The Mail and Tarrant
"35" Knocked Silly by Dal-
las' Criminal Records.
Fifty Killings Re-
corded in the Brief Space
of Five Years.
killing record of Dallas has kept up with the social and commercial
records, if the old grand jury dockets are good authority.
17, 1891, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 2, col. 4-5.
A TIMES-HERALD reporter searched the records of crime and secured
a list of the killers back to 1885. The following is the list
found on the grand jury docket books:
E. G. Fritz killed Will Bickham
Aug. 15, 1885. Fritz was acquitted.
John Legget cooked John Andrew's
goose at Hutchins, July 4, 1885. He was tried and given five
years in the state penitentiary, but the case was appealed, reversed
and nollied by the county attorney.
James Scott removed his father-in-law,
John McDonaugh, from this cold world on Nov. 17, 1885, assisted
by Jack Duncan and Elmer Lovely, it was alleged.
W. M. Sealey sent Jessie Bonner
to the world beyond on Jan. 28, 1886. The case was nollied by
the county attorney.
Miss Katie Salisbury put out Regina
Fromleth on Aug. 9, 1888. the case is still pending.
George Moseley sent Nelson Bush
up the golden stairs, Nov. 15, 1887. The case is still pending.
Bob Land, also known as Windy Bod,
shot and killed Frank Jones, Jan. 10, 1885. Bob was acquitted.
Carter Roberts was the disease
that took A. T. Jackson out of the wet on Dec. 12, 1889. The
case is still pending.
Will Chapman and C. Reynolds sent
Dudley Lowery up the long train in 1886.
Robert Slaven freed Horace Read's
ghost in 1887.
Mason Miller made an angel of John Collier in 1887 and got five
years in the penitentiary.
Frank Shaw sent Henry Jones to
his eternal repose on Nov. 1, 1888. Shaw was not arrested.
Jim Smith sent Joe Convay over
the range, May 4, 1888.
Nick Lowery stopped Will Chapman's
pulse in 1888. No bill was found against him.
James Jett cashed in Ed. Martin's
checks for him, Oct. 20, 1886. He was not arrested.
Tom Scroggins murdered a boy by
the name of Lindsey in 1887, and was acquitted.
Ed. Hyatt laid E. H. Batton out
for keeps on Dec. 10, 1889. Hyatt was acquitted.
John Surrell let Jeff Armstrong's
spirit out with a knife and got twenty years in the penitentiary.
Emma Brittain was charged with
making away with her husband, Geo. Brittain, near Jimtown, May
2, 1889. She was released.
F. W. Habel removed Ed. Gilbert
from this mundane sphere, Sept. 18, 1889, and got two years in
Will Humphreys cut. S. J. Dillard's
career off short on the night of March 14, 1880. Humphreys was
Leo. Cahn sent M. Benedict to that
bourne from whence none return, on March 22, 1888. The case is
J. R. Humphries had a row with
a reckless chap by the name of Skaggs, at Mesquite, on Sept.
25, 1888. Skaggs went for his gun, so did Humphries, and is sleeping
beneath the daisies. The case is still pending.
S. E. Lane sent J. H. Wilson across
the dark river, Sept. 1, 1889, and was sentenced five years in
the penitentiary, but preferring death to disgrace, he killed
Mack Massy severed Mose Burton's
thread of life, Sept. 15, 1888. The case is still pending.
W. B. Arnold closed James Lucas'
eyes in sleep eternal on March 10th, 1889.
Frank Quinn numbered Ben Nelson
with the things that were on June 6, 1890. Case still pending
and Quinn is in jail.
Claude Stuart sent Joe Fish to
explore the land of promise on June 9, 1890. The case is still
pending, and Stuart is out on bond.
W. E. Murf freed poor Nathan Geer
from toil and care on Dec. 24, 1890.
The following names also decorated
the docket book. Their owners were fortunate enough not to have
bills found against them. Many of them under the charge of killing
could not be proved against.
Harlow Grizzle, Bill Peyton, Will
Brooks, D. A. Hook, Jack Norman, Bill Pey, Harvey Jones, Henry
Cran, H. Wood. Maria Burgess, William Hennessell and Joseph Pruitt.
John Brunck, Robert Lang and Joe
Feslie, also belong to the list. They took the responsibility
upon themselves of sending J. G. Engle up the flume on March
10, 1890. Lang was acquitted, Feslie's case was nollied by the
county attorney and Brunck's case is still pending.
- o o o -
GO TO THE GALLOWS.
JURY ASSESS THE DEATH
PENALTY ON ROGERS.
the Ravishing of Little
Rhody May Dexter
Says He is "Ready
to Meet His Mother
of the Hangings
Which Have Taken Place
the forms of the TIMES-HERALD
were sent to press yesterday afternoon, A. L. Rodgers, the rape
fiend, was in the witness box. He gave in his testimony in a
rumbling, incoherent manner, and made a poor impression on the
jury, the court and the great crowd of spectators. He could not
breast the terrible chain of evidence. His doom was sealed, and
anticipated by the TIMES-HERALD
yesterday. His attorney, Mr. Clark, late of Ellis county, made
a hard fight for the prisoner. He is an able lawyer and a most
affable gentleman, and worked as zealously as though a big fee
had been paid him, instead of having been appointed by the court.
His argument was most plausible and eloquent, but the spectre
of the gallows loomed up before his client and the hard set faces
of the jurors was a note of warming that the fate of Rodgers
was sealed. Colonel Williams and his assistants closed in sharp
and incisive speeches. Judge Tucker delivered his charge to the
jury at 7 p. m. and that body retired and a recess was ordered.
HISTORY OF THE
At 9:30, the jury returned the
"We, the jury, find the defendant,
A. L. Rodgers, guilty of rape, as charged in the indictment,
and assess his punishment at death.
B. FERGUSON, foreman."
The other members of the jury were:
G. C. Petty, O. P. Wolcott, M. J. Wakeham, Sydney Smith, W. F.
Swain, C. O. N. Perkins, W. C. Hustung, J. A. Russell, G. W.
Shanks, Fred Steere, J. Q. Holman.
Rodgers sat by the side of his
attorney. A shudder shot through his frame and his face took
on a ghastly pallor. The verdict was evidently a great surprise
to him. He recovered his composure and requested his attorney
to communicate the news to his relatives. The detail of officers
took the condemned man in charge and departed for the county
jail, where he will pass his last moments on earth unless a judicial
decree or executive clemency sets aside the verdict.
No demonstration was made by the
large crowd of spectators, due, no doubt, to the order of Judge
Tucker early in the evening, to the sheriff, ordering that official
to place under arrest any person giving vent to demonstrations
of applause or otherwise, whatever the verdict of the jury might
Once beyond the jurisdiction of
the court, however, the great crowd could not be controlled and
applauded the verdict of the jury. Had a light punishment been
assessed, it is more than likely that the spectators would have
taken the prisoner from the officers and lynched him, as it was
generally understood that would be his fate if the jury failed
to do its duty. They were men of nerve, however, and determined
that the way to prevent lawless murder and rapine was to crack
the necks of criminals.
As the jurors filed out, Rodgers,
in a low voice, muttered his thanks to them for what they had
done. On the way to the jail with Deputy Sheriff Darby, he said
he was ready to go to his death and would "meet his mother
Rodgers is forty-four years old
and has lived the greater portion of his life in Texas. In 1858,
he attended school in Austin, where his mother lived at the time.
He has a brother in San Antonio, who is in good circumstances.
Eighteen years ago, Rodgers was a resident of Dallas county.
He afterwards removed to the Alamo city and after fourteen years'
absence, returned to Dallas four years ago. He has been twice
married and has no children, by his last wife, at least.
Rodgers is the first white man ever sentenced to death by the
law in the courts of Dallas county. His attorney, Mr. Clarke,
will ask for a new trial.
Clerk Bev Scott has resided in Dallas county thirty-five years,
and is as familiar with the history of the county as any of the
older pioneers. A representative of the TIMES-HERALD called on
Mr. Scott to-day and asked him how many hangings have taken place
in the county since it was organized.
3, 1891, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 3-4.
"In 1858," said the affable
clerk, "a negro woman, a slave, murdered a white child down
on White Rock. She was tried and convicted and hanged by due
process of law. This was the first hanging in Dallas county.
"In 1860, just after the beginning
of hostilities, two emissaries of John Brown, carpet-baggers
of some sort, incited a number of negroes to perpetrate the crime
of arson. They applied the torch to the village and it was swept
almost from the face of the earth. The three negroes were captured
and lynched by the indignant citizens. The citizens gave chase
to the white ringleaders, captured them below on the banks of
the Trinity and executed them without calling in judge or jury.
"In 1866-7, there was a great
deal of lawlessness in this portion of the state, and many outlaws
rendezvoused in Dallas county. Cattle and horses were stolen
and run off and the farmers suffered terribly at the hands of
the marauders. One night, a well-organized band of regulators
swooped down upon Keenan's crossing, near Farmer's Branch, and
captured John Record, his two younger brothers and two strangers
who were herding 3000 head of cattle which, it was claimed, they
had stolen. The Records and their companions were all hanged
on the same tree.
"In 1876, Wesley Jones, a
negro, was hanged for the crime of rape, the victim being a white
lady. Marion Moon, who was sheriff, was ill and my brother, Tom
Scott, pulled the trap and Jones was switched into eternity.
"In 1878, Adam Thompson and
Wesley Pollard, two negroes, robbed and murdered an old German
storekeeper near Cedar Hill. They were tried, convicted and sentenced
to death. Pollard died in prison with consumption and Thompson
was hanged by Sheriff James E. Barclay.
"The last legal hanging in
Dallas county was in 1881, when Allen Wright, a negro, was hanged
for the murder of another negro. Ben Jones was sheriff and officiated.
The next hanging, I hope, will be Rodgers, who deserves death
if ever a man did."
Four years ago, a negro who assaulted
a white lady, was lynched by a mob on the Oak Cliff side of the
Trinity river. It will be noticed that Rodgers is the first white
man ever legally sentenced to death in the county.
- o o o -
Hanging in Dallas
W. Peck narrated to a TIMES-HERALD reporter to-day.
17, 1891, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 4, col. 3.
"With reference to TIMES-HERALD'S report of July 4, Mr. Scott
says the first person hanged in Dallas county was a negro woman
in 1858 for the murder of a white child on White Rock. The first
hanging was a negro woman in 1853, by Sheriff T. G. Hawpe, whose
son now lives in East Dallas. The negro was hanged for murdering
her master, which she did by splitting [his] head with an ax
while he was sleeping in bed with his two little children. The
deed was committed six miles north of Dallas on Buchanan branch."
- o o o -
DECREASE IN CRIME.
GATHERED BY AN
Life Not Cheap in
Texas Now, as in
B. Stevens, the noted correspondent of the Globe-Democrat, is
writing letters from Texas to hi paper. The following extracts
are taken from a recent article, entitled "Decrease of Crime
17, 1891, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 5, col. 4.
"The convict population of
Texas reached its maximum on the 21st of July, 1889. On that
day, there were 3432 prisoners in the penitentiaries of the state--more
than there had ever been before, more than there have ever been
since. On the 1st of January, 1866, Texas had only 134 convicts.
The fact was not to her credit. Demoralization followed the war.
The number of convicts bore no relation to the amount of crime.
It only revealed a lax enforcement of the laws. Lawlessness grew.
Public sentiment came slowly after. The courts gradually increased
in efficiency. It was a long and waiting race between crime and
law. But, the corner has been turned. For a while, sentiment
became arouse and the courts began to do their duty. The effect
was seen in the increase of convictions. This went on until the
maximum was reached. Then crime recognized that it was beaten.
The offenses grew fewer, and though sentiment and the courts
did not relax, but rather became stronger, the convict population
began to grow less. Two years ago, Texas passed her criminal
crisis. The decline of the convict population has been slow,
but it has [been] steady ever since. There are now about five
hundred convicts less than there were two years ago. Everything
indicates that the improvement is as permanent as it is gratifying.
These penitentiary figures, rightly studied, afford a good barometer
to the moral tone of Texas. Although the maximum number of convicts
in the penitentiary population was reached in 1889, that was
not the year when the largest number was received. Two years
previously, or in 1887, there were received in the Texas penitentiaries,
1134 convicts. The number increased steadily up to 1887; it has
fallen off every year since.
In 1870, the courts sent to the
penitentiaries only one person to 3770 of population.
In 1880, there were sent to the
penitentiaries, one person for 1648 population.
In 1890, the penitentiaries received
one person for 2138 of population.
The maximum of prison population
would quite naturally follow the maximum of sentences by two
or three years. That it does so is presumptive evidence that
the penitentiary figures do not lie when used as evidence to
show the improvement in Texas morals.
The superintendent of the Texas
penitentiaries has figured out this:
1870. One in penitentiary out of
every 1519 inhabitants.
1880. One in penitentiary out of
every 769 inhabitants.
1890. One in penitentiary out of
every 703 inhabitants.
This does not warrant any particular
conclusion other than that in 1870 there were many people in
Texas who ought to have been in the penitentiary, but did not
There will be twenty legal hangings
in Texas between now and New Year's. One of the best signs of
the times is the change of sentiment in this direction. Gray
walked up to B. C. Evans in the latter's store at Fort Worth
and shot him twice. The provocation was some business dispute
involving Gray's continuance in the employ of Evans. As Gray
was taken to jail, some one said to him: "You've gotten
yourself into a bad scrape."
"No, I reckon not," replied
Gray, with composure, "It'll be about eighteen months in
jail; that's all."
If Gov. Hogg does not interfere,
Gray will hang at Fort Worth next month. The first death verdict
ever returned by a jury at Dallas was given last week. It was
in the case of a man who had shamefully misused a child. Dallas
has a record of between seventy and eighty indictments for murder,
and has never had a legal execution. It will be different from
this time on. A judge sitting on the Dallas bench once said,
indignantly: "You might as well lock up your courthouse
and throw the key in the well." He had just seen four juries
fail to convict in four murder trials. At the same term of court,
two green country boys who, in a freak of waywardness, had ridden
off a pair of old plugs belonging to the farmer for whom they
worked, had been given ten and fifteen years respectively in
the penitentiary. It was a Dallas jury which gave a verdict of
six months' imprisonment and a fine of $250 for the theft of
a single chicken.
Time was when human life was about
the cheapest thing in Texas; it is not so now. W. B. S.
- o o o -
April 10, 2004:
THAN SAM BASS.
Make a Hold-Up at the
Edge of Dallas.
& T. C. TRAIN THE VICTIM.
Car Uncoupled and Taken
From the Train.
Say the Robbers Secured No Money.
One Man Arrested and Held at Po-
lice Headquarters on Suspic-
ion -- Armed With Pistols
spirit of Sam Bass evidently hovered over Dallas last night.
The old-time sensation of a train robbery was experienced. One
of the boldest hold-ups ever known in Texas took place at 7:10.
The north-bound Houston & Texas Central train, which leaves
the Union Station at 7 p. m., was stopped by a band of highway
men at the Missouri, Kansas & Texas crossing, about three
miles north of the station. Reports as to the number of bandits
disagree. The first report, telephoned in to police headquarters,
had it that there were fifteen men in the band. Later, the number
was revised to seven; then, the party was swelled to nine, and
the latest returns placed the force of desperadoes at only 4.
Whatever the number may have been, they did their work in the
most up-to-date manner, whether their exploit was one of profit,
The train was in charge of conductor
Westbrook, and Engineer Tom Averett was in the cab. Messenger
A. H. Harris was in the Wells-Fargo express car.
When the train stopped at the Missouri,
Kansas & Texas crossing, the bandits cut the express car
loose from the body of the train. No commotion was created. Engineer
Averett was ordered to pull out, and all the other train men
were left behind. The engine and express car were run to a point
about five miles north of the Union Station, and there halted.
The robbers compelled Messenger Harris to open the safe. They
rifled it of its contents, tore up a large number of packages,
shot out the headlight of the engine, destroyed other illumination
arrangements, and told the engineer to run back to the cars he
had left behind, as soon as he pleased.
The bandits then scattered across
the fields and probably took to the bottoms of White Rock creek,
where they are presumed to have had horses and comrades in hiding.
The facts of the hold-up and the
running off with the express car and engine were telephoned in
to police headquarters about 8 o'clock, and Chief of Police Arnold
and Sheriff Cabell, with a strong posse of regular officers and
specials, at once took horses and started for the scene of the
robbery, but by the time they arrived there, the highwaymen had
nearly two hours the start of their pursuers.
As usual in such cases, the express
and railroad officials declare that the robbers secured no money,
because there was none in the car. Newspapers and the public
always weigh these statements on disinterested scales, however,
and the general opinion will be that it is a queer sort of express
train that carries no cash.
Cabell, who was out all night in pursuit of the robbers, stated
to a TIMES HERALD
reporter this morning, that through a mistake in the direction,
the dogs were not got to the scene of the robbery until 11 p.
m., and they only followed the trail a few miles, when they became
confused and lost the scent.
Sheriff Cabell says the descriptions
given of the robbers were very conflicting and meager. In the
first place, passengers and trainmen estimated the number all
the way from four, up to fifteen, and that they wore handkerchiefs
over their faces and carried two six-shooters each.
Sheriff Cabell believes that the
robbers returned to the city, although squads of the Sheriff's
posse went north to cut off the escape of the robbers in that
direction. Deputy Sheriff Simpson, Police Officer Rawlins and
Deputy Constable John Cornwell, who were dispatched to Plano,
are still scouring the woods of that region.
11 o'clock last night, City Judge Foree called the attention
of Police Officer "Deacon" John Keehan to a suspicious-looking
man he had just met down the street. Officer Keehan followed
the man to the Camp Street variety theater. On seeing the officer,
the suspected man evinced a nervous uneasiness and quickly got
out of the playhouse. The "Deacon" and Judge Foree
followed him to the Oak Cliff depot and arrested him.
The prisoner had two pistols, one
of them being a 42-calibre bulldog, and the other, a 38-calbre,
nickle-plated, pearl handle weapon, having more the appearance
of an exhibition than a war-like gun. He also carried a dirk
with an eight inch reaching capacity, a two-ounce bottle of chloroform,
and a pair of "step-easy" socks. He gave the name of
R. E. Cauthorne, and at first, said he was a farmer and lived
at Oak Cliff, but afterwards said he came from Tennessee three
weeks ago. The chloroform, he claimed to carry for the toothache.
The guns, he said he was taking home to his sister, who worked
in a hotel. He, however, did not explain about the dirk, nor
the socks. In addition to these articles, he carried an odor
of whisky and $16 in silver, the remains of a $20 gold piece
he got Henry Jenkins to change for him.
Mr. Cauthorne was committed to
the city prison.
representative, to-day, interviewed Cauthorne in his cell at
police headquarters. He said: "I know I was in a place that
is against me when I was arrested last night, but that is no
evidence that I am a train robber. When the train was robbed,
I was on my way from the farm of Mr. Bigby, in the country, two
miles beyond Oak Cliff. I came to Dallas three weeks ago from
Wartrace, Tenn. I bought the bottle of chloroform from Knott
& Houston, druggists, of that place, to use to relieve the
toothache, from which I suffer almost constantly."
Mr. Cauthorne has no toothache
to-day, and has not complained of that ailment since his imprisonment.
Continuing, he said: "Mr.
Bixby will be in from his farm this evening to vouch for me as
an honest man. If the police authorities of Dallas desire, I
will give them the names of a thousand men in Tennessee, who
will recommend me as being alright. The reason I had those two
pistols on me when arrested, is that my sister, Mrs. Lizzie Jones,
who has been boarding at 186 Ross avenue, was preparing to go
to Weatherford to meet her husband, and she gave me the pistols
to take to the country with me."
Cauthorne looks to be about 25
years old. A woman, claiming to be his sister, called to see
him this forenoon. He is a cool-mannered fellow, but he has no
Burke, City Marshal of McKinney, and John Roland, City Marshal
of Plano, came down to Richardson on a freight this morning to
meet Chief of Police Arnold and Sheriff Cabell, and came across
the country to Dallas with the latter.
Marshal Roland says he noticed
five men near Plano yesterday. They told him they were farm hands
and were going North.
of Police Arnold, who came in to-day, says the robbers probably
came back to the city. He believes that if Sheriff Cabell had
had his dogs with him, instead of having to wait five hours for
them, that they would have caught the robbers. He says the robbers
made the negro porter cut the air brake. As soon as he cut it,
the negro dodged under the car and ran for Dallas. The robbers
shot the glass out of the headlight of the engine.
Montgomery, Agent at Dallas, of the Wells-Fargo Express Company,
stated to a TIMES-HERALD
reporter that the company no longer carries money or other valuables
on night trains, where they can ship them in daylight, as between
here and Denison, and that there was but one small package of
money in the possession of Messenger Harris last night, and the
robbers overlooked this, and got nothing from the express company
but a six-shooter.
Agent Montgomery says the robbers
were evidently inexperienced men, otherwise, they would have
posted themselves, instead of taking such desperate chances for
nothing, as he is convinced Bill Cook, Bill [Doolin], or any
other Bill in the business, would have done.
old style of holding up a train was to shoot it up in regular
Indian fashion and terrorize the passengers and crew into submission.
Now, the robbers, in a quiet, gentlemanly way, cut off the express
car and engine and request the engineer to run off a short distance,
so as to not disturb the passengers or any guards that may be
on the train, taking it for granted that the guards will always
be in the cars with the softest seats, towards the rear of the
mounted posse that went in pursuit of the robbers was composed
of Police Officers Rawlins, Tanner, Durham, Magee and Kahn, and
Deputy Sheriffs Ledbetter, Hall, Simpson, Rhodes and Tucker,
headed by Sheriff Cabell and Chief of Police Arnold.
is said, that if the robbers had held up the train below Dallas,
they would have struck it rich. The Wells-Fargo Express Company,
on account of the frequent hold-ups in the Territory, is said
to have recently adopted the plan of transferring the money and
other valuables from the Houston & Texas Central to the Santa
Fe, at Dallas, and that the money the robbers expected to get
was thus transferred last night.
camp of the robbers was found about 150 yards from where they
held up the train. By a smoldering fire, they left the fragments
of their meal, consisting of a few scraps and two paper bags,
one of which had had sandwiches in it, and the other, parched
28, 1895, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 3-5.
Sheriff Cabell brought the bags to his office.
- o o o -
and Official Publications.
BIDS FOR FEEDING
Tex., April 24, 1896--Sealed bids will be received at the office
of the city secretary until Monday, May 4, 1896, at 5 o'clock,
p. m., for feeding the city prisoners for the fiscal year ending
the third Monday in April, 1897, as per following bill of fare:
25, 1896, Dallas Morning News, p. 9, col. 6.
Breakfast--One-half pound round
streak, half pound bread, one pint coffee with sugar and milk.
Dinner--On-half pound roast, half
pound bread, soup and potatoes.
Supper--Same as breakfast.
All meals to be of good, wholesome
food, well cooked and served with plates, cups, etc., and subject
to the approval of the chief of police or his assistants. Should
any meal be rejected, the chief of police or his assistants shall
have said meal prepared and the price of same shall be deducted
from the contract. A certified check for $25 must accompany each
The city reserves the right to
reject any or all bids.
- o o o -
A VISIT TO THE
CITY ROGUES' GALLERY
Some of the Faces
be Seen There.
TALES OF SOME CRIMES
Several Noted Crooks
Their Nemesis in the
City of Dallas.
- February 17, 1901,
Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 4, col. 1-3.
The office of the city detective,
in the basement of the city hall, is about the dimensions of
a roomy china closet or a sizable sarcophagus; and half of one
whole side is occupied by a cabinet, the shiny knobs on whose
frowning glass front doors look down upon intruders with the
insolence of a man who has seen many people more interesting,
by far, than yourself, and who holds locked in his breast, more
secrets than you ever knew or heard tell of. The rest of that
side of the room holds another cabinet, but this one is much
less arrogant and more disposed to make friends with you, even
though you are woefully ignorant of the ways of detective bureaus.
Through its glass doors, you can see paper boxes and bundles
with typewritten legends upon them, and that robs it of its interest.
You want to see the inside of the other case.
When it is open for inspection,
there are many doors to be seen, and fastened in them are scores
and hundreds of photographs of the professors and past masters
of crime; also young and inexperienced crooks who are merely
trying, in their feeble way, to emulate the skill of the men
who lead in iniquity.
This is the "mug gallery."
When the apprentice has had his "mug struck," he feels
an increased self-respect. It is encouraging to know that he
is getting along, albeit slowly, in his profession and may some
day be able to slap upon the back, the men he has striven to
The Dallas detective department
consists of three men--M. W. Kirby, J. G. Alexander and Wood
Ramsey--and each of them has served many years in that particular
department, Mr. Kirby having been a member of the detective force
when it was first founded, some fifteen years ago. Mr. Alexander
came on a year or so later, and Mr. Ramsey, about ten years ago.
They will tell you that the banner
year for crime in this city was 1892, when the influx of crooks
almost swamped the country; and nearly all the noted criminals
whose faces are to be recognized in the rogues' gallery have
that year as the date of their capture.
The largest theft of that time
was attributed to Sol Richardson, a negro, whose picture is prominent
in the gallery. In the fall of 1891, he made away with the Wells
Fargo Express money box containing $14,000. He was captured a
short time after and indicted by the grand jury, but in spite
of moral persuasion, and perhaps stronger influence, he refused
to tell where the money was to be found. He was tried and, on
account of insufficient evidence, was acquitted. Shortly after
his release, the box, which had contained the money, was found
in the Trinity river bottom, wrecked and devoid of contents.
Richardson was not heard from until several years later, when
he was shot by a citizen at Purcell, I. T., for attempting to
rob a postoffice.
In 1892, one of the foulest murders
ever committed in Texas was brought to light. The body of A.
Titche, proprietor of a store in East Dallas, was found in the
bushes about a mile southwest of Oak Cliff with two bullet holes
in his side. He had been missing from town about three days,
the murder being committed on Sunday and the body being discovered
The evidence, as pieced together,
pointed out the murderer as one Geo. F. Bouton, who kept a restaurant
near Titche's store and had always been, apparently, a warm friend
of the murdered man. Bouton was arrested, and the evidence brought
up at the trial showed that Titche had been in the habit of taking
the money he made during the week to a friend on Elm street,
with whom he deposited it for safe keeping. Bouton knew this,
and on the Sunday of the murder, he hired a horse and buggy and
drove past Titche's store to take him down to deposit the money.
That was the last time Titche was seen alive. It was never learned
how much money he had with him to deposit. All that was known
was that it never reached the friend with whom he was to have
entrusted it. Bouton was tried and sent to the penitentiary for
life. His photograph is in the gallery--a blonde man with sweeping,
bird's wing of a mustache, and on his head, a soft, light felt
There is a story of a man whose
miniature is preserved in the rogues' gallery and who possessed
more aliases than were good for him. His name was Frank Wilson,
and one of his aliases was Frank Blair. He lived at Richmond,
Va., when he was at home, and he was never at home, for reasons
which he and the police knew better than any one else. One evening
in 1892, just at dusk, he entered a jewelry store on lower Main
street and asked the clerk, a boy who was alone in the store,
to see some diamonds. The boy, suspecting nothing, placed a tray
of sparklers upon the table, when --puff!-- the boy's eyes were
blinded, and himself in the most terrible agony from the pepper
which the man had thrown in his face. In that instant, the man
grabbed the tray of diamonds, shoved them under his coat and
escaped. There were $2500 worth of the sparklers in the tray.
The man was traced for several
months and was at last captured in Jefferson City, Mo., and brought
back to Dallas for trial. He was given eight years in the penitentiary.
Jim Dugan's photograph is in the
possession of the local detectives--Dugan, the porch climber,
who robbed the Keiser residence of $750 worth of diamonds in
1892 and was captured before he left town. On account of insufficient
evidence, he was acquitted. He was later captured in Minnesota
and sent to the penitentiary for snatching a woman's purse.
Joe Digman, a young man, went to
a residence in South Dallas during the same year and stole a
diamond brooch worth about $300. The robbery was committed in
daylight. The lady of the house sought to intercept him and prevent
his escape, but he drew a butcher knife and threatened to kill
her. The poor lady was almost prostrated with fright and gave
up all attempts to capture the thief. He was caught a few days
later in the city under the name of Harry Smith; occupation,
bell boy of the Leland hotel, Chicago.
There are two long leather cases,
very carefully made, in the vault where captured articles are
kept, and in each of them is one of those things which are the
bane of the unsophisticated farmer and the theme for countless
jokes in the comic papers--a gold brick. They are quite smooth
upon the outside, but not smooth enough, to all appearances,
to tempt any sane man to buy one. The smoothness lies in the
bunco man who manipulates it. These bricks were left as a present
by Billy Adkins, Tom Tracy and W. P. Hillis, whose pictures all
occupy prominent places in the local gallery. They were captured
here in 1889, during the Fair.
There is another brick in the possession
of the department which looks as if it might have been cast in
a skillet, and has the appearance of real gold upon its crusted
top. It was taken from a confidence man not long ago. The man
who was saved from buying it had made all arrangements for the
transfer of the property and was in town for the purpose of drawing
$8000 of his money from the bank when he was notified of his
exceeding folly and induced to go home without the beautiful
toy which the bunco steerers proposed to sell him.
At least two native Texan professional
criminals are to be found in the records. One of them is J. M.
Morgan, alias Jack Milsap, who has the enviable reputation of
being one of the best "con men" in the country. He
was captured here in 1890 and sent up. He hails from Colorado
The other Texan is "Black
Bart," the lone bandit who robbed trains single-handed in
the 80's and escaped unharmed out of all his deviltry. He held
up a train on the Mississippi Valley railroad in 1888 and secured
big money. The picture in the rogues' gallery shows a broad-shouldered
old man with gray hair and a long gray mustache, piercing dark
eyes and a chin that showed well the brutal determination of
the man. It is always a sad thing to contemplate old age going
down to death, and mayhap a violent death, unrepentant of past
misdeeds and seemingly satisfied that death ends all and there
is no hereafter. It is doubly sad to think of an old man like
this who is not only unafraid, but persistent in crime. "Black
Bart" has not been heard of by the detectives here for many
years, and it is likely that he is dead.
It is a singular fact, in direct
contradiction of the theory which may people hold that the criminal
propensities show in the countenance, that so few of these photographs
are evidence of their original's degeneration. Some of the faces,
it is true, are types of criminal degeneracy, but more, far more,
of them, particularly those of thieves who have climbed high
in their profession, evince more than ordinary intelligence of
their subjects. The only way it can be accounted for is that
there is a screw loose somewhere.
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