foreman; F. M. Quinsy, L. Banister, C. F.
Wilson, A. G. Arnold, J. E. Willett, C. G. McGuire, Isaac
Wainscott, J. A. Murrell, D. C. Jordon, W. J. Jackson and
L. C. McNatt, R. A. (Bob) Nix, Bailiff.
The Grand Jury returned an indictment
against John W. McLaughlin of First Degree Murder
for killing of E. O. Driskill.
On January 2, 1880
McLaughlin was tried before a jury in Montague, with L.
B. E. White as its Foreman, which resulted in a hung
FOR THE STATE 1. David Lenox
testified, that at one time McLaughlin had been in
the employ of E. O. Driskill, the deceased, as a
bar-tender, but the business relations of the two
terminated several months before the killing; that at the
time of the severance of business relations between the
parties, or shortly thereafter, hard feelings had
developed between them, on account of some valgar
intrusion upon his property attributed by Driskill to
McLaughlin, and with regard to the collection of a sum of
money due Driskill by McLaughlin. . ..
2. L. C.
McNutt testified that at the time of the
killing his dry goods store was situated on the Northeast
corner of the square, In Burlington, and east of
Driskill's business. At sun - down, the evening before
the shooting, Driskill came to the McNutt store for
his Mail, and while there was approached by McLaughlin
with the demand: " By God, why did you put
my account in the hands of an officer?"
To which Driskell responded , " Because I
could get no settlement out of you."McLaughlin
replied that the amount was not correct, and he had been
charged with things he didn't get. . . .
They continue to
quarrell and abuse each other until finally Mc Nutt told
them to desist and go to supper. ...
McNutt stated that he
had paid or agreed to pay G. W. Barefoot $ 25.00 to
assist in securing counsel to aid in the prosecution of
McLaughlin, and had also signed, as security for the
Heirs of Driskill, a note for $ 300.00 for the same
purpose. Barefoot was the partner of Driskill, and later
Administrator of his estate.
The pistol used
by McLaughlin in the killing belonged to one Howard
3. Wade Horton
testified, that he was in the employ of Driskill at the
time of the killing. He gave same account as the other
state witnesses of the quarrels in
the street preceeding
the homicide, and of McLaughlin's coming to Driskill's
place of business the night before the killing, armed
with a shot - gun and hunting Driskill... .
Just as Horton who was
standing in the S. W. corner of the saloon near a
McLaughlin shot, and immediately Driskill shot.
McLaughlin's first was the fatal shot, Horton observing,
the dust fly from the back of Driskill's coat as the ball
passed out. ... Driskill always carried an ivory handled
six - shooter, 45 calibre, pistol. It was empty after the
shooting, held six cartridge shells, and was warm.
Cook testified that he was present in the
saloon the night before when McLaughlin armed with shot
gun came inquiring as to Driskill's whereabouts.
5. C. E.
Noyes testified that he had also,
overheard McLaughlin and Driskill quarrell on different
occasions just pior to the killing ; he saw McLaughlin
standing near the saloon door, with his hand behind him,
under his coat; heard him cock a pistol, saw him present
the pistol and fire, saw Driskill return the fire
immediately: after which he heard several shot. ...
6. J. H.
Stone testified that at the time he
occupied a position about 30 yards S. W. from the front
of the grocery store, on horse back, in plain veiw of
both parties. Driskill was standing in his front
door. McLaughlin was standing outside, in front
,and near Driskill. His [McLaughlin's] hat was
laying on the ground, 6 or 8 feet S. W. from him. They
were quarreling, crusing and taunting each other of
fear. They stood thus about five minutes atfer
Stone first saw them, when McLaughlin drew
and dropped it at his side: Driskill at the same time
drawing his far
enough from his bosom to
expose the handle, McLaughlin then put his pistol under
his coat, keeping his hand on it. McLaughlin again drew
his pistol from behind him, and brought it down in front
of him with the muzzle directed toward the feet of
Driskill. Driskill drew his pistol from his bosom
until Stone could see nearly the whole of it, and
stopped. McLaughlin then asked, "What do you
mean?" Driskill replied: "By God, I mean
business; what do you mean?" McLaughlin raising his
pistol, said " if I must, I must," and fired,
Driskill firing nearly at the same time. Stone did not
want to say which fired first, it was so near together.
He was certain, however, that McLaughlin drew and
presented his pistol first, though the actions of the
parties were nearly simultaneous.
Stone stated that
in his opinion there were altogether some eight or nine
shots fired during the fight, but he could not say
positively how many. The first two he knew were
fired by McLaughlin and Driskill. A shot fired by
Driskill, who stood inside the door, at McLaughlin,
who faced him from outside, would not have coursed to
where these shots struck, since they were directed
towards the front of the store and at Driskill.
However, shots fired at McLaughlin from the alley,
running along the West side of the store and saloon
building, would have had range with the points where
these two shots struck.
FOR THE DEFENSE: 1.
JASON WHITE: testified ... Very early on the
morning of the killing, he went to the grocery store of
Driskill to purchase some potatoes; after purchasing
which, he and Driskill stood for awhile in the
door. During this time McLaughlin passed by, going
towards the drug store. Driskill hailed him, asking where
his shot-gun was, and told him he had best go get it, and
when he got it to use it. McLaughlin remarked
to Driskill that he was not armed, and Driskell advised
him to go get his arms, and to be sure to use them,
adding that it was no more reprehensible to carry a
shot-gun during the day than at night.
2. ISAAC BEASLEY
testified: that he saw a quarrel between
McLaughlin and Driskill, about dark on the evening before
the killing, near McNatt's store, during which McLaughlin
asked Driskill, "Why are you always abusing me when
you know I am not armed?" to which Driskill
replied:" God damn you, go and arm yourself. I will
bet you will not do it. I will stay here and wait until
you come back and see if you do." McLaughlin went
off towards home, ...
Beasley said that
the shot-gun McLaughlin had on the night before the
killing belonged to his, Beasley's brother. He did
not know who gave it to McLaughlin. Beasley at that
time was living in the same house with McLaughlin.
3. Byron Hill
testified: at the time of the killing, he was
clerking in Stone 's drug store. He heard some of the
quarrlin in front of the saloon, and about that time
heard Freeland give three or four blasts on his flute and
saw him start in a rapid walk across the street from his
shoe shop, go in the West door of the saloon, turn as
though he were going into the front room of the saloon,
and about this time the shooting began. ...
... , Freeland desired
Hill to keep the gun at the store; and said
some " Damn son - of - a - bitch" was going
to be killed, and he would have to "skip
out". ...,that if Hill were attacked he,
Freeland, could kill the assailant from his shop window.
Hwe told Hill that he was on the "skip" from
Tennessee on account of trouble. Freeland left the
country a few days after the killing, leaving his shop,
tools, flute and horse undisposed of, and Hill had
heard nothing from him since. ...
4. J. P. Stone,
proprietor of the drug store, testified that in
the morning, about one hour before the killing, while
McLaughlin was standing in the drug store door, Stone saw
Driskill standing across the way in his door, laughing,
dancing, whistling, and patting his rear at McLaughlin as
though to tantalize him, and he knew from McLaughlin's
appearance that this conduct angered him. Stone advised
McLaughlin, however, to have no difficulty with Driskill,
and received his promised that he would no. Just before
the killing he saw McLaughlin leave the drug store and go
in the direction of McNutt's store, and saw that he,
McLaughlin , was about to pass in front of Driskill's
saloon, someone rattled some chains and reached out and
knocked off McLaughlin's hat. He did not see the
person who did this. In a short time the shooting
Freeland had tried
on several occasions to purchase a Winchester rifle from
Stone, but Stone would not sell, because of the
difficulties between McLaughlin and Driskill, and Stone
believed that Freeland was "backing" Driskill..
.. Stone did agree to sell the gun to Dr. Burns, a
partner of Driskil, but finding, before the sale was
consummated, that he wanted to buy it for Freeland,
lived in Burlington, was in town every day, but was
engaged in no business at the time of the killing.
5. George Cisco
testified that while he was standing at a point about
75 steps from the saloon, on the West side of the square,
he saw McLaughlin start from the drug store in the
direction of McNutt's store. As he passed in front of
Driskill's store Driskill was standing in the door.
After having passed the door, McLaughlin with his right
hand behind him, and walked up to Driskill. Driskill
struck his hat off with his left hand.. . .
Cisco saw smoke out from
the alley door, during the shooting, as though some
one were shooting from there.
6. Calvin Baker testified
that he witnessed the shooting from a point about
75 yards S. W. from the saloon. . His testimony was
substantially the same as that of George Ciso.
Horton testified a little after dark on
the evening before the killing he was in McNatt's store,
where Pat McLaughlin, John W. McLaughlin's brother, was
clerking. Some one told Pat that his brother had gone to
the saloon with a shot - gun, Pat went after his brother.
Salmon testified that he was called to see McLaughlin
shortly after the shooting , and found he had been shot
twice; once in the left side, the ball entering from the
front and ranging backwards and downwards very near
reaching the cavity of the abdomen; the other ball
striking square between the shoulder, passing through the
over - coat, and under - - coat at the seams, and lodging
without entering the body, but raising a bump.
tired again on June 26, 1880 and found guilty of Second
Degree murder. His punishment was assessed at five
years in the penitentiary . He appealed, and his case was
again reversed and remanded for a new trial.
. T. C. Pembroke was
foreman of the Jury.
again tried in December of 1880. He was again found
guilty of Second Degree Murder, and his punishment was
again assessed at confinement in the penitentiary for a
period of five years.. He again appealed, and his case,
and his case was again reversed and remanded for a
McLaughlin was ever tried again is not known. The
records at the courthouse which wouurnish that
information appear to be missing. furnish that
information appear to be missing.
McLaughlin was represented by Attorneys Grigsby &
Willis and Davis & Garnett.
KILLINGS ON SMOKEY ROW IN BOWIE, TEXAS
former Governor James (Jimmy) V. Allred Indrouction : Most of the
material for the next three chapters, dealing with the
killings on Smokey Row, was taken from a series of
articles written by former Governor James V. Allred, and
later published by his brother, Renne Allred, Jr., in The
Bowie News. Much of the wording of the next three
chapters are in the Governor's own words. Marvin F.
MURDER OF WALKER HARGROVES . . . . Dr. M. V. Creagan hurried
to the saloon immediately after the shooting,
Hargroves was not quite dead, but breathed five or six
times before expiring. He described Hargroves
appearing in a Fort Worth paper under the date of May 21,
1908 stated that Justice Maben had that day completed the
inquest concerning the death of Walker Hargroves.
The article stated that his funeral would be that
afternoon . His funeral would be held from the
family residence at 408 Missouri Avenue, at 2:00 o'clock,
Friday. Rev. Waites of the Christian Tabernacle
conducted the services. Interment was in Oakwood
An article appearing in the Fort Worth Press in
November, 1952, stated that Walker James, who had killed
Walker Hargroves 44 years ago, in 1908, had died in Fort
Worth at the age of 78 years.
Friday, May 22, 1908 issue of The Saint Jo
Tribune, the following article appeared:
Walker Hargroves, formerly
of Bowie and a well known charcter throughout this
section was shot and instantly killed in the Broad of
Trade saloon in Fort Worth at 5:15 Wednesday
afternoon. Walter James, a bartender in the saloon,
surrendered to the officers and was placed under a $5,000
bond charged with the killing. According to
reports, Hargroves got into a dispute with James and had
started around the east end of the bar with the announced
intention of "settling matters" when the fatal
shots were fired that ended his checkered career. On October 30, 1908, Porter
Brodie was killed in Bowie by a man named Walter Smith,
who was commonly known as Pat Smith. But that is
another report in this work, which see, entitled
"Killing of Porter Brodie."'
THE KILLING OF PORTER BRODIE "Porter Brodie was a well known
Bowie barber during the stormy days on Smokey Row.
He operated a modest little barber shop on Smythe Street,
just a couple of doors from where Walker Hargroves had
operated his saloon. He was a quiet, inoffensive
man. However, he had very strong convictions
against liquor. He had been quite outspoken on the
subject. He had helped promote the local option
election of 1906, which carried and bought prohibition to
Bowie for the first time. There had been bad blood
between Brodie and the saloon owners for some time, as
evidenced by his shoot out with Walker Hargroves on
Smokey Row on an occasion in about May, 1907.
Smith, who was commonly called Pat Smith, operated a
frosty joint and pool hall on Somkey Row. At one
time following the coming of prohibition to Bowie, Bodie
had file a complaint against Pat Smith for violation of
the prohibition laws. The two Texas Rangers who
were stationed in Bowie promptly arrested Smith.
This had caused bad blood between Pat Smith and Porter
About 2:00 o'clock P. M. on October 30, 1908, Brodie was
returning to his shop from lunch. Just as he
stepped upon the sidewalk, Pat Smith came walking up from
the direction of Johnson;s confectionery. Neither man
spoke to the other. When they were about 18 or 20 feet
apart, once again the guns were blazing on old Smokey
Row. The shooting occurred in front of Giles Grocery on
The only utterance of any kind came from Brodie.
When the first shot struck him Brodie said
"Oh". His body pitched forward. Before it
reached the sidewalk, asecond shot struck him and he
said< "Oh, Lordy." . . .
The body of Brodie
lay on the sidewalk for an hour or more, surrounded by a
large crowd, eager to get alook at it. The dead
man, who was in his shirt sleeves, lay streched out in
the center of the sidewalk on his back, with his head
towards the South. The left hand lay by his
side. The right elbow rested on the sidewalk, with
the hand on the breast. There was no gun on or near
Brodie's body.As soo as he could do so, Justice J. T.
Stallings had the body removed to Burgess Funeral Home,
Here Dr. J. T. Lawson, in the presence of Justice
Stallings, stripped the body and examined the two wounds.
... After the official examination of the body, it was
conveyed to the home of the deceased on the South side of
The community was
profoundly shocked when the news of the tragedy spread
Justice Stalling sit as
Coroner: . . .
Shortly after the
shooting Pat Smith was taken into custody by Constable
John Wales, charged with the shooting . When
arrested Smith handed the officer a "45"
pistol. Later in the day he was conveyed to the
jail in Montague by Sheriff B. F. Waston.
On the following
Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, after the
shooting, Justice Stallings, sitting as Coroner,
conducted an inquest on the shooting of Brodie.
Assistant County Attorney J. N. Campbell,
acting for County Attorney Charles F. Spencer,
represented the State."
included the following: emc]
1. M. M. Huskey, farmer:
seven miles South, was standing on Wise Street on
crossing between Wilson's restaurant and Stoner's grocery
store, 50 or 60 feet from Giles corner; heard a shot;
looked up and saw a man falling on the sidewalk in front
of Gile's store:. . . .
2 J. W. Davis,
farmer, six miles North, was standing on the
sidewalk, 20 feet below the Bowie Meat Market on Smythe
Street talking to Pat Smith about a little trade they had
on hand the past Saturday; had up a forfiet; Smith went
on down the street; he remained where he as, and talking
to W. F. Gunter until the shooting and saw Bodie fall:. .
3. W. M. McCarter
was standing with M. M. Huskey when the shooting
His testimony was
substantially the same as Mr. Huskey's with this
addition; he was one of the first to get to Brodie; he
found him lying on his back, his left hand by his side;
his right on his breast; Brodie was in his shirt sleeves;
he had no weapon on or about him that he could see and
there was none laying by him; he didn't think any one
could have removed a pistol from his person or from the
pavement near him without witness seeing it done.
4. T. C. McCracken
was standing on the sidewalk on Smythe Street between
Johnson's place and the place where Ezra William's pool
hall is located: he was talking with Geo. Williams: his
face was up the street and his back down; he heard a shot
and turned around and looked; the first thing he saw was
a man falling in front of Giles store about 75 feet from
him; ....he and old man Glover and Ed Sinclair placed his
hat under his head (Brodie's) just as he got there; he
grasped a few times and died: in 10 to 15 minutes after
he was shot he was dead;. . .
5. J. H. Cable,
clerk at Giles' store, was standing just inside of Giles'
store; he was about two feet, he supposed, from the North
front door, which opens out on the pavement on the East
side of Smythe; one door opens out on the corner of the
building , and the one he was nearest to opens out on
Smythe: there is still another front door that
opens out on Wise Street, in front of the building ; all
three doors were standing open: he saw Brodie first; he
had just stepped up on the edge of the sidewalk
when he first saw him; he was going North,
and towards his shop, two doors North of Giles building:
he was in his shirt sleeves; about the same time Brodie
stepped up on the sidewalk he heard someone coming down
street and looked around and saw Pat Smith; he was
walking pretty fast; about the time he observed him he
stopped directly in front of the door where he was
standing; he stopped directly in front of the door where
he was standing ; he saw him reach down into his pocket
as though he was pulling out a handkerchief, and pulled
out a gun; he immediately raised it up and fired.
Brodie, at the time Smith fired, was some 18 or 20 feet
from him, walking towards him; he pitched forward
the first shot was fired;
Smith fired again before Brodie hit the pavement; he fell
on his shoulder and rolled over on his back;
Smith took one step forward and fired another shot;
Brodie was lying on his back when the last shot was
fired; there was not a word said by either Smith or
Brodie before the shooting begin: he never heard a word
said by either, except Brodie said "Oh" and
" Oh, Lordy"; he said "Oh" when the
first shot was fired, and about the time he hit the
sidewalk he said "Oh Lordy"; witness saw no
pistol or weapon of any kind in the hands of Brodie or
about his person; he saw no pistol or weapon of any kind
fall on the sidewalk when Brodie fell; Smith went
up the street and out of his sight immediately after
firing the last shot; three shots, and only three shots,
were fired and Pat Smith fired all if them.
6. S. P. Johnson testified
substantially the same as did Cable and Huskey,
except he said when Smith returned up the street he was
carring a pisto in each hand.
Smith trial began
on February 6, 1911. Judge Clem B. Potter presided.
County Attorney Charles F. Spencer prosecuted the
In any event, the
jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The verdict
was signed by J. R. Allgood, Foreman.
Walter [Pat] Smith
was later to be shot on December 23, 1912 by Constable
Harbin H Edwards, from wich wounds he died some four or
five days later. See "Killing of Walter (Pat)
KILLING OF PAT SMITH
. . . The way Smith
kept his hand in his coat pocket led both Donald and
Edwards to believe that he had a gun in his pocket.
looked at Paul Donald and said, " The Alley is
open at both ends, and you can leave at either
end." To which Mr. Donald then replied,
"I'm not about to leave." Smith then
appeared about to daw the object from his coat pocket
when Constable Edwards put his hand on Smith's
shoulder and said, "Pat, don't do that." Smith
then took his left hand and shoved Harbin Edwards in the
At this point
Edwards drew his gun and fired three or four shots in
rapid succession at Smith's midsection. Smith then
turned and quickly staggered into the store. Donald
and Edwards followed the wounded man. Inside the
store they found a gun that Smith had supposedly placed
on a barrel as he went trough the store. Edwards
picked up the gun and he and Donald continued to pursue
the wounded man. Smith had gone out the front of
the store and had progressed as far as Brown's Drug Store
where he collapsed in front of it.
Pat Smith was
carried home, where he lingered near death for four or
five days before he finally died.
Other men were
arrested in a near by saloon by the peace officers for
their part in the beating of Pruner.
later Mr. Edwards was indicted and tried for the murder
of Pat Smith, Paul Donald was the only living witness who
could testify in Edwars' behalf. It may have been
decided later that a trial should be had, while Mr.
Donald's testimony was available, just as a protection to
In any event, H. H.
Edwards was indicted on January 16, 1915, in Cause No.
5843, in the District Court of Montague County. The
Foreman of the Grand Jury was W. A. Philpot.
February 3rd, Mr. Edward was tried. He plead self -
defense. Paul Donald was his principal witness. He
described the events that occurred immediately prior to
the shooting. Edwards was aquitted.
The case was tried
before Judge Charles F. Spencer. Paul Donald was
County Attorney; N. F. McClellan was District Clerk; and
A. W. Cunningtham was sheriff.
Thus ends the sage of three men, Walker Hargroves, Porter
Brodie and Pat Smith, who knew old Smokey Row; they knew
its violence; they were a part of its violence; two of
them died of its violence; the other almost died of its
violence, and did die of violence in Fort Worth soon
after leaving Smokey Row.
Thus was the violence with
which our forefathers lived; thus was the courage
they possessed to suppress such violence; and thus were
the sacrifices they made to secure for themselves, their
children, and their children's children, a better
life. We owe them so much more than we will ever
know. M. F. L."